How are my incentive programs going??

Incentive programs:

When you use incentives (candy, prizes, or small promises) to motivate your students to accomplish goals

Hi! Yes, I’m back again writing another blog post. And I have no shame posting multiple blog posts in a day. It’s my blog and I do what I want! In my opinion, incentive programs are definitely worth using. Some teachers are against it like, “they’re too expensive…” or “the motivation should be the music” or “I’m a good teacher and I don’t need that, haven’t used that ever in my 100 years of teaching.”

That’s good for you guys. There’s noΒ right way of teaching, but each teacher has the freedom to customize their studio the way they want. As long as you are keeping up with everything each week, you do you!

For me, I use three different incentives. And I never really explain what they are unless I’m talking to my teaching friends. The reason I’m using three incentive programs is because it’sΒ summer time. And I want to reward those students who are still taking lessons consistently over the summer πŸ™‚ Summer should be fun also, so I like to spice it up and give them more fun things to do.

1. Star Page

The Great Sight-Reading Challenge2-The Plucky PianistaSight-Reading Challenge.jpg

The one I use above to the right is the first star page I give to my students. It has less stars so it’s easier for them to complete. Students earn a star when they work on a song, complete a song in the book, or work on a work page. They use a marker to color in a star. Once they color all the stars, they earn a prize! And it’s usually a very nice surprise when I come to their next lesson with their prize. It’s not too difficult for them to complete even the one on the left. I like it because they have to work hard for it and learn to try the songs that they don’t like. But I also like it because it takes them about 2-3 months to complete it. I don’t want to be spending money every single week giving out prizes consecutively. Here are what my prize bags look like. I’ve given out more prizes than this but I didn’t take a picture every single time. Oops!

Screen Shot 2018-07-12 at 11.59.44 AMScreen Shot 2018-07-12 at 11.59.57 AM

I like to decorate these a lot because it makes them look even more special! This incentive isΒ very effective. If I had to choose, I would implement this one first and keep it. Students are also mucho motivated by this. Don’t tell them what surprise they’re getting! Leave them in suspense.

2. Small motivational erasers

smiles-wedge-erasersThese are not the exact ones I use. I didn’t take a picture of the ones I use, but these will do. I give one to each student per lesson. There are a lot of designs in mine, so I tell them that they can collect a new one each time. I haven’t shown them what they all look like, so it’s also a surprise to see what they are getting each week. This is a small token of my appreciation for them. They are helping me out by giving me business, and I really appreciate that. It’s something small, I get about 10 erasers for $1, but it has a huge meaning behind it. This incentive has been very effective so far. Students love it!

3. Gumball Machine
clipart-gumball-machine-picturesque-bubble-gum-learnfree-me-remarkable-emptyThis is my last incentive I recently added. I can’t take all the credit for this one because I got the idea from a teacher friend. Students will color one gumball each time as a practice chart. I am the judge on whether or not they practiced enough. The song has to be played better than last week. There are 100 gumballs, so this one also takes awhile to complete. As a joke, I like to tell them that the prize is… 5 cents! Haha it’s not, but it’s still funny to see their reactions. I know that this one is going to be difficult to implement, but it’s so new that I don’t have any results to share yet.


If you guys have any other ideas on incentives, please let me know πŸ™‚ If you liked my ideas, please like and share this blog post!


Should you travel or have students come to you?

If you are looking to start teaching, you have to ask yourself what kind of students you will be looking for. It’s difficult. There are days in which I wish my students would come to my studio and there are days in which I enjoy teaching in their home. Therefore, I prefer both. My studio caters to both kinds of students and that makes me happy πŸ™‚ However, if you are looking to figure out which is best for you, please keep reading.

Teaching from home

I’m not going to say that this is my favorite method, but it definitely has its benefits. I don’t like driving all the time because driving from location to location can take some time. It is also beneficial to be able to stack many students into one day. I understand that we are all trying to make money and this would be the best way to do it. There are some downsides to teaching from home though. I’ve found that my students make the piano keys dirty or they pound on my piano. It might not bother you, but it can depreciate the quality of your personal piano. Therefore, it does take some cost and benefits analysis to determine if this is the right method for you.

Traveling to students’ homes

I know that I said this wasn’t one of my favorite methods either, but that is why I have a mix. When you travel to students’ homes, you have to think about the time you are using and how much gas it takes. It’s not ideal, but many families would rather have the teacher come to their home. And you have to understand that many parents can’t leave their other children at home by themselves. On the other hand, I think that these are the most rewarding kind of students. I am able to create a stronger student-teacher bond when I travel to my students. They are happier and a lot more comfortable. I also find it interesting to see what their piano looks like haha The other day, I had a student rip a piano key out of her piano. It was definitely something, but I would never have been able to see that if they were at my studio. I can also create a large vision board of their progress for them if I teach at their home. Whichever method you choose, I wouldn’t recommend one over the other. It’s up to you on how you want to structure your studio πŸ™‚ Good luck and let me know how it goes!

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5 Simple tips on how to improve communication with your piano teacher or the student’s parents

I’m hoping that your communication with your piano teacher is already strong, but if you need extra help, let this blog post be your guide! I’ve always found it quite astounding how some parents and teachers can become hostile towards one another. Your child’s teacher is educating your child and I assume is putting towards a great effort to teach them. Therefore, the communication between both parties should be strong. Let’s jump right into some of these tips:

1. Use text message

Smartphone gebruiker

Let’s face it, we all don’t have time to make phone calls. And sometimes, some information can be sent quicker through texts. Text message is one of the handiest forms of communication and it should be heavily utilized. Lesson cancellations and “i’m going to be late” messages are perfect for text messaging.

2. Let parents know ahead of time


Parents really appreciate it when you let them know what’s going to happen in the future. You should tell them when you plan on going on vacation, what time lessons are going to be next week, or when recitals are. I think that this is another great thing to implement as a teacher. Parents are often juggling many things at once. You have to remind them and let them know in advance. Trust me!

3. Keep an open line of communication about the student’s progress


This can go both ways. Parents should provide weekly updates on how the child is progressing at home and the teacher should provide weekly updates on how the child is progressing in lessons. Why is this important? Both parties are interested in the success of the child. You both have to work together to make sure the child is always on track. It’s a teamwork.

4. Be really clear about your expectations


If you want to be paid for each lesson, make sure the parents know. If the teacher is not listening to your child enough, then let them know. You can’t expect for either party to know how the other party is feeling if no one is clear about what they expect. This is difficult. However, there has to be a trust between both parties and that doesn’t just magically appear. It happens when both parties understand what is going on and what the expectations are.

5. Be friendly


Okay, you must be thinking that I’m joking or something. I’m not. The number one tip that I can recommend is just to be friendly. Hostility and anger is not necessary. When you are friendly, people will like you and want to work with you. Keep in mind that there’s no magic recipe on how to be the best piano parent or best piano teacher. It requires trial and error, but there’s nothing wrong with keeping everything friendly. Be nice and welcoming. And I promise you that it will go a long way!

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