Off Bench and On Task

Off-Bench Time formerly known as “Music Tech Time” or “lab time” in my studio, is a 15-30 minute sessionIMG_2719 added to a private lesson.

Two students arrive together and while one works with me at the piano for 30 minutes, the other completes tasks on the computer, iPad, worksheets, theory books, or listening to repertoire. Virtually anything you can dream up that you’d like your students to complete that may not get done at home. Then the two students switch.

Advancing high school students spend 45 minutes with me and 15 minutes reviewing concepts with iPad app drills, listening to repertoire or completing theory worksheets.

With this format, you can charge more ($1 per lesson up to one-third of your what you charge per lesson) because you are offering longer lessons. In reality, your students are getting twice as much time with you but your parents will not be paying twice as much.

Find a “script” for selling this idea to your parents here.

To learn more about how this works and how to integrate Off-Bench Time into your own studio, schedule a personal consultation with me.  Also, secure your copy of The iPad Piano Studio which describes how to begin integrating the iPad into your teaching. Find it at your local music dealer or order it here.


Looking to give your studio an update but need some guidance? Please contact me (Leila Viss) at lviss@me.com if you are interested a personal consultation.


Here’s the start of a journal of videos and links with ideas to keep your students on task off the bench.

These are casual videos originally recorded on Facebook Live. Every week I shared the activities I planned for Off-Bench time. It’s like a sneak peek into what happens in my studio four weeks in a row.

Off-Bench Tips Video #1

Three MUST-HAVE Apps for Your Studio
Flashcards are a thing of the past thanks to Flashnote Derby.

Episode 16: Classical Composers and Forms
Get facts about the Classical style period…

Countdown‼ (Event Reminders and Timer)
Use this app to countdown to important events like recitals.

Read Ahead – practice piano sight reading
Sight reading app ideal for those moving on from Piano Maestro.

Hal Leonard’s All-Purpose Music Flashcards
You can never find enough ways to use these dry erase cards in your studio!


Off Bench Tips Video #2

Watch videos of well-known repertoire and artists and get facts about the Classical style period.
 Ideal for beginners, transfers or those who need to learn about chords. Appealing because all tutorials and musical experiences use pop tunes as backing tracks.
Read for brief and humorous bios of major composers.
Connect your iPad to a MIDI keyboard.
Test theory and ear training skills.
Listen to the most popular repertoire of the Classical genre.

Off BenchTips  Video #3

 Five years ago, I wrote and co-published this book with Tom Folenta. Alfred Music began distributing it soon after it came out.
A simple, easy to make game that can be tailored for any topic.
Instead of offering a store to spend Music Money, streamline incentive programs with credit cards and gift cards.
The one and only theory book I use with middle school and high school students.
I default to these at EVERY group lesson!
My list of music history apps.

Off Bench Tips Video #4

NinGenius has various levels and price points. I have the Class edition which gives ultimate flexibility in student accounts and customizing exercises.
Use this downloadable PDF with NinGenius as a studio challenge.
Instead of offering a store to spend Music Money, streamline incentive programs with credit cards and gift cards.
These are my studio Punch Cards that feature Amazon App Store Chick Filet Dutch Bros…

An example of a “Sandbox” app that invites studios to use curiosity and imagination.


Want to start Off-Bench time in your studio?

Come to Denver this summer for your professional development and learn how to implement
Off-Bench Time in your studio.
There’s nothing like our workshop!
Learn more here

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