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Monday, January 16, 2017

Bullet Journals for Suzuki Parents (Taking Notes at Lessons)

Parents, take notes at lessons!

I go on and on about the importance of this, and still, it seems that parents have trouble with this advice. When I started out as a young teacher, I used to think the following questions to myself about this problem:
  • Do parents not understand how important note taking is at the lesson?
  • Do parents not realize that teachers have to steal lesson time in order to be sure that clear instructions and notes are put in the assignment book?
  • Do parents think that the teacher will leave thorough assignments when rushed for time to complete the lesson before the next student enters the room?
  • Do parents want the teacher to write skimpy notes about what happened during the lesson?
  • Do parents truly believe that the parents will remember everything that happened at the lesson and what the teacher expects to happen at home during practices?
Oh, I was so naive and young when I thought those questions. So arrogant and inexperienced. Today i look back and shudder at those questions. I do not really know what parents think. I hope that parents have taken my advice and are taking notes. Unfortunately, I do not always see evidence of this even in my own studio. I often wonder why this is. I know that many parents listen to my podcast (episode 6: How to Take Notes at the Music Lesson) and read the articles on my blog (10 Rules for Success for Suzuki Parents), and yet, I still find parents wandering into the next room and leaving me alone to handle the recording of lesson information and practice instructions.

I have a cluttered memory when it comes to what happens during a lesson. I find it very difficult to remember every step that I took during the lesson because I am quite busy thinking and evaluating and anticipating what the student will do, can do, and will struggle to do. I have not left much room in my head to remember all the steps that I took to reach my ultimate teaching place, and I would welcome help from an observer.

So I conclude that parents most likely do not understand how to take notes. Let me offer an easy solution, and one that parents may find to be quite popular. Let me suggest that parents start a bullet journal for note taking at lessons. Here is how it would work. I broadcast an entire episode about this subject, and you may find this podcast episode to be a great companion to this article, and vice versa (Episode 42: The Bullet Journal and Other Tools).

I use a Leuchtturm 1917 medium dotted notebook for my own bullet journal needs:

These journals come in many different prices and color choices. The one pictured here is one of the lowest prices right now (typically the usual price as well). This is perhaps the most popular choice for bullet journals right now, although some folks prefer moleskin notebooks, such as:

The original bullet journal concept was created by Ryder Carroll and you can find more information about how to use a bullet journal in general at There are many videos and Pinterest boards that provide more information. There is a Facebook group about minimalist bullet journaling too. And, Pinterest and Instagram material abounds!

For my purpose here, a basic bullet journal is all that is necessary, although I myself use one pretty extensively. My purpose here is to show parents how simple note taking can be at a lesson with a bullet journal. Perhaps a parent will be able to use the bullet journal for other needs, but for now, a bullet journal for lesson note-taking may be all that a parent needs.

