Studio Business

5 Steps for Successful Interview Lessons with Music Students

Interview lesson, meet-and-greet, intro lesson, trial lesson, consultation—whatever you choose to call them, introductory sessions are a great way to jumpstart your potentials students’ success in music lessons. This article presents five steps to help you make the most of your interview lessons with new music students.

Step 1: Define Your Goals for the Interview Lesson

Before conducting an interview lesson, it is important to determine your goals for an interview lesson. For many music teachers, these sessions are useful for setting expectations for their music studio and determining if a student-teacher fit is possible. They allow you to build rapport, communicate your expectations for practice, behavior, payments and other studio policies and procedures, and assess the student’s goals, needs and level of interest.

Additionally, an interview lesson can also be an opportunity to:

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Announcements

Save the Date: 2023 Piano Teacher Retreat

Hello, piano teacher friends!

After a three-year hiatus (due to the pandemic and having babies!), my piano teacher retreats are back! I’m excited to invite you to attend a retreat for piano teachers taking place at my home this summer.

Piano Teacher Retreat is a three-day getaway for piano teachers to connect, recharge, share, and learn from each another. During this unique experience, you will have opportunity to contribute and benefit from collective wisdom during group discussions, interactive activities, as well as relaxing downtime. You’ll leave you feeling inspired and connected, with newly formed friendships and fresh ideas for your teaching.

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Teaching Piano

Embracing Life as Parent & Piano Teacher 

In recent months, I’ve conversed with a few readers seeking thoughts or advice relating to navigating roles as both parents and piano teachers. As I talked to these fellow parent-teachers and started drafting this article, I realized I have a lot to say on this topic. Becoming “Mom” to two sweet little girls in 2020 and 2022 has given me a perspective I’d love to share — particularly for anyone who might be in the same stage of life.

Without further ado, here’s my article with thoughts related to being both parents and piano teachers. Read on for advice regarding purpose, work-life “blend,” childcare, maternity/paternity leave, managing your time, and designing a life you love. Whatever your current family situation, I hope this article has something for you.

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Announcements

Blogiversary Sale Going on Now!

Just a short note today: I’d be remiss not to tell you about my annual blogiversary sale celebrating ColorInMyPiano.com having just turned 14!

Use the promo code 14YEARS now during checkout between now to receive 20% off all teaching resources in my shop (good through March 22, 2023). There’s a variety of games, sheet music, and camp curriculum resources to explore. Click here

Reviews, Technique

REVIEW: Technique Builders, by Hazel Cobb

When it comes to piano technique, many pianists often think of exercises involving scales, arpeggios, chords, and more. However, at its core, technique is actually about sound – that is, being able to achieve a desired expressive effect on the instrument.

In piano teaching, technique exercises can provide young pianists with opportunities to explore different sounds and ways of using their bodies in an effective, efficient, healthy and comfortable manner. Unfortunately, pianist injuries are quite common, but by prioritizing student wellness, we can help turn this trend around.

Today, I want to share about a book I have been finding useful with my piano students over the past couple of years and now consider a go-to resource in my teaching. It’s called Technique Builders: Fundamental Study Patterns to Improve Piano Proficiency, by Hazel Cobb. In this review, you’ll learn why I recommend Technique Builders and how you can use it effectively in your piano teaching. (Bonus: Download my handy-dandy errata sheet at the end of this article!)

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Games

How to Organize Your Games for Piano Lessons

Do you have a collection of games, flashcards, and props to use during piano lessons with your students? Are they organized so you can find things when you need them?

As you probably know, your teaching resources are only as helpful as your organizational system. When things are out-of-place or impossible to find (we’ve all been there!), those items unfortunately cannot do you — or your student — any good.

The key is to have a system in place where you always know where to find and put things. As the saying goes: “A place for everything, and everything in its place.” Your system needs to make sense to you, and it may be as unique as you are.

In this post, I’ll describe my method for organizing my teaching games/materials and share how you can set up a similar system if you desire. I hope you’ll gain some tips or ideas for how you can organize your favorite piano teaching resources to be readily at your fingertips!

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General, Reviews

Favorite Books I Read in 2022 (& 2021)

Happy 2023! The new year is here, which is often a time we use to think back over the past year and reflect upon the upcoming year.

While here on the blog I’ve often shared reviews of books on an individual basis, I thought I’d try a year-end post sharing a variety of favorite books from the past year.

In 2022, I made an effort to expand beyond my usual type of reading and try some books outside of what I’d normally choose. For me, this meant more memoirs and even a science fiction novel. I’m glad I explored, because I found some books I really, really enjoyed.

Something else different for me this year was reading almost exclusively in an e-book format. While in the past, I’ve been really into audiobooks and, of course, hardcopy books, this year I found the convenience of being able to read on my device using night-friendly settings to be a lifesaver. Being able to read without turning on the lights is nice when you are up late at night dealing with insomnia thanks to pregnancy or a newborn!

I purchased some of these books from Amazon as Kindle e-books. For others, I was able to take advantage of my local library’s apps for e-reading — Libby and Hoopla. I highly recommend checking out what your local library has to offer. Or, you can find these books at your favorite local bookstore or online shop.

Without further ado, here’s my list of favorite books from 2022…plus a few bonus favorites from 2021.

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General, seasonal / holiday

My 2022 Christmas Gifts for Piano Students

Do you enjoy giving some kind of small gift to your piano students at Christmastime? I do! I enjoy giving something small but thoughtful to make them smile. I try to come up with something different each year.

Note: This blog post contains Amazon affiliate links. Thanks for supporting my blog!

This year, I was pleased to find some really lovely and affordable music-themed ornament options on Amazon. In fact, I could hardly decide which one to go with!

I ended up choosing the wooden sheet music ornaments pictured below, and am very happy with my decision. They are light-weight, but nice quality wood ornaments with a sheet music print and blackened edges. The package comes as a set of 24 ornaments with 8 different shapes: hearts, pine trees, reindeers, snowmen, bells, round ornaments, stars, and snowflakes. You must attach the strings yourself, but they are included.

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seasonal / holiday

Christmas Gifts for Piano Students, 2011-present

Hello, teacher friends! Today, I thought I would make an update this flashback post sharing ideas for piano student gift ideas. Read on to see what ideas I’ve done in the past…and stay tuned for tomorrow, when I’ll share what I’ve planned for this year!

I don’t think it’s necessary to give your piano students gifts at Christmastime, but it’s a nice gesture if you feel so inspired! Some years, I’ve kept it pretty simple while other years I have felt inspired to take on a more time-intensive project. I hope you’ll enjoy browsing this post and perhaps gaining an idea or two to tuck away for the future!

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Studio Business

Freebie: Lesson Attendance Sheet Updated for 2022-23

I just updated one of the studio business forms from my Printables page for the 2022-23 school year.  It is called the Lesson Attendance & Payment Sheet PDF.  Even though I don’t personally use this sheet myself anymore (I now charge a monthly flat tuition rate), every year I receive requests from teachers asking if I would please update it for the upcoming school year. And I’m happy to do so! 

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.

Download it below or on the Printables > Studio Business page.

  Lesson Attendance & Payment Sheet (2023-24) (138.1 KiB, 36,667 hits)

Printables, Technique

Freebie: Technical Requirements Charts for RCM’s 2022 Piano Syllabus

Have you heard? The Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) has recently released the newly revised 2022 Piano Syllabus for their practical examinations. They are also releasing new editions of the wonderful Celebration Series piano literature collection (available soon). What exciting news for piano teachers!

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