Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mentally Preparing for a New Term

I'm back from vacation, and going full speed ahead as I get ready for the start of lessons next week. I'll be posting over the next few days about my fall practice incentive and sharing more about the planning and organizing that is going on, but I wanted to take a brief moment today to talk about the preparation I've been doing for myself personally.

I can struggle very often to maintain a positive attitude toward my studio. I am easily discouraged by perceived criticism or when lessons don't go exactly as planned. I can quickly become overwhelmed by trying to pull both the weight of my responsibility and that of the student. I waste time comparing myself to other teachers and musicians and come away feeling like I have nothing to offer.

These types of attitudes haunt my steps more than I'd like to admit, and I have to constantly remind myself to stay positive and keep the correct perspective.

So with the fall term looming ahead, I've set aside a bit of time from the preparations to prepare mentally for the upcoming term and encourage myself about what lies ahead.

First, I completed my studio vision. I've had a studio policy ever since the beginning, but I'd never taken time to sit down and write a vision statement for my studio. I've always had vague ideas floating around in my head about how I perceive my studio and what I want to get out of it, but taking the time to corral these thoughts was so helpful for me! It's re-adjusted my perspective and helped me to focus on what I think is most important as I approach the term ahead.

If you've never done so, I'd highly encourage you to sit down and take a bit of time to get your ideas and thoughts on paper. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, and it can definitely evolve with time, but having a written vision statement breathes a fresh sense of purpose into ones daily approach toward teaching.

After my vision statement was completed, I took a little bit of time to assess just what I needed to improve in my teaching over this term. I started a list to detail the areas I can see I need to be more disciplined on in lessons. This will be very helpful for me as I plan out the first week of lessons in the coming days.

Finally, I wanted to share a book I've been reading over the past week that's really been instrumental in shaping my perception of who I am as a musician. Michael Card's book "Scribbling in the Sand" delves into the heart of Christ and examines Christian creativity in a way that's really challenging me both as a teacher and as a musician. I'd highly recommend this book.

Preparation is key to a well-maintained studio, but it's more than just preparing the lessons and organizing the studio. Preparing ourselves mentally is just as important, and after taking some time to do just that I feel much more positive about starting back into lessons!

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