Capture Students’ Attention BEFORE They Enter The Door

 

Imagine your student walking towards your studio, music bag in hand. She may be thinking about the super hard test she had at school today or the mountain of homework that is waiting for her to do after the piano lesson. All this can be very distracting and maybe a bit discouraging until… she makes it to your studio door and sees a welcome sign with her name on it just as she is about to enter! You can predict what will happen next – a big smile will appear on her face and she will enter the studio that much more excited about her lesson. Pictured above is the sign I put up for my students everyday during the first week of piano for the new school year. Each day I simply replaced the previous day’s names with the students for that day. OK – truth – I had my daughter do it for me!  It was definitely a hit with students and parents as well. An added benefit to this sign was having all the students for the day listed. Seeing other kids’ names lets students know that they are not the only ones taking piano lessons and that they are part of a music making community. For more about building community in your studio, see my post on how to Get Parents Geared Up For A New Piano Season.

 

Get Parents Geared Up For A New Piano Season!

 

With the start of a new school year we usually focus on getting students geared up for a new piano season, but have you ever considered having a special kick off event just for parents? Part of my teaching philosophy is that the music studio should be a community of families who are committed to arts education. So, this year in addition to our normal events that involve students and their families I decided to have a Piano Parent Mtg. the week before lessons began.

This gave new and returning parents an opportunity to meet each other, ask questions, and share piano stories. I had a chance to give out helpful information for the year concerning upcoming event dates, fees, curriculum and all the things that we’d be doing in the studio this year.

We even had a chance to do some role plays about practicing at home. The parents seemed to really enjoy getting different ideas on how to handle practice issues at home.

And what would an event be without food? So of course we had refreshments. We even had door prizes for some products that were donated by local merchants as well as a drawing for FREE registration.

The evening went very well, and so far I’ve heard from more than one parent that their child was a little upset about not being invited to the meeting! What can I say, us parents deserve a little time with our friends too, right? Next year I’m going to call a Piano Parent Gathering instead of meeting.

How do you get parents geared up for the start of the new school year? I’d love to hear about it!

 

Pinterest Idea of the Week: New Uses for Old Sheet Music

Source: goawaycomeback.tumblr.com via Dana on Pinterest

It’s amazing how much sheet music can pile up after 30+ years of playing the piano! Not only do I have music that I have purchased, but over the years I have been blessed by many of my elderly friends with their sheet music collections. Most of this music is very much out of date and I will never be able to use it – so I thought until now. I will be using this idea that I found on Pinterest the next time I give out gifts in my studio! I think it’s a great way to honor the memories of my dear friends AND clean out my studio at the same time.

What do you do with old sheet music?

Giant Music Mat

After a Google search for a rug for my group music classroom only turned up results over $150, I decided to make my own. Actually it is a giant mat made out of foam tiles that I purchased from Wal Mart at $5.97 per set of 9. I bought 5 sets. The picture above shows a smaller version of my Giant Music Mat.

To make your own here is what you need:

5 or more sets of foam tiles (depends on the size you want)

a black marker

Directions:

Choose tiles of the same color and arrange them in a square shape

Create a border for the square you’ve made using tiles of different colors. Alternate colors.

Use a black marker to draw a different music symbol on each of the border tiles.

If you plan to use your giant mat to designate where each child should sit during group class, it is important to draw a DIFFERENT music symbol on each tile. Do not repeat symbols.

There are so many ways you can use this mat besides just sitting! As I already stated, it can be used to assign seats. This shortens the time it takes to get kids situated and ready for class to begin. At the beginning of the year or session, assign a unique symbol to each child. This will be their spot. Make sure they know the name of their symbol and what it means. You could even have kids act out the meaning. At a parent presentation, kids could “show and tell” using their symbol. Have them hold up their tile while presenting it.

What other ways can you think of for using the Giant Music Mat?

Pinterest Idea Of The Week: Twitter Board

Source: mesmrswhitesclass.blogspot.com via Dana on Pinterest

While browsing  Pinterest this morning, I found an amazing idea that I can’t wait to use in my studio this week!  The Twitter Board is a place where students can write “tweets” about something they learned during their lesson or something that inspired them during the lesson. This reinforces the learning and when other students read it, they learn as well. How cool is that?