Are you feeling prepared yet for the new piano teaching term ahead? Are you wondering if there’s something that you’ve missed doing so far?
Our wonderfully creative, open and curious piano teachers who make up The Community have all been busy getting ready. Here are their 7 top tips for starting the term ahead feeling prepared.
#1 GET SORTED
Just before the term starts is a really good time for getting everything you need to teach sorted. Hannah recommends organising and decluttering your teaching room so that everything looks and feels professional. Sorting out your teaching books and music is another important job for Nina who points out: ‘having everything freshly organised means that I can find things easily’. Ijeoma’s been buying some new resources and recommends using any discount codes that are available. For members of The Community check out the discount pages on the site.
#2 PLAN YOUR CALENDAR
Get your teaching year calendar sorted out and as many recital and exam dates as possible fixed. Angie recommends sorting out all dates and venues for the Autumn term, in particular Christmas concerts. Berry points out that once you know when these events are happening you can ‘plan backwards’.
#3 REVISE CONTRACTS
Revising your contracts and making sure that all your T&Cs are up-to-date is of vital important if you want a smooth and trouble-free year of teaching. Check out our other blog posts to help you do this:
#4 COMMUNICATE WITH PARENTS
Once all your ‘official’ documents are ready share them with parents Sally G. recommends sending a very clear and carefully worded email: ‘about how you will manage lesson time schedule changes once the schools release their club timetables’. Janet suggests that all the necessary documentation should be printed out and mailed through to every parent as this avoids them ‘skipping over reading the information’.
This is also a good time to remind parents (as well as pupils) about the importance of practice, according to Frances. The Curious Piano Teachers 7 Practice Hats ebook is free to download. CLICK HERE
#5 PLAN A ‘YAY, BACK TO PIANO’ 1ST LESSON
A number of teachers mentioned that students and teachers are likely to be rusty for the first couple of weeks. Elaine recommends that the 1st lesson should give them a ‘yay, back to the piano’ boost and she suggests you ‘Plan in something different, quirky and fun’.
Maggie recommends incorporating a game that can be played in the first lesson whilst Judith likes to use one of Forrest Kinney’s improvisation pieces from his series Create First. Angie also emphasises the importance of making the first lesson back one that is filled with the joy of making music alongside some revision points.
#6 PLAN YOUR CPD FOR THE YEAR
Your own development as a musician, pianist and teacher is also important. Before the term starts Hannah suggests setting your own repertoire and CPD goals. Have you pinpointed any courses, conferences or workshops that you want to attend this year? Get them in your planner now (Rebecca finds a Pirong planner perfect for her needs) before everything gets booked up.
Another form of professional development is the simple act of reading a book! Over in The Curious Piano Teachers’ Book Club everyone has been thoroughly enjoying Debussy A Painter in Sound by Stephen Walsh.
#7 TAKE SOME TIMEOUT
Jill reminds us that the holidays aren’t quite over yet. Claire is off to the beach with her family this weekend as she believes it is ‘important to take some time out for ourselves before we hit the ground running in September’. Thanks for reminding us Claire and Jill that life is about more than teaching the piano!
So some really great tips for feeling prepared from members of The Community. Big thanks to everyone for your contributions.
If you’d like to join The Community email Sally and Sharon to find out how: firstname.lastname@example.org
This blog post was written by Dr Sally Cathcart, co-founder and Director of The Curious Piano Teachers with the help of Angie Tse, Berry, Ijeoma Erica Mbubaegbu, Claire, Frances, Nina Hodgson, Hannah O’Toole, Janet, Sally G, Margaret Whitton, Elaine, Rebecca, Jill and Judith.