Archives for 23 Sep,2010

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As a musician with a busy performing, teaching and composing schedule, I am constantly looking at ways to simplify everyday tasks and increase productivity. I have been using MusicTeachersHelper for a number of years now, and I still marvel at how quick and easy it is to organise my timetable, send mass emails to students, keep invoicing up to date, and produce yearly income reports. The time I have saved by using MusicTeachersHelper has allowed me to take on more performing and teaching. However, at the start of this year, when my number of students had increased dramatically, I realised that while administration was no longer time consuming, I was spending increasingly large amounts of time responding to emails or phone calls from parents and students.

Obviously communication outside of the normal lesson time is necessary and I am always happy to talk to parents and students about their progress, future planning, etc however I found that I was answering my phone at all hours of the day and night, and often when I had just walked in the door from a long day teaching and realised that I needed to set boundaries so that teaching did not intrude on my personal time.  [···]

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Copyright.  Why should we bother??  As a private teacher, I have often said to myself, “It’s such a pain to have students purchase music, when I could just copy one piece out of this book.”  Another excuse that I have used is, “Well, this student will only be singing one song out of this book.  Why should I have them go to the expense of purchasing the entire collection?”

This past summer, I was the recipient of the NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing) Independent Teacher Fellowship.  This gave me the opportunity to attend the National Conference this past July in Salt Lake City.  One of the things that really struck me was that original music was used by all of the pianists during the conference.  I also had the joy of attending a “Publisher Showcase” during every lunch period.

These Publisher Showcases were opportunities for me to really appreciate all the work that publishers put into preparing new editions of music for those of us who teach.  Hal Leonard has some amazing new editions of Leonard Bernstein songs (Bernstein Theatre Songs in High, Low & Duets/Ensembles books and Bernstein Art Songs and Arias in High & Medium/Low keys) as well as a new complete edition of 65 Songs of Samuel Barber (in High and Medium/Low keys).  The work and attention to detail evident in these new editions of composers we know and love was evident.  Previously unpublished songs are included in each of these new editions.  I was also introduced to the new Schirmer editions of the standard Italian Art Songs and Arias.  The 28 Italian Songs and Arias now includes (in 5 keys, and for only $10/book without the recording) IPA & historical background of each song, in addition to a few songs that are unfamiliar from the traditional “yellow book” Schirmer edition. [···]

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