I’ve been either in school or teaching full time since the fall of 2000. That is a long time! The month of August is a notoriously slow month on the lesson front. This year, I decided to do something different. The studio is closed for the entire month of August and the first week of September. What about the students? Most were vacationing at least part of the month, and all were glad not to have to negotiate the first few weeks of school with an after school activity.
I’m using this time to think about my methodology and where I want the studio to go in the next year. What’s been working and what needs a revamp?
The most useful thing that I’ve done this year is to have started using either a candle or incense on lesson days in the room off the studio. This combined with a quite minute. The quality of lessons has improved dramatically. So many of my students come directly from school or other activities. The students just aren’t as focused on that 30 or 45 minutes as they should be. As the student enters the studio we talk briefly about how the day went and get the books arranged at the piano. Then I ask the student to close their eyes and think about “how you practiced, what did you improve upon, and what you want to show me in your lesson.” Just a minute of silence for most of the students allows them to reset and leave the rest of the day at the door. I feel as a teacher that I’m getting a more accurate read on what the students are accomplishing during the week.
As we come back in the fall, I hope to have more students signing up for The Music Development Program exams. Previously known as RACE and the Carnegie Hall Achievement Program. This is a program that I believe in strongly. Whether the student takes the exams or just uses the principles laid out in the curriculum, my students are on a stronger and more through track than ever. Having an internationally recognized standard makes it so easy to know how a student is truly progressing in the literature. If you would like to find out more about this program, please let me know.
As always, Brunner Studio is scheduling lessons. Just because the studio is on break doesn’t mean that my email and phone don’t work! Please call or email if you would like to know more about piano, voice or oboe lessons for this fall. I can’t wait to hear from you.