Getting Lesson Feedback

June is a period of music examinations, year-end recitals, year-end reports, parent-student-teacher conferences, and processing fall registrations. It's a busy time - and that's just the music making part of it! For those of us involved in performing, backstage, or front of house duties, it's even busier!

No matter how crazy things are, this is an important time for us music teachers to get feedback from our studio families on what worked well and what areas could be improved upon. It will help when it comes time to plan for the upcoming year.

Why ask for feedback? It doesn't matter that I've been teaching for over 15 years. One can always improve. That applies to every aspect in life.

For the past three years or so, I have sent out a lesson feedback survey to my students and their parents. To encourage participation, students who complete the survey are entered into a draw for a $25 gift certificate to the music store of their choice.

My Lesson Feedback Survey

These are the questions that I ask my students:

  1. What did you enjoy most about music lessons this year? 
  2. What did you enjoy the least about music lessons this year?
  3. What would you like to explore more next year? E.g. ensemble music, music theory, jazz, pop, etc.
  4. Any questions, ideas or suggestions? (optional)

Here are the questions I ask my studio parents and adult students:

  1. What do you feel went well this year with your/your child's music lessons this year?
  2. What areas do you feel require more attention and/or assistance from me? 
  3. Are you/your child returning next year? 
  4. What are your desired piano lesson days and times for next year?
  5. What is your desired group theory class day for next year? (This applies to piano students Grade 7 and above.)
  6. Which Optional Activities are you interested in?
  7. Music festival and/or exam next year?
  8. Any questions, ideas or suggestions? (optional)
  9. Testimonial (for promotional materials) (optional)

The Optional Activities that I listed include: concert field trips,  masterclass with a guest teacher, music-related tours (e.g. recording studio, concert halls, music museums, Canadian Music Centre), performing at nursing homes, hospices, and/or children's hospitals, taiko drumming workshop, and piano parties.

Reviewing Lesson Feedback

Not everyone responds to my Lesson Feedback Survey, but a good chunk do. It does help me to see which areas I need to adjust and which areas could use an overhaul. For instance, most of my students dislike theory. Although there is an overall improvement in how my students are doing (consistently earning Honours up to First Class Honours with Distinction), there is still a handful that are struggling. Coming up with new approaches to music theory will be food for thought during the summer

Technique is another area that is gradually improving, but again, there's a handful that are fighting it/struggling with it. How can I make technique more engaging and relevant to my students? Another thing to ponder this summer.

It looks like my students would like to do more ensemble music again. They are also keen to take another taiko drumming workshop and attend concerts. With everyone's busy schedules, this will take careful planning.

It is validating to read that overall, my students and their parents did enjoy the year. They are pretty happy with the progress they have made between last year and this year.

I do make a point of reviewing their survey responses with them at the end of the year. That way, I can get clarification on points and they can rest assured that I'm going work on making any necessary adjustments and improvements.

Fellow music teachers, feel free to use these questions for your own lesson feedback survey. If you have any suggestions for additional questions, please share them.