Saturday, December 31, 2011

Question of the Week: January 1, 2012 - The Numbers Game

Happy New Year! It's truly almost upon us. I can't believe how quickly this past year has zipped by, but December 31 is here and a new year is about to begin.

I've taken the past week off from blogging and studio-related activities and simply enjoyed time with family and my life away from the piano studio. It's been quite refreshing :)This coming week I'll be getting ready for the spring term, set to begin on January 8.

As I get ready to gear up for a new studio term, I have a confession to make. I'm finding myself dissatisfied with the way things are shaping up for spring. More than that, I'm battling a little bit of discouragement.

I've kind of come full circle in my studio in the past year. In 2011, my studio was full to overflowing, thanks to transfer students and referrals. I passed on several students to other teachers, and actually had a waiting list! All this was great, if a little overwhelming. I felt like things were going pretty well.

So I was totally unprepared for what hit me after the fall term. I lost several students- one very unexpectedly. Due to my limited availability, several potential students were unable to enroll, and one opted for another teacher who offered a studio plan that was more fitting to her "age and ability level". OUCH!

All of this has left me below my target range for what I consider a full studio. It all happened so quickly and so unexpectedly that I'm still struggling with feelings of frustration and failure. I know that when a student decides to quit, it is not based solely on the teacher, but I still feel mostly responsible.

Have you dealt with this type of yo-yo effect in your studio before? One term, the numbers go up, the next, you're back down. How did you deal with that type of irregularity? I'd love to hear how you learned to not let it affect your self-esteem as a teacher.

I'll be back early next week with lots of posts on my plans for the spring...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas to All!

It's hard to believe that Christmas Eve is already here! Amidst the whirlwind of the final week of lessons, extra church rehearsals, and family activities, it has once again crept up on me!

I taught my final lessons for the year on Thursday, wrapped up the rest of my student evaluations yesterday, and am prepping for our church's Christmas Eve/Day services. It has truly been a wonderful fall, and my heart is overflowing with thanksgiving as I prepare to celebrate the coming of Emmanuel.

I pray that one and all will have a safe and blessed Christmas and enjoy some time off with family and friends. I'm taking a break from lessons until January 8, but my mind is already busy planning our spring practice incentive and I can't wait to share it here post-Christmas.

But until then...MERRY CHRISTMAS and may God bless us- every one!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Fall 2011 Practice Contest Comes to a Close

My fall term came to an end yesterday evening with our annual Christmas party. Students were greeted by the completed wall of fame full of stars!

We celebrated with the sounds of the season as they each played a Christmas song, then we shared a pizza dinner and finished off the evening with a whole bunch of games.

But there's more to the end of the term than just fun and games. At lessons this past week, I reviewed each student's goal sheet (filled out at the beginning of the term) with them, and we discussed together what goals they feel they met, and what they need to focus on over the next term. It was a good way to wrap of the term and get them thinking about the term ahead.

I have make-up lessons this coming week and will also be working on students evaluations as I prepare for the coming term. It's been a really great fall!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Musical Games for DS

I've had several discussions with parents over the past few weeks on how we can work together to motivate kids to practice and internalize what they learn in lessons. When one of my students showed up for her lessons yesterday with her DS in hand, it got me thinking, "I bet there are some great musically-oriented DS games out there!"

I took a little time to look around this morning and see what I could find, and here's what I came up with. I'd love to hear from other teachers OR students/parents who might have used these games or have others to add to the list. These would make great studio incentives if you're a teacher who uses incentive programs.

Rhythm Heaven : This game concentrates solely on rhythm, and looks to be an especially great choice for students who need a little extra work developing a good sense of pulse.

Easy Piano DS: While not as highly rated as Rhythm Heaven, this game is perfect for the creative musical student. In addition to developing musical skills, you can create and store your own compositions!

Kids Learn Music: With a 5-star rating from Amazon, this game is an excellent, interactive way to learn about music from all over the world, while improving basic musical skills.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My Favorite Holiday Resources!

Good morning! My presence on the blog will probably be scarce as Christmas looms closer and closer, but I wanted to share a brief list of some of my favorite places for Christmas resources for my students. I've been using these worksheets and games in lessons this week, and plan to use them at our term party in just another week as well.

1) Susan Paradis' website has a wealth of Christmas-themed activities and individuals and groups alike. Check out this post for a complete list of all the Christmas materials on her site.

2) D'Net Layton has some adorable sets of flashcard ornaments and stockings that are perfect for the Christmas season.

3) Jennifer Fink at Pianimation has several excellent games and theory activities as well. All of her Christmas resources can be found in this post.

Did I miss anyone? If you know of other great resources, please let me know! Merry Christmas to you all! :)