Transcript Snapshot 003 – Abigail Proffitt

Transcript: Snapshot 003 – Abigail Proffitt

Transcript for Snapshot 003 – Abigail Proffitt


[00:00:00] Andrea: Hey, it’s Andrea with Music Studio Startup, the podcast about the business of teaching music. Learn from the startup stories of music teachers who are doing incredible things with their studios. Be inspired by creating musicians who are branching out and thriving as entrepreneurs. Be empowered by the insights of experts who will help you grow your own studio. Let’s get started!

Let’s get started.

Welcome back. We’re doing a special series on the podcast this summer called Studio Snapshots. Rather than the in depth, process oriented interviews you’re used to hearing, these rapid fire interviews give us a glimpse into a guest studio at a moment in time. They’re part reflection, part anticipation of the future, and fully a celebration of where these teachers are today.

Today, I’m talking to Abigail Proffitt. Here’s Abigail’s Snapshot.

Hi, Abigail. Welcome to the podcast. Can you introduce yourself and tell us briefly about your studio?

[00:01:10] Abigail Proffitt: Yeah, so my studio is located near Dallas, Texas. I’ve been teaching for seven years. I’ve moved around a lot, like with my teaching for college and stuff, so this is really my first year being totally settled in my long term studio. So I have a few students who are with me throughout the moves, like they stayed on Zoom, but I’m back in person with them and then the rest of my students are brand new. So I have about 20 right now, but it’s still growing.

[00:01:37] Andrea: Awesome. And how many years have you been full-time teaching?

[00:01:40] Abigail Proffitt: Full time about two years.

[00:01:42] Andrea: Great. That’s so exciting. And what are you celebrating from the last school year?

[00:01:46] Abigail Proffitt: A couple things. So I finished my degree in piano pedagogy this year, which is like the biggest thing.

[00:01:53] Andrea: Yeah. Congrats! That’s huge.

[00:01:54] Abigail Proffitt: Yeah, I’m pretty excited about that. But the other thing, like some of my students that have been with me longer, they’re starting to branch into like classical music and just bigger solo repertoire and that’s much fun and it’s really rewarding because you never quite know if they’re gonna, what they’re gonna morph into. And it’s just really reaffirming to see, okay, what I’m doing is working and you know, this is encouraging for the new students who are starting. They’ll get there.

[00:02:19] Andrea: Yes, yes, it does take a while to get that establishment in a younger studio. How were you challenged in the last year?

[00:02:26] Abigail Proffitt: Okay, well, a lot of things, but I think the biggest thing is that I learned my limits last year. I was teaching out of a music school for pretty much the entire year in 2021, and I had 38 students there. Which was really fun for me, but I learned really quickly that I can’t invest in my students very well when there’s that many. So as much as I love to say yes, starting my own studio again, I’ve had to learn just to filter those students more carefully and learn that it’s okay to say no, even though I want to take everyone who asks. It’s better for everyone involved.

[00:03:00] Andrea: I think a lot of people can relate to that. Thanks for sharing. Did you take any risks or go outside your comfort zone in any way last year?

[00:03:08] Abigail Proffitt: Yeah, actually. So kind of in that music school lump still, I began teaching preschool piano lessons. And it kind of just started as them asking me if I would be willing to take on a three or four year old. And I was like, yeah, I’ll try it. I’m willing. That’s fine. And it was really difficult of course, because just getting used to that developmental stage and their size and learning what you can and can’t do. But it ended up being like my favorite thing and I ended up with almost 20 three to five year old students last year, so I think that’s, that’s my new niche. That’s kind of how I advertise myself now. I really enjoy that age group. And I’ve learned a lot about that since.

[00:03:49] Andrea: Wow. So my follow up question was going to be, what did you learn from that experience of going outside your comfort zone? Sounds like you learned where you really enjoy teaching.

Yeah. that’s my niche.

And my podcast coordinator actually suggested you as a guest for this snapshot series, because she said “Abigail does a lot of off the bench activities. And it’s just so fun to see your Instagram feed because of all those. “So listeners should take a look at that.

[00:04:14] Abigail Proffitt: I’m glad to know that. Yeah, you definitely have to do off bench with that age group.

[00:04:19] Andrea: Yeah. You’ve got lots of ideas there. And what do summers look like in your studio for your students? And then also for you.

