What you do is important. Really, really important. I’m biased — I have 25+ years experience as an educator and own a music school in Los Angeles — but I’m also right. Music is not only woven tightly into all of human culture, but central to human joy. You are a mighty torch bearer. Thank you!
Yet, in the face of those facts, anyone involved in enrichment music education faces an uphill battle. What we expect of students, parents and teaching can be seriously hampered by conflicting activities, unrealistic expectations and challenging communications.
Now, some of this is beyond our control. But good organization and solid, fundamental communication with students and families are within our control and will go a long way in making things easier and more successful for both you and your students.
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Part 1 — Get Organized
You’ve got materials — books, folders, manuscript paper, etc. You need them for yourself and you need them for students. Teachers have to schlep these materials everywhere they go.
Stop schlepping stuff. Use technology. Get all your materials in one place.
- Device’s can do things. Smart things. Take your lesson books and everything in your personal teaching folders, scan them and store them. If you are using a laptop, storing is easy. If you are using a tablet or smartphone, store your materials up there in the cloud — cloud storage is awesome. You can access everything from everywhere.
- Printers are among us. Unless you are teaching in the forest, there will be a printer nearby. Get wireless access to it. Print what you need when you need it, manuscript paper as well. There are tons of free manuscript paper sites online.
- Take a picture — it’ll last longer. We come up with great things during lessons, keep them. Whenever you create something new — a new exercise, transcribe a new tune — take a picture of it with your smartphone and move it from your camera roll to you lesson materials storage spot to be used again. I don’t even know the countless music documents I created for lessons over the years that were forgotten to the wind.
Of course your laptop, tablet or smartphone will provide access to a whole lot more than just storage and hopefully you are using everything from recording software to metronome apps.
Keep all your great, inspired teaching materials up in the cloud within finger’s length and you’ll never stress about losing or forgetting your beat up backpack or having a “What the heck do I do now?” teaching moment again!