New-ONLY Classical Music App from Apple Music
Like many classical musicians, I’ve spent way too much of my life trying to find the correct piece of classical music on apple music. I love to make a playlist for each of my symphony concerts so I can listen to the music by simply asking Siri to start my playlist. Unfortunately I am usually unable to create a complete playlist on apple music and have to remember to go to youtube and find the piece. Worse is when Apple music decides to play movements of a large symphony out of order, or includes other works from the same composer …Read more
Secrets to a Successful Piano or Violin Studio: Retention-but how?
I have a very large and very successful piano and violin studio. I’m the only teacher in my studio and I don’t teach in groups (I do have additional group lessons for my private students. I previously taught groups and prefer private lessons) It IS possible to have a large successful studio without having independent contractors or employees! Often teachers ask me what my SECRET is to running such a successful studio. There is not one single magic secret of course, but lots of good business practices and fun teaching strategies combined that make my studio successful. One “secret” is …Read more
Ring in the New Year with Auld Lang Syne
I love the start of each new year; new resolutions that are unbroken and a new calendar with clean crisp pages. When I get around to taking down my holiday decorations my house even looks new again. My piano and violin students are never keen on embracing the new year in the same way. Those familiar Christmas and Hanukkah pieces which they had perfected since October are now a thing of the past and we are going back to those old “boring” books. Today I’ll share my strategy for making a smooth tradition from Holiday favorites to “back to the …Read more
Violin Teacher Calendar
Let’s face it-musicians get a bad rap for being creating yet “disorganized.” Create an organized music studio in 2023 with this unique Violin Teacher calendar from #ViolinJudy! This calendar is a monthly format with famous Violin composer birthdays from Suzuki books 1-8 as well as USA Holidays. The start day of each week is MONDAY. Great for a teacher to jot down students’ lesson times with room for notes. You can also print a copy for each student and add your own Studio events like recitals, group lessons, concerts, fun community events and more! Plenty of room for notes …Read more
Spring Recital Program 2022
Prizes you can send your students in the mail!
To give or to NOT give prizes to your students…this is a contentious topic among independent music teachers! I didn’t give my students prizes when I started teaching but I wished I would have! Here are some some pics of some students with prizes at my Violin and Piano studio: As you know, I love to tell you about my experiences with my own daughter as they really changed my teaching style! Whenshe was small(aged 0-3) we were blessed to literally win a lottery to have a Parents As Teachers educator come to our home once a month and give …Read more
This year I found the sweetest “Plush Angel Slap Bracelets” and was so happy that I could purchase them for my piano and violin students. I purchased these from Oriental Trading here for LESS THAN ONE DOLLAR EACH and that really helps me stick to my budget! Violin teachers are already familiar with the use of a bracelet with something attached to use as a teaching aide to keep the wrist back from the violin so instead of displaying the aforementioned violin wrist buddy, here is a new way to use your bracelets.. This Angel gives a holiday twist to that …Read more
A Violin Fall
What is your favorite part of fall? I love apple cider, raking leaves, pumpkin spice lattes and, of course, hearing my students play these fun pieces from my “A Violin Fall” collection of pieces! This is it: my Studio Licensed book of fall themed violin solo music, “A Violin Fall.” This book is now available for VIOLA as well! To purchase this book with studio license for just $39 click here: www.paypal.me/violinjudy Remember that with a studio license you can legally print as many as you want for your students. Having music in your studio library that your pre-twinkle students …Read more
A Violin Valentine
Want to buy “A Violin Valentine”? Please send $35 to www.paypal.me/violinjudy and we will send it to the email address you paid with through paypal within 24 hours. Please let me know in the PayPal comments which book you purchased! With unlimited reproducible copies for your studio (please share the link to purchase with teacher friends, not the download) this makes a quick and easy gift for your students just in time for Valentine’s Day ! Take a peek inside below and please let me know how you like this collection! This book has 21 pages of Open String through …Read more
Say thanks to those who really deliver!
Update: I came home from running an errand and was so pleased to see my mail carrier pulling up! As he started to get out with packages I yelled for him to wait and I took out the basket of goodies and he was so pleased! He also agreed I could share this picture with you all! I was browsing Instagram and came across the sweetest post from a friend who had left a box of goodies for her delivery drivers. I immediately jumped up! I knew I had all the supplies to make my own box. I found a …Read more
10 Ways Beat the Music Teacher Blues
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. Here are my top tips for beating the music teacher blues, no matter what time of year! ~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 …Read more
