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I wrote “Invasion of the Piano Snatchers” a couple of years ago and posted it at pianoparents.net (my blog for parents and students). If you read it you can see that I wasn’t the biggest digital piano enthusiast at the time. Has my opinion changed? Not really. As a pianist, I know that nothing can compare to a fine acoustic piano. I am not trading my Kawai Grand any time soon.
That being said, digital pianos are here to stay so why not use them to the fullest?
I have decided to publish a collection of pieces, especially for digital pianos. I hope your students will have a great time playing them. I will be releasing them one at a time. The first piece is called Mulberry Street.
88 key imposters are taking over piano studios and homes all over the world. They look like pianos, they sound strangely “pianoesque”. They are cheaper, lighter, never need tuning. They are brought to life by bolts of electricity. Open one up and you will see a maze of wires and circuits. These musical aliens are everywhere and the scariest fact of all is that no one seems to know the difference! Almost no one, that is.
If you never feel bored, tired, burned out while teaching this post is not for you. If you could use a little help to “Make time fly while teaching piano lessons” read on.
What are the first words that come to mind when you think about teaching piano lessons? Exciting?
Maybe, sometimes. But let’s be honest, our job, while super rewarding can be at times, well…you know…boring. There I said it. Teaching music lessons can be boring, especially with students who don’t practice. Especially beginners who don’t practice.
You all know the drill;
“Put your second finger on D” “No D, it’s right next to the C.”
“How many beats does that half note get??”
“The F is sharped, it’s in the key signature.”
Even with the best of students teaching hour after hour can be tedious and tiring. But it doesn’t have to be. What if I told you that I never get bored while teaching? Would you believe it? Well, it’s true. To be honest, I used to sometimes feel like time was dragging while I was teaching. But not anymore. Eight or ten students back to back, no problem. Bring em on, it seems like no time before I am finishing up and heading out of the studio. Even on the days when my students haven’t been practicing.
I don’t know about you, but I feel like things are getting more and more expensive and money is getting harder and harder to come by. As piano teachers, we don’t get raises every year, (neither do most workers these days). Many teachers are nervous about raising rates, in fact, many teachers I know have not raised lesson prices in years. This post will focus on 10 ways to make your piano studio more profitable without raising lesson rates. I’m not talking about a few dollars here and there. These relatively painless tips can increase the profitability of your piano studio by thousands of dollars per year.
There are always questions coming up about piano studio policies. Recently I was asked to help draft a studio policy for the Arts Center where I teach. The idea was to come up with several different options and decide on which type of policy would work best for all of the teachers involved. I thought I would share these ideas with all of you.
In my home studio, I am much more flexible with my piano students. This is because I need to travel often to see my family in another state. Being flexible works for me right now.
The bottom line is all teachers need a studio policy so that everyone is clear about what is expected. As the teacher and studio-owner you have the right to set the piano studio policy that works best for your situation.
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I my last blog post “Still Trying to Please Everyone? Stop it! You Can’t” I describe an incident with the parent of a prospective student. This particular parent questioned how and why I teach the way I do. This got me to thinking, why do I teach scales and arpeggios after my students have learned to read music? Should I include more technique? Are my music theory books good enough? Am I strict enough?
It seems as though every week I come across some new teaching idea. Some way of doing things I hadn’t thought of before. Just last Friday I went to a lecture on piano technique given by Nancy Bachus, whoa!! I thought I knew a lot about piano technique. After hearing her, I think to myself there’s definitely room for me to up my game on that front. I wonder what else I can improve.
Then there’s Facebook. So many cool things, great music, and awesome opinions. It literally makes my head spin (OK not literally). But it can be overwhelming, and at times I find myself questioning my teaching. What kind of piano teacher am I anyway?
It’s been a little while since I’ve been hit with a dose of negativity. Things have been going pretty well lately. I got a job at a studio I love and I’ve picked up quite a few students in my home studio too. All of them happy. Parents, students, everyone’s been really great! Full of compliments and tidings of goodwill.
Yesterday…I got the worst email I have ever received from a parent, ever! (and for me ever is over 30 years).
We would all like to be THAT teacher. The best piano teacher. The fun one that everybody talks about. The teacher who’s got great students that are awesome players. The one who doesn’t need to advertise because she gets referrals galore from happy parents. I know some teachers like that, I had at least two teachers like that, and I certainly hope to be THAT teacher myself. Here are some things I notice about awesome piano teachers:
Awesome teachers want to be teachers. Great teachers love teaching and sharing music as much as, or more than, performing music.
Little Kids on the Keys
Imagine having a great time teaching preschoolers. Imagine those lessons are so much fun that you could teach eight three-and-a-half and four-year-olds back to back and feel energized and inspired. Imagine that you are really teaching them music, they love it and their parents are not just happy but thrilled. Imagine you can’t wait to get to work because it’s so much fun and the time flies by.
This isn’t only possible, this is my life. I left my well-established studio of beginning through advanced students behind. I said goodbye to West Palm Beach Florida and came to Cleveland Ohio ready to start teaching. I have a home studio but I also teach three days a week an arts center that is famous for Kindermusik, as a result, I have 25 students (so far) 19 of whom are four years old or younger. I love it and here’s why.
Students need a piano because they need to be able to practice at home. Learning to play any musical instrument is a big undertaking that depends upon regular lessons and daily practice. It takes practice to understand musical concepts and to acquire the coordination and motor skills it takes to become a pianist.
What Should We Get?