Are you STUCK in your studio teaching and wish you could be outside? That’s where I am at some days. Here in Kansas we have had some nice weather after a bunch of very cold and dreary days, and I’m sometimes SUPER sad that I teach in a basement studio without windows.
~Start and end each lesson on a positive note. Are you excited to see your little student Johnny or secretly dreading yet another lesson teaching him the same concepts you have for the past 3 weeks solid? I begin most lessons with the phrase “I’m so excited you are here, there are so many cool/fun/exciting things I want to do today!”
And then I make the cool/fun/exciting things happen! (this can be as simple as drawing out a grand staff and coming up with a new silly way to remember the space notes of the bass clef or having your student help you test out a new app!)
~Get some houseplants and flowers in your studio! I always have a few houseplants around (oxygen!) and during winter especially I start picking up some flowers in bright cheerful colors at the store. This week I have an assortment of yellow flowers in my house-I buy a large bouquet and cut the stems short and place in old jam jars all around my home to add a bit of cheer.
~More lighting! Is your studio a bit dark and dreary? A few lamps can make your studio physically brighter and more hygge as well. I just ordered one of these
natural sunlight lamps for my studio. I’ll be sure to come back to this post and write a review!
~Take a multi-vitamin! These were recommended to be by a pharmacist friend and I like them!
~Get enough sleep! I’m famous for living on 4 or 5 hours of sleep (that includes my power nap) but in 2018 I’ve been focusing on getting enough rest after reading some pretty scary stories about the health detriments of skipping sleep like this one: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/happens-body-dont-get-enough-sleep/
My strategies this year have included setting my iphone’s bedtime setting to remind me to get ready for bed, and having a reward of doing something I enjoy before bed to help me unwind, like reading a book!
~Join a facebook group where you can VENT and unwind! Some great groups for this are “Piano Teachers BMW” (venting) and my own “Piano Teacher Tools” and “Piano Teacher Central” for watercooler/shop talk.
~Wear bright colors! Today I’m wearing an orange shell and yellow cardigan with a parrot pin and an orange and white striped scarf. http://www.health.com/health/article/0,,20411073,00.html It’s harder to be blue if you’re wearing yellow! https://www.cnn.com/2017/06/30/health/cnn-colorscope-yellow/index.html
~Chill out! Some teachers enjoy a glass of wine (this is something I try to do but don’t really enjoy) and some teachers get a massage. My idea of chilling out is with a bit of chocolate and a good book! I actually have to schedule a break for myself and set a cell phone reminder that it is a BREAK and not time to clean the rest of my house or reply to texts and emails! I also recently joined a gym that has fantastic hydromassage machines and massage chairs that I use after working out.
~Connect! Today, I had lunch with an owner of a local music store, not because I wanted to ask a favor, or had something important to discuss, but because it’s good to get out and spend some time with people in your community! If you are stuck in a rut of hanging out with your family or a few close friends, you might consider adding a business lunch with some fellow MTNA teachers or organize a coffee chat for some friends that you would like to get to know better. Facebook is great but it’s only by actually spending time with each other that we can forge really meaningful relationships with each other.
~I have a HUGE TV over my piano (which i usually hook up to my ipad for group classes or if a parent would like to see what apps a student is working on) that I use to show some really spectacular art from google chromecast app. I often will show a youtube video to a pianist of their performance (and after a few minutes the pictures/screensaver from chromecast start showing.)
This year I had a bad case of the teacher blues after my dear friend I’ve had since childhood passed away. Don’t be afraid to tell friends and family members about how your feeling (ask if they can help and if you can’t shake these blue feelings, definitely talk to your doctor about these feelings! There are also awesome apps like my favorite, the SHINE APPhttps://apps.apple.com/us/app/shine-calm-anxiety-stress/id1293721589
and even online therapists you can talk to if you are having trouble deciding if you’re experiencing something more serious. Depression can actually leave you unable to think clearly, which you can read more about here, https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/managing-major-depressive-disorder/can-depression-affect-your-ability-to-think
so it’s really important to get help right away if you aren’t finding relief!
Thanks for reading and hope you are perking up soon!