House Renovations and Piano Teaching

I have been largely absent this summer … but I haven’t been sitting around lazily enjoying this season! My husband and I signed on a house, completely renovated it (with the help of our amazing families), and moved in – all in less than 5 weeks. And needless to say we are exhausted and our brains are filled with drywall dust!

As we jump into fall, our schedule has seemed to go from 0 to 60 in a matter of days, but my brain still has renovations on the mind. Moving in and getting settled has been wonderful, but now I see the renovations that get pushed onto the “eventually to do” list every day.

So to jump back into our regular posts, we are going to take a look at how piano teaching and hundred-year-old house renovations relate … because they actually do!

1. Sometimes things have to get messier before they clean up: When we moved into the house, it was livable but extremely outdated. So in tearing up the carpet, peeling off the wallpaper, and knocking out walls, we ended up making it unlivable before we could actually clean it up to move in.

We will go through messy seasons with our students. Maybe they aren’t practicing how we prefer, keep getting stuck on a particular concept, or even seem to be moving backwards. But if we push forward, there is often great reward when we reach the light at the end of the tunnel!

2. Hard work, not natural talent, is what yields results: Thankfully we both have families that believe in the power of do-it-yourself- and have extreme talent in these matters. But we did not! And here’s the thing … if our oh-so-talented families had looked at the house and told us how great it was, but had never rolled up their sleeves and gone into the trenches with us, we would have been much more miserable during this whole affair. We are not talented DIYers.. but we did put in the time to learn and become proficient in new things. And our families are talented, but had they not taught us and worked with us, their skills would have been worthless to us.

Same is true of our students. Students who have natural talent but do not apply it won’t go very far. The students who are lacking in natural talent but put in the hard work will consistently move forward!

3. Find your people – they make life so much better: In the worst moments of house renovations (and there were some really horrible moments), we had people that we knew loved us and were walking through this with us. We could lift each other up and problem solve when the inevitable leak or stripped screw or ceiling mishap happened.

This is true in so many different ways when it comes to life. As it comes to teaching, this means being involved in a community with other teachers, investing in your students and their families in order to create a studio community, and recognizing when a student isn’t a good fit and could benefit more from a different teacher.

As we head into fall lessons, lets remember that the picture perfect studio does not exist. There will be struggles, there will be days when you don’t feel appreciated, and you will at times wonder if it’s worth it. But we are now sitting in our house, mostly unpacked, and excited about the chance to do life there. And in a lot of the same ways, pushing through the difficult days in teaching will reap great reward and benefit in the long term! So learn to live in the mess, encourage hard work from all students, and make sure you are apart of a community that builds you up and makes you a better teacher!

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