12 Days of Inspiration Day 4: New Year’s Resolutions for your Studio!
This is the fourth post in a series. Check out Day 1 of the 12 Days of Inspiration over at Colourful Keys , Day 2 at Mallory’s Music Studio and Day 3 at Music Educator Resources and check back for links to the rest of the days at the end of this post! It’s the fourth day of Christmas, and instead of four calling birds I’d like to share with you my own personal New Year’s Resolutions for my Studio! I’m big into goal setting and making sure that my actions funnel into fulfilling those goals because it really works for me! First: Stay …Read more
2017 Favorite Things-Ukulele Teacher Edition
Here are my top picks for Ukulele Teachers this holiday season! These studio resources are a collection of products that I’ve personally tested this year in our MANY ukulele classes and I assure will they’ll bring you some comfort and joy-with students developing great technique and chord changing skills while you keep your sanity! 1. Yousician-Yes, this is the app I personally used to learn the ukulele in about a week! Price varies from free-$110 for a year subscription. 2. Chord Blocks-under $25. These “Chord Cubes” are super cute and fun. We use them in class as a challenge. Students …Read more
2017 Favorite Things-Piano Teacher Edition!
Here are my top picks for Piano Teachers this holiday season! These studio resources are a collection of products that I’ve personally tested this year and I assure will bring you some comfort and joy-with students developing great technique and note reading skills while you keep your sanity! Note Speed-around $25 for a primer-level 6 of high quality playing cards. Ask any teacher who has purchased note speed and you’re sure to get a glowing review. This game is easily THE best purchase i’ve made for my studio this year. My piano, violin and ukulele students ALL love it and …Read more
Favorite Things 2017 Violin Teacher Edition
Here are my top picks for Violin Teachers this holiday season! These studio resources are a collection of products that I’ve personally tested this year and I assure will bring you some comfort and joy-with students developing great technique while you keep your sanity! 1. Bow Buddy-around $23 These are really helping my students develop a great bow hold! We do 3 weeks on and 2 weeks off until bow grip has improved! They’re a bit expensive but you can ask students to purchase their own and donate to your studio when they’re finished! My daughter had the tip of …Read more
The Makeup Lesson Solution!
Recently I’ve had a LOT of students who are asking for the popular Youtube/Facetime/Skype makeup lessons that I offer. Then one day last week I was sick myself (but still well enough to facetime some of my lessons) Even though the instructions for getting the most out of your tuition are in my policy letter, I kept conveying the same information, so I felt it was time for a Handy Handout! There are lots of ways you may know how to create a visually pleasing handout. I love microsoft publisher, however there is an even easier and FREE way to create …Read more
#TeachingTipTuesday with #ViolinJudy FIDGET SPINNER WEEK!
Hi everyone! Thanks again for checking out my blog. Did you know I do a LIVE #TeachingTipTuesday video every week on my facebook page? You can find my page at www.facebook.com/violinjudystudio Check it out! In today’s video I talk about my fidget spinner week. I am having students do a variety of things while they spin their spinner including these nice worksheets from Teachers Pay Teachers Seller Tracy King https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Music-Fidget-Spinner-Fun-3200012 I showed everyone my “handy handout” that I made using canva! It’s great to have something tangible that students and parents can refer to! I talked about using a”Magic Measure Bag” …Read more
Sending a Student Newsletter in the Digital Age
As an independent music teacher you may feel like you do enough already, but it’s really important to market yourself if you don’t have a full studio or a waiting list. The best and easiest way to get new students is by being so awesome that all of your current students will go to their friends and family and tell them why they should take lessons from you. We musicians tend to be creative and also a bit disorganized. That’s why it’s a great idea to give important information to your students in a monthly newsletter. We all have had …Read more
Piano Teachers: Say Goodbye to Wiggly Feet!
Every piano teacher has this problem; a student fresh from school who has sat for 7 of the 8 past hours and now arrives at piano lesson BURSTING with energy. Or you may have a special student who is ALWAYS wiggly and really NEEDS to wiggle, and we WANT them to be able to wiggle if it is truly going to help them learn…What is a piano teacher to do? We can’t let their little feet kick the piano and sometimes the PINK BLOB solution isn’t enough. I’ve been “Beta Testing” this teaching device in my studio for the past …Read more
Ladybug Recital Reminder!
It’s that time of year when independent music teachers start to feel a bit crazy-yes, it’s SPRING RECITAL time! No one knows why, but we all seem to have a Spring Recital and it’s really frustrating when a parent or student says “Wait, we have a recital this Saturday?” I didn’t know!” You should know that not everyone will read your newsletters, and if you’re not sending a newsletter, check out this guest blog post I did at the Plucky Pianistia’s blog a few years ago….https://thepluckypianista.blogspot.com/2015/08/guest-post-communicating-with.html Now, this year I actually made a HUGE mistake and scheduled my spring recital …Read more
Make your studio Full of Hygge!
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,” …Read more
Start Teaching with Music For Little Mozarts!
A few of my piano teacher friends noticed that I have a new offering this Summer-And introductory piano group class-I’m calling it my “Little Mozarts Preschool Classes.” Everyone was curious how I came up with the idea; how long each class would be, how many days held and price-you can read the page advertising this new class to potential students below if you wish! As I thought about how to answer some of the questions from teachers, I realized that doing a blog post about exactly why I love Music For Little Mozarts Ciriculum (M4LM,) who I teach it to and …Read more
The Teaching Aide Every Piano teacher needs!
Hi, and thanks for checking out my blog! I’m so excited to share this new device that we have been using in my piano studio!!!!!!!!!! It’s the “Pink Blob” as we have named it! Do you have lots of students who are driving you NUTS with their constant wiggling and fidgeting no matter how many times you ask them to stop? Keeping a child’s attention on their piano lesson can be difficult for the most seasoned piano teacher. Doing so when that child has autism, ADHD or some other learning disability can be even more challenging. Many of these children …Read more
Starting your own Little Music Classes
I love teaching little students however it’s a big job preparing them for a solid 15 minutes of sitting on the piano bench and learning! I started offering “Little Music” Classes and the graduates have proved the worth of the class. Starting a “Mommy and Me” type class is an investment and dedication on the part of the teacher. This blog post is one of many where I will give you free tips and ideas for starting your own class. You’ll eventually have a fresh crop of parents and students who are ready to learn! Step One: Advertise. I understand …Read more
A Musical Minute to Win It Valentine’s Edition
A Musical Minute To Win It: Valentine’s Edition Are you ready for the easiest Valentine for your music students? Print one page, buy a few bags of candy and you’re SET for this fun challenge! Read on and thanks for stopping by! A few days ago I started researching games we can play in centers at my daughter’s grade school for her Valentine’s Class Party. As a room mother, I have a responsibility to make the party FUN but as a teacher I’m always hoping to sneak in some learning too! I saw the cutest game on pinterest here from the …Read more
“Going Paperless”-The Scenic Route!
We’ve all heard about or know someone who has done the magical elusive task of “going paperless” in their music studio, but who exactly are these people and how did they do it?! I’ll admit freely that I love technology and want so much to embrace it fully, however there are times when it has got the best of me. Today I’d like to share with you some ideas I have implemented in my studio as well as some ideas from other teachers with some serious skills! The first thing I’ve done differently in 2017 is eliminate my policy letter …Read more
Super Shopping Game!
My students LOVE playing this simple “Shopping” game. A few teachers have asked me to expand on an earlier blog post and explain how I modify this game to make it work for a variety of ages. This game takes about 3-5 minutes to play, I usually have students play it in the middle of the lesson, and it is so fun that they’ll be asking you to play it next week! This is an “off the bench” or” away from the music stand” activity and is appropriate for ages 3- 8. Materials you will need -A handheld basket or shopping …Read more
Cool Resources for your Intermediate Violin Student
Oh how my little tiny three, four and five year old Violin students love me! Then at age six and seven they still laugh at my jokes. At eight we’ve usually grown used to each other (and some of the good manners have worn off) and by the time they reach middle school they are suddenly unable to hear me yelling “legato” “whole bow” or “intonation” as loud as I can. Thankfully by high school my students are usually competitive and driven thanks to the wonderful youth symphony program we have here they hang on my every word…some even take notes. Yes, it’s …Read more
Seven Ways for Piano Teachers to save $$ on Music!
If you’re a piano teacher and you love to have that “perfect” piece of music for your students, you’ll have experienced how downright expensive it is to buy the latest and greatest music for your students. It is SO tempting to copy music, especially when you are starting out teaching, but If you have any composer friends you will know how this hurts them and our industry in general. I have a HUGE lending library of over 1,000 pieces of sheet music and books that I let my Violin and Piano students borrow. This morning I replaced some …Read more
January Lesson Fun
Happy New Year! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNUDWDa9rtQ It’s official-Christmas is over and the decorations are all coming down. In my studio, it feels refreshed but a little bare without my crazy decorations everywhere. If you’re missing all the fun of your Christmas games, songs and resources that you used last month, take a moment and pull out some winter activies that you students will still enjoy. Here are some of the “specials” we are using in my studio this month: This month the rule is if it snows we are having a FLASH pajama day! So of course, all of my students are …Read more
How I saved my studio…
Last summer my local public school district decided to lengthen the school day and have fewer days of school to save money and balance their budget. This could have had a disastrous effect on my studio’s income. I went through stages; denial, grief, depression and was really unhappy about the situation. Once the board had voted and the decision was final I was ANGRY. Then I decided to do something about it. The introvert me wanted to tell people that I would be fine and had wanted to cut back anyway, but the bold businesswoman me took steps that not …Read more
Plans for a March Madness Basketball Piano Camp
Hi! Thanks for heading over to my blog! If you’d like to get awesome free stuff from me, please enter your email in the pop up box when you leave. I’m very protective of emails so you don’t have to worry about getting spam! You can also keep it touch with me and see the latest updates at my Facebook page www.facebook/com/violinjudystudio and find my 60 Day Makeover Book here Thanks! Camps are the new “thing” in piano teaching and I want to tell you about the fun Basketball camp I’m planing in my studio for spring break 2017. If …Read more
Keep your Keys Clean!
It’s that time of year when-EW-Kids are gross and sneeze/cough all over you and your beautiful piano keys. I get asked by teachers a LOT what i’m doing to keep my keyboards clean…PLEASE DO NOT EVER USE CLOROX OR LYSOL WIPES! i always keep my basket of Music for Little Mozart Stuffies on my piano. The first step is PREVENTION. I have all my students wash their hands with foaming hand soap like this: I’ve been using THIS little light for a few years, and it seems to work well at killing the germs because i don’t get sick very often. …Read more
These are a few of my favorite things!
Hi everyone, I just did a LIVE Facebook Video about how I’m using these products and why I love them so much and now i’m following up with where to purchase them so you don’t have to go on a wild goose chase! See the video at www.facebook.com/violinjudystudio Mozart Mouse and Friends Plushies–a must have for teaching with the Music for Little Mozarts series. Music Key Signature Teacher-helps them make sense of the circle of fifths Music Note Teacher-great learning aide especially for those without an ipad at home. Shout out to Amy for the hair thingys idea! You can …Read more
Moana Rhythm Run: A new rhythm app for your studio!
This is an independent review of Moana Rhythm Run, a new app that you may want to purchase for your Music Studio. I have been using it with my students for a week and asking them for their kid reviews. The description of the app from the itunes store: Find your rhythm…chase your destiny Tap your way through this rhythmic, action-adventure game featuring music from the new Disney film, Moana! Play as both Moana and Maui as you journey to restore the Heart of Te Fiti. Voyage to distant islands, take on Kakamora pirate ships, and battle in the Realm …Read more
Getting to Know your Students
I want to confess: I used to be SUPER MS. JUDY and I’ve been slacking off… What do I mean by Super Teacher? Well, before I had my own little girl, I was really involved in my students’ lives and spent a good chunk of time outside the studio spending time with them. Yes, I used to be such an even more awesome teacher before I had my own famly in that I would go to their ball games, science fairs, Christmas pageants, boy scout ceremonies and birthdays and confirmations! I also would arrange with their parents and school …Read more
My Shoulder Rest Solution and a NEW shoulder rest.
I have been playing the Violin for 30 years, and for 29 of those years, I’ve had shoulder pain when I play (and after I play!) I have tried Alexander Technique (named after Frederick Matthias Alexander, is an educational process that develops the ability to realign posture and to avoid unnecessary muscular and mental tension,) Feldenkrais Technique (a system designed to promote bodily and mental well-being by conscious analysis of neuromuscular activity via exercises that improve flexibility and coordination and increase ease and range of motion) Yoga, Physical Therapy, Chiropractors, and all sorts of crazy things (lying on tennis balls, …Read more
How to Change your marketing strategy today!
Even though my studio is “full” I am always looking for new students for my waiting list. Continually Marketing your studio is Job Security; a family moves or quits suddenly and you’re left with a hole in your schedule and a chunk of your income has vanished. I want every Independent Music Teacher (IMT) out there to try THIS strategy for finding new students! “Cater To the Niche” If you’re running facebook ads, know that millions of people are viewing your ad on a tablet or ipad, so why not cater to that market and adjust your ad to reflect …Read more
Easy Peasy Practice!
I want to share some practicing secrets with you today! If you’ve read my bio, you’ll know that I’ve been teaching for over 20 years. I’ve also been practicing for 30 years. WOW. When you make practicing convenient, it’s more likely to get done. Mysolution for violinists is the “String Swing.” Investing in string swings for my studio has been one of the best thing I’ve ever done. I have a few on my walls and even a stand string swing for my daughter’s small violin. This way when she walks by it, she wants to pick it …Read more
Practice Boxes: A fun treat for your students!
My students are SO HAPPY this week because I’m handing out my Practice Boxes. What is a practice box? It’s any container with little compartments (I use a pill box like this:) I buy mine at the DOLLAR TREE for 1.00 each but you can find them on Amazon. and I fill up the compartments with little treats like Candy, beads and little toys and stickers. I give one out to each student, and tell them they get to have each day’s treat after they practice at home. They are instructed to bring it back to me for the next …Read more
The 60 Day Makeover: Music Teacher Edition-Sale!
Today I published my first book, and it’s a great feeling. Grab it now, while it’s on sale! Thanks to everyone who helped make it possible!Read more
FAQ Answered! I use THESE method books!
THE most common question I receive from teachers (after-do you EVER sleep!) is WHAT method books do I use (and no, I don’t ever sleep!) Usually teachers have two method books they use. Rarely you’ll find a very dedicated teacher who knows every method book and picks the best one for each student. I have been both of those teachers. I started teaching on the method books I was raised on, however, I realized that change is a good thing! I am not a traditional piano teacher, because I didn’t set out to be a piano teacher or a pianist (e.g.ViolinJudy) …Read more
Why I taught until MIDNIGHT!
As an Independent Music Teacher (IMT) have your students ever asked you to reschedule for some CRAZY times? (I know mine sure have) but I have a NIFTY line in my policy letter about NO MAKEUP LESSONS. WHY then, was I teaching a family of three piano lessons until Midnight last Thursday? My lovely little students (ages 4,6 and 8)went off to visit family in Mongolia this summer…three months of vacation and NO piano lessons?! I also have a nifty line in my policy letter that states that students must pay regardless of attendance, including summer lessons. I felt horrible …Read more
new teaching aides & a Shopping Game!
Do you ever get BORED teaching? If you are, think about how your students must feel! Kidding aside, it’s so fun to go to conventions and trade shows and see all of the latest teacher tools and gadgets. Here is a roundup of my latest and favorite products. Music Note Wipe off Boards/Placemats: These look great, i’m getting enough for each child in my beginner group classes to have their own! Edit: Not as durable as I hoped but still great! Be sure to have Black Dry Erase Markers for these because my green and blue dry erase markers were …Read more
Poke-go Studio Challenge: Gotta Count Them ALL!
So many of my piano teacher friends are asking me how i’m doing my pokemon studio challenge this year and I have to say, I’ve just started and pushed the start date back to September but it is looking SO cool so far. Feel Free to Steal My ideas! Pokemon: Gotta Count Them All Practice Contest September 2016-May 2017 The Goal of the contest is to create a fun Pokemon song…an original Creation of your own! Each student receives a free rhythm sheet and Pokemon Staff Paper in September. They can start writing their composition right away or wait until …Read more
Office Hours for an IMT:Free Printable!
We IMT’s (Independent Music Teachers) do so much more than just sit around and listen to children (a common misconception) and we are spending more time at the computer or tablet. Finding resources like flash cards and games, buying and printing music with a studio license, connecting with other IMT’s with social media (like facebook,) finding new students and keeping in contact with current students takes up hours every day. I find myself getting sucked into social media and drifting away from my intended purpose, so I created a neat little timeline for my desk; i’m printing it out and …Read more
Why I’m giving my students gift cards?!
Each week I give my top practicing student (using the Piano Maestro App)a $5 giftcard to Barnes and Noble, Amazon or Target. Everyone young and old loves a giftcard and my students are willing to work hard to be in the running! Here are some winners and stats from past weeks~ And just look at these statistics! Five times more practicing even without a bribe is a serious reason to check out Piano Maestro App for teachers. Also, it’s FREE for registered teachers AND their students. THANKS JOYTUNES! Humans are motivated by bribes, that’s why we …Read more
Studio Makeover Challenge Day 18: SILLY
Today’s Studio Makeover Challenge is SILLY!!!! Think of something zany to do when a student makes a mistake…like ~dying groaning noises/fake falling out of your chair when they play a b natural,instead of b flat in the key of F. Practice doing it if you are not that type of teacher. At the end of the piece you could thank them for fixing the mistakes (like you have been magically healed!) ~using puppets to get students to play faster or slower (i have a turtle and a rabbit for this purpose) ~with violin students I sometimes become a human metronome …Read more
Teacher Studio Organization Challenge Day 17
Get out the chocolate or treat of your choice for this one: write a generic termination letter for your studio. It can say something about how the family has not met the expectations set forth in the studio policy and it is time to part ways. Then if the time comes, you’ll be prepared and the dreaded task will already be done! Also, I’m currently reading this book as part of the upbeat piano teachers facebook group! Feel free to download the e-book today (it’s about $15) and join us!Read more
Hi Everyone! It’s SHARP week here in my studio of Piano and Violin Students….I wanted to share what we’ve been having fun with. These activities take a whopping 3-5 minutes from your lesson and really are FUN! I have a “special” week about once or more a month. I really love my special weeks and surprising my students. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVy8rVp4qdo SHARP WEEK ACTIVITIES AND GAMES Sharp Pop-littles can name the note verbally, beginners can play some sharps-(will need help with B# and E#) and older kids can pretend all the sharps are double sharps! You can have a chat about Enharmonics …Read more
Studio Makeover Challenge: Day 5
Studio Makeover Challenge Day 5: Learn how to use Canva (watch their tutorial like these: https://designschool.canva.com/tutorials/ and create some new ads for fall lesson enrollment. If Canva is a already a breeze, watch a tutorial on posting a Facebook ad and plan when you want to start the campaign and Add the date to your calendar! Canva is how I make loads of super cute graphics like the one posted here…. and this one!Read more
Studio Makeover Challenge: Day 4
Studio Makeover Challenge Day 4: happy 4th of July! pin it! Make a cup of tea and create a studio Pinterest or spend 20 minutes pinning new ideas. Pick one to implement in the fall and list what you’ll need to do and purchase on your “to do” and studio shopping lists. Have Fun with this one!Read more
Studio Makeover Challenge: Day 3
Studio Makeover Challenge Day 3: Have a healthy snack while you write down at least one “reward/incentive thing” that each teacher you have had in their studio that you really liked….for example Mrs. Smith’s certificates of merit or Mr. Swanson’s Treasure Chest. The practice/color sheet from your middle school teacher you still liked to complete even though you were really “too old”. Think about any of those you would like to incorporate into your studio and make an action plan. This will be fun! Feel free to comment with some of your ideas!Read more
Studio Makeover Challenge: Day 2
Hi and Thanks for Checking in for Day 2 of my Do What you LOVE What you Do 30 Day Challenge! Studio Makeover Challenge Day 2: Set up a teaching studio Facebook page and invite your friends to like it. Email parents asking them for reviews. If you already have a page, invite your newer friends to like it, and spend some time looking at other teachers’ studio pages. Spend around 30 minutes on this task and the benefits will be great! Have fun and don’t get distracted by cat videos!Read more
Studio Makeover Challenge: Day 1-
Calling all Independent Music Teachers! Join me starting today for an AMAZING 30 day studio makeover challenge with an online celebration July 31st! Just spend a few seconds checking www.facebook.com/violinjudystudio or back here at the teacher talk section of www.violinjudy.com for your new daily challenge. Ecah task will take from 5-45 minutes daily and is designed to create a renewed teacher YOU; mind body and soul. Do you hear the siren call of teacher supplies in August and get excited to find new ideas about teaching? Are you slightly depressed at your dwindling studio roster after the plague of the …Read more
Make Today COUNT.
