Teen Retention and Engagement


If you’ve read my blog recently, it’s no secret: over the past four months I’ve been working on a two big projects with Tracy Selle.

After approximately 20 hours of Google Hangouts with teachers all over the world, over 100 email correspondences, and more hours than I care to count spent editing, writing, and graphic creation… our webinars are done.

Speaking of video…

I’ve been doing FB Lives regularly on Upbeat Piano Teachers and Sara’s Music Studio. Make sure to subscribe to those pages to get notifications! Most of my videos are just short tips, but sometimes I’ll do a mini live-webinar. They’re fun 🙂


Today I thought I’d give you a little insight into the creation of one of those projects. And since teens are one of my favorite age groups to teach…


Why This Topic?

First, I wanted to learn how other teachers deal with the “teen drop off” issue. You know how it goes: you teach a student starting when they’re 7 or 8, and suddenly at 13 years old… they quit piano! (Just when things start to get really fun.)

Issues with student retention are tough at this age. Teens are under a lot of pressure to “diversify” their activities for college resumes, and sometimes they get spread too thin and just stop finding time for piano. And sadly, most of these students never really start playing again…

And the practice issue! Ugh. It’s super frustrating for a teacher to spend 45 minutes teaching a student how to find success with a piece of a music, only to have them return and say “I didn’t have time to practice this week.”

Empowering students to become fully engaged and responsible for their role in our lesson together means we’re not just piano teachers. We’re life lesson teachers.

Second, I wanted to find out ways to self-motivate my students. You can tell a student to practice until you’re blue in the face, but let’s “face” it… they won’t practice unless they want to or unless they learn to take charge of their own actions.

One of the best lessons I learned during the filming portion of this webinar series was to teach my teens to self-motivate. This is something I was already kind of doing, but now I have a better grasp of why this is so important.


What Goes into Making a Webinar?

Webinars come in all shapes and sizes. Some are live and some are recorded. Some are small and some are big. Some come with materials and some are just stand-alone videos.

Our webinars are recorded, involve multiple teachers, and have lots of materials such as workbooks, printables, and bonuses. That means a lot of time went into them during and post production.

It took 2 months to record all of the interviews — working with the schedules of 16 different teachers who are all crazy busy took some ingenuity and a lot of double-checking with time zones and days. (Ohhhh…. Australia!)


My typical setup for webinar recording… a “stage light,” laptop, microphone, and iPad for referencing things. Do you like my “laptop stand”?

Once we recorded the interviews then we had to edit all the videos, create write-ups for each guest expert, and finalize all the materials/links associated with each interview. Let’s just say that we had a lot of late nights and/or long mornings during this part!

Basically anything out of my regular teaching hours was fair game to become “webinar time.” (But it was so much fun. I seriously love this creative part of my job.)

Will You Do Webinars on Other Age Groups?

Well, we have two so far! Engaging Teens & Tweens and Playing with Preschoolers were our first forays into webinars for specific student age groups. We’ve got some ideas for future topics, but no concrete plans that we want to share just yet 😉

Interested in learning more about the teens webinar? Check out our brand new Engaging Teens & Tweens webinar at Upbeat Piano Teachers.


Stay Tuned — Enter your Email at the top right for updates

We Love to Share – Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest





A Music App for Teens that's Waay Cool
Creative Chord Replay Expires Tonight