Chris Foley

Chris Foley

Chris Foley is a pianist, teacher, examiner, adjudicator, and blogger based in Oakville, Ontario. He currently teaches at the Royal Conservatory of Music where he also serves as head of the voice department at the Conservatory School. As a member of Toronto's Tapestry New Works Studio Company, he has coached and performed in numerous workshops and performances of contemporary opera. In 2005, he started the Collaborative Piano Blog, which has grown to become one of the most well-known blogs about classical music. He has also made numerous media appearances, including playing piano for the first two seasons of Bathroom Divas (a reality show about opera singers), an interview about teaching piano to adult beginners on CBC Television's Living in Toronto, an interview in the Toronto Star about video games and music education, and an upcoming commercial for RCM Examinations.

When I first signed up for Music Teacher’s Helper, I needed a way to manage the full range of musical activities that I engage in.  After some experimentation, I discovered a few methods of using the functionality of MTH to keep track of not just my teaching, but performing, administrating, and a number of other musical activities that I needed to manage under one roof.  The first step in this process requires upsizing the “student list” to encompass a lot more than students and create the basis for being able to flexibly schedule your entire musical life in the MTH calendar.  Here’s how you can do it: [···]

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One of the most satisfying aspects of being a working musician and teacher is the sheer variety and depth of activities that I participate in on a regular basis.  On this blog, Ed Pearlman has already written a very insightful article on the value of keeping up these types of activities in The Performing Teacher.  The demands of a busy schedule and the difficulties of scheduling, contact management, and invoicing have meant that I have traditionally used a hodge-podge of devices, software, and services to keep track of my professional life.

Fortunately, at the 2007 MTNA Collaborative Conference in Toronto I stumbled upon the Music Teacher’s Helper booth, where I first learned that there was an easy-to-use integrated solution for studio management.  However, my problem was that I needed a solution not just for teaching, but for keeping track of my entire musical life, which includes examining, adjudicating, committee work, attending workshops, playing for auditions, doing recordings, and performing with a large cast of musicians and companies.

So when I bit the bullet earlier this year and ordered my Platinum MTH account, one of the things that I found most attractive about the plan was that the number of active students was listed as “unlimited”, fully intending to exercise that option.  My goal was to find a way to utilize the various billing, scheduling, invoicing and contact services available on MTH to organize my musical life under one roof.

And I figured out how.

This is an introductory posting to a multi-part series on how to make the features of Music Teacher’s Helper work for your own unique musical life.  Articles to follow will deal with step-by-step tips, tricks, hacks, and work-arounds on subjects such as:

  • Adding organizations and groups as part of your student list
  • Maximizing the possibilities of event scheduling
  • Customizing email features to reach people (including yourself) when you want, or not at all
  • Extend the scope of your MTH website through adding pages and embedding stuff
  • Track income from students, organizations, and employers
  • Elementary task management (based on some ideas previously mentioned by Ronnie Currey)

Comments about your own ways of using MTH are welcome throughout the series.  Stay tuned for Part 1…

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