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Monday, March 7, 2016

Things to Do This Week in the Studio

Now is the perfect time to consider adding a few things to our weekly studio's "to do" list. In the United States, since many of us may be preparing for a break in our teaching schedule and then a big push toward the end of the semester, here are a few things I suggest that we add to our week's studio schedule list of things to do.

Schedule Ahead

I plan to look ahead at the coming month's schedule. There will be an end-of-semester recital coming up. In addition, some of my students are planning to perform with one of our community symphonies. We have some planning and preparation to do for that. Summer institute application and scholarship application deadlines are coming fast upon us, and we have yet to pick our recital pieces or plan our group class performance songs for the coming spring studio recital. We have also considered adding a monthly recital component to our studio offerings by visit local retirement and nursing homes in our local communities (we serve about 4 or 5 areas).

So I suggest sitting down with a good cup of coffee or brewed tea and spending a few minutes looking through the next 3 months of calendar pages to make a list of similar scheduling items in your studio.

Clean Up

This past year I have discovered the peacefulness that comes from a neatly organized and clean teaching space. I have regularly included a cleaning plan into my teaching week. It's not a lot, but having regularity to my cleaning really helps to keep things under control. I put things away at the end of a teaching day (and even throughout the day, putting things away as I go). I run the vacuum cleaner once a week at a time that falls right after group class and before the start of a new teaching week. This adds a real sense of "freshness" to the start of a new teaching week. I empty the trash cans the day before the trash man cometh.

One of my middle school students is pretty good at organizing things in my studio, so about once every few months I usually invite her to take a look at things and make suggestions. I pay her for her time, and I always enjoy her results. Each time she comes, she tackles a new area of disarray. She gives me a short list of items that I need (bookshelf, storage container, small filing cabinet). I have other students who are pretty good at art work and making signs. I give them suggestions, and they make up signs for group class reminders, practice coloring pages, and other fun decorations. Now is a good time to consider when to schedule or add those things to my teaching calendar mix.

Take Care of Business

This category includes taking care of the items necessary for running my business. If there are accounting issues, now is a good time to follow up on any outstanding tuition payments or other fees. I gather and sort through any records that my accountant will be interested in for tax preparation and make sure that everything is ready for delivery to that quarter.

I clean up my desk and any other counter surface. Maybe this falls under the "cleaning" aspect listed above, but I often find that my counters and inboxes are actually cluttered with business items: records, things to be filed, and items that I need to take care of. So, I gather up everything on any flat surface into one box, and then I process through that box and make notes about anything in it. I file what needs to be filed, make a list of the things that need to be done, and generally take care of everything until I reach the bottom of the box.


After doing all of that great preparation work that I have listed above, I sit back and enjoy my break. Not only have I prepared to start a teaching season after my break with a clean, clear space, I have also cleared out my mind by taking care of things that were cluttering up my space and sight. Now I can enjoy my break and use it to recharge and renew my spirit, my energy, and my creativity.

Here is a sample checklist for the above article ideas:


·      Look at the schedule for the coming months: anything to plan for, arrange for, or do?
o   Upcoming group classes
o   Upcoming recitals
o   Upcoming performances
o   Institute deadlines (and scholarship applications)
o   Anything coming that needs to be planned for now?
·      Clean things up
o   Put things away
o   Empty trash
o   Tidy up
o   Dust
o   Vacuum
o   Mop
o   Bathrooms
o   Replace studio supplies
o   Reorganize?
o   Redecorate?
·      Take care of Business
o   File paperwork or other records
o   Review outstanding invoices
o   Collect outstanding fees or other paperwork or checked out library books
o   Gather information for accountant
o   Make plans to take things to accountant or tax preparer
o   Anything that needs attention or doing?
·      Relax and be creative
o   Sit down and start collecting new ideas for the future
o   Read
o   Practice
o   Listen to good music
o   Go on vacation

Until next time,

Happy Practicing!

----- Paula -----

© 2016 by Paula E. Bird

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