Business

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

26 Leadership Skills and Traits for Church Music Directors

26 Leadership Skills and Traits for Church Music Directors

What does it mean to be a leader? And what does it take to be a great one?

Leadership has been defined as “the art of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common goal.” (source) Thus, a leader is one who inspires and directs that collective action.

This requires a certain set of skills and character traits, though experts indicate you can learn and develop these skills with time and experience. You don’t have to be born with all of these skills and traits to be a great leader.

Top 10 Résumé Tips for Professional Musicians

Top 10 Résumé Tips for Professional Musicians

A résumé is a professional document representing who you are and what you’ve done in your career.

It shows your qualifications, skills, education, and experience, but it also demonstrates other less-obvious things, like attention to detail, organizational skills, commitment, and even creativity and innovation.

Your résumé tells the story of who you are and what you do.

Now, in terms of look and feel, résumés often follow some sort of template. This varies by industry: some use color blocks and bold fonts, even photos or icons to showcase their work and experience.

Top 10 Posts of 2017

Top 10 Posts of 2017

These last few weeks of the calendar year are always some of my favorite - time to reflect on a year well-lived and make big plans for the year to come.

Here are a few fun facts from this year:

2017 By the Numbers

Blog posts written: 81
Online courses created: 2
Online workshops created: 4
Videos recorded: 31
Emails written: too many to count!
Site visitors: 125,000+
Page views: 295,000+

7 Things I Didn't Learn in Music School

7 Things I Didn't Learn in Music School

8 a.m. theory classes, 1-credit ensembles, concerts, performances, listening exams, and 10 p.m. practice sessions.

Ah, music school.

I’ve spent my fair share of time in music school: from my undergraduate degree in Piano and Organ Performance to a Master’s and Ph.D. in Music Education, I think it all adds up to 10 years (but who’s really counting?).

And yet, despite all that schooling (and all those recitals and term papers), there were still many things I didn’t know when I started building my career; things I had to figure out on my own and learn with time and practical experience.

2017 Reader Survey Results [Infographic]

2017 Reader Survey Results [Infographic]

Last month, I put together my first reader survey and I'm honored that so many of you took the time to respond and give feedback!

More than anything, I want to create content that's helpful to you, so I asked you to tell me more about yourself and the work you do and to share your greatest rewards and biggest challenges.

I also asked for your thoughts and ideas for the future: What would you like to read about? What would help you in your ministry or teaching? How can I serve you better?

2017 Reader Survey

2017 Reader Survey

Reflection is vital to learning, growing, and success. 

It works hand-in-hand with action, a constant cycle of doing followed by observing and evaluating our work, our relationships, and the choices we make.

We all know it’s true.

But so often, we get caught up in the doing part - creating, teaching, and playing (especially at this time of year) - and don’t make time to stop and reflect.

Today, I'm taking a step back to reflect on my business goals, blog content, offerings, and ways I can serve you better.

And I'd love for you to be part of that process. (Think of it like a virtual coffee chat.)

7 Insider Tips for Aspiring Music Educators [Video]

7 Insider Tips for Aspiring Music Educators [Video]

Music careers in the 21st century are flexible and diverse, often incorporating more than just one thing. Many of us are freelancers, curating opportunities and crafting a creative career based on our varied skill sets and interests.

We're performers and teachers, writers and creators, collaborators and makers.

I decided to mix things up a bit and offer this post as a mini online workshop.

Today, I'm going to talk about designing and developing your music career, with a focus on music education and ways to incorporate that into the work you do. Because whether or not you pursued or are pursuing a degree in music education, teaching (in one form or another) will invariably be part of your future career, if it isn’t already.

An Inside Look at My Creative Process

An Inside Look at My Creative Process

Creativity is one of those illusive things that’s hard to wrap your mind around sometimes. What is it? Does everyone have it? Can it be developed?

One of the big things I’ve learned about creativity over the past few years is that, more than anything else, creativity is a way of thinking. It’s a way of looking at the world, interacting with it, challenging it; studying things, testing things, and a relentless desire to explore new territory.

Some people naturally tend to think this way, but that doesn’t mean creativity is limited to certain individuals. Creative thinking is a strategy; it’s a skill that can be developed.

Let’s delve into theory for just a minute:

Creative thinking (in any context) has four main components: Flexibility, Fluency, Originality, and Elaboration (source). 

How I Use Time-Blocking to Structure My Work Day

How I Use Time-Blocking to Structure My Work Day

Whether you work part-time or full-time, one job or four, in an office or at home, creating a structure for your work day is important to your productivity, creativity, and ultimately, how you feel about your work.

And for those of you who work for yourself and work from home (at least part of the time), boundaries become a necessary part of structuring your day.

Are you prone to burnout? 
Do you work until late at night, on the weekends, and even on vacation?
Do you struggle to follow-through on certain projects?
Do you lose motivation easily?

Setting a few boundaries, blocking your time, and figuring out what time of day you do your best work can help set you up for success each and every day.

Today, I’m walking you through my own process for structuring my work days.

Like many of you, I wear many hats during the week: church musician, worship planner, piano teacher, blogger, small business owner. Sometimes, it feels like I’m just keeping the plates spinning, not necessarily making any progress (how many of you can relate to that?).  

But, with the help of time-blocking and being intentional about how I use my working hours, I’m beginning to reap the rewards of a more focused, productive work-week.