Apr 3, 2017
^^^ This could be you at the beach instead of sending a bajillion emails. ^^^
There are serious life lessons held within the weekly meetings I schedule for both my entrepreneurial clients and music students. I know this: if I’m doing it right, that weekly meeting alone can be life changing.
But there are some of us business owners, myself included, who know that “touching home-base” more than once each week is the “special sauce” on a student’s success. This is why I really enjoy surprising my students with a mid-week encouragement from time to time.
But here’s the thing: I don’t want to give up my social life or undervalue myself by giving away too many “freebies”. So, I’ve learned a couple quick tricks to have my cake and eat it too. Not only have I minimized my “admin hours” to almost nothing, but I’m still able to provide mid-week encouragement to my students when they need it most, AND have a social life too!
The trick here is that my students are telling me when to give them extra encouragement, thereby relieving me from breaking myself due to bending over backwards for them. I make it known that my response will be no more than five sentences (here’s why) so that I’m not obligated to write out a novel of a response. This is such a helpful tool for the parents of my kiddo students. It gives them permission to do more than just nag and tattle on their kids for not practicing — they can celebrate even the little things like “OMG! Johnny just played Minuet in G with all his bowings perfectly!” or “Any quick tips on how to get these Minuet in G bowings straightened out?” Overall, I recommend any teacher out there to at least consider setting up something like this. It’s personal and externally motivated — both things I’m a huge fan of.
I used to do this every week, but learned that I like saving my “encouragement fuel” for when I can tell my students really need it. However, my students are not your students, so your students might really love depending on a weekly email with your favorite YouTube video of Yo-Yo Ma or NPR audio clip featuring a fascinating interview.These emails don’t need to be long and laborious. Just a simple quick tip or link to an article you found interesting. Again, save the long-winded oratory for your lessons. Just a quick little “Hey! I’m thinking of you!” goes a long way.
Automation Trick: If you’re doing this via email, keep an updated list of email addresses in a group or on a spreadsheet, so you can do a quick copy/paste in the BCC area of your email composition.
Also, don’t be that person — please for the love of all things holy and true, send the email via BCC (blind carbon copy) so you don’t spam everyone with “reply alls.”
If sending an article might not be personal enough for your corral of students, then recording a quick selfie video with your mobile phone works wonders! You could store the video in Dropbox and send that Dropbox link to each student via email or text!
Most mobile phones these days have ways to create and modify a group of phone numbers for group text messages. But if you’re like me, then those “reply all” conversations might not be your cup of tea. (See above rant.) That’s why I love using Remind.com for this purpose. My students can sign up to receive text messages and announcements via text message. Remind.com is FREE, super simple to set up, and it’s designed specifically for teachers too!
For the teacher with students already active on Facebook, starting a group (as opposed to a page) is the way to go. You can set the group up to be private or secret so membership is controlled. You can designate other students to help you moderate the group (remember, you want to keep your social life.) And you can share all these lovely bits of encouragement already mentioned above in the group too.
Not only will your students thank you for the extra encouragement boost, but they’ll appreciate having a teacher who has a social life too. ;)
Have any other ideas to add to the list, leave a comment below!
Emily Ann Peterson is a singer-songwriter, teaching artist, consultant, and creative entrepreneur who spent 17 years with her cello. It was her second voice until she was diagnosed with a degenerative neurological hand tremor. Refusing to resign to fate and genetics, she expanded her skills to include the piano and solo songwriting. This act of neurological defiance broke through her creative glass ceiling and then swept her up in the expansive limits.
Her podcast, Bare Naked Bravery, features conversations with everyday heroes about the quiet successes and loud failures required to do the brave things for which we know and love them.
Peterson’s mission is inspire a global resonance and magnanimous community through the marriage of art and whole-person development.
She is available here: www.emilyannpeterson.com