Sometimes I feel like my community is so small

I realized that the reason why I was feeling like blogging was going out of style was because I don’t interact with the blogging community enough. I just went through the discovery feed on WordPress and I found tons of great blogs that I would love reading. I felt like I was only experiencing a tiny sliver of what WordPress has to offer. I heard that WordPress has millions of users, but I only followed a few. I am going to connect with the community more and continue to explore. The WordPress community is big! And I’m excited to read amazing blog posts!

How to survive long days as a teacher

Hi everyone 👋 it has been awhile, but I’m trying my best to be consistent in blogging. To be honest, I feel like I’ve already written about all I could possibly write about. And I have no more new ideas. I want to write more though, so I’m going to keep thinking of new blog post ideas. Today’s post is going to be about how to survive long days as a teacher. I’m going to be working for most of the day tomorrow and I thought it would be nice to share how I prepare/survive for these long days. Let’s get right to it.

I feel like I am the queen of coffee lately. I can’t go a day without it and I’m beginning to think that I wouldn’t be able to achieve all of my goals for the day without the help of coffee. That’s just my honest opinion about myself. I’m an addict. I use the McDonald’s app to get $1 coffees in the morning, and I also have Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts reward apps. If I’m really struggling by the end of the day, I’ll drink a second coffee. I’m not ashamed. If you ever wonder how I manage to work, study, and go to the gym every day… the answer is caffeine.

Another thing I try to do is to stack all of my lessons back to back to one another. I used to love down time, but I’ve changed. I’m now more interested in getting as much done in a day. If I have too many breaks in between lessons, I feel like my day is too long. This is an advantage for someone who manages their own schedule. I like to feel the pressure of going to the next lesson. And that makes my days go dramatically way faster.

I use Spotify and pandora during my drives. I don’t think I could be as productive as I am without the help of Spotify. I listen to stations that are test related. And I listen to Pandora when I’m tired. Music makes the time go by faster.

The last thing I do is just trying to relax. I’m not a strict teacher. I tried to be as laid back as I can because I don’t want to be bored during the lesson either. If I know I have a lot of lessons, I will create a game or include something fun to do. I’ll do this for Tuesday’s, Wednesday’s, and Saturday’s. It makes the lesson time go by faster and in return, my students also get to have fun learning.

Resources for the new teacher

I remember my first days of being a new teacher. I didn’t own any extra books. I only had one pencil and one pen. And nothing else really. It was tough. I made my own calendar by drawing lines. I mostly didn’t know what to do or how to organize anything. I was completely new to being a teacher. And I didn’t receive any supplies from anybody. I had to purchase all of my own supplies and come up with all of my own techniques. Now, on the internet, people are sharing their teaching methods everywhere and it is much easier. Back then, it wasn’t as easy.

I learned a lot of my techniques through joining a Facebook group tailored specifically for piano teachers. Whenever I had a problem, I asked other teachers. And this helped a lot. They talked me through many of the initial problems new teachers go through. I feel like I am stronger now because of the support from that group. I’m still a member of that group and I’ve began helping other new teachers. I’m the mentor and it feels great to help other teachers. The advice is free. And they are always willing to help.

I found that there are some apps that you can use on your phone to make teaching easier. In my first couple of years, I was obsessed with using apps and I’ve began to drift away from them. I still use a metronome and tuning app though. Those are my favorites. I would stay away from all other apps because they can be distracting for students. I prefer to have my students learn from a book rather than staring at a screen. In addition to using apps, I’ve found that google is a great resource for looking up musical terms. I have my own pocket dictionary of musical terms that includes all composers, but google is a great resource in the beginning of your teaching career also.

If you have a smartphone, I suggest using text messages to communicate with piano families. It’s much more convenient and you can access it wherever you go. Use technology to your advantage and always look for new ways to maximize your time.

