In a series of blogs called ‘Getting Innovative with MTH’, I am sharing some of my favourite workarounds. My previous two posts were: creating a To Do List and keeping track of my Inventory. These workarounds help me be even more efficient within Music Teacher’s Helper with a ‘One Stop’ approach for all my studio needs.
Innovative Calendar of Events (combining all events in your life)
I really do love the flexibility of MTH and the powerful features within the Calendar for scheduling all my students.
I have now also created a way which works well for me to combine most, if not all, of the events in my life! Within the MTH Calendar for my student schedule, I am able to remember much more as I combine several calendar schedules together:
(1) for my personal appointments,
(2) for another teacher using my studio and
(3) my own piano/violin students both at my studio and offsite at students’ homes. Some of this logic might also help YOU if you have two teachers sharing the same studio space. Firstly I created a new ‘fake student family’ for my own events. I named this student’s last name as *FAMILY with an asterisk at the start of the first name and again at the start of the last name like this (so it would always appear at the top of any alphabetical list within MTH).
I would mention here that I extensively use the ‘Category’ options to change the colour of the events in my calendar (see first snapshot above).
I have chosen to set up backgrounds with shades of green for my lessons at the studio, shades of blue for lessons offsite at students’ homes, shades of pink for makeup lessons, shades of solid purple/red/brown for personal events and black for other people’s use of my studio when I am offsite.
‘Open’ slots are coloured with a white background and red text which makes them very easy to view when I am trying to fit in another student. Dark coloured backgrounds have white text. So I can quickly tell what the events are just by the colour when viewing the week in MTH monthly view.
To demonstrate this more clearly here, on the left is a snapshot of a sample list of daily student events. I am able to show the length of lessons and have personal events included.
I especially like to include “Lunch” and also ‘Travel’ as this uses quite a lot of my personal time throughout the day. I like to include these as don’t want to inadvertently schedule a student when I am supposed to be having a break or driving to another student! I use my fake student family to create ‘personal events’ throughout my calendar that I want to include, so every event I have in my life is in one calendar.
(Note: I also use my fake student family to send emails to when I am testing to see the result of what I want to send when creating my own personal email templates and automatic invoices, etc.).
I can login separately to see only my personal *FAMILY events. I always set up events and categories such as ‘Family Birthdays’, ‘Meeting with Friends’, ‘Travel’, etc., so I don’t forget anything important.
One of the events that I particularly like to include (and want to be aware of very easily) is another teacher, Peter, who has lessons in the Studio so he is included within my calendar as he teaches there when I am offsite/travelling (see black category in the snapshot).
Peter can also login to our personal ‘fake student family’ to see what our personal calendar events are (he is also my husband…).
When viewed as a regular list, the same day’s events look like this list, taken from my ‘Home’ page for that day, which shows the names of the categories I have set up for lessons and personal events. I have a great many categories for all the events I want to include in my calendar. Colour coding them ensures I understand them easily at a glance.
Another helpful calendar view for me is to view a week at a time and have it available as a snapshot onto my phone before I start the week.
To do this, I open MTH on my computer to show the schedule in monthly view: [Calendar], View Monthly; Expand
Then I scroll to the current week and then take a snapshot of my screen with my phone.
That really does work well, as this is especially useful when I don’t have access to the internet.
So I have the snapshot wherever I am, even when I am offsite at a student’s own home or in the car!
New iPhone App (and soon we will have an Android App too!)
I wouldn’t want to complete this blog without mentioning the new iPhone App which has already saved me a lot of time for instantly viewing events in my calendar.
The new App allows me quick access to ‘Todays Events’, similar to the email information that is sent to me on a daily basis. If you want to send yourself the daily email of events, just change your settings in the main MTH website:
[SETTINGS, Email Notifications: Automatic Daily Summary]
However, if you want to have an interactive ‘Events Today’ option, just install the new iPhone App onto your phone. That way, if you have an event you need to add into today’s list, you just click on the ‘+’ at the top of the iPhone screen to add an event and it is instantly there (both on the App and also in the main MTH site)! I now find the App even more helpful than the email as it is instantly updated (the email obviously cannot be changed after it is sent to me). The App is quickly accessible (emails are not) and can be viewed everywhere I go.
I would also add that the App is great to also add Mileage while travelling in the car when I have the information available to me (obviously added when the car is stationary!)…
In my next few blogs in this series ‘Getting Innovative‘ I plan to include a couple of ideas I have found to help me teach my students:
(1) help younger piano students to remember the alphabetic keys more easily with a fun game, and
(2) how to stop piano students relying on looking at their hands (both beginners and some more advanced students who have recently joined my studio and who still rely solely on looking at their hands instead of listening with their ears and letting their fingers do what they already know how to do).
It took me a while to figure out an effective way of fixing that last ‘issue’, but I have come up with something that works for them and for me, so I will be sharing that with you.
Like another MTH blogger (jkroll) says ‘Make MTH your best friend’.
I truly believe this MTH ‘one stop shop’ is a great way to keep everything in one place for all your needs (both studio and otherwise) and I hope that you will find some of the information in this blog useful for your own studio environment.
Keep smiling! Maggie 🙂