Category: Teaching Notes

Honoring Music Teaching

Teaching is a service to others.

Teachers are the guides, to shed light for their students on the path of knowledge and learning, with wisdom, insight, compassion, patience and empathy.

Teachers pass their knowledge, skills and information, their ways of learning and problem solving to their disciples, so that they can adapt, modify and create their own principles and methods to apply wisely for their own learning and skills. It’s the kind of flexible and smart principle that helps one to apply in different situations accordingly, instead of a cookie cutter, one size fit all rigid method that can be used in only one fixed situation.

I have the privilege to have learnt from great masters and teachers, and the pleasure to have passed my knowledge to my wonderful students of many over the past one and a half decade. I am also grateful to have this platform to share it with you my readers here. I hope you have all learnt something useful and impactful, something that lasts and is applicable in many ways, which would be the definition of true knowledge.

As for the aspiring music teachers, I hope you have mustered all your courage, your passion as well as your patience, when you are just starting out and at times feeling frustrated, exhausted and simply, lost. Keep up with your great work, keep on with your love for music and teaching, I’m here to support you.

How to Build a Successful Music Teaching Studio Course Special Discount

How to build a successful music/piano studio? 怎樣去建立成功的音樂/鋼琴教室?

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A lot of readers asked me this question. I get it, it’s hard to promote yourself. It’s even embarrassing, because we are musicians/pianists, we are artists, we are not for sale. But hey, don’t think about it in that way. If you want people to know you, you have to get out there and literally tell people that YOU EXIST. So here are a few pointers as to how to promote yourself in order to build a successful and thriving music studio of yours:

1. Start a blog

Share with your existing and potential students what you’ve got: what you know about music, piano and teaching. Just write something short and simple at the beginning  few lines every day, about what you’ve learnt and taught in lessons or some tips on practice and playing. Eventually you can write more and add more substance in your posts. 

2. Record videos

Record videos of your students playing in lessons or even your own playing. Teach people some basic music theories, like how to read or identify chords. 

3. Write something about yourself

Write about your educational qualifications, your experience in performance and teaching. Tell people about your teaching philosophy and style: it’s important for your potential students (and especially their parents) to know about your personally. 

4. Share your experience

People want to connect with those whom they feel familiar with. If you share your experience with your readers, they already feel like they know you before they’ve even met you-and I know that from my personal experience. Be authentic and genuine. 

Learn more from the podcasts below:

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怎樣去建立成功的音樂/鋼琴教室?

一,寫博客

與你的讀者分享自己的音樂教學或演奏經驗,一開始不用太長篇,只需簡短的一兩段文章就可以啦。不想太複雜的話可以先開一個Facebook page。

二,錄影(或錄音)

錄下學生的上課情況或自己的演奏。讓別人認識你知道你教學或演奏的風格。你可以教別人一些簡單的音樂樂理。

三,寫一些關於自己的資料

寫出自己的履歷,演奏和教學經驗。讓人知道你的教學風格和教學哲學。

四,分享你的感受

談談自己學習、演奏、教學上的感受和點滴。讓新的學生(家長(了解你個人是很重要的。讓別人覺得有親切感,在未真正見你之前他們已覺得認識你了。

了解更多請聆聽以下錄音:

你是否很苦惱怎樣去找新的學生呢?你希望別人認識你,但又不知怎樣去做,覺得推銷自己好像很尷尬的呢?你是否有煩惱建立自己的音樂/鋼琴教室,需要一些幫手呢?

如果是的話就聯絡我吧!使用我的資詢服務:以我的實戰經驗,我一定可以幫到你的!

Email: twsomusic@gmail.com

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Enjoy your piano playing

You know, sometimes when I write, I get really worked up.

You know why? Because I care.

I care about how people teach, and how people learn.

Because I had “teachers” who screwed me up, never taught me anything, implied that I was bad at playing, trashed my confidence, without a care. And I vowed to myself I never would do that to my students, or hir any teachers who would do that to their students.

But I also had some wonderful Teachers who are great at what they do, who are good at their craft not only in playing but also more importantly in teaching. Those are great human beings who have inspired me to do the same for my students, every single day I teach and run my piano school.

