Topic: teaching private students

Just curious as to how you handle your studios--
How do you recruit students?
How many do you teach?
What age do you prefer?
Do you have recitals?
What type of material do you focus on?
Do your students seem to end up in a similar range of abilities or is there a wide range?
And, if there is any other information you wish to share I'd love to hear that as well.

I've been teaching for several years now and my studio seems to have suddenly gotten very large. I enjoy it, but I'm just looking for some other perspectives on teaching students.

Thanks so much!

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Re: teaching private students

Recruiting - Reputation and I am on the private teacher listing in the local school system
Studio size - Currently 5 - could handle 8 but prefer not with my busy schedule
Ages - Elementary through High School (never tried an adult, not sure I'd want to)
Recitals - never have, never really wanted to organize one
Materials - Fundamentals.  All students work in Weissenborn, scale studies to build up speed, and a solo for fun
                (or festival/contest depending on the time of year)
Ability level - Most students gravitate to a level of ability depending on how much time they want to put into their
                    studies.  I have a 13 year old playing for 2 years that is far better than a 16 year old I teach
                    playing for 4 years.  I know how much each practice by their progression each week.  I give the
                    parents progress reports each time I see them.

By the way, I teach bassoon.

Bryan Cavitt
Bassoonist, Elkhart (IN) Municipal Band; Bassoon Dad

kkiene wrote:

Just curious as to how you handle your studios--
How do you recruit students?
How many do you teach?
What age do you prefer?
Do you have recitals?
What type of material do you focus on?
Do your students seem to end up in a similar range of abilities or is there a wide range?
And, if there is any other information you wish to share I'd love to hear that as well.

I've been teaching for several years now and my studio seems to have suddenly gotten very large. I enjoy it, but I'm just looking for some other perspectives on teaching students.

Thanks so much!

Share

Re: teaching private students

I try not to have "private" students - I work for the State school system as an Iitinerant Teacher in High Schools (years 9 - 13).  As well I teach for an "out of hours" community music school. Most lessons are however individual from 25 - 40 minutes each.

In all I teach 19 bassoonists from junior school (yr7&8) through high school to adults. (Christchurch has around 300 000 population and around 30 bassoonists all up).

It is a busy schedule boosted by other school-time woodwind teaching of flute, clarinet, saxophone and recorder plus an orchestra and a recorder ensemble also out of hours. (No time for reedmaking or the teaching of it).

No formal "studio" recitals although at years 11 -13 students may present themselves for assessment in recital performance for the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA).

I prefer teaching high school students through to university level though I no longer teach at the local university.

Materials consist of beginner tunes accompanied wher possible leading to short pieces of classical nature through to the main repertoire - Weissenborn, Galliard, Telemann, Vivaldi, Bach, Mozart, Weber, Elgar, Saint Saens, Arnold, Larssens Hummel. (a cross section).

Ability range varies from beginner through intermediate (when some give up) to university level for the more committed / talented players. Retention overall is good and we have a strong orchestral system providing graded progression from junior to youth orchestra over 6-7 years. Many go elsewhere for university level study (often in non-music disciplines such as health sciences, engineering, law etc). A small proprortion complete university and pursue a professional or semi-professional career.

I run infrequent workshops when Yoshi or someone of similar ilk comes by. It has been too long!!

For greater detail see my post "Bassoon Scheme Beginner to High School Graduate" in this Teaching section.

Neville

Neville Forsythe
Christchurch New Zealand
Bassoonist / Teacher / Conductor

Re: teaching private students

Recruiting:  i am registered with area music stores and have made contact with some of the local band directors.

Studio Size:  Currently, i have 6 students but have had a studio of 15 before.  i teach more than just bassoon, though, since i have extensive training in piano, voice, and oboe.  Currently, i have 2 bassoon students, 3 piano and 1 vocal. 

Age preference:  i teach all ages. 

Recitals:  i try to have one every Spring.  They are simple in style, but it gives the students a chance to show their family and friends what they have accomplished over a year's time.  i have them announce their pieces and the older students are to tell something about the composer and era of the pieces they are performing.

Materials:  i start most beginning bassoon students in the Rubank method for 1 book, then move them into Weissenborn and Ferling's 48 Famous Studies for Bassoon.  Once advanced enough, i use Milde & Giampieri.  All bassoon students work on solos in addition to their technique studies, but i do not require them to play in solo/ensemble festivals.  i encourage them to do so, though.  i also include a lot music theory and music history in the lessons, as well.

My students are at different levels.  My oldest bassoon student is graduating from high school next week and plans on playing bassoon in college.  He has played for only a year, but has worked really hard and won a nice-sized scholarship for his music studies.  This summer i am going to be teaching him reed-making so that he is prepared for college. 

