A Little Mistake That Could Cost You Hundreds Each Year

As piano teachers our priorities usually lie in making the time we spend with our students in lesson each week as enjoyable and as valuable as we possibly can. We plan lessons, we collect resources, we come up with innovative ways to teach, and we encourage, reward and  motivate.

But there are an additional 167.5 hours of the week.

Make the out-of-studio hours count

When taking piano lessons, most of the learning and progress actually happens on your students’ home turf.  Sure, you give them valuable direction and the tools they need to make it happen… but those 167.5 hours are when the real nuts and bolts of learning to play the piano takes place.

But what happens when they don’t practice?

Practice + Progress = Retention

Have you done the math lately?  For every student you don’t retain year to year you lose at least $600 in yearly income (for a teacher who typically makes $60 per student per month).  Lose two or three students… well you see where I’m coming from.

Take a look at the most common reasons parents give you for discontinuing lessons… “We just can’t afford it anymore if she’s not going to be practicing”… “He just seems to have lost interest”… “She’s going to focus more on her ballet”… “We fight all the time about sitting at the piano at home”… “He’s really serious about soccer and we have to let something go”… the list goes on.  And it all comes down to practice at home.

Happy Kids = Happy Parents = Thank Goodness!

The excuses listed above are one reason why a huge portion of my out-of-teaching time is devoted to inspiring my students to practice.  I’ve learned that as long as my students are excited about spending time on the piano at home they will progress.  If they are progressing they feel successful.  If they feel successful they are happy.  If they are happy, so are Mom and Dad… and then they remain invested in piano lessons for the long-term.

The easy-to-make mistake of focusing only on what happens during your teaching time is easily remedied.  You’ve spent a lot of time and a lot of money finding your piano students – don’t risk losing them!  

Teachers are raving about the difference “Shhh…Your Piano Teacher Thinks This is Practice” has made to their students’ motivation, enjoyment and practice habits.  In fact, they go out of their way to email us to say thank you!  We’ve done all the hard work for you.  Don’t forget about those 167.5 hours; because if your student is spending those hours pumped about the piano you’ll be one step ahead of the game.

4 Responses to A Little Mistake That Could Cost You Hundreds Each Year

  1. says

    When a student begins lessons, I always meet with the student and parents first. As part of the meeting, I warn the parents that there will be times when the student won’t want to practice. I’ve been playing for 35 years, and I work as a professional accompanist, and I still have plenty of days when I really don’t want to practice at all. So, we discuss causes and remedies for this. With the student who is being signed up for lessons because the parent this music study is an important part of their education, or because the parent sees a gift in them that should be developed, I tell them to simply make it non-negotiable. They don’t get a choice with doing math homework or brushing their teeth. Right? So, if it’s really important that they study music, they shouldn’t get a choice whether, or not, to practice. My teenage daughters play french horn and percussion. They are extremely talented. Their lessons are not optional. Their practice time is not optional. The only thing that is negotiable is who pays for the lessons. They don’t get to quit lessons when they are consistently neglecting practice time. They simply have to pay for those lessons themselves. (No, I don’t teach them myself. I only teach piano.)

    That being said, I definitely agree with you that it’s part of my job, as the piano teacher, to provide proper preparation, etc. so that their practice time at home will be successful. And even come up with tools, like your book, that will make it enjoyable.

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