Transitioning traditional students to SM
Ian B., California
Brand new SM teacher here. I just completed my ITTM and I’m starting to work on strategy for implementing SM with my current roster of students. I have a lot of questions concerning this process (for teachers that come from traditional) so I wondered first of all if there is a particular tag or section of Simpedia that I should be researching for further information on transitioning students to this new method.
Also, for those of you who teach both private and group lessons, what would you suggest for siblings who are close in age and level? Mine are currently taking separate private lessons, but I’m wondering if I should try putting them into the same group or even just their own group, so they can learn together. Part of my rationale is that a few of my sibling sets are in-home lessons. Teaching them in one group lesson would simplify my lesson planning (and travel planning) greatly, especially if I can even combine them into a group with another nearby student.
Shyrl K., Washington
I am a fairly new SM teacher as well, and had students from my previous traditional studio. From what I have experienced in transitioning traditional students into SM, and asking others, tread carefully and be prepared to lose some of your traditional students. My advice is: don’t require them to switch. You are better off leaving all but the newest students where they are, and focusing your efforts on starting any new students with SM. Eventually, as they watch your SM students, they will either want to try SM, or might choose to move on. But at least this way you won’t have a big exodus all at once. Maybe there are others who have had good success with transitioning traditional students that might want to weigh in on this, but this has been my experience.
Kerry V., Australia
I am not from a traditional background so cannot help you there. However, I would thoroughly recommend groups. I have had siblings together. The only thing I do is speak with each of them, asking them how they will be if the other sibling seems to be doing better. This helps me understand them and the family dynamics, and allows the kids to see that this is now spoken and they actually work it out. Also, make sure both children are given piano time to save the ‘waiting’ issue or ‘my sister was playing so I couldn’t’ excuses.
Rochelle G., California
I think every situation is unique. I required all of my students (all eight of them at the time) to switch over. I gave them no choice. I said I was switching methods and I did 🙂 Those students, however, were all still in beginning levels. They all stayed with me for at least three years after the switch to Simply Music. And one of them is still with me.
They first all came to an introductory session, like any new prospective student would. They all signed up and I put them all in groups. I was so pumped up about Simply Music and so passionate about the switch that I think my momentum absolutely helped with the transition. I had some new interest at the time and I went from those eight traditional students before Christmas to a total of 24 students in groups using Simply Music after my first FIS in February. That was five years ago. If I had had more intermediate and advanced students I might have made the switch for them optional. I went with my gut for my studio for that time in my life, and that was the decision I made.
Robin Keehn, Washington
Simpedia is full of information. You could search on ‘traditional lessons’, ‘transitioning students’, ‘teaching groups’, or ‘transitioning students into group lessons’.
As far as your students being required to be SM students, I’d say that if you’re having great success with them, keep going. When I transitioned students, they just went along with me because we had a great relationship and they trusted my decision.
As to groups, I would highly recommend teaching in groups and being open to putting students together who are close in age–as well as students who are not close in age! It’s worth a try and you can always change things if they aren’t working.