I love the start of a New Year. Perhaps it is because in the Southern Hemisphere we have our summer holidays over the Christmas/New Year period, so by the time the New Year rolls around we have already had a month of rest and have another month of holidays before school begins again. I always use the start of the New Year to reflect on my studio and teaching habits; making decisions on which parts of my teaching practice could be enhanced, and which areas might need to be revised. Potential enhancements for your studio might include:
- Read more teaching-related literature – books, articles, blogs.
- Revamp your studio website (with the help of one of Music Teacher’s Helpers new website themes).
- Update or refine your studio policy.
- Conduct a student feedback survey for ways to improve your teaching.
- Share more YouTube links with your students.
- Increase your repertoire of music in styles that you’re unfamiliar with (jazz, world music, contemporary classical).
- Arrange a meet up with other music teachers to share resources and solve problems.
- Organize quarterly recitals for your students.
- Incorporate composition/improvisation into your lessons.
- Start a studio newsletter.
- Improve your aural skills.
- Attend more conferences.
- Attend more performances.
- Develop a concert culture in your studio.
As well as adding to your studio, it’s also a great time to reflect on what you’re currently doing in your studio that might not be working as effectively as you would like it.
- Do you have a default lesson structure that could be rejigged?
- Is there too strong a focus on repertoire and performance, and not enough on creativity?
- Is there an area of music teaching that is somewhat neglected (aural skills, sight singing)?|
- Are you allowing the student to make enough interpretive decisions or are you in control?
- How much independence does the student have?
- Are you reviewing posture often enough with your students?
- Is the lesson pace appropriate? – Could it move faster, or perhaps it needs to be slower?
Once you have reviewed your teaching practice and set some goals, make sure you review them at least once a month (setting an automatic reminder to pop up on your computer is great for this) to ensure that the process is carried out throughout the year.