My other bassoon student (an 8th grader) has played for the same amount of time and is still struggling with the 1/2 hole concept.   

Every person's brain takes in information differently, so it is my goal to work with each individual on their personal level.

i hope to enlarge the double reed section of my studio, but double reeds are few and far between in this area.  So in the meantime, i judge double reeds at the state music festivals.  It gives me an opportunity to teach in a different way.

Best to you with your studio!

"Music is a moral law.  It gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, gaiety and life to everything  It is the essence of order, and leads to all that is good, just and beautiful."  -- Plato

Re: teaching private students

Hi there:

I have traditionally recruited students through a few methods: contacting and getting to know the local public school teachers, being active in the community as a performer, adjudicator and educator, and through word-of-mouth through other colleagues. In the past year, I've also created a website and added myself to several free "private teacher search" websites. While the free websites that advertise teachers increase the web presence (and suddenly make people think I must be better than I was when my name didn't pop up so much in Google searches - LOL), I haven't received any referrals through those services.

Right now, I have 20 students, ranging in age from 10 to sixty-something. The majority of my current students are in elementary through high school.

As far as age preference - I really love having students of all ages and skill levels. It makes teaching rather fun, to see the eyes of an 11 year old light up when they play their first G major scale, to see the excitement when a high schooler sees the correlation between a skill they just learned in a Barret etude and in solo literature, the joy of seeing a young person accepted as a college music major, and to see the sense of true amazement when an adult who hasn't played the oboe in 20 years gets up and plays a solo in front of their church. I like variety. Though, I must admit that there are some ages that can take a lot of extra skills and energy to teach (for example - 13-14 year old boys with a short attention span!)

I have had successful studio recitals in the past, but in the past several years, the scheduling for both students and my busy schedule has made it difficult. I think recitals are very helpful for students, but it's important to realize that some students are truly terrified by the idea of performing by themselves in public. I try to encourage students to do so, and those who are really nervous will play a duet with me or a trio with other students. I think the recital experience (or "Solo and Ensemble Festival", which is a state sponsored event I basically require my students to attend) is important for a person to experience. It helps them learn how to deal with nerves, how to plan their work and prepare well, how to keep composed under pressure, and how to deal with and learn from both success and disappointments.

Lesson materials for me are based on method books appropriate for the student, supplemented with warmup routines, solo literature and technical exercises. I cover "band music"/"orchestra music" on an as-needed basis - in other words, I don't give weekly lessons that are just supervised practice sessions for band class. For beginners, I work a lot with their beginning band method, supplemented with a warmup routine and an oboe method bood (Gekeler 1), plus quizzes and exercises I've developed to build additional skills in note reading and fingerings. Slowly, I get them more into the etude & solo literature as they gain more skills and can play the band method music without help. But, if they have a test, a quiz, or have difficulty with their school assignments, they are always welcome to bring that music to their lessons.

Do your students seem to end up in a similar range of abilities or is there a wide range? That's a good question. I would say most of my students end up with significantly above-average skill levels, however there always students who don't practice very much (or hardly at all). My goal is to push them to make practice a regular part of their homework schedule, but some don't respond to this. I figure that their lessons equip them to be better players than they would be without lessons, and I focus on helping them develop good problem solving skills and time management, drawing parallels to how these lessons apply to other things in life outside of playing the oboe.

You mentioned that your studio is growing significantly. You might want to consider using a service like "MusicTeachersHelper.com", which I started using a little over a year ago. It keeps all of your lesson schedules online, emails students (and parents) reminders for scheduled or cancelled lessons, emails them their assignments for the week, sends automatic invoices for payment, and you can broadcast messages (like studio events, concerts, track loaned items, etcetera). I've found this system to be incredibly helpful in managing a lot of the paperwork for my studio, people pay on time for their lessons, and fewer lessons are missed. Kids love the online system.

My understanding is that there are a few of these types of systems available. I've just used MTH for over a year, but I never tried the others.

I'd also strongly recommend developing good lesson policies on what you expect from students, as well as a clearcut cancellation policy. I also have those stored in my music teacher's helper system. This has helped quite a bit. If you want to see what I have out there, visit https://oboe.musicteachershelper.com/studiohome

By the way, I am in no way affiliated with those who own music teacher's helper (i.e. I'm not making any type of money for endorsing it). I just think it's a good system that has streamlined my paperwork and communication with families, and it's worth the tiny monthly fee to use.

I hope this helps a bit!

Good luck with your growing studio,
Lynne Marie Flegg
www.oboeweb.com
www.greatlakesconsort.com