One of my high school boys has an insanely busy schedule this semester. In fact, in March his mom e-mailed me about the possibility of him taking off the months of April and May and resuming lessons in the fall when his schedule is a bit more open again. I explained to her that because I budget my income based on the number of students, I would have to fill that slot and couldn’t guarantee that there would be an opening again in the fall. Since I really didn’t want to lose this student and he didn’t want to discontinue lessons, I suggested that we just spend the remainder of the semester honing in on sight-reading skills and weekly reviewing one piece in preparation for his senior recital next year.
This worked really well until he took a job last week that has an unpredictable schedule. He wasn’t going to be able to make it for his lesson, so his mom had the brilliant idea of having his two younger brothers come for a theory lesson during that time. They both recently started playing other instruments, but she wants them to have a good understanding of theory and hasn’t been able to work with them on it much yet. That sounded like a great idea to me, so the first week they came, I introduced the concept of the staff and had them learn all the bass and treble clef notes. It was a huge chunk of information all at once, but we played some fun games and I sent them home with a worksheet. They ended up coming back again this week and we played a quick review game – both of them knew almost all their notes instantaneously! We moved into understanding pulse and rhythm and learned some basic note values, then did some rhythm activities. We had a blast!
So…thanks to this mom’s suggestion, we’ve discovered a great way to work with students who have busy schedules for a season, but still want to continue lessons and keep their spot – providing, of course, that they have younger siblings who could benefit from some fun theory classes!