This time of year is a great opportunity to plan ahead to make your teaching year less stressful. And one of the biggest stresses for a lot of teachers is over-scheduled students.
So, let’s get an action plan ready for the inevitable statement:
“I didn’t have time to practice this week!!!”
While this may feel like the truth to the student saying it…it almost certainly isn’t. The truth is most likely that they didn’t prioritise their piano practice this week.
Time management is an important life skill. A lot of the time parents take responsibility for this with young children, but with teens it can get stickier. It comes naturally to some teenagers, and others have to work at it.
If you have a student who is time management challenged, here are the steps you can take.
Try it Their Way
Don’t jump in if they don’t think they need help. If this is the first time this is happening, it might just be an off-week for your student. We all have off weeks from time to time. The first, second, maybe even third week this happens I would just opt for a “no-practice necessary” lesson. We could work in garageband, do some fun scale work, or play games.
But, if the weeks start to creep on. And on. And still there’s no practice happening? That’s when I think about getting my project manager cap out – and ever so gently suggest I help them find some time for practice.
Find Pockets of Time
Take some lesson time and help your student to plan their week. This planning time should take about 10 minutes or so, but it could pay off big in the long run.
I know, I know, there’s a little voice inside your head saying that this isn’t what their parents are paying you for. I would argue that it is. They’re paying you to teach their child piano, and we all know how important regular practice it to that process.
(Click on the image to download the pdf.)
Have your student fill in all of their regular activities to the planner. Everything from doing homework to sports to family dinner time. I like to use a highlighter to fill in the boxes so we can easily see how much of the day is still available.
Then you have an opportunities to help them find the time they need for practice. If it’s only one 15 minute block on Tuesdays that’s OK. Fifteen minutes is SO much better than no minutes.
Make the Most of the Pockets
Now that you’ve found the time, you don’t want your students to waste it! Too many students spend their practice time just idling through pieces, and not making any real progress. Here are some great ways to get your students to practice smarter not harder:
- What I wish I knew about practice 12 years ago
- Practice Kits – Efficient Practice Gameified
- Practice Strategies for Intermediate Students
- Effective Piano Practice (5 part series of posts)
- Playful Practice Cards
For other great practice tips, you’re definitely going to want to download the Piano Practice Turbo-booster at the bottom of this page! The turbo-booster has everything you need for a studio full of amazing practicers.
What do you do with your busiest bees?
Do you ever spend lesson time teaching time management? Do over-scheduled students stress you out?
Share your wisdom and experiences in the comments!