Creating A “Mobile” Studio
Found in: Studio Setup
Rebecca G., Colorado
I’m looking for some input to help with my current studio setup and use of technology. I teach out of my church, which has its pros and cons. The biggest benefits are that there are really nice pianos here; I don’t have to make my home into a public space; there’s plenty of parking; and I get the benefit of being under the church’s music conservatory program, which could lead to new students in the future.
The biggest downside to this arrangement is that I do not have a dedicated teaching space and have to move between 2 different rooms because of other groups that already have one space or the other booked on a regular basis during my teaching times. This means I need to be very mobile in my teaching, and I often do my lesson planning at home, separate from the space where I teach.
So far, it’s been much better for me to teach in a public space like this rather than out of my home, but I’m running into some frustrations. The biggest challenge right now is that I feel like I’m hauling a bunch of stuff around all the time and I’m very inefficient in my lesson planning and teaching. I’ve been trying out an online lesson planning program called planbook.com, but it’s pretty clunky and really not working for me (main downside: I can’t copy and paste anything in the program from one place to another, which renders it nearly useless). I’ve come to the conclusion that I really need a way to type student notes into my computer as each class goes along and then project them onto the wall or a whiteboard (whatever’s in the room I’m in at the time) for students to write down at the end of class; otherwise, I get stuff written down on the whiteboard by hand and then I don’t have time to copy it for my own notes before my next class starts. I’m starting to consider purchasing a small projector that would connect directly to my computer or iPad to facilitate this. Then the question becomes what program/template I should I use to actually enter and save the class notes, and can that serve as a lesson plan for my next class?
Do other teachers have lesson planning documents or programs and technology strategies they can share to help me with this part of my business? Are there others who don’t teach in one dedicated studio space and who can share ideas for staying “mobile” in our teaching? Any recommendations on small (very portable, lightweight) projectors or other technology suggestions would be most welcomed, too.
It may also be worth noting that I’m in the basement of the church, so wifi is usually but not always available, and cell phone service is completely nonexistent. Right now I don’t use a lot of wifi-dependent technology in my studio except for one student I teach via webinar (and I can do this at home), so this isn’t a huge deal.
Laurie Richards, Nebraska
Sounds like a great teaching space except for not having one dedicated room. And not having reliable wifi. A few thoughts:
- Does your church have any closet/storage space where you could keep a few things rather than hauling them back and forth? Or even a space where you might put a locking storage cabinet to keep your stuff?
- An idea that would be much easier and cheaper than using a projector – just take a picture (from your phone?) of the white board at the end of each lesson.
- The way I plan my lessons might be helpful in your situation – I still use paper lesson records (I created my own version). I have separate columns for each stream (Foundation, Arr, Acc, C&I, Reading, Blues/Jazz). I write some very abbreviated notes in each column for what I plan to accomplish in the class. If I don’t get to something, I put a red line through it so I won’t forget to come back to it. If I add anything during the class, I just write it in right then and there. If during class I want to remember to get to something the following week, I go ahead and write in the next week’s space in the appropriate column.
Rochelle G., California
Along the picture taking lines:
I am not a mobile teacher, but I do teach back to back classes. Therefore, I don’t usually have time to copy notes down. What is working really well for me is to take a picture of the notes from the whiteboard. Immediately after I take the picture I add it to the appropriate album on my ipad. (I use my ipad to take the picture.) My albums are designated by day. At the top of the notes on the whiteboard I write day and time of class. The date is written as part of the notes. That way when I access each album, I can see each class’s notes in chronological order .
When I teach, I have my ipad set up where I can see it, displaying the notes that I wrote the week before. I also access the notes pictures when I am writing lesson plans.
I am happily surprised at how well this is working for me. I tend to be slow in converting to technologically advanced methods of doing things:)
It has saved me a lot a stress in managing this part of my teaching.