5 Surefire Ways to Ease Your Students’ StageFright

Have you witnessed the look of fear on the face of a student who has just realized that they’ll have to perform in front of an audience? One very important aspect of our work as music instructors is…
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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 Simple Exercise to Help You Teach Well in the New Year. Revisit Your Soundtrack.

My soundtrack starts with Billy Joel’s Glass Houses. If I hear any track from that record, I am transported underneath my parent’s kitchen table, listening to the new Walkman I got for Christmas…
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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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Community is the Key to Build a Vibrant Teaching Studio

Building a thriving business as a private music teacher takes patience. Getting your first few students can seem like such an arduous task. Maybe you teach a friend’s child, get a job at a music…
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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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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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Hocus Focus- Tips for Keeping Your Students Focused and Engaged

When I was a classroom teacher, it seemed like my dog and pony shows had become so intense compared to when I started teaching 17 years ago. My colleagues and I would keep buying more gadgets to help…
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How Long Should a Private Lesson Last? by Eric Branner

It’s difficult to pinpoint the perfect lesson duration. Some students thrive on a 30 minute slot, others may benefit from 90 minutes of your time. For me, 45 minutes is the perfect duration for a…
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How to Attract Premium Clients

I want to teach you how to attract wealthy clients, and just writing those words makes me feel like Rodney Dangerfield’s crass character in Caddyshack. As much as we Americans like to think we’ve…
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How To Bring Creativity To Your Private Music Lessons

by Steve Treseler. Even if you have little experience with improvisation and composition yourself, you can make a big impact on your students by helping them get off the page and create their own…
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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 Find Your Perfect Clients with Facebook Groups

In March of 2017, there were more than 1.94 billion monthly active Facebook users — which is an 18 percent increase year over year! Then on June 27, Mark Zuckerberg announced that there are now two…
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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 Unlock Your Music Career While Teaching Private Lessons

The path to education is different for every teacher. Whether you rely primarily on teaching to provide a stable income or want to supplement your performance or writing career with teaching…
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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 Use Your Clients’ Best Tool: A Plain Old Notebook

Every business owner has a preferred way of helping their clients stay organized and keep track of notes and assignments. Mine is a plain old 8.5 x 11 inch spiral bound notebook. As a music teacher…
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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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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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Listen — The World Wants To Teach You How To Succeed

Near the middle of my sophomore year at University of Miami, I approached one of my professors with a question during a rehearsal : “How do you learn songs by ear?” I wish all of my problems could be…
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Listening to New Music: How To Boost the Vitality of Your Business

As a music instructor, I’m always looking for ways to capture and keep the interest of students. While some students choose Beethoven over Beck or Liszt over the Lumineers, many others enjoy playing…
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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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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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Planning for the “Unplanned”: How Improvisation Will Benefit Your Business

Wikipedia defines musical improvisation as: “the creative activity of immediate (‘in the moment’) musical composition, which combines performance with communication of emotions and instrumental…
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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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How Real Life Experiences Build Real World Skills

I’m sure there are a host of reasons that might accurately explain the phenomenon of the “millennial side hustle”. As a millennial, I was raised, like most millennials, without the irritating notion…
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Recital? Or Guitarbeque!!!

Public performance is one of the great motivators to any practice. Athletes need to compete, musicians need to perform and dancers need to take the stage. Most instructors would agree that there is…
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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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How to Feel Great About Setting Your Rates!

Setting rates and talking money is often a major stress point for independent teachers. Let’s chat about it. Many of you worked thousands of hours to master your craft, studying with the world’s best…
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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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Simplify Your Lesson Policies for Private Instructors

A clear lesson policy is as an absolute must for any instructor. A policy sheet lays out the ground rules for a student-teacher relationship. It explains the instructor’s rate, accepted payment…
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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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Songs on a Mission : A Seattle-based Teacher Brings Music Lessons to Latin America

by Scout MacKay. There was a rusty Toyota Escort waiting for me across the footbridge from the little hostel on the beach. “Usted es el amigo de Christina? Are you Christina’s friend?” I asked the…
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Stage Fright is the *Worst.* This Might Help.

After years of performing on various stages, under different levels of pressure and standards of perfection, in front of a range of audience numbers, and filled with various types of people, I know…
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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 Best Ways to Bill Clients as a Private Instructor

How do you bill your students for lessons? Do you you charge per lesson, monthly, quarterly or charge tuition? Do you use a set billing model for all your clients or charge on a case-by-case basis? A…
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The Double-Edged Sword of Amazon Prime

As I wait for my brain to settle, imagining the creative juices that are responsible for my very career in the arts are reaching a rolling boil, preparing to write about Amazon Prime, I am tempted to…
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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 Storm that Wasn’t-Cancelling Lessons Due to Weather/Acts of Nature

Seattle was expecting the worst storm in decades this weekend. A typhoon was predicted to knock out power, knock over trees, and leave the city paralyzed. Bottled water disappeared from store…
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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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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 Do You Do With The Child Who Can’t Sing?

by George Bevan. I am passionate about singing, and it always intrigues me when I find someone who tells me that they can’t sing. When I enquire further, the story is almost invariably the same: they…
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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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