I keep up to date with new ideas, concepts, and teaching techniques as they evolve (ever faster, it seems!) and carefully select the ones that are best for my students. I am excited to share with you several improvements I am adding to the studio this coming year.
Introducing Piano Maestro!
This summer I discovered an amazing iPad program, Piano Maestro. The program has so much to offer for students of every age and level of technique! Initial trials in the studio have shown me that students are having fun with it while also learning. It’s a win-win! Piano Maestro is a music-teaching program where a student plays a song as it scrolls across the screen. The iPad listens to the student and measures their progress on the song, giving useful and encouraging feedback but to the student it has the feel of a video game where the piano is the controller. Currently I am using the version that gives my students access to the program at the studio only. In the fall, I will begin offering the version of Piano Maestro that gives students full access at home on their iPad, at a cost of $2 per month. This will allow students 24/7 access to the program to practice/play at home. I will be able to monitor their practicing progress and assign them lessons during the week. Participation in the at-home version will be optional and requires the student to have an iPad, but I highly recommend it! Piano Maestro has already proven to be a great motivational tool in the studio and I believe it will be even better when the students can use the program at home as well!
Introducing Class Dojo!
In order to enhance communication about lessons with students and parents, I’m introducing Class Dojo to the studio - some of you may be familiar with it from school classrooms. This will allow me to keep in touch with students and parents regarding student progress and behavior on a weekly basis. I have begun to set up the program and will add parents soon. Look for a link sometime in September so you can begin receiving lesson and progress reports.
Additional Lesson Time!
One of the things I noted this year as I reviewed lessons and student progress was how much the students in 45-minute lessons benefitted from the additional 15 minutes of lesson time each week. Whether working at the piano, the table, or the computer, students who experienced extra lesson time made more consistent progress with fewer frustrations. This was true both at the lesson and during their practice time at home. The extra time also allowed me to visit with the students and get to know each of them better, instead of having to jump right into the lesson materials. This in turn improved the student/teacher rapport, as well as made it easier for me to research and select music that motivated and encouraged.
After observing the benefits of this additional 15 minutes of instruction, I have decided to shift all students to 45-minute lessons this coming year. Students will now receive 3 hours of instructional time per month, instead of 2 hours. This will include an increase in cost for those who have been in 30-minute lessons, but will also mean students will receive two additional lessons worth of time per month. The extra time will be used to help the student better understand how to approach practicing during the week and to work with the new programs. My additional hope is that this will help reduce the anxiety some students have about lessons and practicing, which in turn may help them to stay enrolled in lessons!
Options for At-Home Help and Make-up Lessons!
I now have an updated iPad, and therefore have access to FaceTime, Messenger Video Chat and Skype. While I do not think it is the most ideal way to hold lessons on a regular basis, I would like to try using these platforms when a student is unable to make it to the studio for a lesson or if the student needs some additional help during the week. For example, if the student has been sick and should stay home but could tolerate a short internet lesson, we can hold that lesson online. Or if a student has a question or needs encouragement between lessons we can schedule a short online chat to get them back on track.
To help defer some of the increase in cost I am offering an incentive program to all students for the coming year. Your referrals are how the studio grows and stays healthy so that I can offer new and exciting opportunities for Luck Studios students! When you refer someone to the studio, please let them know to give me your name. If the family you referred signs up for lessons and pay their first month tuition you will receive a discount of half-off your next month’s tuition! There are business cards and posters available at the studio and you are welcome to take as many as you need. Thank you so much for your referrals!
As always, I am willing to speak with you if you have any questions or concerns. Also, parents are always welcome to attend a lesson to see what the student and I are working on and check on their progress. Please feel free to contact me by phone, email, or text any time! I am looking forward to a GREAT year of lessons!!