Archives for 31 Dec,2008

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As we enter this New Year, we can remember that great piano teachers make great students.  How can we improve our studios and teaching abilities?  How can we make lessons more enjoyable and knowledge-saturated for our students?

Below is a list of goals for my studio. I keep a copy nearby and do my best to remember that everything I teach should serve to develop a well-rounded education for your students.

Enjoy and have a wonderful 2009!

Look in eyes, let them know I am glad to see them, be “up-beat”, smile

  • Welcome… *how was your week?, *how’s your family?  *how was piano?
  • Warm-Ups… THEORY GOALS chart (follow progressive outline)Composer of the Month… learn an easy to remember, interesting fact of the week (know it for the next lesson by memory)… 4 interesting facts about each month… 10 points if the student can perfectly recite the 4 interesting facts word-for-word… subtract one point for each word out of order.  Top three students to correctly recite monthly quota receive a special prize at the spring recital.
  • Composer of the Month… learn an easy to remember, interesting fact of the week (know it for the next lesson by memory)… 4 interesting facts about each month… 10 points if the student can perfectly recite the 4 interesting facts word-for-word… subtract one point for each word out of order.  Top three students to correctly recite monthly quota receive a special prize at the spring recital.

Listen to students’ songs/pieces/assignments… two questions (among other things to go over/talk about) [···]

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First of all, Happy New Year to all, and all the best for a great musical year!

It may be a little mundane to discuss lesson rates at this time of celebration, but maybe you’re thinking you need to raise your rates in the new year — or in this economic downturn, maybe you would like to lower some rates, or institute a sliding scale for those who have lost jobs.

I find myself in a situation where I probably ought to raise rates, because I will be paying a flat rate in a new location instead of paying based on how many lessons I actually teach.  I’m reviewing rates for new classes, and rates for lessons, and although I’m mostly keeping things the same, I have to keep thinking and evaluating, as do we all.

Below are some thoughts about changing lesson rates.

The most difficult people to increase rates for are those who are long-term, regular students.  One option is to keep rates the same for regular students — “grandfather” them in at their old rate, and charge the new rate for new students or for students take lessons occasionally or every other week.  On the other hand, sometimes your most long-term students are the ones who value you most and would not mind paying a little more.  Only you can be the judge.

By the same token, if you feel okay about lowering some rates, you might choose to offer this benefit only to your most faithful students.  Or if you know someone lost a job and you want to keep them as a student, you could offer them a discounted rate.   Sometimes discounts backfire, however.  People may wonder why you didn’t charge a lower rate before, or they may value your teaching a little less if you’re willing to shift the rates down.

One way to raise rates to some extent is to charge more for individual lessons but keep your rates the same for those who pay for more lessons at a time.   [···]

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