Step one: open up the journal and set up a few necessary pages.
  • Index: this is generally the first 3 pages of the journal. The Leuchtturm journal comes with a preprinted index.
  • Future Log: After the index, turn to the first two pages that are blank. Count the number of rows on the page and divide by 3. Count down that number of rows (1/3 of the rows on the page) and draw a horizontal line across the entire two-page spread. Draw another line 1/3 of the way down the page. When you finish drawing the lines, you will have 6 quadrants. Now label each quadrant as a month. If you start this journal in January, you will now have January through June months represented in this future log. You can start a future log anytime, not just in January. Now note important information in the appropriate month of the future log. Include such things as the dates of group classes, studio recitals and performances, and other special notes, such as holiday breaks.
  • Monthly Log: Although I do not personally use a monthly log very much because I prefer a regular calendar planner for the detailed appointment lists, I do maintain 1-2 pages for a month, and I use these pages as a brain dump of things that I need to do in that month. I just list anything that I want to do this month on those two pages. I put an open square to the left of the item, and as I complete these items, I will fill in the square. If it is an appointment, then I draw an open triangle to the left of the item and fill it in. I use my monthly logs as a place to capture thoughts that occur to me about things that I need to accomplish in the month.
  • Weekly Log: For me, this is the most useful part of my bullet journal. I have a weekly spread that I prefer to use, but there are many different ways, and the fun thing about bullet journals is that you can change how you use it every week, or even every day. As a teacher, I use the weekly log to help me plan and control how my week's workload unfolds. I keep track of my appointments and things to do. I maintain a list of my top three things to accomplish in the week, and I keep track of things that I am waiting for (people I have emailed, packages that I expect, or phone calls that I anticipate receiving). I also have a habit tracker in one corner of my weekly log and another little corner where I can note important items or events that will occur in the future, such as the following week.
  • Daily Logs: I do not use daily logs in my journal, but I suggest that this would be a useful tool for students and parents. I have written before about the benefits of using a practice journal, and since the advent of the bullet journal phenomenon, I think that bullet journals would be the best tools for this. I do use a page spread called a "time ladder." This spread sets out a day by the hour, and there is room on one side for appointments and the other side for things accomplished or planned. And the beauty of such a layout is that if you run out of room, you can draw a line to indicate the appropriate hour that the activity or event occurs.
  • Other Spreads: There are other possibilities for the bullet journal as well. Here are a few ideas:
    • tracking practice challenges, such as 100 days
    • tracking lists of supplies
    • tracking instrument maintenance
    • goal-setting
    • names and contact information of classmates and other parents
    • lists of music and recordings to purchase
I have one other suggestion to make, and that is to use a lot of color in the bullet journal. I have seen some amazing artwork done in the bullet journals that I have seen on Pinterest and YouTube. I myself do not have the time or patience to practice such things, and so I use erasable color pens. I highly recommend these pens because you can erase mistakes! I love the color splashes in the journal, and I change colors all the time to suit my mood.

How to Take Notes at Lessons with a Bullet Journal

Now, here is how parents can use the bullet journal to take notes. I suggest that parents use the weekly log and the daily log. The weekly log would be helpful to plan practices in advance. With my own weekly logs, I can see at a glance how busy my days will be, and I can plan appropriately to suit my weekly schedule.

The daily log would be the heart of a parent's note-taking. As practices progress, parents could note everything that occurred during a practice, along with observations about difficulties and suggestions for what to practice the next session. These daily sections could be as short or as long as the parent needed them. They also provide a written record that could be shown to the teacher or referred to as needed at lessons.

At lessons, the parent could start a special two page spread that would list everything that occurred during the lesson. I suggest bullet points to set apart each item or action that occurred during the lesson. If there was something that happened that was important and needed special attention later, use a special signifier such as an asterisk or an exclamation point instead of a bullet point to set apart the item.

This spread could also include anything that occurred to the parent during lessons, such as questions or other thoughts. The teacher could also include notes on these pages for the parent as well.

The bullet journal is a simple tool and a very useful one. Many people rely on this tool to help them stay organized with their lives. I suggest that parents would find this tool to be quite simple for keeping track of the information that comes from their children's music lesson experiences.

Please comment to let me know how this tool works for you. If you are already a seasoned bullet journal user and have some suggestions to make, please let me know about it. I will post pictures of these various spreads in the next posts to come, so stay tuned!

Happy Practicing!

----- Paula -----

© 2016 by Paula E. Bird

Friday, January 13, 2017

Teach Suzuki YouTube Channel now live!

Have you seen the new Teach Suzuki YouTube channel? I uploaded a video that talks about the importance of a consistent and regular review program, and the video sets out instructions for three possible review plans.

Check out the video, and be sure to hit the like button, leave a comment, and subscribe to the new Teach Suzuki YouTube channel. Click here for more.

Happy Practicing!

----- Paula -----

© 2017 by Paula E. Bird

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Let's Do a Twinkle Challenge!

Most of us had a holiday break recently. Family outings, travel, and social occasions may have tugged us away from our good intentions of regular and consistent practice. I sympathized with any of my students who reported a dismal practice record over the holiday break. I struggled myself to find personal practice time and energy to accomplish anything other than staying on top of my performance commitments.

