I was giving one of my adult students a lesson this week and explaining that it was the last one till September. She sighed, pulled a face and said: “You are so lucky to be able to stop like this.” And of course, as teachers, we are indeed very fortunate to be able to take breaks that allow us to renew and unwind.So, as this is the last blog before we take a short break at The Curious Piano Teachers here are five ideas for how you could use some of that vacation time.
#1 READ A BOOK (OR TWO)I love having the space to be able to get my head into some books. I’m always far too ambitious with the amount I want to read but here are four that are at the top of my list for this year. The Talent Code – greatness isn’t born it’s grown by Daniel Coyle The Power of Habit – why we do what we do and how to change by Charles Duhigg. The Doodle Revolution – unlock the power to think differently by Sunni Brown Reflections – the piano music of Maurice Ravel by Paul Roberts
#2 LEARN A NEW PIECEIt’s so lovely to be able to sit down and do some daily practice in the summer months. Why not set yourself a challenge of tackling something you wouldn’t do at any other time of the year. Try keeping a practice diary to help you set daily goals and monitor your progress. You could also video a segment of a practice session – it might just give you an interesting insight into what’s working and what isn’t!
#3 SEEK OUT PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIESThere is so much that is available online these days that we are spoilt for choice. If you want to access free quality teaching ideas this summer then have a look at the supporting material provided by Piano Safari CLICK HERE or some of Irina Gorin’s Youtube teaching videos CLICK HERE Graham Fitch’s blog Practising the Piano also has tons of free advice about technique, interpretation and practice. If you are prepared to invest just a little you could also subscribe to his Online Piano Academy. Another worthwhile subscription package worth exploring is Entrada where Fred Karpoff guides you skillfully through key technical skills.
#4 FORM A COFFEE CLUBThe best professional development often comes through informal chats with teaching friends and colleagues. So why not get together with at least one other teacher for an hour or so this summer? It’s most fun when it is a live experience however, virtually also works quite well. Sharon and I sometimes just have a Saturday morning coffee and chat – it’s not actually business but is usually highly productive nevertheless. For it to be of most use I suggest you choose a topic to discuss. You might both read one of Graham’s blogs or focus on a piece of music. What about some of the new Trinity exam repertoire for example? You could discuss how to teach certain aspects of it or together you might end up with some creative suggestions for improvisation, playing by ear or aural work.
#5 TAKE A BREAK!Working constantly does no-one any good, least of all you. So at some point in the summer make sure you stop and take a break. And that’s exactly what we are going to be doing for the next few weeks. We’ll be back mid-August with more blogs. Plus, we’ve got some exciting free webinars coming up to get everyone back into the teaching mood. We’ll be opening the doors to The Community again on Monday August 28 so if you want to join do sign up to our mailing list and we’ll keep you updated. Click here to read a previous blog post that tells you about the perks of being a member of The Community
Have a great summer (and apologies for those of you in the southern hemisphere who are still working hard…!)