Doing what I love

by Oak Hill Studio

By now, you probably have a pretty good idea of where I’m heading with this, and yes, the piano has something to do with it.

When the kids were little, as part of their homeschooling studies, I began teaching them piano when they were young. I had never taught before, only taken lessons, so it was a new experience for me. However, as with all of their other subjects in which I had zero teaching experience, I researched various approaches and eventually came up with my own style and focus. Through the years, some friends and acquaintances would ask me to teach their children, and so piano teaching became a part of my life through the last 12+ years.

Shifting to this past fall as I was deliberating my options of what to do with myself for the foreseeable future, the idea of growing my piano business began to take a clearer shape in my mind. Previously, whenever I had considered this option,  I often perceived obstacles that always made me feel a bit uneasy. These included my lack of formal training, my own insecurity in performing, the question of whether I could really fill up my studio with students, etc.

What I have come to realize in regard to each of these perceived hindrances is that there are solutions. If I learned nothing else as a homeschooling mom, it is this-that it really is possible not only to think outside of the box, but to act on those thoughts and find success. And this, more than anything, has helped me to see that perhaps God has been preparing me for the next phase all along without my realizing it. It has been a fresh, welcome reminder of His love and faithfulness.

So, what have I been up to these past several months? I’ve spent much time exploring, learning, evaluating my goals as a teacher, determining what has worked well in the past and what I need to do differently, and overall developing my own style and focus as a piano teacher. Through reading online at various piano teacher blogs and analyzing my own strengths and abilities, I have found that the possibilities are endless! There is just so much available online to encourage and support me as a teacher, that even though I don’t have all those nice titles after my name, I can be continually learning and progressing, which is a good thing regardless of the number of degrees (or lack of.) Also, I’m realizing how much I have learned (and continue to learn) through experience and just how valuable that is. I am continuing to learn, honing my own skills, aiming higher, seizing opportunities to build confidence in performing (well, a few so far….I played Christmas songs at a retirement home and also at a Christmas Rotary party; both occasions seemed to boost my confidence.)

Overall, I feel very excited about what I am doing.  I really enjoy getting to know my students. I have several new, and a few from last year. I love the challenge of working one on one with them, coming to recognize their strengths and weaknesses, and then finding ways to encourage, inspire, and help them to progress, and above all, nurture a love for music and all things beautiful.

This is my new piano, a gift from my mother a few years ago. It is a Samick and I love it! It has a beautiful sound, much better than my grandmother’s spinet which retired to my mother-in-laws home. I guess it served its life purpose and got me (and several others) to where we are today.

The “studio” couples as our dining room. Just to the right is our dining room table. This may seem a bit awkward for a studio, but the table serves well for sitting down to do some activities on the iPad-a recent addition to my teaching. As I’ve looked around online at other piano teacher blogs, I’ve noticed that everyone has their own style and learning environment. After deliberating about this a bit, wondering if I should try for a more “musicy” look–you know, posters of scales, keys, notes, etc.–I’ve come to the conclusion that I prefer a simpler, and hopefully more elegant look that will serve to inspire. With that in mind, I’m thinking the quilt may have to go to a different wall in a different room. Anyway, that’s just part of the fun I’m having with this and maybe someday I’ll make some changes and post photos of them.

For those of you who have made it this far, thanks for reading along. It has been fun to review the way things have progressed.

Now, I’m off to practice and later prepare for a new student beginning this afternoon.