What a year it has been.
One year ago, I wanted nothing to do with teaching online lessons. I now sit here, in a different community, surrounded by all of my online gear. I have a 28 inch computer monitor, microphone and my digital piano is connected to my PC. I have a ring light to keep me well lit during my online lessons and a tablet which enables me to annotate on my pdfs as I screen share during my online classes. I have learned to screen mirror, google for examples during lessons, and have created animated online games for my students and for fellow teachers.
My online lessons are jam packed. Many nights, I do not even get up out of my chair for a break. Students click into their Zoom lesson and we jump right in. They are at their pianos, materials at the ready and away we go! Students have been awesome and have really learned a lot. They are truly an incredible group of kids!
I am now an "Elite Educator", thanks to Glory St. Germain from Ultimate Music Theory. The program that she created last summer has changed the way I look at my teaching and introduced me to so many new music teacher friends from all over the world. I have spoken at 2 Global Music Summit, with a third soon to take place. I have also been invited to write a chapter for a book!
With out the pandemic happening, I am not sure any of this would have happened. Moving from Belmont was not an option. While we have only moved 20 minutes away, the thought of commuting in the dark and snow during the winter months was not at all appealing to me. Now, I can switch to online lessons during the bad winter months and continue to have my studio locations in Belmont and Dorchester during the good weather months.
Since we were not able to travel or visit family, I took advantage of the time to enroll in the Elite Educator Program and truly explore and implement all that I was learning. I have learned so much about teaching, learning styles, how to be more efficient with my time and so much more.
Thanks to my son, I now have the gear I need to truly offer efficient online lessons. I really enjoy my classes!!
Truly "these are the worst of times" for us right now. I have always believed at the law of physics applies. "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction". I can truly say that this difficult time in our history has taken me to places I could never have imagined a year ago as I sat contemplating just what an online piano lesson would look like.
Life sure presents us with great learning opportunities! This year is no exception. I have gone from never teaching an online piano lesson, to teaching over 500 in a couple of months. The learning continued for my students- and teaching took on a whole new "platform" for me!
Thanks to ongoing professional development opportunities, I am able to continue to expand my knowledge and have been able to find the resources I need so I could make to move to online teaching with few issues.
I am currently enrolled in the Ultimate Music Theory Elite Educator Program. I am finding myself inspired to continue to elevate my studio and continue to strive to be the best teacher for my students.
This spring has certainly been different for me! But one thing has remained constant. I love teaching, I love writing music and making games and I look forward to continuing to learn more so that I can be the best teacher that I can be for my students.
I am now learning about screen sharing - how to use apps in online lessons - how to "Zoom" with a class of students and more!
Online lessons will remain a part of my studio in some form or another well into the future.
The learning continues - be it in person or virtually!
Here it is, August 6th, and I am already well into planning for the fall. So far this summer, I have revised, revamped and reinvigorated levels B through E, completely added a new level "F" and redone Level 2. I have written many new pieces for my students this summer. Composing was not something I ever imagined myself doing back when I started teaching, but it has become a normal and natural part of my work now.
I have been making new games both for the studio and for Ultimate Music Theory. Being the games creator for that wonderful series is such a joy!
Over the past 2 days, I have been over at my Belmont studio, redoing the room layout. While it worked okay last year, I wanted the flow to be a bit better. So, out with the big cabinet and in with some new shelves. Of course, that means completely removing everything, moving the pianos and keyboards rearranging the wall decor and totally taking the whole room apart. Thanks to my husband for being willing to help.
"Making do" or "putting up with something" is not something I entertain when teaching. I want my students to have the best possible experience. I want things organized- at my finger tips- available and accessible.
I have just over a month before classes start, so thankfully, I have some time to make it all make sense.
I do love summer and my break away from teaching. It allows me time to assess how things went last year, and to prep for next year.
I hope everyone is having a great summer.
Christmas is over and another year will soon be upon us. This time of year always seems to put me into a reflective mindset. It is a great time to look back at the year that is about to end, and look forward into the new year that will soon begin.
