Complete renovation of approach - Be brave to get what you want

Talk with other teachers, exchange tips, participate in polls regarding a teaching studio business

Postby Mins Music » Sat Dec 23, 2006 12:34 am

The last year I have given the option of weekly payments or paying upfront for the entire term (at a discounted price).

For 2007, I've made huge changes (past tense because all my students already know about and will return to these conditions).

I used to follow the school terms, which were anywhere between 8 - 12 weeks long (actually there was even a 13 week term this year). Now I'm having 8 week terms only, regardless of how long the school terms are. At the end of each term I want to hold some kind of performance opportunity (will post a topic in the teaching tips forum for some feedback/suggestions)

Payment is now up front for the entire 8 weeks.

I've increased lessons from 30 minutes to 45 minutes. (EVeryone is very excited about this change)

This biggest change for me is now I'll only be teaching piano. With each term I've also taken away one day of teaching (referred some students to other teachers, squeezed others into the other days). I'm now teaching two days ONLY!!!

It's taken me some time to get exactly what I've wanted (Half the problem was not knowing what I wanted). But now I'm here!!! (....until what I want changes again....)

Wanted to post to encourage other teachers to make changes they've been wishing to, and to hear from others who have done something similar. What have your results been?
"I forget what I was taught, I only remember what I've learnt." - Patrick White, Australian novelist.
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Mins Music
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Location: Goonellabah

Postby 108-1121887355 » Wed Jan 17, 2007 10:49 am

Last year I began 45 minute lessons for some students. It has been really good! I have time for more sight reading and theory and time to go over the new piece more thoroughly and sometimes even some listening time. Last week two students listening to a few pieces with defined dynamics - it impressed them to hear the difference.

As I have some young students, I have kept them at 30 min. It is hard enough to keep them sitting still and involved for that time!

One 8yo boy I just changed to 45 min. as he always has many questions to ask and I need time to reply. He is into a lot of theory and exploring sounds - we began a game of 'name that chord'. One of us plays three or more notes and then we have to find what chord we are playing. He challenges me by playing notes close together with two hands. We have named 9th-13th chords. He asks to do this at every lesson and as he likes to compose, I am suggesting he try some of the chords we find in his music so now he will see them written out. He has noted in some of his music (we arranged "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" from the regular pop version) that the melody note is part of that chord, so he can leave it out when putting in a 7th or 9th.

Once a month I plan a workshop/group and the students play for each other. There are so many benefits to this. I have a 'theme' for the group as well. It can be a period of music, where we explore the composers of that period as well as some History, and each chooses a piece of one of the composers to learn; it might be rhythm, with instruments and naming pieces by listening to the rhythm only. The students know ahead of time, so if they are not interested, they do not attend. Most often, all students come. I have run singing groups, composing groups, duet groups and many more. Handouts and new music are always given out and of course, there are refreshments. At the Holiday party, we set up a scale with glasses and water.

There is always something new to do with the students and I learn from them every time!
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