Before you get offended by the title of the post, let me just make it clear that this has nothing to do with your hygiene. I’m sure you smell really good. Definitely better than me at the moment (I have yet to shower today). The reason I tell you this is because I have discovered that the shower is a magical place for brainstorming and creativity.
Attending a group activity for the first time can be intimidating — not only for the child, but for the parent or caregiver as well. I speak from experience, having done this many times since becoming a mom.
It can be especially intimidating to walk into a room where everyone else knows each other and has attended the activity before. This happens time and time again in our music classes, since many of our families attend sessions on a regular basis. The adults become friendly with each other, the children get along well, and we as instructors get to know everyone.
So when a new family comes to music for the first time, there are a few things we can do to help them feel just as welcome and part of the group as everyone else.
Last week we did something we’ve never done before: we sent an email to all of our class participants asking for their feedback in the form of a short survey. The results have been eye-opening (in a good way).
I’ll admit, it’s a little scary reaching out and asking people for their honest and anonymous opinions on the work we do. We pour our hearts into creating and implementing each class, but we know they are far from perfect. There’s always room for improvement, and we wanted to take the guesswork out of making them even better for our families.
I hate to admit it, but my phone is my lifeline. I rely on it for communicating with my family and colleagues throughout the day, managing my calendar, consulting my to-do list, completing business tasks, and so much more.
I know I’m not alone here, which is why I want to share 5 of the apps I use daily when it comes to work and productivity. These have been game changers for me, so hopefully you’ll find them helpful, too.
1. Slack (free)
This tool has basically become the command center of my business. Katey and I started using it when we became overwhelmed by the DOZENS of emails we were sending back and forth every day, and now our entire team uses it to communicate with each other.
We share files, use the IM feature instead of text so that we have searchable records of our conversations, and take our meeting notes there. Slack is completely free, and you can access it on the computer as well as all mobile devices.
2. Word Swag ($3.99)
I used to create all of my social media graphics and images on the computer, but now that I’m opening my laptop less and less, I have become a HUGE fan of this app. Word Swag lets you add text and graphics (such as a logo or watermark) to their collection of lovely images and backgrounds, or you can upload your own photos.
The variety of fonts and styles is truly impressive, and you can customize the colors and layout however you want. It’s really fun to use, but let me warn you that it can be addictive! Totally worth it, though, for the end result.
3. Google Drive (free)
In addition to Slack, my team also uses Google Drive to share documents back and forth and collaborate on them. I have multiple Google Drives for the different areas of my work and life, and this app lets me manage and access all of them in one place.
I can quickly pull up spreadsheets of class rosters when I’m getting ready to lead a class, look over documentation my intern has submitted, check my team’s availability when I’m scheduling a new client, and the list goes on.
4. Music Teacher’s Helper (free)
For almost 5 years, I’ve been singing the praises of this software for managing my studio and private practice when it comes to scheduling, invoicing, billing, tracking expenses, and so much more. The app is so powerful that I can do most of those things right from my phone.
When I have a few minutes of downtime, I can input payments, reconcile sessions and lessons, email invoices to clients, and check the studio calendar.
5. Wunderlist (free)
I have experimented with SO many different ways to keep track of my to-do items, including pen and paper, documents on my computer, and a few different apps. But this one is my favorite, by far.
It’s a great list-making app, especially since you can set up multiple lists (I have one for all my different work projects and one for home) and you can share lists with people and assign tasks (I share one with Katey for business-related to-dos). You can also set reminders in your calendar for specific items.
This is definitely not an exhaustive list of my favorite productivity apps, and I’m thinking there will be a Part Two to this post in the near future. Which apps are your favorite for helping streamline your life?
One of the biggest frustrations we faced during early childhood classes at our previous location was the placement of our instruments and equipment. We were constantly redirecting our students away from the guitar, which sat in a floor stand when we weren’t using it, and trying to keep little hands out of the drawers of our rolling instrument cart.
So when we moved to our new studio and had complete control over how the room was designed, our first priority was to structure the room in a way that instruments and equipment were out of reach and no longer a distraction for everyone.
We considered a few different solutions, and then one day Katey sent me a photo of the slatwall that was hung all over the walls of the music store in which we were previously located. Why didn’t we think of that sooner!?
So we picked up sheets of slatwall from our local hardware store, which were easy enough to drill into the walls and then stock with accessories for hanging and storing, which were purchased here.
We also installed guitar wall mounts in our group rooms and in our individual lesson/session rooms so that our guitars and ukuleles could be kept out of reach.
Our storage solutions have not only allowed us to keep our instruments and equipments better protected, but they have also made lots more floor space for our students and families during classes. This has come in very handy as our numbers have grown quite a bit since moving to our new studio!