Aren’t we always looking for ways to establish a good habit—like flossing teeth or…practicing the piano?
And, I bet most of us may have a bad habit we’d like to kick—like checking our smart phones too often?
A number of months ago, I stumbled across a book by James Clear called Atomic Habits. His well-researched chapters offer powerful advice regarding habit building and breaking and I’ve been brainstorming ways to implement his ideas in my own life and also those of my students.
Switching gears…have you seen “content calendars?” They’re all the rage in online marketing circles. Marketing experts give away or sell a calendar of ideas that helps small business owners generate attractive social media posts. In fact, my Instagram expert friend Audra offers one herself.
What do content calendars and a book about habits have to do with teaching piano?
I wasn’t sure about that myself and then it came to me: build a content calendar packed with unique habits specifically for piano teachers.
It’s my hope that when we teachers experience the process of establishing good habits or breaking bad habits, our journey may rub off on our students and help us guide them in their practice habits!
But…that’s for another post—stay tuned. Back to the content calendar of habits for piano teachers…I’m calling it “Piano Teacher Habit Planner.” I started with just the month of June.
Not to worry—the habit planner is NOT full of monumental challenges that will overwhelm.
Instead, it features an eclectic collection of small tasks that tend to get neglected in the day-to-day life of a piano teacher–or so I’m assuming. In the planner, there may be habits you have already established (good for you!), or some ideas for habits that you never thought of and there may be ideas that strike a nerve—something you know you need to do and haven’t…YET!
The planner is composed of 28 squares with no dates. There’s no pressure to do all of them in one month or in the order that they are presented. It’s a broad spectrum of activities that may turn into habits if you wish. Some are a little zany, some are extremely specific, some may be habits to do once a day, once a week or once a month, some are much easier to establish than others and some are meant to trigger habits beyond the initial idea.
The habits are divided into seven broad categories.
It’s easy to put off listening to music, TED talks or podcasts that feed the soul. The planner features specific titles that I’ve found particularly inspiring. It’s my intention that my suggestions will generate a pattern of listening to one TED talk every month or a podcast every week, or new music every day? BTW… one TED talk that’s included in the planner has been enjoyed on my walks at least three times!
Hoarding apps is common among teachers. We see others using them and we think we should, too. The planner includes favorite apps and reminders to organize and explore how to use them in your teaching.
There’s so much sheet music out there! Are you practicing what you preach and practicing yourself? Are you reading through the music you purchase? When’s the last time you memorized a piece or played one by ear? You’ll find specific activities to build your own playing skills that may then trickle down to your students’ playing. 🙂
Have you tracked how much time you spend on Social Media? Reminders are included for keeping up with the addicting platforms and avoiding their enticing traps.
There’s always something to organize, right? The planner hosts reminders for sorting digital and physical items so that you can find them when you need them or make more space for incoming books.
Most of the suggested reading is based on the topics of habits and productivity. Specific articles and a book list is supplied with the planner. Some of my favorite fiction books are included, too. A special shout out to family and friends for their suggestions!
Along with the obvious to-do list of running a studio, there are tasks that often slip through the cracks. The planner features ideas that may help you move through that to-do list more efficiently.
Where to start?
Before you commit to the habit planner, learn from James Clear as he shares insightful, succinct details on habit making or habit changing in his book and blog.
Clear explains that there are four steps to habits:
He explains these steps here.
If you have a little more time, I highly recommend that you listen to this interview with James Clear:
And, if you really want to dig into habits, read his book Atomic Habits (affiliated link).
Then, treat the planner as a list to follow or one that inspires you to make your own. Check off each task as you accomplish it. X out the tasks that don’t interest you or the ones you already do with regularity.
Clear’s biggest piece of advice about habit building is to start small. It has to be easy. Listen around the minute mark 35:00 in his interview where he talks about the Two-Minute Rule or “mastering the art of showing up.”
BTW—can you see how this strategy could apply to your students and their practicing? Whoops—got distracted again, sorry! I’m saving that for another blog post!
Clear also advises that establishing new habits or shedding old ones is more successful within a tribe of like-minded peeps.
So, once you download the planner, commit to it! Please share your thoughts, frustrations, opinions and successes in my Facebook group Piano Pedagogy On and Off the Bench.
Where is the planner?
To get your habit planner, please leave your first name and email address below.
Why do you have to sign up for it? There’s a couple of reasons:
#1 When you let my newsletters into your email inbox, we stay connected, we can compare notes and learn from each other.
#2 Very soon, my blog will be moving to SquareSpace and away from WordPress. This means that anyone who signed up to follow the blog through WordPress may not have access to my posts in the future. If you sign up for the Piano Teacher Habit Planner, you will stay connected.
Here’s to a month of considering and building new habits!
PS If I get enough interest, look for a July Habit Planner, I have SO many more habit ideas to add!