Professional Development

Have you hunted any wabbits recently?

When we voice teacher’s hear a singer we immediately begin to process the voice – is the sound effortless, does it move you in some way, is their too much tongue involvement or jaw tension, etc. How often do you put your mind at rest and just listen?

As teachers of voice we spend our time living in the critique mode- seeking out the flaws and embarking upon repairing and reprogramming how those sounds are made to make them more effortless, powerful, efficient, expressive. We live in the “what is wrong” and “how do we fix it” mode.

I challenge you as you embark on your fall teaching to step out of that critique box and into the audience mode. Marvel that even your weakest singers have improved upon something. Hunt for the wabbit! Share that success with the singer! If they are family dependent share that with their families too! Drop them a note or send them an email or stop everything and run out to their car as they pick up their singer and tell them how excited you are about this progress! [···]

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Stickers, games, prizes, music money, or competitions…is that what it takes to lure students to stick with an instrument? Is the magic triangular support of student, teacher and parent a promise of guaranteed success?

Gold Medal Winner at Piano Olympics

Dr. Randall Faber with wife Nancy co-authors of Piano Adventures

Dr. Randall Faber states that teaching an instrument is completely dependent upon students’ level of engagement at weekly lessons. As teachers, we must be involved more in the learning that is going on rather than the teaching. Monitoring students’ emotional engagement is the key to making the unfamiliar familiar, and the biggest motivating factor.

At a recent workshop, Faber listed the “facilitative factors of motivation”, in other words, the ages and stages of motivation. His insightful expertise validated and inspired how I teach. For those interested in the scientific facts of his findings see

So…what does it take to motivate? First: KNOW the STAGES of Motivation:

I Can DO It! Ages 4-6. Activities during lessons must be engines of FUN which generate learning. Fun or “play” magically holds the students attention and the motivation to “DO it” (again and again) keeps the kiddos coming back for more. [···]

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Online Tools to Increase Your Music Teaching BusinessFor some of us, organizing our music studios online takes us into the realm of interactive communications. Like me, many teachers are actively using the internet to teach lessons, seek out new students, and build and manage our reputations.

Using some of the tools from this blog along with the Music Teacher’s Helper program will help keep you organized, communicate with students around the globe, build your base, and make sure your online reputation is rock solid!

Skype and Dim Dim Web Meeting

Skype ( makes a huge difference in my teaching. With webcam, voice and chat all together in one application, you can make sure you’re getting an accurate idea of your student’s technique and how to improve their playing during a lesson. Many teachers shy away from doing Skype and long distance lessons because it is a little daunting to set up – but once you purchase a good camera, get a great picture of your keyboard, and do a few practice runs, you’ll see it can be a very efficient way to teach.

Dim Dim Web Meeting ( is another great tool you can use to assist students over the internet. Dim Dim is set up much like a traditional conference, but the screen share can be very effective for music teachers looking to teach online. You can help students trouble shoot applications, go along with them to effective websites that will help in their practice, and help them navigate through your own materials.

Best of all – both these programs are free when using the basic functions, and are very user-friendly.


Kompoz ( is a revolutionary way to play music with someone over the internet. Kompoz allows you to play and record sessions with a long-distance online. You can conduct the session privately, and lag time isn’t bad enough to hinder the recording session if both student and teacher have a good connection.

Playing music collaboratively is part of what makes advanced teaching work for many of us, so the ability to record and critique sessions, and share those with your student, can really be helpful. You can also use a simple, free recording program like Audacity  ( to record voice notes over the tracks you work on with your student.

Stickam and Ustream

Looking to solicit more students online? With sites like Stickam ( and Ustream (, you can stream your own video or audio “show” that you can use to market your materials and get future and current students engaged in your teaching.

Many of us don’t utilize some of these free and easy tools to get new students. If you’re looking to get into music teaching globally, or you’d like to increase your arsenal of marketing materials, video streaming is a great way to do that.

Utilizing some of these tools will help increase your productivity with current students, your branding, and will help you get new students globally, if you’re looking to do so. Used alongside the Music Teacher’s Helper features, these tools could help you create a global reach with your teaching that increases revenue and efficiency for your studio. I am constantly working on new ways to expand my reach via my own website.

What other online tools do you like to use to increase your music teaching business?

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