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 …Read more
10 Phrases for Curved Fingers
There is one thing that my piano and violin students have in common: they both need to be able to curve their fingers when they play. Do your students’ collapsed Joints drive you bonkers? Do you feel like you say “curve your fingers” about a thousand times a week? I created this free download you may be interested in having for your studio. It’s a good reminder to keep lessons fun. With these 10 Phrases for Curved Fingers, you’ll have a variety of sayings, and one of them might be the magic words for your student! If you’d like your …Read more
Five Ways to Get Paid
TIP #1: In my humble 20 years experience, the deposit fee is the single best thing that has happened in my studio. A Non-Refundable Deposit equals retention and immediately weeds out students who will have problems paying. Unless you are teaching piano lessons as a hobby, most of us NEED to be paid on time in order to provide for ourselves, our families, and we need to pay our bills and meet our commitments on time! I charge $30/year for the first year’s non refundable deposit per student and $10 per year per student after that. You may charge …Read more
I’m honored for my teaching studio business to be selected as one of Thumbtack’s Spolight Stories! Thanks Thumbtack!Read more
This past week was “Duck Week” in my studio. About once a month I do a themed week with a special learning game and I try to make one game work for each age and level. I found this cute duck game here: I also used these duck cut outs to make flashcards for the game. Students would correctly identify the symbol, note or chord I’d written on the card and then then could take a turn catching a duck. He with the most ducks won an extra cheese quacker, i mean, cracker! I bought packages of ritz crackers that …Read more
I have the best job this week….
This week I have the best job. I play Violin in the Wichita Symphony and perform for a full house of school children six different times for our Young People’s Concerts. Students travel on buses and eagerly await this field trip all year; I know because I saw the symphony play in grade school myself. I rehearse with former teachers, mentors and friends who care about each other, so when we play together it’s not just another gig, we are making the music come alive and telling it in our own new way. The sound of an Orchestra …Read more
Why I’m NOT Attending MTNA 2016
This year I won’t be going to the MTNA National Conference and here are the top 10 reasons WHY: 10. Time for Three is performing. Saturday night. Have you heard this amazing group perform? I have not had the chance to only hear them play, I’ve been in the backup band (I’m also a violinist in the Wichita Symphony www.wso.org) and have had the opportunity to play and learn from these amazing geniuses many times. They captivate audiences with their unique take on every genre of music from classical favorites to the latest pop music…I have many of their CD’s …Read more
Star Wars fun in the Studio!
Have your students caught the Star Wars fever yet? Some of mine are SO excited about the new movie. I am less excited because scary movies are not my favorite genre (I haven’t made it through the entire Disney’s The Little Mermaid yet) but I want to do anything that will get my students excited about practicing! I have a general theme every month, and did Star Wars in the Summer of 2014, so I dusted off some old resources and ideas, and have added some new… The place I visit first when planning a new theme is the teachers …Read more
New Year Re-Organization
I will not lie to you, I am deeply in love with my nearby Target store. It doesn’t help that my Target is a Super Target complete with Starbucks! The manager of my store happens to be an excellent human being who gives bear hugs and compliments on my outfits, which is the icing on the cake. If you frequent Target you know the front of the stores have a dollar spot, which is an area of novelty, useful and seasonal items all for $1, $3 or $5. I often find great teacher resources here and recently have found some …Read more
Happy Birthday Practice Contest
Every year I run the same practice contest in January, and it never gets old. Today I asked a group of students “does anyone remember what we do in January that is special?” I told them it has to do with the “most important holiday of the year” which is, of course, MY BIRTHDAY! Joking aside, I’m not really big into celebrating my birthday, but it is a great way to get your students to practice. I hand out these awesome practice charts (if you’d like a FREE practice chart to give your students, just sign up for my Free …Read more
Upbeat Piano Teachers Webinar on Sale NOW!
