Teacher Taking Long Vacation
Found in: Studio Management
Elaine F. South Carolina
I have a fantastic opportunity to travel in Europe this summer– but it means closing my studio for eight weeks. I am concerned that students will really get rusty. Of course this is common during summer break– but I’ve never taken off this many weeks before.
Here’s some ideas I’ve had, has anyone tried them? What have others done?
• After a set up conversation with life coaches and students
• Send two or three emails with assignments from the Accompaniment program or blues program OR For a little more sense of connection with me- keeping that relationship a bit more alive– send postcards–how cool for kids to get cards from Istanbul?
• Require they play through their playlist for someone other than their life coach at least twice during the break
• In August when I resume teaching, give three weeks of lessons and then a big welcome back party
Mark M. New York
Postcards and party sound fun, but seem optional in terms of your concern about rusty repertoires.
A setup conversation seems like an excellent idea, and once you make all your other decisions, it will probably be fairly easy to do.
Even if you did no new projects, repertoire practice can’t hurt anyone. I’d daresay that despite our best efforts there are few students who couldn’t use some extra time to just focus on their repertoires. So that alone is a great opportunity for students. If you can manage a few other things on top of that, great.
For programs where assignments can easily enough be given via email, that sounds like a great idea. You can also consider Comp &Improv here. Even if it’s to repeat a previous assignment, it’ll always be new because of the nature of C&I, so no pressure to explain whole new concepts via email. You can also ask students to come up with their own variations/arrangements of songs they know.
Riskier but doable would be to consider assigning Foundation pieces since they have the full Student Home Materials(SHM). In cases where I’ve had students absent from a group lesson where a Foundation piece was taught, they’ve been able to handle such situations on their own generally well enough. Occasionally someone doesn’t get something quite right and we have to take care of it after the fact, but that also happens sometimes with students who *were* at the lesson. Again, if you’re not comfortable with this, and I wouldn’t necessarily be either, don’t do it. Just an option to consider.
Requiring that their play through their playlist only twice during eight weeks seems insufficient to me. Regardless of whether or not you’re giving new current projects and however many or few there may be, it seems to me they should maintain the exact same routine as usual with their repertoire — play each song as often as needed to keep it alive. If in *addition* to that you want to formally ask them to play the whole repertoire to someone other than their life coach, that seems like a nice way to add some extra accountability, almost like a substitute lesson. But I wouldn’t do that *instead* of regular repertoire practice as frequently as each song needs.
Irene S. Canada
I took 10 weeks off last summer. What I did, was set up a “Review” lesson in July. (Took three days, and it all had to happen in those three days. This is where each student had a 20 minute private review lesson with me. I went through their playlist with them playing each song partially, and I marked the ones on a list that were rusty. I did the same thing in August. If they played their playlist well in August, they each received a “prize”, a special music T-Shirt from me. I let them know ahead of time about this. They paid for these two lessons, and I told them that they needed the accountability, to not let their playlist get rusty. It worked really well, and come September, we did not have to spend a lot of time reviving the playlist. You could possibly do this over the phone, or have them video their playlist, and send it to you.
I also did “Long-Distance” phone lessons with an adult student who went away for two months, but didn’t want to get behind with the group she was with. I did not charge the the full fee. I think I gave her a 30% discount for these lessons. This worked as well.