Do you want to show available slots so all students can see them on their calendar, and book the slot for a makeup lesson? You can do this easily.
When a student schedules a makeup lesson on the calendar, the calendar will close it’s view to all of the other students, and only be visible by the student who scheduled the make-up lesson. This is how you can do this:
- Create an event for the day and time for the make-up lesson.
- Choose “For All Students” instead of “Choose Student(s)”.
- Check “Require Students to Register to Attend This Event”.
- Put the number of students you want to be able to register for the event before closing the slot for all other students. The number should be “1” if this slot is to be for one student.
- In the “Event Title”, write Make-up Slot or any other title that fits your need.
- You can “Edit Categories” to create a new category for “Make-up Lesson” or “Open Slot”, or any other name you want to give the category. You might want to choose another color for this category when creating the category so the “Open Slot” will be easy to see on the calendar.
- When a student logs in and books the lesson into this slot, several things will happen:
- The “Open Slot” will disappear from all other student calendars.
- The student’s name will replace “Open Slot” on your calendar.
- The “Open Book” icon which appeared when you created the Open Slot will show up on your calendar as a ”Closed Book”.
Another way to use this feature is, when a student cancels a lesson, edit the entry on the calendar, and change the entry to an Open Make-Up Slot by following the above steps.
If, instead of checking “Require Students to Register to Attend This Event” when creating an event, you can check “Allow All Students To Attend Without Registering”, and use a title such as “Studio Closed”, “Closed For Christmas”, or anything else. Instead of selecting a time for the event, choose “All Day Event”. The Event Title will appear on all student calendars so you can broadcast events, such as Closings”, to all students.
Posted in Studio Management, Using Music Teacher's Helper
I write an annual Studio Report to highlight my studio activities throughout the year, including records of student achievements, my own concerts and professional developments, and new programs/softwares/equipments I have to offer my students. The report is usually done at the end of the school year (June).
This year, I am doing something new. I am doing a Studio Yearbook – a photo book! They say a picture is worth a thousand words!
I am so pleased with the result. Here is how I did it:
1. I went back to all the monthly studio newsletters I wrote in 2013 and decided what events I want to highlight in my yearbook.
2. I searched my photo library for pictures. These include recital pictures, pictures taken at the studio, as well as cute student drawings that I receive throughout the year.
3. I got the Shutterfly Photostory App and spent an afternoon on my iPad.
Making the photo book on the iPad was so easy and FUN! Uploading pictures took no time – you can upload from your photo album or from your Facebook account. There are many templates to choose from, and you can make the pages interesting by using different combinations of layouts, number of pictures per page, text, and different color backgrounds. Read more…
Posted in Product Reviews, Promoting Your Studio, Studio Management
There’s been a buzz in the press about research showing the benefits of music study. The gist: it’s been found that music is closely tied to intelligence and other desirable traits. In other words, “it’s good for you.” There’s also been talk that there is lack of substantial evidence to back up these claims. And then there’s talk amongst musicians, many of whom are dismayed by the fact that these side benefits are being touted when really music stands alone as its own subject, one beyond compare and undeniably the highest art form.
Although I understand those idealistic arguments of fellow musicians, I pose these questions:
1) Why should we be ashamed of the scientific findings surrounding music study when they provide free advertising, maybe somewhat false advertising but still FREE and offer greater exposure in the press?
2) Why do we seem to hang out in our own little corner of the world, self-righteous, worn out, under paid and frustrated that the world seems to undervalue our profession?
3) How is it that even though we are experts in this universal language we still find it hard to communicate the importance of music study when music clearly permeates about every thing and every part of society on this planet?
All these questions got me thinking about milk. Mmmm…quite the strange segue, I know, but pause for a momentand think about milk. It stands alone as the one beverage that satisfied ALL of us when we first entered the world as babes. However, this life-giving liquid began to lose popularity as soda, tea, coffee and sport drinks became the drinks of choice. Did the dairy association hang out moping and wondering why they just couldn’t compete with their competitors? NO! They rejected their failing “good for you” marketing strategy and headed for a new campaign focusing on milk’s co-dependence upon other foods and the consequences of milk deprivation. Read more…
Posted in Financial Business, Professional Development, Promoting Your Studio, Studio Management, Teaching Tips
I have been using Music Teachers Helper to support my music teaching business since 2008. Its exciting to see the changes over the years which add to it’s effectiveness as my office support.
During this season of Thanksgiving, I want to thank MTH for being innovative in listening to the needs of its customers and for providing us with what we need to make our job easier. What music teacher wants to spend time on scheduling and bookkeeping when we could be searching for music and creating an exciting environment for our students?
This is the first article in a series of how I use MTH creatively, in ways perhaps not intended by the software itself. If you look back on my previous blogs you will see that is my forte (no pun intended).