Supplies and books were always a huge obstacle for me. I was always short in supplies until I started making more money. I used secondhand items until I could afford my own. When I discovered the dollar store, everything changed. It’s much cheaper and I would strictly shop from there for supplies. I’ve found that buying supplies from amazon in big bulks is helpful too. My students are always using all of my supplies, so I need a lot for my backup. I shop at my local music store for books because I get a teacher discount, but amazon is great for buying books too. I would go to music stores and ask for their teacher discounts. I’ve found that students can also use my discount because their under my teacher account.

I joined the teachers music association two years ago and it is one of the best decisions I’ve made. They put your name on the teacher directory so other schools can find you if they need a teacher. They provide free resources and books. I went to a music book sale and bought a lot of books because they offered it. And they donated me more books too. I can also offer my students more extra curricular activities. I’ve found it to be a very valuable resource. And I met other teachers too.

I used Facebook neighborhood groups to advertise for my lessons. And the amount of calls I got was way more than other forms of advertisements. Facebook is an amazing resource for advertising and you can also create your own Facebook page for your music studio.

If you want to give your students a great experience, that’s really great. It’s expensive though. And we don’t always have the money for it. I’ve found ways to make small gifts in cheap ways by looking online. And I make my own music flash cards with plain notecards. There are many great resources and things you can do for your students that are cost effective. You just have to be creative.

YouTube is a great resource for learning about teaching. I learned more about teaching techniques and materials by watching YouTube videos. And I also have my students listen to their piano songs on YouTube before learning it. It’s a great free resource to have on the go.

If you don’t know, Spotify offers free podcasts to listen to. And if you have a gmail account, you can access word document and excel sheets for free. I’ve made lecture slides for my students through google drive. And I’ve also printed free domain music sheets online. If you’re using your books for private use, you can photocopy your music sheets for students. I would stockpile all of my good music and my books for reuse for all of my students. Having multiple students use a performance book or a sightreading book can dramatically cut costs.

If you’re anything like me, you need lots of coffee. I’ve found that Starbucks offers an account to earn free drinks and food. I use that frequently to earn stars. I also have a Dunkin’ Donuts card to earn points. If you have the McDonald’s app, the large coffees are only $1 and you can earn free coffee there too. I use the curbside pickup to save time. And the breakfast sandwiches are a penny too. I always grab food there early before my lessons or during my breaks. If you’re looking for lunch, download the Sonics app and you get access to happy hour 24/7. All drinks are half off and they offer deals on there too. If you have a smoothie king account, they offer a rewards system. If you want $2 extra when you sign up, you can use my referral link here. If you exercise at a gym, they might offer extra discounts for smoothies at tropical smoothie. All of us teachers are always looking for good drinks and food. I hope that helps.

Once you get started teaching, you’ll get better at being a teacher. And many things will become reflexive the more you do it. There are so many resources available and I hope you take advantage of it all. Keep researching and working hard!

How to manage your schedule as a teacher and entrepreneur

I’ve been struggling with finding time to complete all the tasks I have for the day. And I’ve found that I don’t have time to do everything I want for the day. So what do you do? Do you sacrifice sleep to get more done or do you sacrifice your free time? I’m not a fan of losing sleep, so I sacrifice my free time. I’ve been writing a lot for my blogs while also studying for school and working. It’s been busy, but that’s the kind of sacrifice you have to make if you want to have it all.

How do I find time during the day to accomplish everything I need to do? I find spurts of time scattered throughout the day to do something productive. When I get home, instead of laying on the bed watching YouTube videos on my phone, I clean. I just get started and I don’t think too much about it. I’ve adopted good habits during the morning and at night. I clean in the morning and I clean at night before I go to sleep. If I need to do anything, I make sure to do it first thing in the morning; this ensures that I utilize my free time wisely. I also write my blog posts when I’m in the gym or if I’m waiting in line. I make sure my time is always being used for something useful. I also listen to podcasts when I drive or clean.

