Celebrate 2019 and Look Forward to 2020!

This post is has a  free pdf worksheet.

Find it on the sidebar at right here at www.palomapiano.com.

 

Adiós 2019

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!

Continue reading “Celebrate 2019 and Look Forward to 2020!”

Piano Studio Program Statement

 

In my book “The Happiest Piano Teacher in Town” There is a chapter about the piano studio program statement. I believe most teachers already have a studio program statement. Teachers know intuitively what kind of studio they are running. I think it can be beneficial to think about this or even take it one step further and put it in writing’

 

Thinking through your Piano Studio Program Statement will do two things.

 

  1. It will help you find students that are a good fit for your program.

 

Teaching students who want to learn what you are teaching makes sense. Piano teachers are all so unique so are piano students. Teaching students who fit with your program helps ensure a successful experience for both of you.

 

  1. Having a program statement will help you feel organized and confident.

 

Piano teachers are unique. Knowing that you have thought through what you want to teach and how you want your studio to run will you stay on track. You will participate in the things you have decided are important and take on students who you are going to thrive under your tutelage.

 

 

My studio program statement is something I do for myself. I generally do not feel the need to share this with students and parents.

 

This is my Studio Program Statement each teacher will have his or her own.

 

DOREEN M. HALL

 

STUDIO PROGRAM STATEMENT

 

  • How would I like my ideal studio look and feel like? Relaxed or competitive?

A relaxed but focused environment. A place where students who want to learn to play the piano can come and learn without stress or judgment. Students who want to learn the piano as a hobby or as a second instrument are welcome as are students who want to learn to play at a professional or semi-professional level. However, all students must practice at home and make progress.

 

  • What are my hopes for my students?

That each one will have a positive experience studying with me. That piano lessons will enrich their lives. That they will have a life-long love of music.

 

  • What kinds of things do I consider important for my students to be involved in order to fulfill my Mission Statement?

Students must practice independently at home.

Students must listen to a variety of great music.

Students should participate in performance opportunities (recitals, festivals, school accompanying, online recitals, etc.)

 

  • Will I have students participate in recitals, evaluations, festivals, and competitions?

Bi-yearly recitals, No festivals or competitions at this.

 

  • Do I consider it imperative for my students to continue studying the piano over the summer and during other school breaks?

Students are highly encouraged to take lessons a minimum of six weeks during the summer break. If a student will be away lessons can be conducted online or a teacher can be found where the student can study locally.

Students who take the whole summer off may lose their slot for the fall.

 

  • Am I willing to teach adults? Preschool students? Special-needs students?

Yes, all students are welcome.

 

  • Will I teach siblings? If so, will I use the same method for each one?

Yes, siblings are welcome. Method and music selections will be determined according to the needs of each individual student.

 

  • Some students want to take piano lessons just for fun and may not be very motivated about practicing is this acceptable? or would I prefer more serious students?

Every effort will be made to help students establish and execute a workable practice routine.

Students show some effort and make progress. Students who are consistently coming to lessons unprepared, missing lessons and not making progress will be put on the last chance program.

Read about the last chance program – Time to Say Goodbye

Exceptions will be made at the teacher’s discretion for students who may be going through challenging situations.

 

It’s OK to Make Changes

I reevaluate my studio program statement each year. I may decide to participate in festivals next year as I have in the past or I may decide to focus on teaching adults. The main point is that if I know where I am going, I am more likely to get there and get there with the maximum amount of peace and joy.

 

If you like the post – Why not read the book

“The Happiest Piano Teacher in Town, Empowering Teachers to Inspire Students”

 

Invite you to browse the website, There are many excellent resources for you and your students.

 

Teaching Piano Teachers Part One

I remember my very first piano teaching job at a music store in New York. I got the job because my violin teacher and her husband owned the store. I had a degree in music and could play pretty well but to be honest I didn’t think too much about the teaching process. I picked up a method book and did what my piano teachers did, or at least I tried to. I can’t say my early teaching was on the job training because I was on the job but there was no training. It was more like learn as you go and hope for the best. (A heart for teaching piano teachers is a two-part post) Teaching Piano Teachers Part One.

