May is the perfect time to set resolutions for piano teachers. Sure, New Year’s Day gets all the hype and attention. But if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere like me, spring is a much more realistic time for resolving and making changes. (And if you’re down under, I think October would be perfect for you. 😊 )
We have an interesting annual cycle as private music teachers.
Most of us are following the school calendar, more or less, but we’re not school teachers. We’re business owners. And that makes things a bit different for us.
Every year, I make changes and tweaks to how my studio runs and how I balance my work and life. As a business owner, the two things are inextricably linked.
I make these changes in spring so that I can finalise the documents (registration forms, enrollment forms, policies, etc.) and get them ready to send out to my studio families in June. This means that they can return the forms and registration fees in July, I can create the new timetable and interview new families in August, and the whole ship keeps sailing smoothly along in September.
All throughout the year, I’m making mini music studio resolutions to myself about the changes I’ll be making based on my energy levels and stress levels as well as my students’ progress, among other things.
Resolving to fix these things for the next year helps to remove any possibility of resentment or fretting as I move through the year. I know I did the best I could last year and that I’ll do even better next year.
If you’re struggling with self-doubt or questioning yourself (we all do from time-to-time!) you might like this post about impostor syndrome.
The kind of piano teacher resolutions you make and the changes you make to your studio based on them will depend on so many factors, but I thought I would give you some examples here so you can see how I’d tackle them in my studio policies and procedures.
Resolution 1: I will spend more time with my family/friends/pets/self
Whoever it is you want to make time for, the challenge is the same. As a studio owner, work can too easily bleed into the rest of your life. To solve this dilemma, it’s important that resolutions for piano teachers be actionable and realistic.
The first step is to ask yourself some questions to try to get to the root of the issue. What’s stopping you from spending quality time with the people (or animals) you love?
- Are you getting texts, emails and calls at all hours of the day and night?
- Are you teaching at dinner time?
- Are you just teaching too many hours?
- Do you spend all your free time planning your lessons?
- Is your brain buzzing so much with your students that you can’t focus and stay in the moment?
- Are you giving makeup lessons every Sunday morning when you could be having brunch?
The important questions here will be different for everyone. For example, I can answer “yes” to teaching right up to dinner time…but if my goal is to spend more time with my husband that doesn’t matter because he’s a chef so he’s always gone then anyway! Consider which one gets to the crux of the issue for you.
Then, fix it.
If communication is the problem, institute office hours and find a way to disable notifications and calls outside of those hours.
If you’re teaching too many hours, think about raising your rates and dropping a few students.
If you’re lesson planning at every hour of the day, consider joining Vibrant Music Teaching so we can do the planning for you and give you the tools and support to make it easier. You could also bring in a registration and materials fee so that you can pass the cost of the membership onto your students.
For even more ideas about freeing up your time, check out the articles on my Studio Business page.
Resolution 2: I will make more money
Want to be making more money this time next year? Nothing wrong with that!
I’m not one for sending things out into the universe, though. (Sorry, universe!) I believe in taking action to get the results you want.
If you want to make more money, you’ll have to do something differently. And your choices are really pretty simple.
- Teach more lessons
- Raise your rates
- Teach more students at once
- Add workshops, camps or other extras
- Take on another job outside of teaching
That’s it, pretty much.
So which one of those do you want to do? If it’s anything other than the last option then you’ll need to bring it into your policies, communication and systems now to prepare for next year.
Resolution 3: My bathroom will stay clean and organised
For the last example, I thought I’d go a bit off-piste and maybe a bit lighter.
Having said that though, more teachers than you might think have some kind of issue with the bathroom in their home studio. It might sound silly, but if your loo is ending up as a gigantic mess every day that’s no joke. It’s time-consuming, it might be stressful and it’s definitely ANNOYING.
Whether it’s that every family member and their uncle comes to your studio waiting room and uses the facilities, or that your students just don’t seem to have good toilet manners…you have my sympathies.
You are not powerless in this bathroom battle. Institute some clear policies around toilet use, regular reminders about going to the loo before lessons (emphasise the limited lesson time available each week) and put up some kid-friendly signs to restore order in your water closet this year.
What’s your really realistic resolution for the next academic year?
Is it one of the above? Something else getting on your nerves? Resolutions for piano teachers differ from studio to studio. Share your frustrations and flubulations in the comments along with what you’re going to do to fix them this year.