MTH calendar showing NO LESSON days
Customer questions about schedule around the holidays
As easily accessible as is the MHT calendar, I get numerous emails from students asking about the days no lesson will be held as we approach holidays. These questions come despite the web calendar and email reminders about days lessons will not be held. Read more…
Posted in Customer Support, Studio Management, Using Music Teacher's Helper
David Cutler wants to help musicians succeed in today’s world. An accomplished musician and composer himself, he has written one book to help musicians build a career and expand opportunities for income and outreach; and is working on a new book focusing on music teachers in particular.
The first book is called The Savvy Musician: Building a Career, Earning a Living & Making a Difference, and addresses a broad range of ideas relevant to musicians, such as how to create opportunity, how to make your work stand out, how to create supporting products, marketing yourself in today’s internet world, how to deal with the new paradigm for recording and selling music, how to better work with people, ideas for managing finances, and last but not least, musical ideas for improving your performance skills.
The new book he’s working on is called The Savvy Music Teacher, and seeks to aim music teachers towards an income in the $50,000 to $100,000 range, with vignettes of over 150 teachers – not well-known stars, but hardworking, typical music teachers – who have found ways to put together a workable and enjoyable career. Cutler hastens to point out that the specific income range is all relative – what may seem a lot of money in one place may not be much in another. But the book seeks to offer blueprints for helping readers craft sensible solutions that can add up to a good income.
Let’s take a look at some of Cutler’s ideas for musicians and music teachers, but first, who is David Cutler and where did he pick up on all these ideas?
Posted in Financial Business, Music & Technology, Product Reviews, Professional Development, Promoting Your Studio, Studio Management
Here it is again – time to plan for my next studio Holiday Recital! The following is a flowchart of what needs to be done when:
- Venue – Call various venues (churches, libraries, school halls) in town and see which ones are available on what dates. Decide on the date and pay a deposit to secure the venue. This must be done by early October.
- Notice – Let students and parents know when and where the recital will be, and see how many students will participate. Deadline for registration is end of October.
- Invites – Make postcard invitations with students names on the back. I design and order these from Vistaprint. This must be done by the first week of November – it takes about two weeks to arrive in the mail (to avoid hefty shipping fee), so students still have plenty of time to hand these out to friends and family.
- Music – Select what each student is going to play. Some students will play regular repertoire, some will play Christmas music, some will play duets with a sibling. I try not to have duplicates of titles, so we do not have 10 kids playing Jingle Bells! This must be done by mid November.
- Gifts – Decide what to give to each student at the recital. Purchase these by end of November to allow plenty time for personalization/wrapping.
- Program – Start working on program order as soon as possible, but go to print just a few days before the recital to allow for last minute changes.
Of the above, number 4 takes the most amount of time. Every year, I am on the lookout for new arrangements of Christmas music. This keeps the recital fresh, so we always have something new to listen to, as well as the familiar favorites that everyone loves. Here are the new additions to my ever-expanding Christmas music library: Read more…
Posted in Product Reviews, Studio Management, Teaching Tips
On November 15, 2009–four years and 13 days ago–I posted my first blog here at MusicTeachersHelper.com. I was thrilled to be selected by Ronnie Currey and Brandon Pearce to blog monthly for the site. Since then, my appetite for writing has grown exponentially which translated into my own blog 88pianokeys.me and now a book. As I’ve done my share of reviews for others, I hope you don’t mind if I now share an explanation–not a review as yes, it would be quite biased–about an accomplishment that also began in November–November of 2012.
Sitting next to “Bella,” my piano and inspiration.
After perusing my blog site, Philip Johnston–an author whose edgy approach has inspired me for years–encouraged me to write a book about using the iPad and apps. It turns out it didn’t take much nudging and over a number of months a book was conceived. Penning the content was the easy part, but finding the means to publish a book with a time-sensitive subject was the hard part.
Finally, in March of 2013, I met Tom Folenta. The easy part was talking him into publishing the book for/with me. The hard part: taking 12 chapters and building a book with a pleasing cover, some eye-catching graphics and that all important ISBN number.
Fast forward to the present. The easy part is expressing how ecstatic I am with my first, freshly pressed publication. The hard part is figuring out where to begin when explaining the cutting-edge features of this WebGINES Publishing Digital Series book. Let me explain in more detail…
Your purchase of the The iPad Piano Studio: Keys to Unlocking the Power of Apps includes these features:
#1: Physical Paper Back Book: $21.99 (+ shipping) PLUS a free copy of SimpleTEC Magazine AND all the additional features listed below.
Between the covers you will find information, ideas, insight and inspiration on integrating the iPad within every aspect of studio teaching. Yes, it’s called the iPad PIANO Studio, but teachers of other instruments will find the book beneficial as well. From those who are still contemplating the purchase of an iPad to those considered “veteran” iPad owners, there’s something for everyone. The chapters are concise with striking graphics and a fresh format so that information can be gathered quickly. You’ll follow my journey as I explored this slick device and along the way you’ll enjoy playing “I Spy” as there is plenty of name dropping (those who have inspired me) throughout the pages.
#2: Digital Edition: $17.99 (no shipping)
Posted in Music & Technology, Product Reviews, Professional Development, Studio Management, Teaching Tips
I am passionate about what I do. It brings me great pleasure to see students succeed and accomplish their goals, and I’m sure it is the same in your studio. As music teachers, we know many, many reasons why music benefits and enriches the lives of our students and their families. But do they know? We need to reinforce the “why” of what we are doing from time to time, so at my last recital I took a few minutes to share some of these benefits with the students and family members present. The following are the areas I covered. I would love to hear how you give your students “big-picture” motivation.
The Many Benefits of Music
Music is beneficial on many levels. It is the universal language of our hearts. Just like our spoken language, where we learn to read, write and communicate, and appreciate the communications of others, we can learn to communicate in the language of music. This is why the students and I go over and over a concept until it is internalized and fully understood. This is why we listen to great artists of the past and present to learn to appreciate music’s potential and beauty. And this is why I encourage improvisation and composition, so students learn to speak their own original thoughts in music.
Music grows new connections in the brain. Because of the way our two hands are used, playing the piano develops these connections better than any other instrument. Piano study improves math skills, coordination, and multi-level thinking. Students slowly develop independence of the hands, and the ability for each hand to perform a completely different action in coordinated unison.
Studying music develops character. It has been said that it takes 10 years at 20 hours per week to truly master a subject. That’s a lot of commitment and patience, a lot of showing up and doing the work, even on days and weeks you don’t feel like it. That is a lot of delayed gratification. This is why I build in smaller, more immediate gratifications along the way, such as rewards, recitals, social activities, and practice challenges. Read more…
Posted in Studio Management, Teaching Tips
Guest Blog by Nyshia Cook
How do you define respect? Most people that own a business will tell you respect is shown when your customers speak highly of you or when they respect your pricing structure and your policies. They will also tell you that when they enter into a bank and apply for a loan they want to receive the same respect a loan officer would give someone who has worked a normal 9-5 job. After always being the youngest of my peers to achieve success I want to share with you a few tips towards attaining respect from your students, your student’s parents and your community that will take you from being an afterthought of doing business with to being the first thought of doing business with.
First things first when dealing with students you want to be relatable but at the same time you want to be taken seriously. Younger students don’t want a drill sergeant music instructor while adult students also don’t want a baby talking music teacher. You have to find a balance. With students under the age of 9 you’ll want to make lessons fun and attainable so that your students can always feel as though the music they are learning is possible to play. In conjunction, students at that age may need to be reminded to focus and pay attention so you’ll need to switch to a lower tone in your voice and speak directly to the student. This will demonstrate to the seriousness of the situation and let them know that they need to be attentive. When working with your teenage students, you may find that it’s very easy to get them back on track to focus however, very difficult to get them to be obedient or abide by the rules. At this age I feel as though it’s important to show them consequences to their actions. Most students only have a 30-60 min lesson so you can’t necessarily put them in time out if they are misbehaving. I am a very watchful music instructor, so I pay attention to the things that make students mad and upset! Certain ones immensely dislike playing songs or sections over, so one day when I had a 12 year old come in without having practiced for the third or fourth week I was fed up. I was so upset and disappointed at the continuous lack of preparation that I made the child play scales the entire lesson with a metronome at different speeds and rhythms. It was a great work out for some technique building but also was disappointing to her to not be able to play and work on her repertoire. The following lesson she made sure to practice and begged that I never make her play scales an entire lesson ever again! Read more…
Posted in Promoting Your Studio, Studio Management, Teaching Tips
How do you add extra profits to your Music teaching business?
I love to teach students to play the piano! There is no doubt I get much pleasure out of seeing the progress of each student as the years go by. However: bottom line is this is my business and I teach to provide an income.
There are likely many ways to add extra income and I would love to hear your ideas. I am writing today to share how I use Music Teacher’s Helper to assist in a very simple way to add extra income.
As music students complete materials, new materials must be available. Some studios request that the student provide the new materials but I found several problems with this:
1. The parent/student forgets to purchase the materials in a timely fashion.
2. The parent/student forgets what is needed and orders the incorrect supplies.
3. Multiple emails about the needed materials to accomplish a simple task.
To rid my studio of these problems, I supply materials for students. I purchase the materials from supplier at a discount which allows me to make a profit on the materials. This helps to offset the time it takes to complete this task. Read more…
Posted in Financial Business, Studio Management, Using Music Teacher's Helper