Creative people are excellent and getting ideas and tasks going but not so good at keeping them moving forward.Whether or not you have that sort of “creative“ personality, it is important to not only set yourself for up success but keep “oiling the wheels” to ensure your business runs smoothly.
Plans and systems need regular maintenance to have any effect.
Make a Habit of Maintaining your Systems and Plans
1. Communication Zone /Customer Service
You spend time getting students, so it makes sense to keep them as long as possible. Being a great teacher in itself is not always going to be enough.
Parents and students have over the years come to expect highest levels of attention and can communication. Being prompt and clear in all areas of communication is essential. Set up systems to keep communicating regularly and make your students aware of your calendar of events.
2. Finance & tax Zone
Artists have been known to work for a pittance due to their passion for the work. High profile Artists have also been known to go broke because they didn’t manage their finances appropriately.
As musicians we may not enjoy dealing with the money side of life, however a few simple systems can alleviate the majority of tasks.
Have systems to track expenses, income, tax and super.
3. Marketing Zone
Most music teachers struggle with the task of marketing, and frequently they only allocate sporadic time and resources to it.By planning your strategy and organizing your marketing resources, contacts and collateral you can easily become efficient and effective. Tracking and reviewing then also becomes efficient and effective thus alleviating the stress.
4. Timetable Zone
A timetable or schedule is often the pivot of a music teacher’s life. An “out of control” timetable can wreak havoc, whilst a well regulated one can bring pleasure! It can be tempting to be all things to everyone, and accept lessons and lesson changes whenever students request them, however your time is valuable and should be protected.
Plan what will work for you first and be flexible if required.
5. Environment Zone
Artists are known as sensitive creatures and so your teaching environment can impact upon how you feel and how your students feel. Parents can also concerned about the environment their children are exposed to.
Keeping your teaching environment maintained, tidy,clean and safe are the minimum expectations of most parents and students.
Have a routine to ensure you can “keep up appearances”!
6. Lesson Zone
You are more likely to have positive outcomes from a lesson where you have prepared than if you don’t. Getting organized, and starting and finishing on time might sound almost trivial but to parents and students they are a sign of professionalism and reliability. You need to set the “tone” of expectation by starting on time and finishing on time and being available every week if that is what you expect your students to do.
7. IT Zone
Technology can be exciting and fun, but it still needs organization and care. Keeping your documents filed systematically, choosing simple and easy to operate software and hardware, maintaining it and a safe working environment are as important when using technology as when you aren’t.
8. Concert Zone
Performing is a part of being a musician although not everyone wants to perform in front of an audience and teachers would be wise to offer their students regular performing opportunities.
For more formal performances planning should begin months prior and involve the students as much as possible to get them excited. Plan, prepare, invite, tickets, programs then execute!
9. Exam Zone
Exam entries are required several months prior to the actual exam. Prior to enrolling for an exam, a student should begin significant preparation to ensure the level is manageable.
Teachers have a responsibility to prepare students mentally as well as musically for an exam by setting the scene or even doing a “Mock exam”. Exams should be a positive experience similar to a performance. They should aim to provide a sense of achievement and standard.
Preparation on the teacher’s part ensures all criteria of syllabus are met, student is prepared in good time and is confident and the experience is positive!
Being in control of your life and having realistic expectations about your day-to-day challenges are the keys to stress management, which is perhaps the most important ingredient to living a happy, healthy and rewarding life. Marilu Henner
WORKSHEET HABIT 7 – Keep the Wheels Turning
- Communication Zone
- Finance and tax Zone
- Marketing Zone
- Timetable Zone
- Environment Zone
- Lesson Zone
- IT Zone
- Concert Zone
- Exam Zone