Social Networking

Developing My Social Media Strategy

What good is social networking for business if you don't know what to use it for or how to use it? That's where having a social media marketing strategy comes in.

Getting a Handle on Social Media Management Tools

A glitch in my smartphone brought a bigger issue up to the forefront: how to manage my multiple social media effectively. This brought on a search for the perfect SMM tool for this solopreneur.

Exploring Online Discussion Forums for Music Teachers

Solopreneurs can enjoy the benefits of water cooler or coffee break conversation and brainstorming by joining online discussion groups.

So you want to be a consultant...

There are all sorts of consultants in the world - from accountants to lawyers and from corporate writers to artists. Yes, even music teachers and freelance musicians can fit into this category.

This month, my marketing friend Andrea set up a new consulting blog - Consultant Journal. I peeked at some of the articles, which are pretty useful. There's an article on Work from Home Scams and one on what steps to take when you begin consulting. I liked the article on gadgets consultants can't live without.

Check it out when you have a chance.

(c) 2006 by Musespeak(tm), Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.

Too busy to practice? Try the 10 minute practice session

With the school year well underway, students are busy with homework, sports and other extracurricular activities. This translates to the famous line many teachers hear on a weekly basis, "I didn't practice this week because [insert excuse here].” This is actually a discussion topic on the Canadian Piano Pedagogy Discussion Group I am part of. Both my brother and I were busy with extracurricular activities and school in our day, in addition to piano, music history, as well as harmony and analysis classes. How did we manage it and still do well? First, our parents made studying a priority, whether it was school or piano. We couldn’t drop either activity. Sure, we didn't practice as regularly as we should have but Mom was on our case if we slacked off too much. It helped that Mom gave us fun music on a regular basis for the times we were tired of our exam pieces.

At university, I learned how to practice more effectively. I suffered my first bout of tendonitis between my second and third year. The doctor said the best way to let my arms heal would be to not play the piano for several months. That simply wasn’t an option for me. With a careful regimen of icing, physiotherapy, rest and ibuprofen, my piano teacher completed the program by revising my practice routine. I started slowly, only playing for five minutes a day. Gradually, I built it up to the two to two-and-a-half hours a day I maintained for the rest of my studies.

With only ten minutes of piano time, I had to make them count. I learned to zoom in on “trouble spots”. No need to drill something that I can do well.

It also meant I had to find other way to keep up with my peers. My teacher advised me to study the music score for patterns and memorize the music as I would memorize a vocabulary list. I tracked down recordings of my repertoire and listened to them ad nauseum. I also learned to practice the rhythms away from the piano by tapping them on my lap or on a table.

Each of these activities can be done in a ten-minute session. It’s a routine I employ now as a teacher with limited practicing time. Warm up on scales, chords and arpeggios for one key, drill a trouble spot and improvise for a few minutes. If a student is late or doesn’t show, then I can squeeze in another ten-minute session. I try to squeeze in at least one ten-minute session a day if I’m pressed for time. After all, I know as well as the next person that it’s tough to practice an hour a day, every day.

© Musespeak, Calgary, AlbertaCanada, 2005. All rights reserved.