I am so happy to now be teaching at the Village Center in Belmont, as well as at the Dorchester Community Church in Dorchester. Both locations feel so comfortable and so right.
My time at the Next to Mom Daycare Center was great - and I am so grateful to the owners for allowing me to make use of that space for my classes! The demands of a busy schedule did not fit with the available classroom time, so it was time to find a new place that would be a better fit for my schedule. Thankfully, the Village Center is that place!
This Christmas Break has also allowed me to return to my studies. I began the Ultimate Music Theory Certification Course as a refresher in the late summer, but with a hectic schedule, and a busy personal life, I was not able to complete it. The timing right now is perfect as I have two students who are going to be writing their Level 8 theory exams in the spring. I am currently working through the training for "Advanced" rudiments and will then review the UMT Supplemental Series training, so I will be all up to date and refreshed when classes resume in a few weeks.
Staying up to date and refreshed is so important for a teacher. Never Ending Professional Development- that is my goal.
Thanks to Glory St. Germain at Ultimate Music Theory, "NEPD" is not only possible but incredibly helpful!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all! I am excited to get back and teach some great lessons in the new year!
It would seem, that this, my 40th year of teaching, is taking me back to my beginning. After making the difficult decision to leave the studio where I had been for 9 years, I began a long and intensive search to find the correct fit for my studio.
Much to my surprise, some places were not interested in having a music studio in their building- others were out of reach. I kept the search up until I landed at the library in late July. After a few weeks, and several conversations, we began to see that my schedule and the library schedule were just not going to fit together.
So, my search continued.
I have always thought that the day care center would be a great place to teach. The building holds such warm memories for me- I attended church there before it closed- I was married there- had my kids baptized- taught Sunday school- was organist, choir director, elder, caterer- lay preacher and I even played at the very last service ever held in the building.
To me, this truly feels like I am coming home.
While the building is now enjoying life as a day care center, it has such a familiar feel to it!
I can hardly wait to get started!!!!
February is here - the snow is blowing!
Wait...the grass is green outside of my window. What a strange year it has been.
I sit at home tonight instead of teaching, thanks to catching a nasty virus. A few days on the couch has allowed me time to think about many things, including what it is that I do for a living.
I consider myself blessed! I have a job that I love - one that really doesn`t feel like a job at all most days. I teach some really amazing kids - some that I have had the pleasure of watching grow from tiny little people into wonderful young adults.
In my world, no two days or lessons are ever the same. Every lesson brings something new - be it a new challenge presented by a student, or a new way to look at something I have done for years.
I know that there is so much more that I can do for my students and so much more to learn about teaching and music. The way I see it - the day you stop learning is the day you stop teaching!
I look forward to what lies ahead - to the challenges, the smiles, the accomplishments - to everything that being a piano teacher has to offer.
Most of all, I look forward to hearing my students perform with confidence and be proud of what they have done. The spring recital is a few months away and work will soon begin on the preparation of their pieces. What a great time of year it is.
As for those winter blues - I may be sad that I am home not feeling well - but I am certainly not feeling blue about getting back to my studios to teach.
Ah...summer....time to kick back, relax, enjoy being home in the evening...spend time with my family...or not!
This July I had the good fortune of being able to attend a 3 day Ultimate Music theory Certification course, given by the author of the books- Glory St. Germain, in Burlington Ontario.
I am so glad that I went!
After teaching for 33 years, why would I need to go to a theory certification course? There are many reasons.
When I was taking piano lessons, it seemed as if theory was just an add on to my piano lessons. Little time was actually spent learning the concepts. I simply learned the material well enough to complete the exam and went on with my piano lessons.
Theory is such an important part of music. Learning theory allows students to better understand what it is they are playing. Instead of simply playing the music in front of them, they begin to see far more-the key of the music, the structure, they can see scales and chords in a piece and understand why they are there.
As a teacher I think it is very important to continue to expand my own knowledge.
Thanks to Glory and her editor, Shelagh for putting on such an amazing course. I can now truly say that" I GET IT!"
Joanne is a passionate piano and theory teacher who loves to empower her students to learn to play music and enjoy it for the rest of their lives.