In the morning, I’ve mentioned this before, but I always check my schedule in the morning and the night before. I keep my schedule on google calendar, and that’s the number one tool that keeps my life together. I also check it throughout the day. If I have a class that’s canceled, I mark it on my calendar. It’s so convenient to have your calendar on the google calendar app too. Having my calendar on my phone is the best decision I ever made.

Another way I can work while I’m not at home is by having the WordPress app on my phone. I can blog whenever and wherever I am. I’m always on the go, working six days a week, and I have to blog every day. I wouldn’t be able to accomplish all of this if I didn’t have the WordPress app. I’m glad that I can manage all of my blogs from one account too.

I’ve also mastered the art of working hard now and relaxing later. I’ll usually save my relaxing time at the end of the day and it’s the last thing I do before I go to sleep. I know this sounds monotonous and boring, but so much time is wasted when you aren’t doing anything. And hard working people don’t relax very often. You get used to the fast paced life.

I also manage my schedule by having multiple things being done at a time. For example, I’ll be air drying my clothes, listening to my podcasts, doing laundry, having my diffusers working, leaving the window open to let fresh air in, cleaning my room, and updating my phone. You have to be the master at accomplishing multiple tasks at once. Why only get one thing done when you can get five things done at a time? That’s how you save time!

When you have complete control of your schedule, you have to keep yourself accountable. No one is going to tell you to be productive. And you will have to do that for yourself. Think about what you want and what your goals are. What can you do right now to get closer to your goals? Where do you have time in your schedule to get things done? Take control of time and don’t let it fly by.

The last thing you need to do to completely be able to manage your own schedule is to have motivation. You need to wake up every day feeling energized and ready to work. You should also be accomplishing something every day. Think of your time as money, and you’ll learn not to squander it. Be conscious of where your time is going. I wake up every day ready to attack this new day. I won’t relax unless I know that I’m exhausted and I deserve to relax. Once you treat yourself like you’re worth it, you’ll start to see the changes. And managing your own schedule will become easier.

Screen Shot 2019-10-09 at 9.24.07 PM

Screen Shot 2019-10-09 at 9.32.08 PM

Can you learn the piano by yourself?

Yes, you can learn the piano by yourself. However, it is best to have a teacher by your side to guide you through the difficult stages of learning the piano. There are techniques such as fluid hand motion and technical issues that you can’t solve by yourself. Imagine if you tried to learn how to fix your sink and you spent hours googling how to do it. You could have just hired a plumber to come fix it and they could have done it in 30 minutes.

I know that this isn’t what people want to hear. It’s not what I would want to hear if I was a beginner, but I don’t want to lie to you. I don’t want to sell you a piano course that doesn’t guarantee that you will learn the piano. I don’t want to sell you a product that might work. I actually want to give you advice that will save you time and money. You can’t do everything yourself. I’ve seen many students fail at learning the piano by themselves. Please don’t listen to all the advertising gibberish online. You need to find a piano teacher that can physically be right next to you and to guide you through this process. Don’t waste your money on anything else. I’ve seen many instances where it doesn’t work.

I hope this helps you and let me know if there are anymore topics that you want me to discuss.

Day One: Set Three Goals

I’m taking this mini course on getting my blog on the right start. I’ve been blogging for awhile, but not until lately have I been investing a lot of my time into creating my blog. I have two other blogs and three in total. I’ve been slowly uploading consistently on all my blogs and it’s been a blast to see the response that I’m getting. Blogging is truly addicting and it makes me so happy. I’m going to write three goals for each different blog and customize it to what will fit for each blog. For this blog, I’m hoping to:

1. Reach 500 followers by the end of this year

2. Post consistently three to six times every week

3. Inspire other people to be productive and to live their best life 😊

If you want to read more of my blog posts, click here and here.

A day in the life of a piano teacher 🍎 🍏

I find myself really busy all the time. There are a million things on my todo list and honestly, there’s not enough time in the day to get everything done. For me, I always make sure that all of my students are progressing. And that takes a lot of attention and decision making every day.