So, I propose that we find a way to get ourselves on track, and what better way to do that than a Twinkle Challenge! Here are some ways to do a Twinkle Challenge:
  • Play through the Twinkle, Twinkle Variations every day. Focus on correct execution of articulation and intonation while maintaining correct posture.
  • Play through the Twinkle, Twinkle Variations at the next lesson, or perhaps the first lesson of each month for the next three months.
  • As students progress through the Suzuki repertoire, add appropriate challenges for the students' levels. I will make a few suggestions below to whet your creativity.
Here are a few basic ideas for challenging violin students as they improve in skill and ability development.

Book 1:
  • Play the variations on different strings.
  • Play the variations in G major, as suggested in one of my earlier blog articles (click here to read more).
  • Play a new Twinkle variation by using a new bowing style. For example, try playing Variation D with down-up-up, down-up-up bows, as in the bowing style used in the first measure of Minuet 1.
  • Use left hand pizzicato to pluck all the open E and A strings and play the other notes with the bow. This is a great pinky strengthener.
Books 2 and 3:
  • Play the variations in D or A minor, to mirror the finger patterns found in "The Two Grenadiers" and Lully's "Gavotte."
  • Play the variations in Bb, starting on Bb, as in the middle section of Mignon's "Gavotte."
  • Play a new variation using a bowing suggested by Paganini's "Theme" from "Witches' Dance." This variation example is actually found in book 2 already.
Books 4 and above:
  • Play the variations starting with up bow. The variations should sound as good as they would if played with a starting down bow.
  • Play the variations in higher positions or with shifts to stay on one string.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list but one to get you started thinking. I have done Twinkle challenges in the past, and I was amazed at how well the studio students sounded when we revisited the Twinkle Variations on a regular basis.


----- Paula -----

© 2017 by Paula E. Bird

Monday, January 9, 2017

Coming Out of the Closet with the Kon Mari Method of Tidying

On a recent podcast episode (1/8/17) (episode 41) I wrote about my experience with the Kon Mari method of tidying up. I promised photos of my experience. Here are the photos and links of the process:

Kon Mari method of tidying
Clearing Out Floor Space
This is a picture of the pile of things that I needed to pick up off the floor and move outside my room, in order to make room on the floor inside the room where my closet is located. I dealt with this pile at the end after I had completed my Kon Mari process through the clothes and restocked my closet with what clothes remained. most of what you see here was discarded.

Kon Mari method of tidying
Everything Out of the Closet
Kon Mari method of tidying
Everything Piled on the Floor
These next few pictures are a shocking look at how the pile of clothing looked once I pulled everything out of my closet. As you can see, I had to stock many things on my counter as well during this process. The open books on the counter are my notes about the Kon Mari process that I was to follow.

Kon Mari method of tidying
Smaller Pile After Sorting?
This picture shows how large the pile remained after I had completed my sorting process. The laundry basket in the background is where I placed my T-shirts, with the misguided plan of hanging on to them. As my podcast episode relates, I discarded almost all of those T-shirts after one month, and I explain how that came about.

Kon Mari method of tidying
Sweeping Up to the Right
Kon Mari method of tidying
Finished Closet

This is an amazing transformation, yes? The left picture shows how my closet looked after I finished the Kon Mari process on my clothes. The picture on the right shows my symphony clothes (black) tucked in the back of the right side of the closet. I have since moved them to the left side of the closet.

Kon Mari method of tidying
Winter Running Clothes

The picture on the left shows a different closet that houses my dresser at the moment, although my husband and I have tentative plans to move the dresser out of the closet to a different location. The long-sleeved shirts pictured here are my winter running clothes. I have discarded many of the hangars now and kept the specialty hangars because they look so nice.

Kon Mari method of tidying
The Other Side of the Closet

The picture on the right shows the other side of my dresser closet. This side houses my winter coat, jacket, and sweater, and my short-sleeved running shirts. I did not discard many of my running clothes or winter coats.

My dresser drawers were great fun! I enjoyed folding my clothes find great joy in admiring my handiwork each time I open a drawer. I have improved my clothes folding skills since I took this picture, and my drawers look even better!

