The backstory: My grand piano has ivory keys I don’t want to use sanitizers on, so I’ve been using my digital pianos since transitioning my Michigan students to in-person lessons. (Fortunately, I can still use my grand for online lessons!) My current digital pianos are old and in need of update, so I started researching and looking at models at a couple of local stores.
Basically, the summary is that for every 30 pages of music students learn (or theory pages completed), a prize is earned from the prize box. My goal was to have a simple program that was easy to track and that rewarded the kinds of things my students should be doing anyway. A simple incentive program can make things fun and help reinforce the kinds of things you wish students to be focused on. My students know that a given piece needs to reach a certain level of mastery before they can “pass” it and go on to the next.
I have maintained this simple incentive program consistently for years (although, I’ll admit I’ve taken a little time off from it recently due to pandemic online teaching and relocating to Michigan). However, I recently came up with a slight improvement to this method that I think will make it EVEN EASIER to maintain.
I just finished updating one of the studio business forms from my Printables page for the 2021-22 school year. It is called the Record of Lesson Attendance & Payment PDF. I do not currently use this form myself anymore, but every year I receive multiple requests from teachers asking if I would please update it for the upcoming school year!
In case you haven’t seen this from before, here is how it works: Write your students’ names in the first column. Each week, write the lesson date (in a month / date format) in the column for that week. This is how you can track attendance. The small circles in each cell are where you can write checkmarks indicating tuition payments. Whether you charge by-the-week or by-the-month, you can place a checkmark by each paid lesson date.
P.S.: Here is a link to where I explain an alternative system for tracking payments received. But nowadays, I enter everything into a Google Sheet! I explain my system and share the spreadsheet in my online course for piano teachers, Excellence for Piano Teachers. If you’re interested, you can learn more and join the email list to be notified when the next session is offered (usually in January).
Congratulations to our two randomly-selected winners: Chloe and Lydia! Winners, please watch your inbox for an email from Wendy arriving very soon.
Thank you all for joining in on the fun and entering the giveaway! It was so much fun to team up with Wendy and see all your comments come through. I hope you’ll consider browsing Wendy’s beautiful teaching resources if you haven’t already. She’s offering my readers a special SALE. Here’s the details:
Promo code CIMP15 will give you 15% off any order. Or, use CIMP20 for 20% off for orders of $75 or more. All orders above $49 will ship free within US and Canada.
Click here to visit her shop now. This sale ends August 31, 2021, so don’t delay if you plan to order!
It’s not too late to enter the giveaway for a teaching resource from Wendy Chan’s Music Escapades Shoppe! TWO winners residing in the US or Canada will be randomly chosen on Tuesday, August 10, 2021. To enter, visit THIS POST and leave a comment there about Wendy’s wonderful Grand Staff Magnetic Dry-Erase board.
About a year ago (August 2020), I wrote a review and giveaway post about Wendy Chan’s wonderful Grand Staff Magnetic Dry-Erase board and a few other of her wonderful teaching resources. Well, today, I’m happy to share an update about her materials and offer a GIVEAWAY (keep reading)!
Wendy’s Grand Staff Magnetic Dry-Erase Board has been such a great resource in my teaching over the past year. I keep it within arm’s reach when I teach and find myself using it on a near-daily basis in my lessons, both online and in-person.
Recently, I received the following question from a reader:
“Hi Joy, Can you see doing your “Music of the World” camp as an online camp? Thanks!”
–C.M. from New York
Great question! I haven’t tried it myself, but after thinking it through my answer is yes, I do think this camp would work very effectively offered in an online format. What follows are a few thoughts about how to do this.
The goal of the “Music of the World” camp is to increase the students’ awareness of and appreciation for cultures that are different from their own through experiencing the music and studying the instruments of other countries. Students will have a blast hearing the music from other cultures and learning about each counties’ musical instruments, landmarks, and animals.
Each day of camp focuses on a different country. The curriculum includes a set of slides and YouTube playlists for the teacher to use each day. In an online format, the teacher can screenshare the slides and music during a Zoom meeting. Easy!
