Music Teacher's Helper Blog

Teaching Resolutions

My personal New Year’s resolutions have already been made and broken (I’ve enjoyed sugar, incurred library fines, consistently slept fewer than 6 hours, and not done enough weight training. How about you?) but I’m hopeful that I will continue to follow through with my 2013 teaching resolutions.

While I have some ambivalence about the making and keeping of resolutions, I do think that taking stock of life (and teaching!) is a helpful habit at times of transition like the new year. Sometimes it seems easier to stick with the status quo than to change things up, but as Leonardo da Vinci said, “Iron rusts from disuse, stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigors of the mind.” Thinking about improving our studios can help pump new energy into the winter months of teaching.

Here are some questions I am finding helpful as my students and I move into 2013:

1. Are any of my students lacking important musical elements in their education?

Have we focused more on performance pieces than reading? Is there enough emphasis on creative musicianship? Is each student listening to music other than their assigned pieces? What will help each of my students make better progress on their musical journeys?

2. Are there elements of teacher-student or teacher-parent communication in which I could improve?

Am I being consistent in my lesson scoring (I assign a number rating from 1-10 for each lesson) so my students know whether or not they are meeting my expectations? Do my students’ parents know what I expect from them in lesson attendance or practice help? If they once knew, thanks to my studio policy, have they forgotten over the last few months? Do they need a gentle reminder? Do I know how things are going at home for each student and how they are currently feeling about lessons? Could I be using MTH’s lesson notes more effectively?

3. Am I doing my best at staying current in invoicing, collecting receipts for taxes, and other financial issues?

Can I improve how I use MTH’s invoicing capabilities and record-keeping to help make the business side of my studio run more smoothly? Are my students paying on time? If not, do I need to use a reminder system or add a late fee to my fee system?

4. Is there more I can do with technology to improve my students’ learning?

How am I using my technological resources? Could I incorporate more hands on learning with a laptop, iPad, or other device? Can students be assigned more listening/watching on YouTube or on other websites?

Going through this January check-up has helped me determine where I can best spend my energy to improve the running of my studio.

What New Year’s Resolutions have you made for your studio? Please share!

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1 Comment

  1. Leia

    This is a great post! I am consistently trying to improve my teaching, but one thing I did this year was make a 6-month curriculum for my voice students. With singers, there’s no method book to keep you on track with learning new rhythms, sight-reading, etc., so I have to stay on top of all of these things myself. I created a curriculum listing all of these things, plus the new repertoire we will start each month, and it has really made me breathe a sigh of relief – not only do I have benchmarks for where they should be at any given time (a fact that parents appreciate as well), but it saves me TONS of planning time!

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