Kon Mari method of tidying

See the little packages of folded items? See how nice my running clothes look? It takes me seconds to get ready to go for a run.

Kon Mari method of tidying
I have a lot more socks than I realized. And I found some socks that were still in there original packaging, which is definitely a no-no to Marie Kondo.

Kon Mari method of tidying

 These last two drawers are even better organized now. Because of the vertical storage idea, I can find what i need in seconds. And an added plus is that my drawers all shut completely closed now. No more drawers slightly ajar with clothes spilling over the edges. All neat and tidy!

Kon Mari method of tidying

The entire process did not take as long as I expected. I allowed myself an entire weekend, but I took part of one day. I was worried at first that I might backslide, but I placed my faith in Marie Kondo's promise that I would not. And, I have since discovered that instead of backsliding, I have continued to discard and sort other areas of my life. In fact, every time my hand touches something now, I intone out loud whether the item sparks joy or not and sort accordingly. My trash and recycle cans overflow with the evidence!

If you are interested in a video of the pile, somewhere in the middle of my Kon Mari experience, click the links below for short video explanations of my process:

Please comment below if you have your own Kon Mari experience to share. I will tackle my book project next. As you can see from the photos below, I have my work cut out for me!

If you are interested in Marie Kondo's books, click on the links here, or you can find these books (and others) in the Teach Suzuki Resources Store, located at the top in the right sidebar of the blog:

Happy Practicing!

----- Paula -----

© 2017 by Paula E. Bird

The above book links are affiliate links (Amazon), which means that I may receive a small benefit at no additional cost to you. As always, you never need to purchase anything, but if you are in the market to do so, consider using the provided affiliate links in order to support the time and efforts of writing and producing the Teach Suzuki blog and podcast.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

90 Day Square Followup

I released a podcast recording on January 1 about my new twist to goal setting, and I posted a blog article the next day with pictures to explain my system. I thought my readers might be interested in how the process went so far this week.

I love the new system! I look through the form every day, so the items that I have listed on my 90-day plan stay fresh in my mind. I put copies of my completed plan in various places in my home so that I would bump into it on a regular basis. That plan seems to work also.

Here are the main lessons I have learned so far:
  • If I look at my plan daily or even more than once during a day keeps me focused on the things that I want to achieve.
  • The four quadrants help me recall that the four areas of my life need to be balanced. I need to do something in each quadrant and not work in one area alone.
  • The three columns of 30-60-90 days remind me that time passes all too quickly if I do not pay attention.
I have not yet put the finished product in my bullet journal because I am near the end of my journal. I would rather wait until I have a new journal to include the new plan. I may not even put the plan in my journal at all because it is all set out in a fine manner so far. I do not need to copy it once again. I did use my bullet journal quite extensively to create the plan, and I plan to use my bullet journal -- a new one -- when I formulate my next 90-day plan.

It is commonly said that you get what you focus on. I find that having my plan before me has encouraged me to keep my focus on my plan.

I hope that whatever system you have formulated for yourself this new year helps you to stay focused on your goals.

Happy Practicing!

----- Paula -----

© 2017 by Paula E. Bird

Monday, January 2, 2017

There Comes a Journey

Recently I published a podcast episode entitled, "There Comes a Journey," in which I discussed companion tools for the Suzuki journey. If you would like to hear about some of the tools that I use to help guide me as I plan for the coming year, listen to Episode 040 of the Teach Suzuki Podcast. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes (Teach Suzuki Podcast) or on Google Play (Google Play).

In podcast episode 40, I mentioned Jinny S. Ditzler's Your Best Year Yet! book and program. You can read my previous blog post about that program here, including several previous articles that explore various program questions in more depth.

I also discussed Hal Elrod's The Miracle Morning book:

This is an interesting book about how to set up your days for more productivity by structuring the morning routine to include several things that help build productivity. I found the book interesting in that it confirmed my own observations and experience about how to use morning time effectively. The book also presents information about the "Circle 10 Life," which is a visual representation of a set of life goals that are designed to provide balance.

