It’s the start of a new teaching year here in Australia, so I’m taking some time to get organised and plan out the year ahead. And while it may not be the start of a new teaching year for you, there’s no time like the present to think ahead about what you might like to achieve with your teaching. And of course, tick a few things off the organisational to do list while you’re at it!
- Check all student’s details.
Take a moment in the first lesson of the year to make sure all of those important contact details are up to date.
- Set goals with your student
I always ask my students what it is they would like to do with the harp this year. Some don’t mind, but some can come out with some surprising and interesting aims and ambitions that might not have seen the light of day if the question hadn’t been asked.
- Set goals as a teacher.
This year for me it’s the 40 Piece Challenge (you can read about it here). You might want to focus on aural skills, or chord progressions, or harping with a friend!
- Investigate new teaching tools
Whether it’s some new music or a cool new app, check out something that will update and enliven your lessons.
- Update/refresh online teacher listings
Revisit any sites where your details might be listed and check all contact details are correct, and if the accompanying blurb is working for you or needs updating. (Read more about how to turn an enquiry into a student here)
- Update school information
If you teach in a school, university or other institution, make sure all your details are up to date with them as well. Look out for any association fees that might be due, as well as safe teaching codes or other mandatory compliance things you might need to be on top of.
- Studio management
How’s the accounting software working for you? Is it time to try out a new system for booking lessons? Take a moment to investigate what’s out there and what might work for you. (You can read about what I’m using in my studio here)
- Sort out your calendar
While you thinking about studio management, have a realistic look at the time you have available for teaching. Can you fit in more students, or do you feel overwhelmed with your current numbers? Try setting some clearly defined teaching hours and stick to them to help balance everything in life.
- Refresh or implement studio policies
Where you have a multiple page contract, or just like to have a casual word when people start, think about what policies you do like to stick to, make them known, and then stick to them!
- Organise your library
Got music stored on the floor? Music filed under coffee cups? Knuckle down and get that music put away where it belongs!
- Check exam dates
If you have students sitting exams, make a note in your calendar about when the paperwork is due in, and when the exam sessions are, plus what the current costs are.
- Check updates to the exam syllabus
Some exam syllabuses (syllabi?) get updated quite regularly. Make sure you’re guiding students through the most up to date list there is. I like to print out the exam syllabus for easy reference, and then scribble all over it!
- Contact your local harp maker/supplier.
The new year can bring a number of new students, so take the time to have a chat with the local harp supplier and find out if there are harps available to rent or buy, and what the current prices are. Useful information for students (and parents!) and helps you look on top of your game.
- Write a student newsletter/start a Facebook group
Keep your students updated with some of the fantastic things that are happening in your studio, while adding value by making everyone feel part of ‘Team Harp’.
More room on the broom? Set up some Facebook advertisements, join local music teacher sites or put some posters around the local shops. Get creative and see what works for your area and potential student base.