Making your studio inviting - Atmospherics and appearance

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

Postby Stretto » Mon May 15, 2006 12:56 pm

Do you have any problems in your studio keeping it warm in the winter and cool in the summer for your students? Also, is there plently of good air circulation in your studio? How do you keep the air smelling fresh and clean?

I have my piano/studio in my living room and our family doesn't really use the room for much else. It seems for example, in the summer even with the air conditioner on that it doesn't reach that room as well as other parts of the house and I used to run a floor fan when students came until we finally installed a ceiling fan. The room also seems to get less good air circulation as it seems "stuffy" in there and so when giving lessons, I always have the ceiling fan going, sometimes crack a window even on a cold day, or turn the air conditioner to a cooler setting just for lessons. These tactics seem to work well.

However, being in a humid climate when one is gone somewhere and the house has been closed, especially when the air conditioner is not running the air just seems slightly stale. (Of course, I have a sensitive nose to smell, I guess as I seem to tell this stuff when others can't). Also, my husband has a couple plants in the living room where the piano is and I think it's something about the dirt or something with these plants creating a faint smell sometimes in the living room.

Does, anyone have any good suggestions for air fresheners in a room such as a piano studio that aren't so overpowering as to cause students allergy problems or just smell too strong? I like the Lysol apple scented air freshener but if I don't think about it ahead and spray a little in the air just before a lesson, it's a little too strong and noticable.

I know the topic is kind of strange but once as a kid I went to a teachers house who must have never opened a window and her house smelled really musty and there was no air circulation, it was horrible!!! I dreaded going there because of the stuffy, musty house. Are others of you conscious of this in your studio and how do you keep the room's air fresh for students?




Edited By Stretto on 1147719592
Stretto
 
Posts: 745
Joined: Mon May 16, 2005 10:34 pm
Location: Mo.

Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Wed Jul 25, 2007 8:54 am

I retitled this thread, started by Stretto, because I felt it was a good opportunity for teachers to discuss more generally what they do to make their studios fun and comfortable for both their child and adult students. Some teachers play soft music in the background, provide a small sitting area for parents to view the lessons, place colorful posters on the walls, have a picture gallery focused on students performing, etc. What do you do?
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
User avatar
Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed
Site Admin
 
Posts: 994
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2003 6:46 pm
Location: Rio Rancho, NM USA

Postby jenscott90 » Thu Jul 26, 2007 9:18 am

Glad to have this post up and I will be glad to hear what others do, too.

Stretto, my husband is the one with the sensitive nose in the family, so he always tells me if something isn't quite right, but I know what you mean about dreading going somewhere. We had a stepgrandmother that we visited about once a year and I never wanted to go because she and her house always smelled bad, to my nose. I have two dogs, so I am hyperconscious of how the house looks and smells. We have one family whose son (not the one taking lessons) is allergic to dogs, so I really clean like a madwoman before they come, pen up the dogs and try to make the house as hypoallergenic as possible.

I use a micro allergen filter on my furnace fan to help keep from recirculating dust, pollen and dander and I think that helps with just keeping the level of dust under control. I just clean carefully, and as long as the cleaner smells nice (citrus or something like that) I don't use much of anything else. If I have a makeup lesson and that family won't be there, sometimes I give a quicker "spot clean" and then spray a light mist of a fragrance I bought from Bath and Body Works.

As far as atmosphere, in the past I have played classical piano in the background for the parents, but since I don't have doors on our piano room (yet!), I end up having to turn it off, anyway, so the student isn't distracted from the lesson. I keep my colors earthy (you can see a picture of the room on my website if you want: http://www.jenscottpianostudio.com ). There is also an area rug we just put down with a similar color to the wall. I will put up a new picture on the site as soon as I'm done with this post. I think a classy studio with clean lines assures parents (and students) that this is a serious endeavor and worth the money, time and effort they are putting into it! :)

Can't wait to see what else all of you suggest! I like the idea of a picture gallery of students' performances! I think I will do one in black and white for our hallway (waiting area)!! Thanks!

Keyed up for piano,
Jen
User avatar
jenscott90
 
Posts: 52
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 7:20 am
Location: Central Illinois

Postby Stretto » Thu Jul 26, 2007 12:52 pm

:D I forgot about this topic! Things in the living area where I teach seem pretty good for temperature and air-circulation currently. Students usually come after school (and some elementary schools here still aren't air-conditioned!) so I'm sure it feels good to them walking in my house after being in school on a hot day.

A ceiling fan makes a big difference in the room (and I often crank the air-conditioning down just for lessons) so this makes it fine. I've asked a few parents and students I've known outside of piano lessons as well if it seems too hot, stuffy, or cool and they all say, "we're fine" or "it feels good in here". I remember the "old days" of the floor fan to get air circulation! I'm glad to have a nice pretty ceiling fan and it has a light on it as well which provides more light for seeing the music.