You may also find these book resources in my Teach Suzuki blog resources store, which you can find at the top of the blog in the sidebar on the right side of the blog.

In the podcast episode, I discussed the difficulty I had with the circle 10 idea. I had two main issues. First, I found it difficult to create the circle representation of my life. Second, I had trouble dividing my life into ten segments. Although I liked the circle representation idea, I found the process too difficult and cumbersome to be very useful for me and my busy life. I need something that is quick to set up, follow, and maintain.

I came up with a simpler solution, which I wish to share with you: the 90-day Square. My program is different in that it focuses on two main areas in my life -- my personal and my professional sides. I further divided these two areas into individual and other people. With these four simple divisions, I was able to create a square representation.

dividing life into personal and professional categories
Personal & Professional
Two of the quadrants are related to my personal life. The other two quadrants are related to my professional life. I titled my four square quadrants:
  1. Personal: activities that focus on me alone, such as my health, fitness, and personal development goals
  2. Home/Others: activities that focus on my personal life and involve others, such as family relationships and my home environment
  3. Creative: activities that focus on me alone and are related to my professional side
  4. Work/Others: activities that focus on my professional life and involve others, such as my employment with the university and the symphony and my private teaching studio
I further divided each of the four quadrants with 8 dissecting lines that vary horizontally and vertically for visual appeal. These 8 segments will represent 8 goals that I intend to accomplish in the next 90 days.

4 Quadrants with 8 Goal Lines
I also made up a blank template of these items and categories for ease of planning in the future.

I set to work on my template and made a list of 8 results or outcomes that I want to achieve in the next 90 days in each of the four areas represented by a square quadrant. I limited myself to 8 items in each of the four quadrants in order to keep my life balanced. I will admit that I found it difficult to come up with 8 items in some areas and to limit myself to 8 in other areas. Such is the difficulty of balancing life priorities.

I added three columns on the right side of my lists and labeled the columns: 30 -- 60 -- 90. I went through my lists of outcomes and results and determined which items would be completed in 30, 60, or 90 days. To my surprise, the tallies appeared to be balanced as well.

As I set about my next 90 days, I will color in the square segments as I complete items for a visually appealing representation of the work that I accomplish. There will be a few instances when an item on a list has some subtasks or subparts to complete. I will most likely partially fill in segments of the square to represent these subparts. The coloring process does not need to be exact or perfect. The color square is to be a helpful tool, not another life burden.

What's on the back side? A few items in my list needed further breakdowns or notes, and I used the reverse side to do this planning:

At the end of my 90 day period, I have set aside the subsequent month as a time to consider and plan for my next 90 day push. That means that I have basically divided my year into three larger segments of 120 days, and this breakdown seems to follow my usual routine of the year:
  • January-April: This period follows the general university semester calendar.
  • May-August: This time period finishes the school year and covers the summer break.
  • September-December: This time period includes the fall school semester.
As you can see from this breakdown of the year into 120-day segments, the three segments seem to coincide with natural break points in the year. For the first 90 days of each 120-day segment, I plan to achieve the goals that I have set to accomplish in those three months. The fourth month will be a time to celebrate what I achieved, evaluate how well the process worked, and consider what new outcomes or results I want to achieve in the next 90 days.

I have designed my template to fit my bullet journal. I will provide more information about the bullet journal in a future article. I used my bullet journal to help me make my goal lists and plans for the 90-day square.

I hope that you will join me in this 90-day twist to goal setting. If you are interested in trying the 90 day square idea, you can find the template here.

Happy Practicing!

----- Paula -----

© 2017 by Paula E. Bird

The above book links are affiliate links (Amazon), which means that I may receive a small benefit at no additional cost to you. As always, you never need to purchase anything, but if you are in the market to do so, consider using the provided affiliate links in order to support the time and efforts of writing and producing the Teach Suzuki blog and podcast.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Best Year Yet

Are you disappointed with last year's results? I look forward to inviting my annual guest to visit at this time of year. I do a Best Year Yet analysis in the month of December as I anticipate the start of another year. The results always surprise me.

