Most students need motivation to move forward. My theory is that if one loves the musical selection, the motivation will follow. However, the long journey towards transforming a favorite piece into a successful performance can often frustrate, dampen spirits and lessen the attraction.

Let’s be honest–why do we work? Because we love it? Perhaps, but back in the fast-food-job days, I worked for that paycheck. With the demanding, repetitious practice required during the “transformation period” an incentive or a “paycheck” can prove helpful. Music Money, created by TCW Resources, sparked my curiosity years ago and I continue to see the benefits of paying students for practice and progress (and so do my students!)

 Ways to Pay that Can Make Huge Dividends [···]

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AN ONGOING CONCERN for many independent music teachers is the change of commitment level of students during the summer months. While some teachers enjoy the usually lightened studio schedule during the summer months, most of us depend on our teaching as our livelihood and have bills that do not go away during this time. I would love to hear your ideas, especially those of you that have been successful at insuring yourselves regular employment year long!

ESTABLISHING A SUMMER REQUIREMENT (a minimum number of lessons, with the option of replacing some private lessons with one of the various summer workshops), has been most helpful for me in keeping things going in my studio.  Though I  cannot really make anyone take classes, the ones that do are assured their slot, or first choice of times in my schedule when the school year comes back around.  My students and parents seem to really enjoy the flexibility with having a couple of options for summer lessons and a variety of supplemental classes.   [···]

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Are you looking for?

  • A few ideas for a fresh new way to start off a lesson?
  • A few quick improv games to use in a group setting?
  • A reward activity for a student’s hard work on an assignment?
  • Starter ideas for the next composition:

In each part of this series, to be continued over the next few months, we’ll explore one or two approaches to fun and easy improvisations. This will be an opportunity for us to get a collection of activities for beginning or continuing to bring creativity into our music studios. I’m saying “we” because I’m hoping that as I share my ideas, you will reciprocate!  Try these things out, and let us know how they work and how you adapted things for your particular teaching situation. Add other improv ideas that have been successful with your music students. [···]

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