Summers often go by way too quickly in my opinion. If you are anything like me, you want to enjoy the sun, hang out with friends and family, and relax next to the pool.
If you are a parent, you usually spend time running the kids to different activities (how are kids busier in the summer?!).
Before you know it, you are scrambling to get your students scheduled for the fall semester (hello fall sports) and all of a sudden, your summer is gone.
There are a few things that every piano teacher needs to do every summer (even more so after 2020).
It’s been a tough year for piano teachers but I applaud all of you. We pivoted and made things happen, we learned new skills, and we accomplished tasks that we never thought we would do (hello ZOOM lessons).
2020 was a year none of us imagined but we got through it and you deserve a drink of your choice! (I’ll gladly take a margarita on the rocks.)
Keep in mind, everyone is different and everyone is in a different stage of their life. You may not necessarily need to do all 5 things every single year but someone may need to.
5 things every piano teacher should do this summer:
- Get Some Rest
- Reflect on the Year
- Set Goals for Next Year
- Organize the Studio
- Find New Teaching Resources that will Reenergize You Next Year
I know this seems pretty simple (to some people). For me, this is one of the most challenging tasks to accomplish.
I would consider myself a workaholic. Besides teaching a full schedule and hanging out around TopMusic Marketplace, you can find me running a music store, shooting family portrait sessions, coordinating weddings and working on the family ostrich farm. So slowing down and resting isn’t a habit I am used to.
This summer has been a bit different (maybe it’s because I’m in my thirties?)… I OVERSLEPT. I slept until 10am. Not once, but twice. For me, that is UNHEARD of but my body was trying to tell me that I need to rest!
2020 was the toughest year I ever went through and instead of dealing with emotions and all of the tragedies happening, I DOVE into work. I neglected myself and it caught up with me. I do not want that to happen to you!
Have you been able to take care of yourself over this last year? Have you taken mental breaks? These breaks are EXTREMELY important and will help you tremendously in the long run.
Am I good at resting, no but it is my goal to take a day off work at least one day a week, every week, this next year. Baby step guys, baby steps.
Reflect on the Year
This year has been a doozy for all of us. Take some time, sip on a cup of coffee or a cup of tea and reflect on your last year. If you are here, you are probably a piano teacher and you’ve gotten pretty good at critiquing and problem solving. You know how to make those small changes that will lead to a big impact in the future.
Like our piano students, you too should be striving to be better each and every year. Now, sometimes, life happens and it can be a struggle but at the end of the day, the goal is to be better than you were before.
Every year is different (this year especially so!), so it’s important to reflect on the year EVERY year.
A few things I like to include in my reflections include:
- Describe how your year went.
- What didn’t go so well last year?
- What can you do to make it better in the future?
- What went amazing?
- Did you achieve your goals for the year?
- What would you like to start doing?
- What do you want to stop doing?
Some of these questions can be tough. Some you may not know how to answer and some you can make an entire list just from one question. Take a little bit of quality time to really think about the past year and how you have grown thus far and will continue to grow moving forward.
Celebrate the small victories!
Set Goals for Next Year
Once you’ve reflected on the past year, I’d recommend thinking about what you would like your goals to be for the coming year.
I can go on and on about goal setting but I’ll save that for another post on another day because let’s be honest, I geek out about planning (hence why I do wedding planning).
I would recommend starting with 3 goals, big or small to start with. You can even include 3 personal and 3 professional goals.
Ideas for goals for the year include:
- Adding in a no makeup policy to your studio
- Practicing piano
- Learning a new instrument
- Paying more piano games
- Try a new teaching method
- Learn to automate your business
- Start creating your own teaching resources
- Reading daily
- Actually go to the gym
- Cook more meals at home
- Try components from a different style of teaching
That is just a small list, as a piano teacher, I’m sure you can come up with many more.
What have you been putting on the backburner? Why not start working on that project you keep putting off?
There are so many things that you can do to improve your teaching. All of those small shifts can turn into large impacts when you are consistent.
In the past, I’ve made both big and small changes in my studio like incorporating bucket drumming, teaching group piano classes, and turning the studio into a unicorn wonderland.
This past year, the goal for many was to simply survive and we did it but now is the time to make this next year truly incredible.
Once you make your goals, think about 3-5 action items that will help you with said goal.
Pro tip: Write down your goals!
For example, the year that I wanted to teach group classes, I made a list like this:
- Research and select a method book for group classes
- Write lesson plans based from the method book lessons
- Find supplementary materials and piano teaching resources such as games for beginners
If you want to work on incorporating lead sheets to lessons, your action items might be:
- Join TopMusicPro to learn how to teach lead sheets
- Gather resources to help with Lead Sheets
- Make an outline for lesson plans that includes an element of lead sheets (consistency is key)
- Practice playing lead sheets
Some of these goals can be tackled now but you may have goals that you won’t start for a couple months. The main goal is to not let it sit on the backburner.
I see this in so many piano groups. A teacher sees a shiny new resource and they think “Yes! That is exactly what I needed but I’ll get to it on another day.” Then, another shiny resource pops up and the cycle starts again.
Organize the Studio
The summer is my favorite time for this activity because it gives me a chance to really go through all of my materials, especially the games! I like to go through my piano games simply because I collect or make so many over the year and some games are hits and some are misses. If I know a game just isn’t working, this gives me the opportunity to recycle it and it gives me the opportunity to see what type of resources I’m missing in my collection.
Stay tuned because we are going to have a couple posts coming up soon that’s all about organizing your music studio. Physically and digitally.
Finding Piano Teacher Resources that Will Reenergize You Next Year
This is one of my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE things to do (maybe I’m just a big kid at heart). Teaching resources can CHANGE the way students feel about coming into the studio.
I’m definitely the gaming teacher and my students know that but they wouldn’t have it any other way. Students love asking “What game are we playing today?”
Why do I love games? Games help reinforce concepts students are learning but in a fun way.
Bonus: Every Piano Teacher Should Practice
I know you already know this but sometimes you just need to hear it!
So that is our list of 5 Things Every Piano Teacher Should Do In The Summer. What do you think? Did we miss anything?