Perfectionism in Students with Exceptionalities and How to Help

Perfectionism in Students with Exceptionalities and How to Help

By: Dr. Erin Parkes Any music educator who has been teaching for a while knows that perfectionism can be more of a curse than a blessing. It can be crippling for students who are not able to feel good about their progress unless their performance is “perfect” (which...

Intake meetings: Setting new students up for success

Intake meetings: Setting new students up for success

By: Jeff Sabo The new teaching year is starting soon, and you may have some new students with exceptionalities. While it's fun and exciting to meet new students, the first set of lessons can also be challenging. As teachers, we want to set our students up for success,...

When Activities are too Much: Responding to Sensory Needs

When Activities are too Much: Responding to Sensory Needs

By: Christy Laarakker We all get excited as teachers about discovering activities and resources that will make our studios alive and our lessons fun and engaging.  While learning is an exploratory process, that exploration can sometimes be too much for individuals...

Using Colour for Students with Learning Disabilities

Using Colour for Students with Learning Disabilities

By: Jeff Sabo Learning to read music can be a big challenge for any student. For some students with learning disabilities, difficulty reading can be an obstacle to traditional music learning altogether. One tool that can help students with learning disabilities read...

Setting Up Your Sensory-Friendly Home Studio

Setting Up Your Sensory-Friendly Home Studio

By: Erin Parkes, PhD Increasing numbers of home studio music teachers are looking for ways to create an accessible space for neurodiverse students. This is fantastic, as having more options for music learning in the community is a huge piece of the accessibility...

Top Tips for Teaching Piano to Students with Cochlear Implants

Top Tips for Teaching Piano to Students with Cochlear Implants

Music is primarily an auditory art, which can leave teachers wondering how to best approach teaching students with hearing loss. Children and adults who are having severe to profound hearing loss often qualify for a surgical device – cochlear implants, a device that help deaf people hear. In this blog, we will share some key information and tips from our experiences on teaching students with cochlear implants.

Supporting Music Students with Anxiety

Anxiety.  We’ve all felt it – maybe it shows up as butterflies in your stomach, sweaty palms, a rapid heartbeat, or racing thoughts that just won’t slow down.  While most of us are familiar with our own feelings of anxiety, it can be challenging to identify how and when anxiety is manifesting in our students.  We often talk about anxiety in the context of music performance, but there are so many other places anxiety can show up, including during lessons or even when trying to practice at home.  Online lessons have added another dimension to consider for students who may feel increased anxiety seeing themselves onscreen, navigating technology, or just trying to connect with their teacher through virtually.  As teachers, most of our time with students is spent during the lesson, so this article will focus on ways student anxiety can present during lessons and how we can support struggling students.  

Taking a Trauma-Informed Approach to Music Education

Taking a Trauma-Informed Approach to Music Education

An awareness of the impact of trauma on learning and behaviour is gaining more and more traction in education, and it’s about time! Research in psychology has clearly demonstrated the link between trauma or toxic stress and challenges in learning environments. And yet, so far there is little awareness of trauma-informed teaching in music education, despite the fact that approximately two thirds of children will experience at least one traumatic event. It’s time to change that!

Managing Stress and Avoiding Burnout

Managing Stress and Avoiding Burnout

Exhausted. Overwhelmed. Unmotivated. Inability to feel excited about teaching. Any of this sound familiar? As music teachers, most of us have personally experienced burnout at some point during our teaching careers or know someone who has. Between trying to juggle lessons, planning, parent communications, student recruitment, expanding our resource libraries, and professional development, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed. When you add trying to balance that with families, school, chores, and other commitments, it can feel impossible to keep up with everything. In addition to the typical challenges of music teaching, teachers who work with special needs populations face an even higher risk of burnout and exhaustion due to stress. The pandemic has added additional stressors over the past year and a half as well, with many teachers having to face new challenges like switching to online learning, struggles with student retention and engagement, and coping with the effects of isolation. Considering these challenges, it’s no wonder that more music teachers than ever are suffering from stress and burnout!