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Here we are again, at the end of another year. For me, the year seemed to go by in a flash. I guess that’s because the old adage is true, the older you get the faster you feel like the calendar is changing.
I’ve decided that I’m going to begin a new tradition in 2020, and I’d like to share it with you, My colleagues, my fellow piano teachers, my friends.
First, I want to look back at 2019 and celebrate all of the things that went well. I want to account for every success and count every blessing. I will spend some time (a little bit of time) reflecting on things that I could have done better so that if necessary I can plan to make some changes in the coming year. But I’ve learned that it’s never a good idea to dwell on past mistakes or beat myself up about things that I can no longer do anything about.
Next, I am going to imagine how 2020 will be (aside from U.S. politics please.)
Reality starts with imagination, with a dream, so let’s dream big!
Will you join me?
I am going to list all of my questions first so that you can answer for yourself. After that, I will share my reflections, insights, plans, and dreams in a post to follow.
Here we go!
What were some of the high points of 2019? What stands out as something remarkable that I would consider a success?
For my students?
What new things have I learned about teaching this past year? What new ideas have I come up with myself?
With regard to:
Teaching the basics of playing the piano.
Teaching technique, musical literacy, theory, and general musicianship.
What was successful about the way I was able to motivate my students?
Did most of my students practice most of the time?
Do I feel as though my studio as a whole has made good progress with regard to piano playing?
How was I better able to understand parents and caregivers?
Did I build good relationships with colleagues?
Did my studio run smoothly?
Did I have a full studio?
Did my families pay on time?
Was I able to find the students that are a good fit for my teaching style and personality?
Was I able to set healthy boundaries with students and their families, by sticking to my make-up policy, requiring that people respect my time and my space, by insisting on prompt and correct payments?
Read the post “10 Ways to Make Your Piano Studio More Profitable”
Did I have a teaching space that fits my needs?
In what ways did I improve and care for myself?
What new things did I learn about teaching in 2019? Did I take a workshop, read a book, study with a mentor teacher, join a group, or come up with my own new ideas?
What new musical/pianistic skills have I acquired? Did I learn any new repertoire, a new style of playing, write some music, or work on something else that helped me become a better musician this past year?
How did I take good care of my physical, spiritual and mental health?
How did I do with my finances?
What were my teaching and music career highpoints of 2019?
Did I accomplish something special, win an award, get a new job, or start a new endeavor? Did my students do any of the above?
Ok, now that that’s done, I am going back through and spend a moment thinking about what I could have done better.
I know there will be things, after all, nobody’s perfect. The hard part is going to be;
Number 1- Being honest.
For me, this usually doesn’t mean not admitting that I did something wrong. I find it easy to find fault with myself. What’s hard is overly exaggerating every little thing I may have done wrong.
I’ll bet most of you can relate. We’re musicians. Being hard on ourselves is what we do. It’s how to nurture excellence. But this can be (and frequently is) taken to an extreme by serious musicians.
Which brings me to number 2,
Not getting discouraged about things I could have done differently. I need to let the past be in the past and move on!
Now let’s take a look ahead.
A new year is a chance to make plans. I am going to use this as an opportunity to look ahead and plan some new things for myself and my studio. In the past, I have only done this during the summer break but what I like about making a calendar year plan is that it includes the summer.
I plan to make some changes and improvements in 2020. Here are some questions I am asking myself that you can ask yourself as well.
What changes will I make to my teaching studio?
Do I want to take on more students or cut back?
Am I looking for a different teaching space?
What new music would I like to try teaching this year?
Are there any new apps or computer programs that I would like to try with my studio?
Can I find some new performance opportunities for my students?
Am I considering purchasing and new instruments or equipment?
Will I take any classes, lessons, or certifications?
What new repertoire do I plan to learn this year?
Will I myself participate in performances?
Can I do anything to improve my overall musicianship?
How can I learn to be a more effective teacher?
Is there something I can do to improve my work-life balance so that I can be the best teacher I can be and take good care of myself as well?
I sincerely wish all of you peace and joy in the year 2020. Thank you for the support and encouragement all of you have given me.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy New Year, Happy Kwanza!
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