2017 MTNA National Conference — A Guitar Teacher’s Welcome To A Piano Teacher’s World

I heard that one at least a hundred times last week while attending the Music Teacher’s National Association’s national conference in Baltimore. I was one of maybe… two or three guitar teachers at…
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3 Smart Strategies For Working with Multi-Client Families

They look alike, they walk alike, sometimes they even talk alike — and they’re your clients or students for a heck of a lot of time each week, depending on your specific line of work. We’re talking…
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5 Ways to Keep the Spirit Alive as an Independent Teacher, Tutor, or Coach

I’ve chatted with hundreds of independent teachers about why we teach, how we establish our careers, and how we run our businesses. There are so many common threads between music teachers, english…
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6 Killer Tips to Improve Your Lesson Planning

One of my favorite quotes is: “I love it when a plan comes together”. I especially love it when a good lesson plan comes together. All good lessons start with a good plan, and it is essential for…
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7 Steps to Setting Difficult Boundaries

If you’re reading this, most likely you’ve found yourself at one time or another feeling like a friend, family member, client, or student has stepped on your toes. Maybe a client is chronically late…
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A Letter to a Young Musician…

I recently offered a few words of encouragement to a young musician. What do you tell a young, talented artist that dreams of a career in the arts? I had a great time jamming out with you last…
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Beating Burnout: How To Stay Mentally Strong For Your Students

By Judith Barass. Teaching, whatever the subject, can be wearing if your don’t look after yourself. You are putting yourself out there day after day. You put a smile on your face and you do your best…
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Do Your Students Need to Do Exams?

The pros and cons of music exams are, I should hope, fairly obvious. They offer a ready-made syllabus, a target for students to aim for, and more often that not a great sense of achievement once…
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Drop the Free Introductory Lesson and Adopt the Meet and Greet

Here’s a simple tip to vastly improve your teaching business. Don’t offer a free introductory lesson. Offer an Informal Meet and Greet instead. More than half of the teachers I know offer a free…
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Mom Knows Best. Keep Lessons Classy and Focused by Eliminating the Ultimate Vibe Killer.

My mom is a saint. She has perfect social skills, and I’ve never heard anyone say anything bad about her. She is a shining example of southern hospitality. She’s said the following for as long as I…
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Feeling Down On Your Teaching? Visit Your Teachers

Those of us who teach know that teaching is a challenging and demanding profession, but also a rewarding and satisfying experience. Challenges come in all directions when you are a teacher —…
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Five Things I Wish I Knew Before Setting Up As A Private Instructor

Throughout my freelance teaching career, I’ve stumbled upon some best (and worst) practices for my studio. Here’s the advice I wish I had received when first starting out. I know many new teachers…
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Teaching Music This Summer?

Summer will be awesome for your teaching business. Here are some ideas that keep a studio thriving over the summer months! Summer is coming! The teaching forums light up this time of year. Music…
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Goals are Great, But Whys are Better

The dictionary defines goals as: “the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.” Goals are a target we aim at. Goals can be wonderful. They give direction to focus attention…
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How a Growth Mindset Will Grow Your Teaching Business

If you make your living as an independent teacher, coach, or tutor you MUST develop a Growth Mindset. It’s a massively important step to build a thriving business. The concept of a mindset was coined…
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How To Completely Change Your Music Theory Lessons

Many times, I have heard responses like: “Yes, but I didn’t like it.” Or: “It was so hard.” “My teacher was mean.” “I just wanted to play a song and it was so boring.” For hundreds of years, music…
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How to Earn More When Your Studio Is Full

Congratulations! If you have a full studio and a steady stream of referrals, you have earned a reputation as an excellent and trusted teacher. However, you may have hit a revenue ceiling in your…
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How to Encourage Your Students And Clients, Without Giving Up Your Social Life

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…
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How To Find The Right Balance Between Fun And Strict Teaching Methods

We all want to be the fun teacher. However, it’s easy to get off track trying to fulfil that persona. We can forget to adequately teach the fundamentals such as the rudiments of music — and our…
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How to Nurture a Love For Daily Practice

After teaching music lessons to both adults and kids for more than a decade, I know a thing or two about what works and what doesn’t work to perfect your students’ practice regime. One thing to…
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How To Talk The Same Language As Your Students

When I attended my first ever teaching course, the lecturer told me: “Make sure you talk in your students’ language.” Over the years, I always come back to this piece of advice. And the more I teach…
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How to Use Social Media with Your Students’ Various Learning Types

Really good teachers are the ones who can say the same thing in multiple different ways. This means the teacher is accommodating all of their students’ learning types to get their message across. You…
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How To Use Spotify To Be More Than Just A Music Teacher

If you’re a music teacher, you’re probably not thinking about your super powers. “I’m just a music teacher,” you say. You are a cultural ambassador — opening doors to an entirely new world. You are…
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How To Work With Adult Students

Over the years as a teacher, I have taught young and old — and there are many similarities — but also many differences between teaching an adult compared to a child. For example, whether you’re…
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I’m Giving Away My Guitar Method

I’ve decided to give away The Blackforrest Guitar Companion as an ebook at no cost. I’ll also support the book with video lessons outlining all of the information in the book. I’m doing this because…
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Keeping Students Engaged-Nine Lessons from Observing a Great Teacher

Do you struggle to keep your students engaged? It’s a topic that frequents every teaching journal, blog and forum out there — but it’s an almost impossible issue to resolve. As a teacher, I’m sure…
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Lost Your Voice? How Your Posture Can Protect Your Voice When Teaching

