Music Teacher's Helper Blog

Dealing with Burnout (personally & in the studio)

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.  Teaching alone can be a challenge and we often will crave the conversation we find when spending time with others.  Take an evening to have a family over for dinner (not necessarily one from your studio).  Go to a movie.  Take a walk in the park.  Enjoy what you do!  You are needed and wonderful teachers!  Enjoy every moment you have with your students, but remember to take some time to motivate yourself.  A bored or stressed teacher causes only bored and stressed students.  When you find joy in what you do, your students will too.  🙂  Have a very merry Christmas!

About the Author

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 stud... [Read more]

3 Comments

  1. Ronnie Currey

    Kristin
    Wow! You hit the nail on the head. I can’t count the times I felt the same way. Your ideas are great! Thanks. What I do is concentrate on the idea that the parents are spending hard earned money for my time, and the student is spending their time coming to me. I then feel guilty, and enjoy the lesson. Your ideas are better!!!!

  2. Stengel99

    Good stuff. This Christmas vacation has been so refreshing, as it has been every year. It’s so good to not even think about teaching, and just spend time with my family. Although I want to be the best music teacher I can be, I also want to leave work at work, and avoid burnout like you’re talking about.

  3. Brittany

    I’ve found that “The Artist’s Way” and “The Artist’s Way at Work” books work as good resources to help keep myself better balanced (thus helping to avoid burnout).

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