The Best Year Yet analysis comes from a book I read back in 1994 by Jinny S. Ditzler:

This book sets out 10 important questions, and the answers will help to shape and guide you as you plan for your next fabulous year of accomplishments. As you consider and answer the ten questions, you will celebrate your accomplishments, consider your disappointments, identify honestly the way in which you limit yourself, explore your personal values, determine which roles you wish to include in your life, and create a new empowering paradigm to achieve your goals for the year for each of the roles.

This is a very thorough process and is not an activity that I do quickly. I begin in early December by pulling the book off my shelf and skimming the parts of the book that I have outlined over the years. Sometimes I read parts of the book again, because I find that each year I discover new things within the book that appeal to me in different ways. This year is no different.

If you turn to the goal setting process at this time of year, as many of us do, and you seek a different perspective from the goal-setting hype and noise that shows up daily in our email inboxes, consider exploring Jinny Ditzler's 10 Questions. I am certain that you will discover some very surprising things about yourself in the process.

I have written about this subject in previous years. If you would like to review those articles for more inspiration, here are some links to help you get started:

Your Best Year Yet!: This is an updated article about the BYY program and the 10 questions.

Just Desserts!: This updated article focuses on the first question, which looks at what we accomplished during the year. This is a step that many people ignore or forget, and yet the answer to this question may provide the necessary power to fuel goals for the next year.

Disappointments and Life Lessons: This updated article focuses on questions 2 (disappointments) and 3 (what did I learn).

Limits and Complaints: This updated article focuses on question 4 and any beliefs that may be limiting goals progress.

Happy Practicing!

----- Paula -----

© 2016 by Paula E. Bird

The above book link is an affiliate link (Amazon), which means that I may receive a small benefit at no additional cost to you. As always, you never need purchase anything, but if you are in the market to do so, consider using the provided affiliate links in order to support the time and efforts of writing and producing the Teach Suzuki blog and podcast.

Friday, December 16, 2016

8 Things to Do Before the New Year

The end of the year already? Yes, and it is time to get things ready for next year. If you are like me, you may feel a bit overwhelmed by all that needs to be done before the year ends and by all that needs to be readied for the coming year. Here is a list of eight things that I find helpful to address this time of year:
bookcases, music books
Teaching Materials

Clean up the studio area. This is a great time to put away music that has found its way into the teaching space. File music away and gather up old papers and notes and file them or dispose of them. Be sure to make a note on your master list of to do items if the item has an action step associated with it. Then once everything is back where it belongs, give the space a dusting and the floors a vacuuming or mopping. You will be so happy once you return to your teaching area to find that it is ready for you to start teaching without any extra steps. Everything will look so nice and clean. If things are in crooked disarray, take a minute to square everything up with nice straight lines. Try to get rid of all your piles of things. Put everything away somewhere. Do not spend too much time on this. Set a timer for 10 or 15 minutes and be done with it!

Clean up the toy area. I keep an area for quiet toys for students or their siblings to play with while waiting for lessons to start. Some students play with the toys after lessons are over as a reward for the hard work during a lesson. This holiday season is a great time to look through the toys and identify broken items. Do not be too quick to throw away "broken" toys, however, as children's imaginations can still invent colorful games with these "broken" items. When the tinker toy has a stick that clearly cannot be used any longer, I throw it away; when the action figure is missing one or two small items on the figure's super powers belt, I retain the figure in the toy area. I make sure that the toy area is clean, and finally, I wash the toys. No need to spread germs from one year to the next when it is a simple thing to wash everything.

Order new supplies. Take inventory of the supplies you have on hand, and order anything that is in short supply: wedge sponges, violin polish/cleaner, rosin, stickers, tape, counters, etc. Anything that you use in teaching, make sure that there is enough to supply the next semester of teaching. You may need to make a few box violins to get ready for new students. I usually need to buy packages of pencils and pens, as I seem to lose them pretty easily. I sharpen what pencils are still in the studio and make sure to throw away pencils that have used up their effectiveness.

