The Teacher's Perspective: What is your piano teacher doing during your child's lesson?
Hello there! Thanks for stopping by. Today I wanted to share a super quick blog post outlining my process as a teacher during piano lessons and lesson planning.
When I first started teaching piano, I relied heavily upon the lesson books. They are extremely important and not only provide the information that each student needs, but does so in an organized and timely manner. That being said, since then I’ve made a lot of discoveries, and have come to the conclusion that the lesson book should not create the lesson plan for each student. The teacher should.
When I got to about thirty students in Salt Lake City, this became pretty difficult. Even with my much smaller studio of twelve in Evanston, I can tell you that keeping track of everyone and what they need has proven to be a challenge. I want to make sure that each student’s individual personality is being catered to, that I’m effective at getting them the information they need, and that they’re having a good time along the way!
I am not a person that can remember everything about each individual lesson, and that’s why this next resource I’m going to share has been a lifesaver in a lot of ways! Since implementing this into my studio, my lessons have been far more effective and organized, and my brain doesn’t feel like it’s going to fall out.
So if you’re a parent wondering what goes on for me on the “teacher-side” during lessons, or a teacher looking to improve their own studio – this information might be interesting to you.
Found on the following link: https://www.theplayfulpiano.com/?p=113 is a great “Teacher Tracker” that has changed my life! This resource allows me to track the dates each student attended their lessons, (and when they missed if any) keep lesson notes about what I’m working on with that student, list materials needed for the following week, and track tuition owed/payed. I have a separate sheet in a small folder for each student, so I can keep all of their information in one accessible place, and get their printouts or handouts ready for their next lesson.
This resource has helped my lesson planning to come a long ways since I began as a teacher. Instead of just taking things as they came up during the lesson, I’m able to review my notes on each student at the end of the week and make a plan for what we need to cover during the next lesson. Whereas before I may have had a vague idea that “so-and-so” needs to practice their note-reading, I now have a way to plan ahead for that, and a huge library of physical and online resources to support each of these plans. I’m also able to look ahead and notate that, (for instance) during lessons on the week of February 14, each student will have level-appropriate and personalized Valentines Day-themed music activities.
So for those piano parents who sit-in during lessons – that’s what I’m always writing on during the lesson! Outside of the student’s assignment notebook that is.
Thanks for stopping by! Hop on next week to read for information about the Young Musician’s Festival – taking place in Evanston on March 28, and for some helpful information about how to prepare your student for music competitions and adjudications!
January 2020 Studio Chat
Hello! Welcome back. This week I’ll be doing a quick studio news update, reviewing some useful information for my current piano families, and chat a bit about plans for the New Year. I hope you all had a great holiday season, and I’m excited to get these new things up and going!
Student Goal-Setting Binder Insert:
My first thing to show off is a wonderful resource I picked up from the blog The Playful Piano, (https://www.theplayfulpiano.com/?product=piano-goals-worksheet ). Those who take lessons from me quickly learn that this is one of my favorite resources. This month, she shared a Piano Goals worksheet that I’m inserting into each of my student’s binders, (with the exception of my preschool students, since I think this might be a bit mature for them.) It’s a great printable that teaches the importance of setting goals and mapping out an action plan. To some, this is a somewhat new concept, so we’ll be working on it together over the next couple of weeks. Not only does this help the students set their goals and map out a plan, but it also includes space to record what they are already good at. I still have more students to do this activity with, but so far it’s been a really positive thing to spend a few minutes on. I find that, if I’m not careful, it becomes easy to only focus on the elements the student needs to improve upon in their music. This activity has allowed us to press pause on that and identify the things they’re doing right already, which is a positive catalyst into work on their new goals.
I love how piano teaches us more than how to read notes! We learn about goal-setting, time-management, and so much more!
For anyone interested, (or piano parents who's students may have misplaced their goal sheet) here is a copy ;)
If you have missed or know that you will be missing a piano lesson, I have a calendar linked to my website which shows exactly the times at which I’m available to teach. This is also available to you should you wish to reschedule your weekly lesson time and day. If you do not want to go online for either of these reasons, that is completely fine and I’m happy to take a call from you. This is just a nice shortcut to where you can see my schedule right away.
To view the calendar, click the tab above that says “schedule.” Scroll to the button that says “click to schedule a lesson” and click it.
Also, if you’re concerned about scheduling a make-up too close to the standard lesson – let me put your mind at ease. These are my favorite lessons to teach because we get time to do the supplemental material that I feel like I never have time to get to! If I have just a little bit of notice, I will create a lesson plan that will be catered specifically to your child. I have access to several music packs with different themes, fun websites where I can get the student on an activity specific to concepts they’re working on, a TON of music history resources, and other nerdy music teacher stuff.
Piano Facebook Page and Website
My second bit of business is two-fold, and it’s about helping with my online presence. If you’re on Facebook, I have a business page called Piano with Mindee K. If you have not yet liked or shared this page, I would love it if you could! There is also a space to write reviews on my teaching. I often post music jokes, pics and videos of activities we’re doing in my studio, and information I find that can be helpful for parents who want to know how to best help their kids with practice at home. The second half of this is: if you would like to follow my piano teacher blog, I will continue posting supplemental music information that can be fun for the students such as music history, online music theory sites that are fun for kids, things we’re doing in our studio for the month, etc. You can hop on occasionally to read the blog or subscribe. I post once a week.
2020 Spring Recital
Third and final bit of information for now – there is a recital in the works for Spring quarter. So far I have looked into the Presbyterian and Catholic churches in Downtown, Evanston and Mountain Music – just waiting to hear back from a couple of those. I also heard that if we have a small crowd, the library might be able to host. As of right now, we may have as many as ten students for the first recital. I’m open to learning about good recital venues in town if you have any ideas. I’m also a little snobby about recital venues. In the end, we’ll go with what we can get – but it makes a big difference in the whole recital experience for the kids if it can be a somewhat formal, special dealJ. More news on that to come – once I know the venue I’ll send out a poll about which dates and times work best and I’ll be surprised if I can’t find one that works for everyone since there’s so few of us for this first oneJ. After that, I’ll make sure you’re informed of the date and time, what to wear, what to expect, and I will also make sure your kids feel so ready with their songs they could play them in their sleep.
Thanks for reading! Hop on next week to see the quarterly personal assessment sheet and teacher-tracker I’ll be using for 2020. This can give you a good idea for what you’re student is doing in lessons that goes a bit beyond the scope of your typical piano lesson. Talk to you soon!
Below are a few more pictures of some of the goings-on around here over the last week. The baby Yoda pics are courtesy of a sweet set of sisters I teach – one sister and their mom took these while I taught the younger sibling and I couldn’t help but share! Baby Yoda had designs on those muffins I had out for my piano families today, but don't worry - he didn't get away with it:)
The piano popsicle sticks are an activity I tried with one of my preschool piano students to help her identify where all of the ‘C’s’ were on the piano – and it was a huge success! Once she identified the patterns of the keys with the groups of two, she could find each ‘C’ in no time! It also helps that she’s pretty brilliant.