If you’ve been reading my blog or perhaps my book 60 Day Makeover: Music Teacher Edition you’ll know that I am a big fan of Marie Kondo and her books on decluttering your home/life/existenence!
Last year I did really and truly declutter many parts of my house including my studio using the Marie Kondo method of gathering all like items, and discarding what didn’t “spark joy.” I got rid of things by dropping them off at my local Disabled American Veterans Thrift store and offering them up to members of our local MTNA chapter on their facebook page. A true “Konvert,” I actually got RID of sheet music (and you know my family thought they would bury me with it all!) and things like flashcards that I have replaced with apps like
This year, I’m into the new Hygge movement. What is hygge? You pronounce it “hue-guh” and you can read a NY Times article about it here!
or this book that is always sold out at my barnes and noble!
In a nutshell, Hygge means cozy, warm and togetherness. In both Danish and Norwegian, hygge refers to “a form of everyday togetherness.” Teacher Marianne tells me that I could have also titled this post “Make your studio HYGGELIGT!” How fun is that!
I have to admit that there is nothing like going to someone’s home and feeling comfortable! So often a classroom or work-room like a violin/piano studio can feel clinical OR like a cluttered heap of music. We need our teaching studios to be practical; to have furniture that will stand up to the hundreds of parents who will sit and listen, to have the sturdy cold metal manhassat music stands and bright lights to read music by! How can we soften our studios to be warm and inviting spaces, to be clutter free but not pristine cells?
Here are Ms. Judy’s Top TEN Tips to Hygee your Music Teaching Studio:
1: Say goodbye to your black music stand-you can purchase a wood one here Frederick English Tutor Music Stand – Walnut Satin, a painted one like this Manhasset 4806SGE Model 48 Symphony Music Stand, OR paint yours like Melody Payne did in this blog post:
2: Add some pillows to your studio waiting area. Be sure to get those that have removable and washable covers and always hang to dry to avoid shrinking. I love having a few different sets and change them throughout the year!
You can also recover your piano bench cover or make an entirely new one easily out of furniture foam from the craft store and a bit of material. If sewing isn’t your thing you can also find a pillowcase that will work with the size of your piano bench and match your decor.
3: Add “fun” seating. Large floor pillows or small ottomans are fun for the kids in your studio to wait on and can double as chairs or tables when you need them to play a game or do theory off the bench.
4: Take a moment to sit in the perspective of your studio parents. How is the seating? Lighting? Do you have magazines for students or parents to read? I always have a current subscription to Highlights For Children and Reader’s Digest as well as the Musician’s Union Monthly Magazine and the MTNA Journals out, as well as some books about the Suzuki Method like Nurtured by Love: The Classic Approach to Talent Education. I also have a magnifying glass because children and parents enjoy using one! It’s a nice and cozy touch! Just make sure you don’t have a stack of the last 2 year’s worth of magazines out. The most current month does suffice! If your budget doesn’t allow for magazine subscriptions at the moment, check out your local library for the last month’s issues. Additionally, my local library offers a place where library patrons can place their old magazines and take home a new one! For seating I have a very cushy loveseat as well as a more modern arm-less chair that accommodates any client.
5: Is the temperature constant in your studio? I remember dreading going to one of my violin teachers studios in the summer; I would be sweating profusely by the end of my lesson because there was no air conditioning! If you are not in control of the heating or cooling, a small fan or heater may be a welcome addition to your studio space. My students love THIS heaterIvation 5,100 BTU Infrared Quartz Fireplace – 1500W Electric Heater with Realistic Flame, Digital Thermostat, Remote Control, Timer & Safety Shutoff that looks like it has flames. I love it because while it does heat up the room, it physically doesn’t get hot enough to burn the littlest of my students!
6: Does your studio SMELL nice? Oil Diffusers like Radha Beauty Essential Oil Diffuser 7 colors – 120 ml Cool Mist Aroma Humidifier for Aromatherapy with changing Colored LED Lights, Portable, Waterless Auto Shut-off and Adjustable Mist mode are very popular these days but I try to avoid scents due to my asthma. I occasionally burn one of these (approved by my doctor) soy candles in my studio and always keep that bathroom deodorizing spray in the studio bathroom!
7: Seasonal Decorations: Most of my students comment on my decorations and especially enjoy the ones I place on the piano. Just don’t OVERDO it (like I tend to do at Easter and Christmas) as this just adds to the clutter. Clean uncluttered surfaces are so pleasing to the eye that I try to do a daily cleanse of my desk and teaching area to minimize the clutter. These String SwingsString Swing CC01V-C Hardwood Home & Studio Wall Mount Violin Hanger – Cherry are fantastic ways to store and display all of your instruments.
8: Entryway Ease: Do you have coat hooks and a place to place shoes if necessary? I have two black benches in the hallway of my house (where my studio is located) and nice coat hooks that are at the Kids’ level, about four feet off of the ground behind my front door. This way parents and children have a place to set their books and put coats away and take off shoes (a fast rule in my studio thanks to my Asthma!)
9: A decorated bulletin board: I try to make my life simple by sticking with a basic design and adding a theme to match a studio contest or season. It’s pleasant to look at and a great way to convey information!
10: Organize your teaching materials in an eye pleasing way. One of my favorite things is the small three drawer plastic bin I have wedged between my piano and grey table/bookshelf near where I sit to teach. Clear plastic drawers are not exactly hygge or pleasant to look at, so I took a roll of patterned duct tape and covered the front in two pieces of tape to make a nicer outer cover. This way the contents are hidden, the colors match the plastic shoe box sized containers that are on the shelf adjacent, and students don’t ask to see what’s inside! My first year of teaching I MADE storage containers for my music out of contact paper covered cereal boxes and I remember when the ability to afford purchasing the contact paper had me excited!
Another way I stored a much used studio item-rubber stamps and ink-was by placing them in empty, clean, plastic blueberry cartons, which allowed me to view the contents easily and they also had a chance to dry out. As time passed, I was able to purchase a dedicated plastic drawer unit to house all my stamps. My point is, don’t beat yourself up if you want to have a tidy and hygge studio but can’t afford nice things you want yet. You can easily find magazine holders and shelves to house your music at yard sales as well-and in the meantime keep a wish notebook or file on your computer that has pictures and links to products you really wish to have in your studio but can’t afford yet. When you do have the means to upgrade, please think about donating your items to college age teachers in your local College Student MTNA chapter who are starting to teach! More ideas on organizing your piano studio can be found in this older blog post as well as a thousand more on pinterest!
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