Read part two of the post “A Heart for Teaching Piano Teachers”

Today things are different. We have the internet! There are Facebook groups, webinars, books, and all kinds of training on and offline. The best part of all of this is that teachers are the ones actually doing the teaching. Teachers like you and me who open our doors every afternoon and teach piano students of all ages. Real life teachers in the trenches dealing with practicing issues, technical problems, and personality conflicts. Piano teachers who have found solutions to problems and are willing to share them. These very same teachers are coming up with all kinds of Innovative ways to teach the piano and are willing to share those too. How amazing is that?

 

In a word…very.

 

In a world where people are being inundated with television, video games, and social media. A world where classroom teachers are struggling because kids are distracted and the arts are suffering because we live in a culture where sports is king. The piano continues to flourish. It is the most popular musical instrument by far and one of the most popular extracurricular activities overall.

I know as piano teachers we have our struggles too. Behavior, commitment, getting kids to practice. But we still can find plenty of people that want to take up the piano despite the fact that learning to play the piano is a monumentally difficult undertaking. I am amazed that in this busy, flashy, tech-driven over-entertained culture we still find people who are willing to sit in a room and practice scales and arpeggios.

Why?

 

I’m sure there are a lot of reasons for the piano’s popularity. For one thing, the piano is just plain awesome! (and yes, I am biased). We have a lot of very fine concert pianists inspiring all of us with their great playing and captivating stage presence. The advent of the digital piano has made it easier for families to buy an instrument (that’s another subject). Research has also made parents aware of how good musical training of any kind is for children. But I think there’s another reason as well.

 

Piano Teachers teach Piano Teachers

I taught a student whose father studied piano at the Cleveland Institute of Music. After teaching his son his comment to me was “Piano pedagogy sure has come a long way since I was a kid”. He’s right, it has. I believe one of the main reasons for this is of all of the information sharing that’s going on now. No longer are we just sitting in our studios teaching our students by ourselves we are together. Posting sharing and learning.

 

What this has done.

I don’t think that social media has made the piano any easier to learn. In fact, I know it hasn’t. The keyboard has been around for hundreds of years, it’s never been easy, and it never will. Teachers collaborating can’t change the culture either. Today’s students are overwhelmed with many choices about how to spend their time and energy. What does make a difference is the fact that all of us together can better and better ways to reach and teach children and adults who wish to learn the piano. Yes, we have challenges but now we have literally thousands of other teachers who can help. Because of this we can take on many different types of students and retain them.

 

Think about it.

Preschoolers, adults, seniors, special needs students. Years ago many teachers may not have felt qualified to work with these students. My first piano teacher started students at seven years of age, there were no adults or special needs students in his studio. My youngest student is three, the oldest 87 and I have had the privilege of working with many exceptional people. (I know this is not unusual either many of you have very diverse studios as well). The main reason I am successful is that I have so many teachers to help me. All I have to do is post a question on Facebook and before I know it a treasure chest of wisdom and knowledge is flooding my computer screen. Surely being a part of all of this sharing is a total win…or is it? I’ll be discussing this further in the next post.

 

If you have a heart for teaching teachers, I’d like to invite you to join my brand new Facebook group called “Piano Teacher Apprentice”. I need experienced teachers with a heart for teaching teachers to come on board and…well…teach teachers.

 

I also want to cordially invite new teachers or anyone who wants a safe compassionate place to learn about piano pedagogy. A group where no question is too silly to ask and everyone is respected.

Read the post “Invasion of the Piano Snatchers”

 

I hope to see you in the group!

Here’s the link.

Piano Teacher Apprentice

Thanks for reading,

 

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A Heart for Teaching Piano Teachers

Here is the second part of last week’s blog post. A heart for teaching piano teachers.

Continued.

Everything has a downside

While it true that sharing and posting are 99.9% fantastic and I learn so much, I can’t help but think of my younger self. The Doreen who’d just graduated from college not feeling so confident. Let’s face it, music school isn’t for the faint of heart. I worked hard, but when I came out I didn’t feel prepared for the real world of the working musician or the piano teacher. Even if I’d had the courage to pipe up and ask a question on social media I surely would have been easily discouraged if someone would have come back with a judgmental comment.

Continue reading “A Heart for Teaching Piano Teachers”