The webinar I was featured in is jam packed with hours of great teaching advice from myself and other cool and successful teachers! Much more affordable that going to a national conference, with some of the best teachers and fresh ideas to invigorate your studio! Find it here: http://tracyselle.com/?affcode=16250_1443796113f04fRead more
Notion App Writing Add-on Review
Last Sunday I spent a few hours composing some parts for Christmas music for my violin students. I like for them to have one song they all can play together, from my foam violinists to my advanced students. We play Christmas music every year as part of our Nursing Home Tour, and we only play in groups. I used my favorite composition app “NOTION” to compose the parts, which is available from the App store for ipad. I paid 14.99 for the app and I think it was a bargain! I have highly recommended this app in the past! This …Read more
Piano Teachers Webinar-Informative and Affordable-Including Yours Truly!
Teahers: Are you ready for a informative and affordable webinar? Use promo code LAUNCH2015 for 30% off TODAY http://tracyselle.com/?affcode=16250_1443796113f04fRead more
What I learned from Sarah Chang
One of my jobs is playing violin with the Wichita Symphony www.wso.org and one of the major perks is getting to meet major artists like Sarah Chang. When my daughter and I spoke to her after the concert I asked her how much she practiced at age 5 (which is how old my daughter is) and she said only about 30 minutes, but it was every day. My daughter was really surprised, because this isn’t much time at all for someone who sounded so amazing in the concert she had just heard. (here I am in my symphony black with …Read more
How I found 10 New Students in a 30 days with $60 budget:
I’m not a fan of “click-bait” headlines, but I couldn’t resist writing one for this blog post…because it’s true! While I can’t guarantee the same results in your area, I hope this will help if you’re ready to fill up your studio! After trying placing Facebook ads, buying some credits with Thumbtack, and asking for referrals from my local MTNA, I still had a few openings in my studio. In the past I haven’t tried to fill every possible open time slot in my studio because my husband worked full time and because I had a small child. Realizing that …Read more
Why I teach back to back lessons.
Many Piano teachers give lessons in the after school hours. In my studio that is increasingly hard to do as the school district I reside in has decided to extend the school day until 4:40. This means that students can’t come for lessons until 5 which greatly decreases my income earning potential! You can read about how I saved my studio here. I think there are great benefits to teaching back to back lessons. To maximize your income earning potential as an IMT (Independent Music Teacher) it is crucial to schedule as many people you can in the time you …Read more
Most Engaging Group Lesson for Pre-K…under $2!
If you give Violin and Piano instruction to preschoolers, you’ll know that it can be tricky to combine group lessons! Here is a great, easy and affordable group lesson that you can pull off with little prep, very few supplies and the kids will have a great time! For July, My Theme was “Doughy Dynamics.” This group lesson plan is designed for ages 3-6 (and really anyone who doesn’t know dynamics/needs to review dynamics and loves play-doh!) and I combined Violin and Piano Students in this group! You can have this group for Violin or Piano students alone, or it …Read more
Communicating with a Newsletter
As an independent music teacher you may feel like you do enough already, but it’s really important to market yourself if you don’t have a full studio or a waiting list. The best and easiest way to get new students is by being so awesome that all of your current students will go to their friends and family and tell them why they should take lessons from you. We musicians tend to be creative and also a bit disorganized. That’s why it’s a great idea to give important information to your students in a monthly newsletter. We all have …Read more
Piano Maestro: “Violin Maestro” HACKS
If you’re a Piano/Violin teacher, you’ve already heard of the absolutely fantastic App Piano Maestro, from JoyTunes. If you’re a Violin teacher you’ve probably never even heard about this totally amazing program, and I want to give you the inside scoop NOW! I have been using Piano Maestro with both my Piano and Violin Students, and am so happy that I can share the ways I’ve figured out how to get my Violinists in on the action! Be sure to bookmark this page NOW, so when you have your ipad and app ready, you can reference this page! I was …Read more
Group Lesson for June: Rice Sensory Bin & Father’s Day Crafts!
I started my group lessons Sunday afternoon with the really fun & popular RICE BIN! This group lesson was a breeze to plan, and all the supplies will have amazon links. The best part for you, is that there is still plenty of time to have this group yourself before Father’s Day, and you may have some of the supplies already! Supplies You will Need: White Rice Colored Rice Plastic Storage Bin Set of Measuring Cups with 1/8 cup and Any dark colored Sharpie/Permanent Marker. First I bought a large bag of white rice and added a smaller bag of …Read more
Studio Warming Party!
