In her mid twenties, Kristin began a teaching path that was inspired by the traditional but propelled by the creative. She began trying to solve the puzzle of how to keep students interested in making music with a goal of keeping them involved in music throughout their lifetime. Through almost a decade of research and hundreds of students, Kristin has achieved a formula for success not only for her students, but also for herself. She emphasizes joy, creativity and perseverance with long-view goals that focus on each person as a collection of strengths.
Learn more about Kristin's music school here:
Do you want to take your studio or teaching to the next level? Check out my consulting packages! The past twenty years, 12 years of which I have owned a school, can translate to a significant boost to your bottom line.
Kristin has a variety of presentations and workshops readily available with topics ranging from the business of being a teaching artist to current pedagogical trends. Below are a few samples. Contact her today about doing a workshop for your organization!
The Pop Recital!
Making music come to life at a recital everyone loves!
With over 10 years of putting on a great show, Kristin's expertise here is hard to beat. Kristin walks you through timeline, provides great preparatory steps, a thorough checklist and gives great song/piece suggestions. Perfect for teachers if you are just starting out or want to improve your existing performances.
Live the Dream: Thrive in a Career You Love
Gain sound business practices to set yourself up for success.
Take vacations, have 12 months of revenue and save for retirement. This session will allow you to realize your earning potential and provide solutions for your concerns, all while doing what you love.
Make Music Come to Life
Elevate Your Recitals!
Provide unique, engaging performance opportunities for your students and hit it out of the park with a "Pop Showcase”! Learn how to simply and effectively elevate your recitals and get the secrets and how-to’s for putting on your own Pop Showcase or creative performance.
The Mindset of a $100,000 Piano Teacher
Plan, Implement and Reflect
Take in the big ideas and implement small, consistent steps to create a life you love. In this session you will receive real-life numbers that you need in place to maximize your earning potential. From budgets, to contracts and beyond, this session is imperative for all professional music teachers to attend!
Create Every Day!
Keys to a Flourishing (Musical) Mind
Be the best version of yourself! Unlock your creative process and refocus your growth-minded path of musician, busy professional, parent-extraordinaire and inspired community member. Learn how to balance your values and passions to find the inner strength and energy you forgot you had to nurture curiosity and growth.
Write Your Own Music
A Pop-Music Approach to Songwriting for Pianists
Learn how to express your own musical ideas using a pop-song roadmap for basic song-form. This lays the groundwork for amazing things to come! Receive practical and easy-to-apply ideas for harmony, form and rhythm. This session works best if piano students have had two years of study and some pop music experience using lead sheets or chord charts. All teachers welcome!
How I Made $100,000 My First Year as a Piano Teacher
Read the story of Yost's phenomenal first year as a piano teacher!
Create Your Own Music!
A pop-music approach to creating your own music at the piano. For all ages! Best if students have had 2 years or so of piano.
Most frequently asked teaching questions.
You're a musician. How did you learn so much about running a business?
I grew up on a farm in South Dakota to hardworking midwesterners. These are the most impactful life lessons instilled in me as it relates to business.
1. Invest in yourself. If you can't invest in yourself, who can you invest in?
2. You have to spend money to make money.
3. Do what you love and pursue your passion.
What materials do you use to teach adults?
For a vast majority of adults, this is something very personal and a hobby they are either pursuing for the first time or coming back to. Keep in mind, they are coming to you despite their fears of vulnerability. Think about your hobbies and if you approach them from a serious or recreational standpoint, and try to put yourself in their shoes. Here are the three classifications I see adults in and my recommendations:
1. Back to the Music. Adults who were successful in lessons as children. These adults primarily like to read music, (classical and maybe some jazz standards) since that was the emphasis when they were learning initially.
2. A Whole New World. 30-40 somethings that want to have a creative outlet and are feeling like they need a challenge. You need to find a balance of fun and rewarding music for them but make them feel slightly challenged where they reach their goals.
3. Serious Pursuit. These are the adults that are really gritty and want to acquire a new skillset that makes them feel pride, more than anything. These are typically your high achieving professionals. These are the trickiest! It's important they feel challenged and like they are "conquering" the instrument. I mostly do the same thing as I do above, with more emphasis on mechanics and give more music that may be outside the 'familiar music' realm.
Do you primarily teach pop music?
No. For the majority of my students, we learn 40% classical and romantic with 40% popular or at least familiar, and 20% of our time spent on sight reading, theory and/or technique patterns. I believe good music is good music, and it's our responsibility as teaching artists to bring out the best in our students. That means choosing the right music for the student, at the right time. When someone teaches popular music at the same level as classical, doesn't mean they ignore the classical traditions. This is one of those old ideas that we need to move past. Fun fact: each May I have approximately 25% of my students take the Royal Conservatory Exam!
What are your best practice suggestions?
Ah, the work! I didn't enjoy the process of practicing, but I did enjoy the process (and still do!) of improving. Here are my best tips for students and parents to keep the journey as enjoyable as we can:
Do you teach theory?
Yes, of course! Primarily, theory is best taught alongside the core work each student is working on. I love the Activity books that go along with The Music Tree, and since I teach popular music regularly, we use that as an opportunity with chords, inversions, 7th chords and how to leave out thirds. For our Pop Recital each spring, I also have my students write their own chord charts, which is a fantastic culmination of so many things that are useful to them. Then, in the summer all of my students write a song, which solidifies their understanding of keys, harmony, how to write notes, make their own music, and so much more. I also like Theory Fundamentals and Just the Facts.
Do you have some recommendations for apps?
I love using my iPad in lessons. Admittedly, I am not into the cutesy apps, but rather whatever is practical and gets my student to our goals in the most enjoyable way possible. The essential apps that I use weekly are: