Music Teacher’s Helper Review

If you want an easy way to manage your music teaching studio, Music Teacher’s Helper is a brilliant tool! The main ways in which I use it are for keeping track of income and expenses, keeping records of what students have done in lessons, sending out lesson reminders, and getting statistical reports on studio finances. It makes my life a lot easier when it comes to tax time, and in my opinion is a valuable time saver for any music teacher.

Automation

One of my favourite features of Music Teacher’s Helper (MTH) is that you can send out automatic reminders to students about upcoming lessons. It means there’s no excuse for a student to miss a lesson without letting you know. I currently send out reminders 48 hours before the lesson – it puts guitar or ukulele back in the forefront of the student or parent’s mind. There are also tools to send out invoices and receive payments, and an online lesson calendar where students can view their lesson schedule (and even sign up to lessons/workshops automatically).

Appear Professional

As well as making your life easier, MTH gives music teachers a professional air. It sets you apart from the casual part time teachers scribbling notes on odd sheets of paper (or worse, not keeping any notes at all!). It looks slick and shows students that you are well organised. For those of you without websites, you can also use MTH to create a website – a must for anybody getting serious about teaching.

Taxes, Taxes, Taxes

This is my favourite feature of MTH – your tax records become a lot easier to manage. You can print off a report for the tax year of income and expenses. As long as you spend a little time regularly to keep things updated, it can save you a massive headache at the end of the tax year.

Customer Service/Support

I have contacted the Music Teacher’s Helper team on a number of occasions and have always received prompt and helpful responses. There is a feedback system in place for teachers to suggest ideas to improve MTH, and I always get the impression that the team are continually looking to enhance and expand the system.

Promo Offer (15% off 1st Month)

As I am an avid user of Music Teacher’s Helper, I decided to become an affiliate. (I would never promote a product I don’t fully believe in, so no need to worry about that). The good news for you is that if you sign up via me you can get 15% off your first paid month. This is on top of a free 30 day trial. There are a lot of features that I haven’t fully taken advantage of yet, but even if you were only to use (for example) the financial and calendar features, I think it’s great value for any music teacher.

Click here to receive a 15% discount off your first month of Music Teacher’s Helper

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Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here Chords

Download here: Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here

Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here is a great song for working on mixing up picking individual notes with full chord strumming. The chords are fairly basic, the main challenge being the D/F# chord.

Slash Chords

With slash chords, the note after the slash (/) is played in the bass. So D/F# is a D chord with an F# bass note. On guitar this can be played like a regular D, with your thumb wrapped over the 2nd fret of the low E string. There are other ways to finger a D/F#, without the high E string, but the full 6 string version sounds great on this song if you can get it. If you’re struggling to get your thumb over or find another way to play the chord, a regular D chord will sound fine.

Strumming

Suggested strumming pattern for the verses:
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
D d DUd D d DUd

Suggested strumming pattern for the intro:
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
B DUDU U UD

Beat “4” and the “and” of the intro are taken up by the single notes of the riff (see the tab).

To get the intricacies and variations of the strum, you really need to listen to the record – I’ve just given you a starting point. Pay attention to the small down strums (lowercase d’s) – these are softer strums. Also, on the record there are two guitars strumming slightly differently, one panned to each side, so you can take your pick when playing along.

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Fantastic Resource for Guitarists

DS Music have put up a very useful free resource page for guitar and reading music.

There are well laid out sheets on reading standard notation and tab, as well as a host of useful guitar fretboard chords and scales (useful for both students and teachers of guitar).

For beginners, you can find, amongst other tools:

  • Basic guitar chord diagrams
  • Fretboard note layout
  • Chord flash cards

For those going beyond basics:

  • A sheet to explain the CAGED system
  • A scale dictionary
  • A useful explanation and diagram of the Circle of Fifths

Master Each Concept

It is worth taking your time with these resources, making sure you have mastered one scale or concept, and explored and integrated it into your playing, before moving onto the next. It is much better to have one scale that you can actually make music with, than to know loads that you can’t use! Working with a good teacher can help you manage this process. Finding ways to test yourself without looking at the sheets is also a good idea, as you don’t want to become reliant on them.

Uke & Other Instruments

If you play ukulele or another instrument, the standard notation and tab sheets still have a lot of useful info that can apply to any instrument. This is one of the advantages of standard notation over other methods of notation.

Keep Exploring

Also handy are the pages of blank chord, practise and notation sheets for you to fill in yourself. These are great for checking you have retained things, or for keeping a record of other chords and scales that you discover along your guitar journey.

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Simon & Garfunkel – I Am A Rock Chords

Download here: Simon & Garfunkel – I Am A Rock

I Am A Rock is a great tune for practicing your B minors (it’s a bar chord both on guitar and on ukulele). It’s a little tricky, as you only have two beats each on Am and Bm, so it’s worth drilling that chord change until it’s comfortable.

Recorded in 1965, the song was featured on Simon & Garfunkel’s legendary Sound of Silence album, and before that on Paul Simon’s solo album The Paul Simon Songbook. As usual from Paul Simon, it features some wonderful songwriting.

Suggested strumming pattern:
DUDUDUDU

The trick to the strum is to keep your strumming hand moving steadily up and down, without pausing. Once you’ve got the hang of that, you can focus on feel – listen to the recording for emphasised strums and variations to the pattern.

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Otis Redding – (Sitting On) The Dock Of The Bay Chords

Download here: Otis Redding – Sitting On The Dock of the Bay Chords

Another classic, this time from Otis Redding. Recorded in 1967, just days before his tragic death.

It’s a great tune for beginner guitarists to work on open chords, particularly the open B7 chord shape (and bring in the oft neglected little finger!). Alternatively, for those new to bar chords, it also makes for a perfect chord progression to practise your 6th-string (“E shaped”) bar chords up and down the neck.

Strumming

Suggested strumming pattern for beginners:
D DU UDU

More advanced players can try a hit (X) or ‘chunk’ strum on beats 2 and 4:
D XU UXU

Bonus tip for ukulele players: If you are struggling with the E chord, try an E7! It often works instead of an E (but use your ears, it doesn’t always!)

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