So yes I might sound mean sometimes in my post, I am very straightforward and blunt about how I think and feel. And I think my readers would appreciate my honesty here.

Now, back to the main topic (which I always get derailed from for five paragraphs right from the start).

So, I want our students to enjoy playing the piano, and I also want you, my readers, who might not be our students (per se), to enjoy learning music and playing the piano. Why?

Because playing the piano is not a torture. It’s not a punishment. And for sure it’s not boring.

Certainly, it’s HARD sometimes. And sometimes it feels like HELL when you can’t get this one passage or a scale or a sight-reading exercise (gasp!! just think about that emoji that looks like “The Scream” by Edvard Munch) right. That can be a pain for a while. But that’s called struggle, and that’s how we learn and progress after we have managed that struggle.

So, I hope you have learnt something from me so far in the past seven and a half years on this blog – I know it’s hard to find it now as it’s sort of embedded in this complicated website of mine/my school. Anyone find it hard to find my articles on this site please let me know, I might separate this blog back to stand on its own if that helps. What I want to do here is to help you get better and enjoy more in your music/piano journey.

And forgive me if I have not been perfect – because I never said so. I might have made mistakes here and there and didn’t write all so eloquently at times because I was mad/confused/hurt/pained/wronged or whatever, but my intentions will always stay true.

Much blessings to all of you and happy playing,
TW

P.S. Hey, I have a new scales video (series) coming out, check out the first one here!

[:en]Some words of encouragement[:]

[:en]I know I have written something rather harsh recently, and some readers might feel offended (“look at what she wrote! So negative and mean!”). To that, I am not apologizing at all. I write what I think and I know those who have been reading my blog in the last few years know that; I know they are here to learn and want to become better; and they also know I am not here to kiss anyone’s bottom.

So today, I want to talk about why I wrote that and point out there are reasons why people complain why things don’t work out the way they want them to be. And therefore if you want to learn something new and completely life transforming today, here’s your chance.

I want to bring you – teachers and students and parents – whatever your role is – to your attention why you haven’t gotten what you’ve always wanted, be it the right students /teachers/results.

The reason is : you haven’t tried hard enough.

“What? That’s it? Don’t you know how hard I have tried all these years with time, effort and money? Are you kidding me?”

One thing you have never tried enough is to change your mindset drastically and stick with it.

What do I mean?

You think, whenever you can’t teach well, it is because you don’t have the right student or right tool or right education or right area, or even worse, you don’t believe you can do it.

You think, whenever you can’t play well, it is because you don’t have the right teacher or right piano or right environment or right schedule or right time to have lessons/practice or even start learning, or even worse, you think you have no talent and you don’t believe you can ever play better even you try.

But really, have you tried? Have you gone 100% all the way to believe you can and do something about your teacher/student/lesson/practice situation? If not, for sure you would never get what you want.

Also, you have to really suck it up even when you feel down or frustrated or depressed and upset or painful or lazy or whatever negative emotions that come to you. Don’t let them stop you and derail you from where you want to reach. If you do, success would never happen to you as well. And please keep sulking and get upset with what I just tell you too so you can stop working towards what you want to reach.

And oh, those people who tell you you can’t make it or can’t change or laugh at what you are trying to do? If you want to succeed, stop listening to them. But hey, if you want to take a longer route to success and complain about why they say what to sabotage you, then listen to them so that you can fail at getting what you want.

You need to believe that you can make it happen, whatever it is. The future is in your hands.

So, whatever it is you want to change, YOU are the one who is responsible.
It’s not your teacher or your student or your parent or your child’s teacher.
You can change all that (except who your parents/children are).

If you think your (child’s) teacher is not the right teacher for you, find another teacher.
If you think your student is not the right student for you, finds other student.

I do encourage you to talk with your teacher/student about the issues you might have if you feel it’s about communication. Being sincere and open about the problems is a key step to better teaching and learning.
If you think you don’t know how to teach better, that’s okay, just find a way to learn to be better. Go take a course or even just read and listen more online. Talk with other teachers and ask those who know how and where to get the resources. Learn from better teachers. That’s how we learn. Great teachers are always learning. That’s how they become good and better.

