Archives for 24 Dec,2008

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Have you ever felt burn-out in your teaching?  Perhaps you put all your energy and time into teaching your students, whether they be 3 or 123.  Now, after several months of intense teaching without a substantial break, it is time to strategize and rejuvenate.  Not all in the following blog are my own ideas… many have been contributed by wonderful fellow teachers in the business who have experienced what many of you may be facing at the moment.

  1. Attend Workshops – by attending music workshops, those creative juices will begin flowing again!  Be inspired by others in the business, discover new ways to present a topic to your students, and enjoy what you do. Other conferences through the Music Teacher’s Association (MTA) also are great opportunities to meet others.  www.mtna.org
  2. Schedule Breaks – take a day off.  Sleep in.  Get a manicure.  Get a massage.  Eat Chocolate.  Take care of you (the teacher)!
  3. Break the routine up by scheduling various types of recitals (formal & relaxed, themes, Christmas camp, summer workshops, and much more)!  This not only helps the teacher, but provides a great means of motivation for all the students.
  4. Try something new… new music and new games for your students will help them stay motivated and energized about music.  Move the equipment and instruments around in your studio space, so it seems new.  Perhaps have all your students of a certain levels spend most of their lesson time on computer software (highlight or find new computer games for the lab through www.musiclearningcommunity.com).  Or, have everyone work on duets for the recital.  Teach your students to dance a Minuet.
  5. Put on an uplifting CD and just listen to the music without worrying about the technical aspects and fretting about how to analyze the structure with a student.  🙂  Watch a DVD, crank it, sing, dance, and remind yourself that there IS joy in music.
  6. Join online groups and share.  Knowing that you are NOT alone is very helpful.  Yahoo Groups is a great source for camaraderie in music studio aspects and issues of all kinds.
  7. If there are any students who particular curl your toenails the minute they walk in the studio… find a way to remove them from your studio or address the issues in a pleasant way.
  8. Organize a fun incentive program going on each year… and don’t do the same one twice in a row.

Just know you are not alone.   [···]

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I trust you are all enjoying your Christmas break!  For me, Christmas is a special time to spend with my family celebrating the birth of my Lord.  I’d like to wish you all a very merry Christmas.   🙂

This time off means an opportunity to reevaluate the supplies on hand and the organization of everything needed on a day-to-day basis on any given teaching day.

Eliminating the Clutter…
A method I’ve had to adopt is one that simply says, “be critical”… if a book or piece of music or teaching aid or organizational system that you have not used or applied in the last year is in your studio, get rid of it.  Find someone who can benefit from those things you no longer use.  Donate the music, electronics, or storage to a charity or deliver it to a Goodwill store.

Often, by this time of year, I’ve accumulated more than I need in the studio and certainly more than I will ever have the time to implement in my teaching.

Some things to keep on hand…
Of course, your piano!  Whether this is a grand, upright, or keyboard (hopefully not the only instrument you use), it needs to be serviced regularly and tuned by a professional 1-2x/year.
Many teachers opt to keep a supply of commonly used method books in various levels on hand for at least two reasons: *when a student forgets a book, you are easily able to say, “oh!  I have that book waiting just for you… let’s go to the pages you were supposed to work on this week.”  *having the books on hand help with lesson planning.  Unless you provide & invoice books to your students as needed, there is no reason to have more than one copy of each book.

Always have a metronome within easy reach.  Other aids, such as posters, flashcards, white boards, and manuscript paper are useful tools to keep on hand.

Files & Mailboxes… [···]

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Well, it’s the end of the year now, and what a great year it’s been!

Before getting into the software updates we made this month, I wanted to let you know that Ronnie Currey is our new Director of Member Services / Editor.  He’s responsible for the newsletter and the blog, and making sure they’re meeting the needs of our readers and members. So if you have any comments or feedback, please send us an e-mail, and let Ronnie know your thoughts.

And here are the updates we made to the Music Teacher’s Helper code this month.

  • Updated email templates so they will send with less style information that can confuse some email program (such as Outlook 2007). Also removed extra spaces that were sometimes appearing at the top.
  • When reconciling group events, the Lesson Cost will now be blank by default (so that every student will be charged their normal amount), unless you choose to override the cost and charge everyone the same amount.
  • Fixed bug in Earnings Report where running the report for an individual family wasn’t showing the correct name of the family in the report.

We hope you enjoy these new improvements. If you have any comments or suggestions, please let us know.

Thank you!

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