A few years ago I made the leap and bought my first ipad and started using Piano Maestro and it totally revolutionized my teaching studio. My students were so excited I was using technology and the game format really had them all practicing hours more than they had been!
I was happy and my students were happy! I got involved with the Joytunes Teacher’s Facebook Group and found out that by learning how to use ipad technology and the Piano Maestro App, I could help other teachers who had questions. I was having a lot of fun, felt super smart and was even awarded Teacher of the Month–twice, in December of 2015 and April of 2016 for the contributions I made to the Joytunes Community.
I have made some great teacher friends from the Joytunes Facebook teacher group and other piano teacher groups. One friend was a Piano Maestro Expert, Becki Tapia Laurent. I say she’s an expert because she literally wrote the book
The Insider’s Guide to JoyTunes’ Piano Maestro
She helped me navigate new technology so many times and I was really impressed by her upbeat attitude and her willingness to give her time to me! Fast Forward to this month when I started a new sweet six year old student. Thanks to a language barrier, I had not been able to communicate to parents of a new student that she needed a keyboard for lessons. They kept telling me she had a keyboard or organ at home, but I had seen the picture in a video on the mom’s phone…a tiny blue plastic foot long toy keyboard with microphone sticking out of the top. I am not sure if it was a matter of lack of funds to purchase a new keyboard or the insistence that they already owned one! Once more, the toy keyboard was so out of tune, the girl was transposing all of the black key songs onto various white and black keys for the ipad to recognize the notes. Her first lesson was Saturday afternoon. By Sunday morning the next day she had racked up 2 hours and 45 minutes of practice and the next week she practiced 7 hours and 30 minutes and had been practicing a level 2a song. What?! All on a tiny toy keyboard. I posted her weekly report with a summary on the Joytunes Teacher Facebook Page to BRAG on her, but what happened next is amazing. My friend Becki read the post and replied with “problem solved…it’s coming on Friday” What did she mean? She had BOUGHT my student a keyboard on Amazon and it was shipped to my house that week.
Today I had the joy of presenting my student with this wonderful keyboard from Ms. Becki that she absolutely loved ( and squealed with delight when I gave it to her).
I am writing this blog post to challenge all of my fellow teachers make this year COUNT….to take the plunge and add the technology to your studio if you haven’t already…to connect with other IMT’s on Facebook and find your teacher BFF to bounce your ideas off of or just to vent!
I ask you to think about the kind of person “my Ms. Becki” is and what kind of joy you can bring to others. It doesn’t have to be a big gift, it can be overlooking the late fee of the single mom who is struggling to juggle everything or teaching a student from a poor neighborhood for 1/2 price this year or organizing a ride or dinnner for a retired music teacher who is lonely. So often we have found ourselves being taken advantage of, being asked to play for events for free, to accept late payments (or hunt down those parents who never pay) that it is easy to become rough and jaded. Ms. Becki has reminded me to give what I can and to be joyful in that giving.
Need more great ideas to build your studio? Check out my new book available on Amazon!