This camp also includes a variety of arts and crafts activities. The key to facilitating this in an online camp format, I think, would be to provide students with the printed materials in advance. I suggest creating a “goodie bag” that can be dropped off at students’ homes or a “camp packet” that can sent through the mail. The printouts can be organized by day using paper clips, with each stack labeled using sticky notes (e.g., “Day 1”).
In my last post, I mentioned I am delivering a presentation for NCKP 2021’s Virtual Conference tomorrow. My presentation shares about a personal research project conducting early childhood music (ECM) activities with my daughter throughout her first year of life. It’s been fun and rewarding to see Aria’s musical development up close, and I am learning so much from the process. I have hundreds of videos I’ve been collecting, logging, and analyzing!
I thought it might be fun to share a video of Aria here on my blog, for my readers as well as for any NCKP conference attendees interested in seeing a more recent video clip. The video below was taken a few days ago, with Aria at 17 months old.
The ECM activities I do with Aria are based on Edwin E. Gordon’s Music Learning Theory (MLT). I took a two-week summer certification training Early Childhood Music Level 1 offered through the Gordon Institute for Music Learning (see GIML.org) back in 2017, and have been putting my training to good use since Aria was born in February of 2020. I took the Piano Level 1 certification the summer prior to that, which I blogged about here.
Here is the video, as well as a short description of what you’ll observe in the video.
A few months ago, I mentioned this summer’s 2021 National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy (NCKP) virtual conference. The pre-conference sessions officially began TODAY (yay!). I’ve been happily enjoying some wonderful virtual sessions already this afternoon, and am so excited about the programming over the next few weeks. The NCKP planners have chosen a wonderful app that allows for connecting with other attendees while enjoying the virtual presentations. It’s the next best thing besides being in-person with my teacher friends and colleagues.
In this year’s NCKP, I am involved with two different sessions. The first is a presentation about a personal project with my young daughter, Aria, and our first year of Early Childhood Music sessions at home together. (I’ve been putting my ECM certification through the Gordon Institute for Music Learning (see GIML.org) to good use recently!) This session will take place during the pre-conference this Friday the 16th from 1:05-2:00pm EDT. Here’s the full description:
In yesterday’s post, I talked about my gradual transition from online lessons to in-person for my Michigan-based students (my Ohio-based students from before my move will remain online). As promised, in today’s post I am sharing a free printable poster you can use to welcome students and help remind them of your protocols when they first arrive.
Any time students come for their first lesson at my studio, I find it’s important to “train” them, so to speak, with my expectations such as removing shoes, washing hands, etc.. After welcoming students at the door, this involves stating something like: “Whenever you arrive in the future, I’d like you to remove your shoes here, wash your hands here, and then head to the piano!”
I thought it might be useful to post a friendly poster with these reminders, in case it helps students remember what to do the first few times they arrive until it becomes a habit. I laminated it and use poster putty to hang it where it will be easily seen.
I created a few different variations of the poster, in case you might like to use it! I’ve included versions with and without masks (for pandemic times and non-pandemic times). And there are versions included for using hand sanitizer versus washing hands in a sink.
I hope you all are well. Here in Michigan, we are in the midst of BEAUTIFUL summer weather and it feels as if the worst of the pandemic is behind us (which I would certainly like to believe is true!). The current full vaccination rate in the state of Michigan is 46%, which is also the current rate in the U.S. as a whole (as of June 2021). In my local county, the full vaccination rate is even higher at 60% and the rate of reported Covid-19 cases per day is down to low single digits.
With these facts in mind, I have started transitioning a few of my students from online lessons to in-person lessons at my home studio. (You might recall — 75% of my students are in Ohio from before I moved and they will remain online.) I am taking a number of precautions, because I would much prefer to err on the side of caution and keep everyone healthy if I can help it!
In case you happen to be in the same position and might find this useful, below is the wording I used to communicate my precautions and expectations to parents via email.