Today, I started out with a doctors appointment. I cleaned out my teaching bag yesterday night so I have a clean start for this new week. I also answered some text messages from parents. I almost always get texts every day from parents either to reschedule or cancel a lesson. Before lessons, I spend time answering all these texts for the day. I then start packing my teaching bag. I carry a lot of materials with me when I go to teach. It’s a big deal to really stock up on materials because my students use it up very fast. After that, I usually almost always bring a big bottle of water and a coffee for the day. Then, I’m out the door.

For me, I use google calendar for all of my scheduling. I know I’ve written a separate blog post about google calendar before, but if you guys want me to write another one, I can explain more about how I use it. Google calendar is my lifeline. It’s where I store ALL of my information on lessons and addresses. I also store personal events and reminders for every aspect of my life on there. It’s kind of like a planner, but more catered to my style of planning. I also share my calendar with my boyfriend so he can see what I have to do for the day. He also shares his calendar with me. I glance at my calendar for the day and I see how my day is going to be.

I travel to each of my students’ homes to teach. It’s convenient for me because I don’t want to teach from my own home. And they like the convenience of it. Each student has lesson books and technical exercise books I’ve chosen for them. We go through the lesson by me watching them play. And I give feedback. At times, I’ll have to teach a concept and they just listen. I have four lessons today. That’s quite a large load for me on a typical day. I average about 4-5 lessons a day.

I don’t know how today’s going to go because I haven’t started my lessons yet. But I hope it’s going to be a good day 🤞 I hope everyone is having a good Monday!

What’s been new with me

My birthday just recently passed and I’ve been working a lot. I have 21 piano and double bass students that I teach every week. They are quite a handful of young kids. And I’ve been noticing that some of the younger ones are not practicing. I’ve been thinking of implementing a check in on practicing every Thursday to see how their progress is going.

I dealt with some trials and tribulations yesterday, but I shared that with my other blog. I went out to buy my own shoes, so no one will steal them. And I hid my current ones away too 😁 They are my “teaching shoes” that I wear every day to go teach. Even my oldest sister, that I don’t live with anymore, knows that those shoes are mine. But somehow, they were taken when I needed to wear them… now that won’t happen! I’m also going camping today with friends. We’re camping in their backyard haha because we don’t want to tough out the actual wilderness. And bathroom breaks are a lot easier.

I have my first piano lesson of the day in 45 minutes. And I’ve been spending these last few minutes, as I always do, just relaxing and calming down. Yesterday was a good full day of lessons. My students definitely cheer me up when I feel down.

I hope everyone is having a great day 👍

Perfect Day

I had the most perfect day today. I went out to eat with my best friend for dinner. We went out to Grimaldis🥂 it’s a pizza place that serves really awesome food.

I learned that my friends are one of the most important people in my life. They motivate me to tackle each day head-on. And I am so happy to see them when we are both free. Friends add so much happiness to my life. I’m thankful for all of them.

I also spent the day with my amazing boyfriend. We don’t always get to spend the day together because of circumstances beyond our control. I was able to eat lunch with him. And it’s rare that we can eat a meal with just us at a table. We spent the rest of the day relaxing and napping. I really needed to take it easy for the rest of the day. He was also sick, and I had brought all sorts of medicine for him. While he slept, I was able to play some games on my phone. I played Mario Kart on my iPhone. That is such a fun game! I got first place every single round. My favorite character is toadette.

I’m ending the day with working out at the gym with my boyfriend. I’m actually writing this blog post while I’m on the bicycle in the gym. I’m learning that life is so precious. If I didn’t take the time today to appreciate the amazing people in my life, I would have taken this day for granted. Thank you God for bringing my loved ones in my life. I’m also chatting with my other best friends on text right now too. My best friend just told me she’ll be back from Reno for thanksgiving. Life is great ❤️

I want to take this time to thank all my friends for making my life so much better. I love you guys.