Today we welcome an extremely informative guest post from Rosemarie Penner. She has transformed her piano teaching business through technology and travel.
By using iPads and other technology, Rosemarie has created a successful travelling music lab. Not sure what a travelling music lab is? I’ll let Rosemarie explain all that and more!
Be sure to stick around till the end of the post, where you can find a free download of Rosemarie’s Top 10 Tips on Running a Travelling Music Lab. Enjoy!
It has been amazing to see how the world of music education has changed and continues to change.
Sometimes though, it can be tricky figuring out how to apply those great ideas when you are a travelling music teacher. After all, there is no way to make dragging multiple bags out of a vehicle look professional. Especially in heels.
A music lab is a way of teaching that encourages students to interact with technology in a positive way. I use an iPad and a range of apps to enhance my students’ learning.
I call this ‘lab time’. It differs from me physically sitting next to my student at the piano and helping them with pieces or technical work.
Lab time is a chance for my students to learn in an enjoyable and independent way, but with careful guidance from myself, of course. And, it works! Lab time is so beneficial and when combined with a more traditional piano lesson, my students have absolutely excelled.
How often have you assigned a theory assignment only to find out next lesson that it wasn’t completed because the student ‘didn’t know what to do?’ even after you did the first two or three examples together and walked them through the assignment.
You could get the student to complete the theory assignment for the first five or ten minutes of a lesson, or reassign it over and over in a vain attempt to get them to ‘learn’ the concept at home. But why?
Music lab time is beneficial on so many levels. Lab time, while you are at your student’s home, means real progress and real practice on those all-important skills we need to internalize to effectively play our music.
With thoughtful planning, it is a breeze to spiral concepts using videos, multiple apps and activities, all while you reinforce the same skills at the piano.
This past year, I have noticed a substantial improvement in my students that had lab time over those who were expected to do the assignments during the week. I think of it as super-charging my students’ practice time!
I don’t know if I fully realized all the business benefits to including a music lab when I first began. I was much more focused on the educational side and how it benefitted my clients so I could sell the idea to them. Thank goodness they are so open to new ideas!
When advertising, a music lab can help you stand out from the other teachers in your area.
When you can articulate your programming and how the music lab integrates with it, parents can immediately see the benefits. Especially once they realise how involved and excited their child is at the meet and greet (or initial interview).
We all know that travel time means less teaching time. It is one of the difficulties of making a good income as a travel teacher. Below are the two options that I have given my clients for this next year that ensures this is not a concern.
As travel teachers, we can charge a premium because we travel to our students’ homes. But, did you know that you can charge a further premium because now you are adding additional value? Letting clients know that you are taking care of the cost of the apps and providing an iPad for the student to use in lessons, means they can easily see the increased tuition cost goes directly towards their child’s programming.
In short, they LOVE it! Not a single family in my studio that has enrolled in lab time programming has been disappointed.
Parents love that:
Students love that:
Enter your details for a free download of my top 10 tips for running a successful travelling music lab business.
As a travelling teacher, there are very few circumstances where a 30-minute private lesson is worth it. Driving from home to home every half hour reduces available teaching time by almost half.
Plus, when trying to fit lab time in a 30-minute private lesson:
Some of those special circumstances for 30-minute private lessons are:
Students in lab time, even when it was only 15 minutes per lesson, progressed so much further than my students in private 30-minute lessons. That extra time meant we could really focus on concepts and explore them in a way that students just weren’t able to do independently at home. And, we didn’t need to sacrifice time on repertoire to do it!
The top tips above will give you a good basis on what to focus on when setting up your travelling music lab. If you want more details, you can check out:
I would love to hear your thoughts on being owning a travelling music lab! Feel free to comment below with any questions you may have.
Rosemarie Penner is an educator, boutique piano studio owner & writer. She has a Bachelor of Education (with a focus on special needs education) and has been teaching for over a decade. One of the main things Rosemarie has learnt is that, as educators, we never really stop learning. When Rosemarie isn’t teaching, writing or researching, she loves to spend time with her family, reading copious amounts of novels, enjoying a cup of tea, or baking vegan goodies! The Unfinished Lesson is her guide to all the skills that take teaching and running a business from overwhelming to fulfilling. She provides creative strategies & smart tech ideas to solve the challenges of running your business while keeping students coming back for more!