Friday, September 12, 2014

Notebook And Pencil For My Studio

I recently bought this pretty notebook and even prettier pencil both for practical reasons and as a little treat to myself for making it halfway to one of my teaching goals. Hooray! It's fun to celebrate little achievements, don't you think?

I was talking with my mom about the logistics of student payments (my least favorite part of running my piano studio) and she suggested that instead of a more formal "bill" I write the month's dues and the price of any books I purchased on a long, thin piece of lined paper and hand it to the student after the lesson. That way things are more informal and casual but I'm still maintaining accountability, keeping track of payments, etc. My mom's years as a paying customer in this business make her such a great resource for me as I navigate the ins and outs and right and wrong ways to handle things!

I liked my mom's idea and I wanted to find an elegant pad or notebook that looked nice enough to leave out on the piano. Since I run my studio out of my home and because I care first and foremost about the music, I try to keep the "business-y" things as unobtrusive and clean as possible. I never want the money stuff to make my students uncomfortable or give them the impression that I care more about that than the teaching. Something as simple as how I write "bills" (and making them aesthetically pleasing!) makes a difference, I think.

Anyway, I'd been eyeing this local paperie and finally I had an excuse to drop in! And I found the perfect thing--this notebook is slim and understated, the pages are lined and perforated, and it's exactly the shape I was searching for. As I kept browsing (the shop was dreamy) I couldn't help but notice these regal black pencils sitting tall in a jar. They're beautiful and well-crafted and I decided that a lovely notebook deserves a lovely writing utensil to keep it company. Plus, the black and ivory and gold match my pianos. That may or may not have been a factor.

I guess I'm a simple soul because this $8 purchase pleases me so much. These two pretty little things sitting on my piano remind me that I'm slowly but surely figuring things out. 


  1. Love these. It's so nice to spoil yourself with beautiful things sometimes! I find similar enjoyment from small purchases also. :) The business side is definitely the less desirable side of teaching, I agree! Do you follow any piano teaching blogs out there? I've found it incredibly useful to see what other teachers are doing--teaching-wise & business-wise.

  2. Yes! There are so many out there, but these might be a good place to start:

    1. - has lots of Printables & "studio business" forms that you can print out and use (also check out her "Links" page to find other piano teaching blogs)

    2. - geared mostly towards teaching young beginners (lots of learning-reinforcement games that you can use and some studio business printouts also)

    3. - WONDERFUL teacher to students of all levels. She has a Facebook Page called "Diane Hidy's Piano Teaching Tips" and she has YouTube channel in which she shares videos of student lessons. I love her balanced approach.

    Perhaps you'll find something useful within those blogs! Following these ladies (among others) has definitely transformed my teaching over the years. Have fun!

  3. I think handwritten, casual memos are a perfect way to handle the business side of art things!

  4. One of the things I've had to get used to in our eclectic Virginia town is the more casual atmosphere of music lesson billing. Now I know it's not everyone, but I've been repeatedly surprised by the "you keep track and pay me when you can" charitable attitude. It was a sharp 180 from some of the metropolitan areas I'd grown used to where money was up front and first. Here it seems as if the true gift of sharing music took front and center. It has made me fall in love with this town a thousand times over.
    A true pleasure to meet you today, Kate! I hope you find your newest home a warm and welcoming one.

  5. I agree, it really feels right to me!

  6. Shelley, it was so lovely to meet you as well! I had fun reading (and smiling along with) some of your recent posts last night. How terrific to know another CVille blogger! :)

    I'm so glad to hear that other local teachers approach the "business" part of lessons in a similar way. I love that. Making it casual and informal really does keep the music front and center.

    Thanks for stopping by, and I'm excited to follow along with your posts!

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