time management

9 Time-Saving Tools and Tactics for Busy Music Teachers and Directors

9 Time-Saving Tools and Tactics for Busy Music Teachers and Directors

One thing I hear over and over from church musicians and music educators (well, everyone, really) is that there never seems to be enough time to get it all done.

Time to teach
Time to rehearse
Time to write
Time to practice
Time to be with family
Time to be a good friend
Time to read
Time to exercise
Time to learn

How to Continue Developing Your Teaching Skills This Year

How to Continue Developing Your Teaching Skills This Year

As teachers, we’re never really done learning (and that’s a good thing!). 

John Dewey once said, “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.”

So true, right? The world is constantly changing and evolving and we need to be constantly changing, adapting, learning, and evolving along with it to be the best teachers we can be.

What do you want to learn this year? What kind of teacher do you want to become? 

I shared my answers to these questions on Facebook Live a few weeks ago. Watch the replay here, in case you missed it!

10 Secrets for Running a Successful Choir Rehearsal

10 Secrets for Running a Successful Choir Rehearsal

Success? Rehearsal? Have you met my choir?! 

I know, I know. Choir members can be chatty and they don't always show up on time and sometimes it feels like you stand up in front of them and say the same. things. every. week.

I get it.

But success doesn't mean everything will be perfect. It doesn't mean setting unrealistic expectations for your group or holding them to unfair standards. Success is simply the "sum of small efforts, repeated day-in and day-out" (Robert Collier).

And it starts with you.

Jim Rohn wisely said, "Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don't wish it were easier; wish you were better" (source). What can you do today that will set you up for success in rehearsal this week? What can you do in rehearsal that will set your choir up for success?

Here are a few helpful tips and strategies for running a successful rehearsal, this and every week:

The Secrets of Batching in Freelance Work

The Secrets of Batching in Freelance Work

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by your to-do list? Ever have trouble knowing where to start? Do you feel like you spend your time flitting from one activity to the next just trying to get everything done and keep all those plates spinning? I feel you. Being a freelancer is tough work and the balancing act of working on many projects at once is no joke. The solution? Batching.

Described in the book, Getting Things Done, batching is a process of grouping like tasks together and doing them at the same time (source). Batching is great for emails, phone calls, social media, errands, paying bills, planning, cooking, cleaning, and much more.

Think about it: If you need to run to the Post Office, deposit a few checks at the bank, and pick up something quick at the grocery store, would you make three separate trips during the day, or try to run all three errands while you're out? If possible, it probably makes sense to try to get all your errands done in one trip. Similarly, if you're cooking dinner, would you start sautéing, then file a few loose receipts, then go check the mail? I hope not! When you're cooking, you chop, sauté, stir, serve, and eat, without stopping in the middle to change gears and do something else.

Want to know a few secrets? Here's why batching is the way to go:

How to Practice Efficiently in 30 Minutes Or Less

How to Practice Efficiently in 30 Minutes Or Less

We're a few weeks into the school year now, and I am starting to settle into my new routine.

This year, I'm accompanying four school choirs and a church choir, playing a service every Sunday, and teaching four afternoons a week. I love the variety this offers and I love being back on the bench (organ and piano!), but it requires something we never seem to have enough time for as professionals - practicing. As a student, I had anywhere from 2-6 hours a day to practice, and though certainly intense, I now recognize that time was a luxury. As professionals, we gig, we teach, we play, we write, we email, we manage, we coordinate, we network. When is there time to practice?

My new schedule for the Fall has pockets of time and I'm learning to be extra productive and efficient with my practicing.

Here are a few things I'm learning: