Kristin Phillips

Kristin Phillips

Kristin has been studying piano since the age of 6 and with the guidance of her family and teachers, began teaching others by 14. After pursuing pedagogy in piano and business administration for a short time - to be continued at a later time, she transferred to studying church music ministry at Portland Bible College. She enjoys editing her website, writing in her spare time, teaching piano students of all ages, and teaching Sunday School at her church.

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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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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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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