When I started teaching I had some pens and stickers in a little plastic box I’d carry around with me, but soon I needed a large tackle box to carry around everything. I’m lucky that I don’t have to travel anymore, (I’d need a set of rolling luggage to accommodate all my “necessary” supplies these days!) When you start teaching or have a small studio, the last thing your budget can handle is office supplies eating up your profits! If you are starting a studio I suggest spending most of your budget on advertising. My suggestion is a STUDIO LAUNCH/WARMING/STARTING …Read more
Five Ways to Help a Beginner Hold their Violin up!
Teachers know that before “fingers” can start, the student must be able to hold his Violin with no support from the hand…I have beginner Violin Students do the following 5 steps to ensure success! I tell all my students to lean their head over like they are taking a little nap. This ensures the instrument will be on the shoulder instead of the middle of the chest! Even my older Violin Club girls like this fun exercise: 1. Hold Violin with arms down in rest position. Shake teacher’s hand! 2. Hold Violin with arms down in playing position. Pat yourself …Read more
Warning: VSO: Violin Shaped Object
I had a new prospective student come in today for Violin lessons, and unfortunately a Violin had already been purchased for her that just wouldn’t be playable. The parent had told me on the phone that they had a violin purchased from Amazon, so I was fully prepared to deliver bad news. I also spent 30 minutes on the phone last week with a different mother who just couldn’t see why she should spend so much on a hobby for her kid. Today I really wished I had a more eloquent way of telling my excited new student that she …Read more
The FROG Game!
Here is a cheap, easy and FUN game for students of any level and works for any instrument! Supplies 1 RED party blowout for each student (I get an 8 pack at Dollar Tree or these work). Green Paper Frog Cutouts (I get mine at Dollar Tree or these work). Black Sharpie Frog Candies (I use these). Each month I pick a theme or two and pull my materials and put in a small 3 bin craft organizer I keep in between my piano and bookshelf right next to my chair. I had all of these materials ready to go …Read more
Do your students arrive too early? Solution here:
As you all know, I really love my students and iI’m so happy that my studio is full of kids and adults that I really truly enjoy being around. This is one of the joys of being an IMT (Independent Music Teacher;) that you can choose the students that best fit into your studio. That being said, some of my students used to come obscenely early…not just 5 minutes, but 30 or 60 minutes early! I am a very nice person and used to always say YES come on in and you can wait but this poses many problems. Liability: …Read more
Student Birthday Presents
Are you the kind of teacher who likes to give a special birthday present to their students? I always do, and to stay organized, I have a really nice, large birthday calendar in my studio (on a door) from Melody Payne. She created this just for teachers (and has cute matching newsletters too!) https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Birthday-Bulletin-Board-Display-Certificates-Banner-with-Famous-Composers-1938376 Buying presents can get expensive! I tend to buy the same thing for everyone and switch it up once a year. Here are some gifts you might be interested in getting your students (or yourself! please note, these are amazon referral links and your purchase helps …Read more
I need a policy…and QUICK!
Has this ever happened to you: The phone rings….”Ms. Judy, I’m sorry but _______ has a soccer game and can’t come to lessons on Saturday.” Or the phone doesn’t ring and _______ doesn’t show up at all and then next week or two later when he does come for lessons _____’s parent tells you “Oh, he had a soccer game, didn’t I tell you?” The former is frustrating and the latter will make you reconsider your commitment to teaching. Children are wonderful precious jewels, but sometimes parents can be difficult to deal with! If either of these situations is happening, …Read more
What type of teacher are you?
Here is a little exercise: When you think of each teacher you had as a child, what 3 words describe each teacher… For example: FUN, GENEROUS, CREATIVE, LOVELY, NICE, EXCITED, SEDATE, SWEET, INTENSE, STRICT… Was that teacher your favorite one? Which one did you learn the most from? What are the words you want your students to describe you with? I am self-admittedly a pretty strict teacher…not because I’m yelling and mean, but because playing music is HARD and requires a lot of concentration and can be very frustrating, especially when your teacher has you do the very hardest …Read more
Toot Your Own Horn
My Grandma always told me that it was vain and conceited to talk about yourself. What I learned at my first MTNA conference is that it’s perfectly normal for any business person to promote their business. Today when you ask me what I do, I’m apt to say “I’m such a fantastic Piano and Violin teacher that I consult other teachers! I also play in the Symphony and manage a String Quartet and represent other Wedding Music Groups!” If you are like me and struggle to let people know how super great you are (introvert alert!), you need to …Read more
When I first started giving lessons, I lived in a small town that had 1 violin teacher and 3 piano teachers. I charged $4 a lesson and taught in my church basement. I gave a sibling discount for a large home-schooled family. They would bring me THE most wonderful bread that they had not only made from scratch, but they had also grown the wheat and ground the flour. Two years later I was able to drive and would go to homes of students, and give the lesson wherever the parent wished. Being a “Travelling Teacher” was hectic and distracting …Read more
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