[00:04:25] Abigail Proffitt: So for the past couple years, I’ve been doing like sight reading challenges for the summer and also an emphasis on ear training. I just think summer’s a really good time to slow down and work on skills you might not be honing in on as much when you’re working through a method book or working on recital rep all the time. So it’s a slower pace and it’s fun, but it’s still really productive. I try not to waste any time, even though it’s summer.

So right now that looks like I’m actually doing a joint challenge with my sister’s studio and we have these like sight reading charts. And for each lesson we set a timer for five to seven minutes, depending on their level, and they just see how many pieces they can sight read in that time and then they get to check off a box on the chart for each. So whoever finishes the charts by the end of the summer will give them a prize together.

[00:05:16] Andrea: That sounds like a fun change of pace for students and to give you something else, just a little different to do during the summer.

[00:05:23] Abigail Proffitt: They’re doing really well with it. And it’s been really helpful for the students who maybe got weaker in their reading, because they’re mostly working on solos and stuff. So I’ve been glad with the results so far.

[00:05:33] Andrea: And what are you doing this summer to prep for the upcoming school year?

[00:05:37] Abigail Proffitt: So right now, I’m kind of having two separate planning sessions, I guess, for my two different groups of students. So for my intermediate students, I am planning like a circle of fifths program, I guess, for the fall to start working through all their different key signatures and their scales and chords. I’ve already started that a little bit this summer. And then for my younger students, I’m gonna do like a composer music history and like listening challenges throughout the fall. So I have like circle of fifth bundles that I’ve made for the intermediate students and then composer worksheets, and like fun trivia cards and stuff for my younger ones.

And I’ll probably also be using the Shades of Sound coloring books by Jennifer Foster or Booster. I don’t know if you’re familiar with those, but they’re like coloring books that have a little composer history lesson at the beginning, and then a piece for you to listen to while you color. And my students seem to really love those. So I integrate that.

[00:06:34] Andrea: So a lot of curriculum prep it sounds like. And then what is one project or area of your business in which you spend irrational amounts of time? just something that you do for fun, but that could be a time suck for you.

[00:06:46] Abigail Proffitt: Definitely creating resources for my students and my online business. Cause I also share those resources with other teachers. I pretty much get up in the morning and start designing, and then I’m up way too late every night, continuing my design. It’s just like an area that I have no self control in, but I’m glad it’s fun cause it is my business so I have a lot of fun with it.

And then also just like buying and cataloging and planning out repertoire for my students. I am getting a little obsessed with growing and organizing my collection. Need to have more self control there too.

[00:07:21] Andrea: I love it. Any quick organizational tips for music teacher libraries.

[00:07:26] Abigail Proffitt: Ooh. Yeah, so I have a binder that I keep all like my loose leaf and studio license music in, and I organize it by level. And then I also have a shelf that I organize based on like method book series and those levels. And then like the solo books go on the other side of the shelf. So it’s a pretty simple system.

[00:07:48] Andrea: And is there a book that you’ve read in the last year that you’d recommend for our listeners summer reading lists?

[00:07:53] Abigail Proffitt: Yeah, a couple actually, and I’m still working through them, so I haven’t finished them, but so far they’ve been really helpful. One is The Power of Play and the other one is The Whole Brain Child. And I would definitely recommend them for teachers who either want to start teaching younger ages, like the three to five year old range, or who are just skeptical about using play and games and movement in lessons, because these books are just really insightful into how kids learn and how they think. And I don’t know, it’s just very reaffirming and gives a lot of insight as a teacher.

[00:08:29] Andrea: Excellent. Thank you for those. and where can listeners get in touch with you?

[00:08:33] Abigail Proffitt: My main platform is on Instagram, so you can follow me at Proffitt Piano Studio and Proffitt is with two Fs and two T. And then if you’re interested in seeing my resources that I create for teachers, you can look me up on Etsy at Whole Foundation Method.

[00:08:48] Andrea: All right, Abigail. Thank you so much.

[00:08:51] Abigail Proffitt: You’re welcome. Thanks for having me.

[00:08:58] Andrea: Thank you for taking the time to be with us, Abigail. We’ll include a transcript and all the links mentioned in this episode at The Music Studio Startup website is also filled with lots of other resources for music teachers, just like you, who wanna set up their studios for success this summer.

That’s all for today. Thanks for listening. I’ll be back next week.

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