Moving Existing Traditional Students to SM
I have just come on board. I have taught private piano lessons for 25 years. I found out about Simply Music through an article in the paper about a new teacher in Des Moines. I got on the web site, gave her a call, sat in on some classes, listened to the kids play, talked to the parents and was sold. I’m excited about teaching this. I’ve been very frustrated over the last few years about the lack of progress in the average student. I think this will be just the method to inspire and encourage those that have been less successful.
I would welcome any “tips” from experience you have for the process I am starting. How to inform present students, studio policy ideas, I’m a little nervous about doing my first introductory meeting. Any little tidbit of information would be great! Thanks! Looking forward to hearing from you and joining “forces”.
Cindy B., Illinois
From what I know so far, I have good news and not so great news. The good news is that you’ve made the move to the best piano method on the planet, bar none. You have the best support possible, with a curriculum that is unmatched. Switching your current students is simply a matter of communicating to them and their parents what you have learned in your investigations of this method and letting your enthusiasm pour forth. Tell them that in your experience the majority of traditional students never achieve pianistic independence and you were getting frustrated with the process, having the desire to teach people to play the piano well…etc. Are you going to have your existing students attend an FIS? I would. I was in your shoes and the biggest mistake I made was to NOT have my current students go through intro sessions and foundation lessons. Make those 2 meetings as solid as you possibly can.
The not so great news is that there is no substitute for learning by doing, and you’re going to make mistakes along the way, and it’s going to take time to get some of this stuff polished. I’ve been doing intro sessions for 4 years now and I feel like it’s finally getting easy, and I finally have a nearly 100% sign up rate. Jump in and start doing – and ask all your questions – and keep in touch with Neil – and attend every symposium you possibly can – and read the transcript library often.
Welcome to the SM family! When I found SM, I had a traditional student base. It was my decision to offer my students a “switch over” or help them find another teacher. I invited my families to FISessions and discussed the options. There were the typical questions, mostly about reading and seemingly “starting over” due to the obvious first materials being “Level One”. I, too was nervous, but was very honest with my families about my leap of faith into this method and my belief that we were on to something that could change their musical lives!
You have an advantage over my situation as I did not have as much insight then into the overall program as Neil was reformatting the old teacher training materials and preparing the student home materials one level at a time. But, in spite of my lack of depth of knowledge with the program, all of my students came with me to SM – and were glad that they did!
So, my advice is to meet with the parents, share your very real enthusiasm and belief about the validity and value of this method. Share as much of the music from the first levels so as to give them some level of understanding how the method works (I use the blues songs for vivid examples of the “building block” process” and also emphasize the accompaniment program.) In doing so, you want to create a stark contrast between how they were learning to play the piano traditionally vs. the path of SM.
Given these facts and your excitement with this method, I believe that you will retain your students. (There was only one student of mine who was not excited about the change. In her case, I asked her to take the plunge and give me 2 months with SM. If she was not happy, the plan was for me to find her another teacher. She is STILL with me!)