At the start of the school year, the excitement of new piano students, new repertoire, and new projects carries piano teachers into late October. The baton of motivation is then passed to Christmas, followed by the start of a new calendar year. Once February arrives teachers are in the thick of things; exams, recital prep, and more.
And then Spring Break arrives and piano teachers fall into a work-induced coma for one week. When lessons return after Spring Break, exhaustion still has its firm grip and piano teachers try to pull it together for 3 more months.
It’s not an easy roe to hoe and often these last 3 months before summer arrives do not carry the energy and the excitement of earlier times.
And this a HUGE problem. Because if piano students are going to call it quits and choose not to re-register for another year, they’re going to make this decision based on how they feel in April, May, and June.
Keep That Excitement High… Here’s How!
Today, we wanted to give you a list of tips and awesome activities that will keep the motivational ball rolling for you and your piano students. Here we go…
- Invite piano parents into lessons on the third and the second to last lesson before a summer break (if you take one). Use these lessons to reinforce how parents can support their children’s piano progress even when lessons are on a brief hiatus. Oh… and have a little fun while you’re at it too!
- With new smartphone apps (like Meerkat or Periscope) live-streaming piano lessons and/or performances is becoming easier and easier. Consider experimenting with an in-lesson, live-stream performance for piano student relatives who live a land far, far away.
- Plan an end-of-year field trip to a traveling broadway show, a symphony, or other musical production. Hey, public schools do it, why shouldn’t you!
- Set up a brag wall in your pianos studio waiting room. Mount a large whiteboard on a wall or set one up on an easel. Invite students to write a brief statement inside a speech bubble about one great success they have had in piano lessons this year. Here’s a post all about this.
- Create a poster-sized infographic about things that have happened in your studio. There are many websites (like this one) that will give you infographic design ideas or allow you to create an infographic right on the site. Let everyone who sees the infographic know things like… how many pieces your students have completed, how many performances have been performed, awards your students have received, compositions your students have completed etc.
- Send home student report cards, but don’t make them all serious and stuffy. Instead, try this unique method of reporting student progress.
- Hold monthly piano parties in April, May, and June. There is nothing better for studio retention than piano students who feel like they’re part of something bigger than a single-student lesson. If you don’t have the time to plan, simply make them Piano Game Parties (and for an $8 membership to www.pianogameclub.com you’ll literally just have to press “print”)
- If you can swing it, or afford it, or talk your way into it, have a guest guitarist/harpist/instrumentalist come to piano lessons for a week and accompany your students as they play a polished piece. Nothing inspires piano students like making music in a duo, group, or band.
- Take on a student teacher from a local college and invite them to sit in on, and participate in your piano lessons. Having a student teacher forces you to go that extra mile in delivering fantastic lessons, shows that you give back to the musical community, and is always fun for your students.
- Don’t hold your piano recital too far in advance of your summer break… but if you do, make sure you follow that recital up with an end-of-year goal or project.
- Create an end-of-year composition book filled with original music from your students. Having a composition project for the last 4 to 6 weeks of lessons is a great way to keep your piano students inspired and focused.
- Give your piano students a glimpse into the future and play them some of the incredible music they will get to play a year from now. Better yet, turn that music into a duet right now and let them play the easy bits.
- Begin a piano practice challenge. This builds community, motivates your students, impresses parents, and makes your studio look awesome. We have a bunch you can check out here.
- Commit to starting piano lesson scrapbooks for your students. That way, next year you will have a very inspirational gift to give your piano students when lessons wrap up for another year. In this scrapbook include images of them playing at recitals, or with you during lessons, compositions they have created, cool printable games they have played, funny notes that have been scrawled on past piano pieces, completed practice challenge record sheets, festival notes and feedback, etc.
15: Stay Strong and Share With Us!
Believe me, Andrea and I know how brutal it can be to muster the energy to pull your studio through these last few months, but the payoff of an incredible re-registration rate is an award like no other.
If you have some great end-of-year piano project, please share it in the comments below. Our list is certainly only the tip of the iceberg!