Plan the coming semester. Sit down with a cup of your favorite beverage and plan the upcoming semester. I use my bullet journal for this, and I map out a rough outline of a six-month calendar to help me get set for the summer months as well. Then I add important dates to the planning calendar:

calendar, planner, bullet journal, sketchbook
Planners & Bullet Journal
  • studio recital
  • graduation recitals
  • institute dates
  • special performances
  • holidays or vacation weeks or days
  • any conflicts that I anticipate due to my performing schedule with the local symphony or my teaching responsibilities with the university
  • group class dates
Rearrange the furniture. You do not have to rearrange the furniture, but I find that this simple thing really brightens the look of the teaching area and students seem to respond to it. I know that I enjoy the "new" feeling that I get from a rearranged space. It may be just a chair or bookcase here and there, but these simple things can make quite a difference. Even a new plant or piece of artwork will help to spruce up the place. I remove any leftover holiday decorations and take down any student signs or other items that have outlived their novelty and sentimental value.

Organize the teaching materials. Take a few moments to review your teaching materials. Generally this happens because I am also putting things away or refiling music that has been taken out of music cabinets. I make new lists of possible group class themes and activities as well as special themes to incorporate in my teaching for the coming semester. When I select a particular theme for a semester, I find that teaching and group class activities may be simpler to plan. In any event, a reorganization of my teaching area, materials, and methods will help to keep my enthusiasm levels high and charged.

Email students about the coming semester. This is a great time to send out reminders to students and their parents about the upcoming semester schedule (which is why we took time to plan the semester earlier!). Over the years I have learned that parents are more apt to read shorter emails, so I might "divide and conquer" my messages. I might send one email about scheduling issues and another email about special events to consider. It might take a few minutes of extra thought to email in this way, but I think this method is more likely to encourage parents to read all my email messages.

ledger sheets
Bookkeeping System
Put bookkeeping matters in order. Tax season is upon us! Time to collect any outstanding tuition payments or other reimbursements due and make bank deposits. Gather the tax records and begin the process of getting ready to meet the accountant or other tax professional. I use this time to also get my next year's bookkeeping system ready for next year. I set up new financial record folders and review my previous year's systems to make sure that I am satisfied with how I ran things last year. If there are any problems, then I address them in the new system.

This a simple list of items to address before the new year begins, but this is a powerful list that sets the tone for future success. Spend a few minutes here and there before this current year ends so that you will be ready and prepared for the coming year when it begins.

Happy Practicing!

----- Paula -----

© 2016 by Paula E. Bird

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Help Support the Teach Suzuki Blog & Podcast!

Are you a regular reader of the Teach Suzuki blog?

Do you listen to the Teach Suzuki Podcast on iTunes or Google?

Do you want to support the blog and the podcast?

You can! It's actually pretty easy to do.

I'm Paula Bird, and I write the blog articles and produce and record the podcast. I am a Suzuki teacher in Central Texas, and I am a HUGE fan of the Suzuki Method and philosophy (as if you couldn't tell already).

I am writing an appeal today to you to see if you are willing to offer your support. I spend many hours each week reading, researching, writing, and producing articles for the blog and podcast. I spend even more time contemplating possible photos and resources to suggest for my readers and listeners to find further information. This all takes a great amount of time.

If you've noticed, I've been a bit absent this past month. I was participating in the National Novel Writing Month, which I try to do each year. I have reached my 50,000 words at this point, but I had to sacrifice my blog article posting schedule in order to make the time to participate.

As this holiday season approaches, it would help me if you would consider visiting my resources store and purchasing any Suzuki teaching or music or studio related items through the links on my site or in the resource store. I do not receive a large benefit, but I do receive something, and everything adds up. There is no additional cost to you, and of course you are under no obligation to purchase anything.

Visit my Teaching Resources store over to the right of the blog, or click here.

I truly appreciate your support, and I enjoy hearing from you directly. Please feel free to contact me!

Happy Practicing!

----- Paula -----

© 2016 by Paula E. Bird