[av_one_full first] [av_textblock ]

by Philip Johnston

Diary Building 101: Introduction ideas

OK…so the introduction to your diary can be whatever text and images you like. (See this guide) But what to use this space for? Let’s take a look at some of the possibilities.

[/av_textblock] [/av_one_full]
[av_one_half first] [av_textblock ]

Number1Welcome message

Probably a good idea to start with this, no matter what else your introduction contains; helps soften what would otherwise be a cold-smash into the content. Best photo here? One of you, smiling, looking straight at reader (they’re the person being welcomed, after all)[/av_textblock] [/av_one_half]

[av_one_half] [av_textblock ]


No, not about you.  Much more fun is testimonials about your students, from their peers. Collect feedback immediately after student recitals, then publish the best-of in a special section at the start of your diary…what student wouldn’t want to have their dynamics and rubato praised? Their sparkling passagework? Their attention to detail? This is a chance to turn ordinary students into superstars, and it’s right there greeting them every time they open their diary.[/av_textblock] [/av_one_half]

[av_hr class=’invisible’ height=’15’ shadow=’no-shadow’ position=’center’] [av_one_half first] [av_textblock ]

Number3Studio Policy

What better place to detail the expectations, guidelines and prohibitions of your studio? Right there at the front of the resource they carry with them to every lesson, and then into their practice room.[/av_textblock] [/av_one_half] [av_one_half] [av_textblock ]

Number4About the studio

There’s a spot on the back cover for this too, but it’s limited by a fairly tight word count—you can use the introduction to tell the full story. (Don’t forget you can also tell much of the story with pictures…see the gallery option below)[/av_textblock] [/av_one_half] [av_hr class=’invisible’ height=’15’ shadow=’no-shadow’ position=’center’] [av_one_half first] [av_textblock ]

Number5Quotes about music

Or maybe just one, if you have a favourite that sums up your teaching philosophy. If so, when I’m laying it out, I’d be inclined to frame it with plenty of whitespace on a page of its own—much more likely to be noticed and read. (You might disagree. That’s why I send you a proof before anything goes to press)[/av_textblock] [/av_one_half] [av_one_half] [av_textblock ]

Number6Your curriculum

If your studio follows a clearly defined pathway through a set curriculum, it makes sense to have that available to all students; it’s not just a reference for where students are up to right now, but also gives parents and students a tantalizing glimpse of what’s coming up.[/av_textblock] [/av_one_half] [av_hr class=’invisible’ height=’15’ shadow=’no-shadow’ position=’center’] [av_one_half first] [av_textblock ]

Number7Honor Board

Being student of the month is one thing; being immortalized in the Student Diary is another entirely. (Much cheaper than a real honor board too…). So who were the winners of your recent practice competitions? The record holders for most practice in a week? The students who have performed concertos with orchestras? Prizewinners of state competitions? Finding out is easy—it’s right there at the front of the diary.[/av_textblock] [/av_one_half] [av_one_half] [av_textblock ]

Number8Your biography

Music teachers often very modestly leave their students in the dark as to their own achievements and background. You don’t have to be—your diary can play the role of MC, introducing you in third person to an audience. Don’t forget: parents are paying a small fortune for music lessons with you, they love finding out just how awesome their choice is. Your diary can reveal your accomplishments without you having to blush.[/av_textblock] [/av_one_half] [av_hr class=’invisible’ height=’15’ shadow=’no-shadow’ position=’center’] [av_one_half first] [av_textblock ]


About music. Clean. Preferably submitted by your students (with attributions). Sends the clear message that your studio is not all about work and no play.[/av_textblock] [/av_one_half] [av_one_half] [av_textblock ]


If you’ve got some iconic shots of your studio in action, you might not need any words at all. Upload the pictures, I’ll lay them out in a gallery format, let the images tell the story.[/av_textblock] [/av_one_half] [av_hr class=’invisible’ height=’15’ shadow=’no-shadow’ position=’center’] [av_one_half first] [av_textblock ]

Number11Practice Hints

How do you want your students to work when you’re not with them? Do you have  practice techniques that you want every student using? A warmup sequence that all students should observe? (I’m obviously not impartial, but if you’re stuck for ideas, there are 376 pages of suggestions in Practiceopedia :)[/av_textblock] [/av_one_half][av_one_half] [av_textblock ]

Number12Diary usage guide

If you have preferences for how student use their new resource, here’s where you’d tell them. Do you expect parents to sign it every week? Are students supposed to record how they spent their practice time? Write down questions they have? Give themselves a rating out of 5 for how ready they think they are for the lesson? If you don’t set the expectations, they’re unlikely to be met.[/av_textblock] [/av_one_half]