HAS 2015 BEEN A GOOD YEAR FOR YOU?
It’s that time of year where, amidst last-minute present buying and wrapping (well, that’s certainly true for me), we find ourselves reflecting on the year that we are about to leave behind – often in the form of ‘where did that year go to!’
I’m not a great one for New Year resolutions but last December I set myself some ‘intentions’. They have hung on a wall in my office all year as a reminder and I feel quite pleased because I have made some progress with four of them (OK, I admit there were 16 originally but there you go!).
- Make more music – yes, I joined the Newbury Symphony Orchestra in September!
- Practice mindfulness – I start most days with Andy Puddicombe, Headspace and a few minutes of meditation.
- Release an ebook – now, I haven’t quite achieved this yet but I have been working on a ‘proper’ book called Right From the Start and this will be a publishing priority for 2016.
- The successful launch of The Curious Piano Teachers – a big tick for this one.
This time last year The Curious Piano Teachers was still a rather elusive dream for Sharon and me. We knew what we wanted to build and achieve but could we do it? How were we going to get to grips with all the different elements of running an online business? Looking back, each month threw something new at us so join me as I reflect on our 12 months of curiousness.
The month of the ‘logo’ debate! What font shall we use? Where shall we put ‘the’? – you wouldn’t believe the amount of time we spent debating these issues. We got there in the end though.
In February we were both working feverishly writing copy for the website. Sharon was experimenting with the design aspects whilst I was putting together our very first Curiosity Box.
This saw the ‘official’ launch of The Curious Piano Teachers at the Music Education Expo. Although we only had a couple of holding pages available at the time the first signs were encouraging with lots of teachers signing up to our mailing list. Behind the scenes we were just one step ahead working out the various systems…..
By now, enough of the website was built for us to do a trial launch with some ‘friendly’ teachers and test out all those systems. Both of us let out a big sigh of relief when they all seemed to work and talk to each other (the systems that is although the friendly piano teachers also lived up to their name and started talking to each other!).
May marked the official launch when we opened our doors and The Community began to fill up! We were both delighted that the Curiosity Lounge immediately becomes a safe haven for teachers to discuss and debate teaching matters and concerns. Everyone upheld the supportive atmosphere. The month also saw another big learning curve for Sharon and me as we hold our first ever webinar – boy, was that scary!
We began to invite some ‘experts’ to join us and soon Andrew Higgins, Lucinda Mackworth-Young, Graham Fitch, Alan and Janet Bullard, Paul Harris, Pam Wedgwood, Elissa Milne, Tim Topham were all part of the team.
I flew over to Northern Ireland and Sharon and I have a ‘blue sky day‘ to take stock and plan the next six months. In amongst all the valuable discussions we visited the Giant’s Causeway and have fun crossing a rope bridge.
Everyone else seemed to be on holiday but it slowly began to sink in that there is no such thing as a break when you run an online business. There’s plenty to keep us busy with Curiosity Boxes to create and blogs to write……..
It’s another flight to Northern Ireland for me as we worked with our fabulous cameraman Richard Watson and a bunch of great children to film Let’s Play (this is our forthcoming video series and you will be hearing a lot more about it in 2016). It’s all excitement for some of The Community based in NI as we all meet up for lunch and a chat.
The ABRSM conference in London was our first ‘official’ appearance with a fully operational website. It proved a great success with a constant stream of piano teachers discussing teaching with us and wanting to join our ever-expanding Community. Also, we launched ourselves onto ‘Periscope‘ with several broadcasts starring ‘Ed’ our curious elephant.
We had our first ever London based meetup, with a few of The Community making the trip to London for the day. We started with carol singing at St Pancras, followed by lunch at Pizza Express and finally a tour of Steinway Hall.
BUT NOW, ENROLMENT IS CLOSING FOR 2015
After over six months of having an ‘open-door’ policy Sharon and I have decided to close enrolment into the Community for this year. This is so that we can spend more time doing the things we both love and are passionate about – teaching the piano and working with piano teachers.
If you want to join us in The Community there is still time – just! Our doors are shutting on Sunday at 11.59pm GMT.
So, has 2015 been a good year for us? Absolutely. it’s been a rewarding and fulfilling year and there has been great joy for both of us that we have reached out and made contact with so many other piano teachers.
We are having a break over the Christmas holidays but do look out for our first blog of 2016 on Friday January 8.