Have a Back-up Plan

Have a Back-up Plan

Crossing out Plan A and writing Plan B on a blackboard.

Well, folks… I promised you 3 posts about Gearing Up for Fall. As you can tell from today’s title, that 3rd post hasn’t happened yet. Issues beyond my control keep popping up, and rather than bemoaning the circumstances, I’m going to change course.

**Part 3 is still in the works, and should be out sometime this week or next.

Today is about having a Back-Up Plan. 

Before we get to the music lesson related stuff… I need to start with a little backstory on why I’m writing about back-up plans.

Last week, in the middle of fall scheduling madness, my 1-year-old ASUS laptop had an identity crisis and decided that it didn’t want to be a laptop anymore. It wanted to be a paperweight instead.

(And who was I to deny this life change? Maybe it was always meant to be a paperweight, and I was just standing in it’s way! It seems to be much happier now that it’s weighing down papers.)

This wasn’t in my plans.

All my info was on that laptop… I had work to dostudents to scheduleposts to write

I felt kind of like this:


Thankfully, I had TWO back-up plans. 

Back-Up Plan #1: Years ago I learned to use a backup system for my laptops. Carbonite has saved me on multiple occasions. There are lots of cloud based services out there. Just make SURE that you have your service on continuous back-up, or you risk losing lots of data!

Back-Up Plan #2: Even though this wasn’t in the “business plan” this year, I was able to get 0% financing for the new studio laptop. You know the old adage… “Crap” Happens? Well, it’s true. It does happen, and when it does it’s nice to have a way to finance your way through the crap.

Ok… so what does this Back-Up Plan post have to do with teaching music lessons? 

It’s all about being prepared. Life happens. It happens a lot. We can’t control all of the things that will happen before/during/after our lessons, but at least we can try to be prepared for the unexpected.

Yesterday I had a parent who texted me that a stomach virus was working it’s way around their family. Since coming to the studio wasn’t an option, she asked if we could do a FaceTime lesson instead.

Thankfully, I was prepared for this unexpected change. Can’t make it to the studio? No problem… we can FaceTime. (On my MacBook Pro! Eee!) It took me a few minutes to set up my laptop and microphone, but 5 minutes into her regular lesson time, Emily and I were already hard at work!


What my FaceTime setup looks like for a piano lesson…

Last year I started using FaceTime/Skype for students who couldn’t come to the studio. A few years ago, I balked at the idea of offering lessons online, but smart phone technology is so wide spread nowadays, and most students are well-versed in using these services to keep in touch with family and friends.

Offering online lessons in lieu of in-studio lessons has been a win-win-win situation in my studio:

  • Parents: Get that lesson time in that was paid for in their tuition.
  • Students: Get to avoid the dreaded 2 week lesson gap — also gets to impress you with their technology capabilities by answering technical questions that you probably should know by now.
  • Teacher: Gets to keep their lesson hours consistent and student progress moving forward.

FaceTime or Skype lessons are a fantastic option for students who are too sick to attend lessons, but well enough to sit at the piano at home. It’s also great for those days when a student can’t find a ride to lessons, or perhaps when the roads aren’t fit for travel.

There are lots of blogs out there with activities and set-up ideas that will help you get started with Skype/FaceTime lessons in your studio. (And I’ll be blogging more about this in the future!) Here are a few of my go-to posts:

I hope you enjoyed today’s unexpected post! Best of luck to all my teacher friends out there who are still prepping for fall lessons, and EXTRA good luck to those who are starting school this week.

Don’t forget: There’s still time to order your copy of The Savvy Music Teacher before we start discussing it this September in the Upbeat Piano Book Club. Read more about our free club here!


Let’s Share: Have you started using FaceTime or Skype for lessons in your studio? Tell us your favorite online lesson activity in the comments below! 

Be sure to check out Part 1 and 2 of my Gearing Up for Fall series!

Getting Geared Upfor Fall

Getting Scheduled for Fall

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Gearing Up for Fall: Part 3
Upbeat Piano Teacher Book Club