I've tried to make the living room a music/library room although more casual than overly formal. It basically consists (outside of the piano, of course) of an old stereo (although the old stereo detracts from appearance a little to me, my students think the record player is really cool as many haven't ever listened to records or seen a record player - so that's why I keep it around to "impress" them with the records.) - Also in the room is a small keyboard, one wall of bookshelves (one parent interested in all the books even asked if they could borrow a book they saw of interest), a couple of small chairs, and a computer. I'm a big advocate of natural light and am fortunate to have a bay window in the room which I think is great because students (and myself!) can see outside during the lesson. Since I couldn't have the piano facing the windows as it's an upright, I compromised by getting a picture above the piano that incorporates "natural light".

Since the piano faces a wall, I "hide" a folded up card table behind the piano. Then I pull it out if siblings or parents are sitting in on the lesson. One parent is a teacher and grades papers at the cardtable, some of the students that come as siblings do homework, or read. Also, a sibling can play the keyboard with headphones while waiting for their lesson.

One word of advice: If cleaning a room before lessons, it would probably be best to try to vacuum and dust (and dust a ceiling fan) quite a while prior to lessons to allow dust to settle (I forgot the length of time they say it can take dust to settle after vacuuming, for example) before students come if possible. I've vacuumed or dusted right before a student is coming and have noticed they or parents come in a start sneezing! Then I really feel bad. :D It's hard to say if there sneezing from the dust or not as there seems to be a lot of allergy producing "stuff" outdoors and in around the area were we live but when a student comes and suddenly starts sneezing . . . makes me wonder if it's something in the room. This doesn't happen too often but I did start putting two and two together and wonder if it was more likely if I'd vacuumed right before they came in.

I figure if my house doesn't smell musty like it's been closed up for days, I'm at least doing better than the one house I mentioned I used to go for lessons!

p.s. - comfortable chairs for parents I feel are a big plus as you have to think some come to lessons after working all day and how many of us like to sort of relax and crash after working all day. I used to not have this and had to get chairs from the kitchen table that were just hard wood with straight backs (not many parents stayed . . . hmmm). There's not a lot of room for chairs but I did finally get a couple inexpensive more comfortable chairs.

p.s.s. - some of the plants my spouse likes to put in the room "accidentally" died, hee! hee! I don't keep up with house plants and also didn't bother to remind him to water them :;): . I always felt the dirt or something in those plants would smell sometimes - maybe just my imagination - but they did take up space that I would have like available for other things like small tables or chairs. The other thing about plants in the room is if they don't get watered and start looking brown and wilty, it detracts from appearances in the room as well (perhaps artificial plants would be better).

oh yes, and yet another p.s.: The outside of the house walking up to it I think is really inviting for students and I have to give my spouse credit for it as he's the one who does it all (if it were up to me it would probably be pretty plain on the outside of the house not because I don't enjoy that sort of thing but because I wouldn't take the time to make the yard look nice). He has a ton of flowers (maybe that's why the sneezing!) growing out front and he loves those outdoor flags so he has little seasonal flags along the walkway up to the door. He's got a couple little waterfall things going into barrels. The one thing I had my 2 cents in on it was a few flowering trees that all bloom in the spring. I get a lot of comments from students and parents about how nice everything looks walking up to the house so I do reap the benefits of an inviting outside atmosphere. I hadn't thought about it directly before, but the ouside appearance of a studio or house is just as important as it's first impressions about the person who owns it. Sometimes when I pull up to our house, I think to myself how inviting the outside looks for students. I know I've gone to buildings, for example, doctors offices and such and first impressions of the outside of the building have caused me to wonder sometimes, "what am I getting myself into". But if the inside is nice and looks, cleans and up-to-date, then I am able to overlook the outside although it is a plus if the outside isn't a turn-off. How many of us have chosen one business over the other simply because one building looked nicer than the other?




Edited By Stretto on 1185558541
Stretto
 
Posts: 745
Joined: Mon May 16, 2005 10:34 pm
Location: Mo.

Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Tue Jul 31, 2007 8:42 am

Stretto wrote:But if the inside is nice and looks, cleans and up-to-date, then I am able to overlook the outside although it is a plus if the outside isn't a turn-off. How many of us have chosen one business over the other simply because one building looked nicer than the other?

This is a good point. Since so many teachers teach from their homes, home maintenance becomes particularly important. Out here, tough desert weeds sprout in lawns like crazy, if you don't fight them continuously. I've seen several teachers who have let their lawns grow up in weeds (and I mean big ones!). This is the first thing their clients saw as they arrived at the studio. Perhaps for unrelated reasons and perhaps not, these teachers student numbers seem to drop at about the same time as the lawn began to get overgrown. This is just an example, but I think if you teach from your home, keeping it presentable becomes a part of the business of teaching piano.
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
User avatar
Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed
Site Admin
 
Posts: 994
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2003 6:46 pm
Location: Rio Rancho, NM USA

Postby Tranquillo » Sun Jul 06, 2008 9:47 pm

One teacher I had some years ago actually was totally unaware. His place smelt really stuffy and the windows where NEVER open, that wasn't entirely a bad thing but there was no circulation.

Some other teacher I have had really theme their studio with sitting spots and have colour schemes. I'm not entirely fussed really as a student ... I think when effort into putting a picture gallery up and theming the studio it can sometimes be a little overwhelming ... it could just be me. Basically I like neat and tidy and no smells ... air conditioning and heating is also nice.

There was one lesson I sat in, that was perhaps the perfect studio. The teacher had a concert grand! (not that its a need). The room was really big with a lounge area and a load of books stacked on the coffee table and around the fire place that was never in use. The windows overlooked the water and the light shone not on the piano but at all other angles. Lovely cozy place!

:D
Music is organised sound
User avatar
Tranquillo
 
Posts: 465
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 11:43 pm

Postby jenscott90 » Sat Aug 30, 2008 10:15 am

I came back to this post because we are now having some outside the home issues where our step is sinking and have to have it fixed soon, so we are having to tear up the step and sidewalk and re-pour all the concrete.

We've decided while we do that to make it nicer, with nicer contoured lines...something with a less 'boxy' utilitarian feel and more artistic. I can't wait to get it started, but of course money is an issue. When we get it done, I'll post "before" and "after" pictures! Do we have a place where we can do that other than in a post?

If not, I'll provide a photobucket link.

Cheers!
Jen
User avatar
jenscott90
 
Posts: 52
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 7:20 am
Location: Central Illinois

Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Wed Sep 03, 2008 6:35 am

jenscott90 wrote:I came back to this post because we are now having some outside the home issues where our step is sinking and have to have it fixed soon, so we are having to tear up the step and sidewalk and re-pour all the concrete.

We've decided while we do that to make it nicer, with nicer contoured lines...something with a less 'boxy' utilitarian feel and more artistic. I can't wait to get it started, but of course money is an issue. When we get it done, I'll post "before" and "after" pictures! Do we have a place where we can do that other than in a post?

If not, I'll provide a photobucket link.

Cheers!
Jen

One thing you might keep in mind is that a part of he expense of the upgrades MAY be deductible as a business expense, in proportion to the amount of space your studio occupies in the house. I'm not completely knowledgeable on this, but it might be worth a call to your accountant to check or a visit to the IRS site to look at rules and regulations regarding business deductions. If you can deduct it, it'll still cost you the same amount of money but you'll get some of it back at tax time. :cool:

Of course, you can deduct the costs from any profit you make on the house when you sell it.
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
User avatar
Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed
Site Admin
 
Posts: 994
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2003 6:46 pm
Location: Rio Rancho, NM USA

Postby Cynthia Marie VanLandingh » Mon Oct 27, 2008 12:45 pm

I'm a piano teacher in tallahassee, Florida and I love the air fresheners from the Bath & Both Shop. Plug them in and they last a long time - the fragrances are wonderful and so inviting for 'little noses' when students come in for lessons. I used the nice cinnamon fragrance for my casual Fall Piano Party. I love creating a musical community where my students can feel at home and have fun with other kids who play piano too. That's why my favorite piano even of the year is my Fall Piano Party Mini Recital.

Children in piano benfit from opportunities to perform, but all of these don't need to involve a formal recital with kids dressed in their Sunday best and all their relatives present. Piano recital parties can be rather spontaneous events that allow children to enjoy sharing their music with other kids in a relaxed way. Here's a great piano party idea that kids love because it's just for students! There many possible formats for such a party. Here is one of the ideas I have used with great success.

The Mini Harvest Recital - The Fall Harvest Mini Recital is a piano party just for students to share the progress they have made with other kids. I emphasize the harvest recital as a time for students to practice sharing their talent and the fruit of their hard work with others. I put up lots of decorations such as scarecrows, pumpkins and fall leaves.

I often begin the recital with a scavenger hunt. Giving each student a paper treat bag and letting them find candy and small toys hidden around the piano room.

After the scavenger hunt I let students enjoy their treats while they play their songs for each other on the piano. The songs students play for this recital can be the pieces they have currently been playing in their lesson books. Remember the idea is to create a piano community and to let kids learn to share their music with others in a relaxed way that will break down any walls of worry that students often have about performing. There is no need for formal seating since parents won't be there. Just put some big quilts on the floor for a cozy place the children to sit while they are waiting their turn to play.

After the students have played their pieces have enough board games on hand for everyone to grab a partner and get to know each other better. They don't have to be games that every can play at once. You can have Chess, Checkers, Boggle, Musical Bingo, Chutes and Ladders, whatever you think your students would enjoy. Remember the games don't all have to be about music for this recital, but they can be.

Remember to take lots of photos of this fun event and put them in a special piano party memory book to share with parents and friends.

I uploaded my party photos to is a cool photo viewer on my newsletter blogs. You can vew it on my teachers' blog http://www.pianoteachersblog.blogspot.com

Best Wishes for a Great Fall Piano Party!

Cynthia Marie VanLandingham




Edited By Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor on 1227621877
User avatar
Cynthia Marie VanLandingh
 


Return to Running a Teaching Studio

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron