Archives for 13 Jan,2009

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Using Music Teacher’s Helper to keep track of lesson times, student progress, monies owed, repertoire, and books lent (to name only a few features) can provide huge benefits to the many teachers who use the service. But it also demands a tremendous amount of discipline and detail-oriented data input to ensure that information is properly recorded, lessons are reconciled, email notifications go out to parents, prep work is done, and studios are running smoothly.

After a busy day of teaching, I often found that I couldn’t always remember everything that needed to be recorded when reconciling lessons. Typing into a laptop when teaching was out of the question, as it would divide my attention when I needed to be focusing on the student. I tried to use my iPod Touch to input information but it seemed too slow and again it took away from attention that was needed elsewhere.

What I needed was a collection system that would streamline information from lessons into a form that could quickly and accurately be inputted into MTH after lessons. After some searching I came upon the D*I*Y Planner series of free, user-configurable, and printable templates for a wide variety of productivity applications. With a bit of trial-and-error, I created a template from scratch that integrates perfectly with the tasks that need to be monitored in teaching in an MTH-equipped music studio, could be printed, photocopied, and that works as an accurate collection system of what needs to be gathered at the lesson and then entered online for student, parents, and teacher. [···]

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Lessons are supposed to be a collaborative effort between student and teacher. However, if your student doesn’t prepare well in between lessons, it can quickly become a one sided effort. Here are some ideas I found while looking for ways to help my students come to lessons more prepared.

Help your student remember what they had trouble with in between lessons.

Every lesson you ask your students what they had trouble with in between lessons. Every lesson, you get the same response. Nothing… This is really frustrating for you because you don’t know how to fix what they won’t tell you about. It is also frustrating for your students because they probably remember things that they could have asked about later when they can’t ask you.

This is a problem that needs to be resolved at home. Here are some ideas that your students can use to prepare in advance to get the most out of their lessons. [···]

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A teacher’s job neither starts nor ends in the studio.  Preparation, brainstorming, caring, ideas, inspiration, creativity… these are only a few words to describe the immense responsibility we have outside of the studio.  Have you ever found yourself writing a letter outside teaching hours to encourage a student who is struggling with their first Minuet or help a parent who needs advice on inspiring their child to practice, or researched the best local pianos for sale?

Take your job seriously in all respects. 🙂  I have discovered that when we, as teachers, enjoy what we do, our students have a sense of ownership, joy, and satisfaction in the accomplishments they have made at their instruments.  You all are wonderful teachers! Keep pouring into your students and enjoy every moment and opportunity you have to make a difference in their lives through music.

I will…


  • pray for my day’s list of students before entering the studio.
  • look students in the eyes, let them know how glad I am to see them, and smile!… be cheerful
  • give clear practice instructions, demand only the best and be patient when practice weeks don’t reach those expectations
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