Teaching classes takes its toil on the old voice box. It doesn’t matter if you’re teaching one-to-one classes back to back, or teaching a big class where you have to raise your voice — all teachers…
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Memorizing 101: Tips for Teachers and Students

Aah, the “m” word… memorize. This word filled me with fear as a child pianist, especially when faced with the daunting challenge of memorizing a several page long work by Mozart or Chopin. I don’t…
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Natural Born Singers? How to Assess Your Students From the First Consultation

No matter the age group you specialize in, whether you work with emerging and developing professionals, seasoned professionals or even absolute beginners, that initial consultation is valuable to…
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New to Private Teaching? Here Are 9 Tips From the Pros

Setting up a private teaching business is no small undertaking. It can feel daunting, confusing and, at times, you’ll probably get advice from anyone and everyone on how to run a successful business…
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Patience While Teaching… “Whatever”

I always try to teach from a patient, positive perspective… “You can do it.” “That’s the way.” “Keep trying.” All teachers deal with occasional, and sometimes often unpreparedness and apathy from…
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Perform, Listen, and Play With Others. Music Lessons Outside of the Practice Studio

One of my favorite responsibilities of running David’s Music House is guiding our teachers/mentors to teach more than how to just play an instrument. So much of becoming a true musician is often…
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Procrastination: Tips to Obliterate it!

by Beth Peterson. Writing about procrastination is kind of tough because there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. We try to not procrastinate, we fail, we feel guilty and then we go eat chocolate…
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Rescheduling Private Lessons: How To Be Fair and Flexible

It is a Tuesday afternoon, and I have a full day of teaching private lessons ahead. I have commuted to my teaching space, and I am waiting for my first student to show up. And I wait…and I wait…
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Seven Tips To Maximize Your Teaching Time

By Doug Hanvey. In our crazy world, it’s more important than ever for private teachers to maximize the time they spend teaching (and not marketing or bookkeeping). You know, the time you spend on the…
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Should You Take The Plunge And Switch To Private Teaching?

I recently jumped into the ocean with more than 15 sharks and stingrays swimming around our boat. Actually, I did it twice in one week. But my past life is filled with too much overthinking. So, I…
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So, What Do YOU Do? Why Your “About Me” Is Never About You

Our answers and stellar discussion in this little online hangout reminded me about the importance of your “About Me”. Sometimes, this comes in the form of a page on your website or an introduction at…
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Teaching the Bigger Picture- Bach & Hendrix.

“The final aim and reason of all music is nothing other than the glorification of God and the refreshment of the spirit.” JS Bach Can you hear the similarities in the music of Johann Sebastian Bach…
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The Memorization Challenge: One Month, Three Songs

Are you looking to prepare students for an upcoming recital, or just want to encourage them to take a step beyond learning some songs? The “Memorization Challenge” can help! This is a fun, month-long…
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The Power of Nostalgia — Relating To A Student’s Musical Inspirations With Our Own

We all know the feeling. Whenever “Every Morning” by Sugar Ray comes on at the grocery store, we are filled with nostalgia and transported to the back seat of our mom’s car with our best friend from…
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The Private Music Teacher’s Website Checklist

It’s extremely rare that a music teacher won’t need a website. However, it’s not unheard of. Take, for instance, my very own mother who is a Wyoming piano teacher with a long waiting list of future…
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The Truth About Tone Deafness

by George Bevan. Tone deafness (cognitive amusia) is rare. The much-quoted figure is that 4% of the population are affected, but I have spent the past six years working with literally hundreds of…
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Turning Frustration Into Success

I’ve loved teaching since I was ten years old. I went door to door, asking the neighborhood moms if they would send their children to my house every afternoon during summer vacation. The children and…
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Valuable Lessons From Academic Coach, Beth Peterson

We asked her a few questions about how and why she’s such a great tutor and why her business is thriving so much. I work with students from 5th grade into college helping them navigate the…
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Welcome to Teach Well

My grandfather was a musician and teacher during the swing jazz era. He was also a classical concert pianist, as well as a big band leader. Teaching was his passion, and he passed that on to me. When…
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What Did You Forget? Memory Tricks To Help Private Teachers And Your Students Learn

I once read ginkgo would help improve your memory, so I went out and bought an extra large bottle of this supplement. Honestly, I would do just about anything to help my memory. Funny thing, I…
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What Does it Really Mean To “Make a Living”?

I have been teaching private guitar for around 12 years now. But I have only been teaching private guitar as my full time job for just over six months, at the time of writing this. After focusing my…
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What To Do When a Student Wants to Quit

Miah collapsed on the floor in a pile of tears and frustration. “I do not want to have a music lesson, I do not want to practice, and I do not want to play guitar!” As a second grader who is a year…
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Where to Teach… Finding the Right Space

After three years of teaching in an amazing space, I’m currently searching for a new studio, and it’s got me thinking about all the ways independent teachers can work. Over the years, I’ve taught in…
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Which Billing Model is Right for Your Studio?

A clear billing policy is essential to run a thriving teaching business. The right model for you depends on how you choose to balance flexibility with consistent cash flow. I’ve experimented with…
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Why Do Students Resist The Method Book Work?

Learning an instrument is a very difficult thing to do, regardless of what age you start. A method book helps bring order and puts a plan together for a student’s music lesson. However, some students…
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Why I Abandoned a Tuition Payment Plan Forever

I abandoned accepting regular monthly payments from my music students. I had all of them sending me a medium-sized check once each month for my tuition payment plan. Super simple concept, right…
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Why You Should Screen Your Clients

After teaching lessons full time for ten years, I started to burn out. Although I had several awesome students, I was frustrated working with those who were apathetic, unprepared…
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