Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Day to Serve - 2013

Just like last year, the governors of Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland and the Mayor of Washington D.C. have called on everyone to join together for a Day to Serve - one day to organize or participate in a project to feed the hungry or clean up your neighborhood.  

In an ongoing effort to help my students work toward their practice goals, I’ve decided to donate one can of food for every 30 minutes of practice completed by my students for the week of September 16 - 20.   I'm going to encouraged parents to match my donation.  You can read about last year's results here.  I was thrilled with all the donations that my students made in 2012!

Food donations will benefit the LINK foundation which serves hungry families in Herndon, Sterling, and Ashburn, VA. 

I'm also attending a 'Peanut Butter Run Against Hunger' event put on by some members of my church in support with a Day to Serve.   

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Can we make that lesson up?

I love my job.  I love working with children and seeing them progress and their confidence grow, but If I could afford to hire someone to handle the business side of my studio - I would!  It's natural for me to develop personal relationships with my families, but it makes it that much harder to follow through with my studio policies.  Perhaps it's my personality, but I always want to make others happy and I end up losing money and/or precious time with my family.  

The hardest policy for me to reinforce is my missed lesson policy.  Just this week I had a student completely forget their lesson.  The mom called and was very apologetic and asked if I could make it up.  During the summer months my schedule is more flexible, but I still have to hire a babysitter which means that for just a one 30 - minute make-up lesson it turns into an hour.  If you are a parent,  you probably know how difficult it is.  Needless to say, convincing my 3-year to put his shoes on can take up to 10 minutes (at least!).  And then you have to account for the time you spend packing snacks,  change of clothes, etc.  Oh, and then their is the additional cost of hiring a sitter when you already had one lined up when the student forgot their lesson in the first place.

Every time I get a request for make-up lessons I end up stressing about how I'm going to respond.  I'm not sure why it's so difficult for me to simply so no.  I decided that I would draft a response to use this coming school year to help make it a non-issue.  Here's what I've come up with:
"I'm sorry, but I am unable to schedule a makeup lesson, per my studio policy. When you registered for lessons you were reserving your weekly lesson time for the teaching year. I do not offer make-up lessons and there are no refunds for lessons cancelled by students. The primary reason for this policy is that I build my teaching schedule around my family time and makeup lessons reduce the time I have with my family. If I ever have to cancel a lesson I will offer a makeup. 
However, I offer two options besides makeup lessons. You are welcome to watch the studio calendar and reschedule your missed lesson for any time block marked as 'open' on the calendar OR you can take advantage of the Swap List. If you choose this latter option, please review the Swap List rules."
I hope this helps me stay professional and protect my time.  If any of you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear.  

Friday, July 12, 2013

Time to organize my music library and I found an app!

I've been searching for an app to help categorize my music library for my iphone or ipad.  I stumbled across BookBuddy!  It's going to take me a long time to input my entire music library, but I think it will be worth it.  Some of the features that impressed me were:

  • Lending Tracker:  Having an effective way to track the music I lend out to my students.
  • Categories:  I can categorize my library into subjects (method books, theory, technic, concertos, duets, etc.) and then do a search within those topics. Usually by the end the month my music cabinet is a mess from taking things out and not putting them back in the correct spot.  
  • Scanning: You can scan your materials (using the camera) or manually input the information into the app.  You can also take a picture of the cover.  Being able to scan the barcode helps the process of inputing your music books into the app because it automatically uploads all the information (picture, title, publisher, etc.). 

At first I was disappointed that BookBuddy is only for iphone and not ipad, but having it on my phone will be convenient especially when I'm shopping.  I often forget if I have a certain book at home.  With my phone always within reach, I can look up my music library to see what I need. I hope I'm not the only one who buys new music books and then realizes later that I have a copy at home (or two!).

Here are a couple screen shots of my library so far:


This poor blog hasn't been getting much attention ... but after I fell in love with this app, I decided to share in case anyone out there is reading this.  :)

Do you have an app to help you organize your music library?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Student Visit

One of my former students paid me a visit this past week and performed Bach Prelude BVW 934 for me.  He's a student at University of Rochester, NY and is taking private piano lessons at Eastman from a graduate student there (he's not a piano major, but wanted to continue taking lessons).   I'm so proud of him for continuing on with his music! 

Day to Serve update (better late than never)

I failed to update the blog after the 'Day to Serve, ' but I'm happy to report that it was a success!  Students practiced diligently, and parents donated several bags of groceries to the Link Foundation.  I ended up spending $85 to match all the practice time that my students put into this service project/practice incentive.  This project is definitely something that I'll do this year as well!