Don’t feel like you are stuck when you can’t solve your teaching situation or playing problem or practice issue. There is always another way to do it.

The point is, have you tried hard enough to change it?

You are the only one who can make it happen for you.

So if you want to succeed, you have to change your mindset and do things differently from now on. And trust yourself, you have the power and ability to do this, because you really can.

Trust. Focus. Believe. And keep moving forward, one small step at a time.
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[:en]The Desire to Succeed [:]

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I hope you all had a good holiday. 

During my holiday, I did a lot of reading and thinking (besides resting and exercising!). I found a lot of focus and clarity when I could do these two things with clear head (thanks to my regular meditation practice). 

One thing I want to talk about today is the desire to excel, and of course here I would apply that to piano playing and teaching.

Many say that passion is the key to success. I agree with passion – love for the thing we do – certainly helps a lot in motivating us to keep doing what we are doing. But only passion is not enough, as I will explain below. 

During my many years as a pianist and teacher and mentor, I have met and taught students from all walks of life, whether they be amateur or professional musicians. When I first heard someone telling me that they want to “study abroad”, “go to Germany/Vienna/France”, “take a diploma exam”, “become a great piano teacher”, I warm heartedly encouraged them and gave them a lot of advice on how to proceed with that goal. They all looked very enthusiastic and genuinely interested in pursuing that goal they held dearly on to. However, after a few months/a year, there were no signs of no follow-up actions and the enthusiasm seemed to gradually fade away. 

I thought about how I made things happen for myself in terms of piano performance or teaching career or building a business. Certainly there was a lot of passion involved. It’s the passion that prompted me to start with everything I did. I did more than having a passion. There was also the desire to succeed. And then I looked at how others succeeded in what they pursued, it’s the exact same way as I did only in different arenas. 

So what is the desire to succeed? 

There are two keywords in this question: “desire” and “succeed”. 

Let’s start with the word “desire”. Desire is a very strong sentiment and commitment to the passion one has, whether it be playing the piano well, maintaining a harmonious relationship, making a decent living, or simply, having a nice meal at a fine restaurant. 

When you have a very strong desire in anything you have in mind, you will figure out a way to achieve it, no matter how hard it is. 

Now what would you do to fulfill that desire? There are steps you would make to “succeed”, which is the second keyword of our question. 

Let’s say you want to have a nice meal at a fine restaurant, the procedure would be firstly you research about which restaurant you want to go. Then you have to make a reservation. You might even have to book very early in advance if the restaurant is very popular. You would do all that to have the nice meal you so strongly desire to have, right? And you also make sure you have enough money to pay for that meal, to make that goal complete smoothly. You might even buy a new dress/suit and bring someone you really fancy to make this fine dining experience more wonderful. Then you would feel you have “succeeded”. 

It’s the same for piano playing. In order to have some pleasant outcome out of the time and effort we are going to spend in our lessons and our practice, we must have the desire to succeed before we decide we want to pick up our playing/practice/teaching again. You must have a very strong desire to make that happen for yourself but it for anyone else. You must feel very strongly that is absolutely something you are willing to spend time/effort/money/training in for a considerably sustained period of time. Otherwise all your time/effort/money/training are wasted for nothing. 

So what exactly is the definition of having succeeded in fulfilling that desire and passion? That’s up to you. It might be learning to play one of your favorite pieces really well in three months, or attaining a piano diploma in a year, or becoming a great piano teacher in two years. The point is to make your goal as specific as possible. The time frame is for reference only. Of course it’s important to meet that as much as possible and do not create an impossible goal for yourself in a short time, that only adds to your detriment of being actually able to achieving it. And even more important is that you stick to that goal no matter how hard and challenging you find it is. If you truly have the desire to succeed, you will find help and adjust how you do it along the way. 

You must commit to what you have started. That differentiates those who can achieve what they are passionate about and those who cannot and blame others for their failure. 

People think talent/innate ability is the key. That’s only part of the picture. Most often than not those who succeed in what they do have put tremendous hard work with absolute perseverance constantly. It’s not that they don’t struggle or even at times fail, but they just bite their tongues and keep on moving forward. 

I hope you all have a great start to the new year and find what you desire to succeed in in your brand new journey ahead. 

Teresa Wong

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