• A Must for Piano Teachers!

    Kristin Yost brings her experience and expertise to piano teachers around the world! Here is the story about her first year as a piano teacher.

  • About Kristin

    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 live 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 being a collection of strengths.

    • Certified Teacher with The Royal Conservatory, 2016
    • Nationally Certified Teacher of Music, 2006
    • M.M. Piano Performance and Pedagogy Southern Methodist University, 2006
    • B.A. University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire, 2004

    Learn more about Kristin's music school here!

    Website

    Video

  • Materials

    Books, Handouts and Resources

    How I Made 100k My First Year as a Piano Teacher

    How to Thrive as a Teaching Artist (Coming November 2017!)

    Understand your "why" and create a path to thrive while doing what you love

  • Consulting

    Want to take your studio or teaching to the next level? Check out my packages! I work with one client per month, so you have my full attention.

  • Workshops

    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!

    After 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.

    Pop Recital Checklist

    Piano Teacher's Paradise: Financial Freedom for the Independent Music Teacher

    Gain sound business practices to set yourself up for financial 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.

    Paradise

    Keeping Student Numbers Up and Everyone Thriving!

    Find your value proposition and develop a straight-forward process for all students to thrive and interested in music lessons.

    The recipe for success in keeping students happy and thriving in music lessons boils down to 3 basic principles; repertoire selection, leveling and communication. Learn the secrets for success in this workshop!

    Business Essentials

    Value Proposition, Budget, Website; Oh My!

    The financial house you build will set you up for success and peace of mind. Join Kristin in this essential workshop that covers what makes you unique, why people should enroll with you, and how to manage your cashflow.

  • Q&A

    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.

    • Some familiar classical pieces they learned previously
    • New classical music that is in similar style to some of their favorites from when they were kids
    • Lush and patterned arrangements of jazz standards (must be written out at least to begin with)
    • Work on 2-3 pieces at a time
    • Some familiar technique if they'd like. It's a hobby, so I tend to not do anything too crazy

    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.

    • I never emphasize too much technique here but make sure pinkies are up, thumbs are on the side and wrists are above the keys. 
    • Hal Leonard Adult Method 
    • Popular music!  MusicNotes.com is my friend 
    • Supplemental books geared toward familiar classical or romantic may work
    • After they go through the HL Adult books, we simply focus on songs that are popular and of their choosing as well as familiar classical music.
    • Work on 2-3 pieces at a time

    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:

    1. Aim for 5-6 days of practice and outline the minutes (or repetitions) you expect during each session. (We have a spring challenge that is 75 minutes a week for beginners, 120 for intermediate and 150 for advanced.)
    2. No matter what, make sure you practice the SAME day (after) the lesson, and before you go to sleep. Retention is somewhere around 90% if you practice on the same day versus 60% if you wait until the next day. 
    3. Section work; this is when you have the student play a short passage 3 times in a row correctly, before moving on. 
    4. Have fun with it! Parents, a great idea is to have your child show you what they learned in their lesson that day. 
    5. Make it part of the routine. When something is just part of the day, there is less resistance. And continuous improvement makes the activity far more enjoyable!
     

    Do you teach theory?

    Yes, though not in a traditional method book type of way. 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.

    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. My "go to" essentials that I use weekly are:

    • ForScore, for music reading
    • Flash Note Derby, for note-naming drills
    • GoodEar for ear training (intervals, chords, etc...)
    • Super Metronome Groovebox for rhythm
    • DocScan if I need to make a copy of something 
    • CamScan for receipt collection and record keeping
  • Email Kristin