Thank you for all of the very kind, supportive emails over the past week. You are all amazing. Honestly, I felt a little nervous, ashamed, even guilty about telling people about how my studio had changed. I felt selfish letting students go to spend more time with my family, (I also felt guilty about spending more time with my students than with my family, so I guess I just can’t win. Haha.)
But, as usual, the outpouring of support and empathy was absolutely incredible. We Suzuki teachers truly are so fortunate to be a part of such a nurturing community.
Just last night, I was able to spend an hour with some of my colleagues at the Gifted Music School, and when I left…I felt so good. I felt understood and appreciated. I know not all of us can or want to teach in a school situation, and that’s fine, but I’d like to urge everyone to build some sort of teacher community around you. Either in person or online. Whatever makes more sense for you.
If you already have one, cultivate it! Re-invest in those relationships. They are invaluable.
Ok. Thanks for indulging me, on to my Five Violin Teaching Tips, Tricks, and Resources I’m Loving This Week.
- This month’s book club pick is The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life — Master Any Skill or Challenge by Learning to Love the Process by Thomas Sterner. I listened to this on audible last year, and it was fascinating! Mr. Sterner is actually a piano tuner himself, so there’s lots of mention of music and music practice. It’s a great read. I just ordered a paperback copy to mark up this month for the book club. I can’t wait to dive into this book again.
2. Have you looked at the Performance and Pedagogy Descriptors on the SAA website? I recently printed them out and hung them near my chair in my studio. It’s easy to glance over to quickly remind myself of the qualities of beautiful playing and effective teaching. Two things I’m especially focused on right now are “[Developing] observation skills by inviting the student to describe his or her own performance, demonstrations by the teacher, and/or professionally recorded performances” and “[Giving] specific advice regarding home practice.”
3. Speaking of Suzuki community support, have you joined the Suzuki Triangle Facebook Group? I love it, and learn so much from the other members. I also recommend joining the International Music Teachers Exchange Group. There’s also a Plucky Violin Teacher Book Club Group, but honestly, I really haven’t been posting anything for a long while. I’m going to do better though. Starting now!
4. My fall semester began August 23rd for my home studio, but doesn’t begin until September 12th for my studio at the Gifted Music School, so I’ve still been getting things organized. I really liked this idea from Teach Piano Today as a way to start the year off right and get to know my students a little better. (Of course, the wording would have to be changed to reflect an existing student relationship…and violin.)
5. Ok, true confessions…I’m terrible at budgeting. Let me rephrase that, using my growth mindset skills, I’m still learning how to budget, I’m not fantastic at it YET. As I’ve been practicing being a better budgeter for my teaching business, I’ve really liked using Mint.com to keep track of my business expenses and income. What do you use?
I’d love to hear from you, what teaching tools are you in love with right now? Please let me know in the comments!