It’s a sunny Saturday morning here in Cleveland Ohio USA and I’m sitting here at the Academy of Irish Dance. It’s not a fancy place. Just a small waiting room, and a dance floor.


But that doesn’t matter because I’m listening to the joyful sound of the accordion playing the St. Patrick’s Day Reel as my lovely eleven-year-old granddaughter Kaylie practices for her upcoming Feis.


Pronounced ‘fesh’ the Feis is where Irish dancers go to show their skill, compete, and advance in the world of Irish dancing.


There is absolutely no place I would rather be. Nothing matters to me more than to see my granddaughter shine. She is the absolute apple of my eye.


Watching her work hard, sweat, and try makes me proud. She loves the dance and I love her.


I know exactly what this is doing for her. She is learning patience, persistence, and tenacity. She is learning to face her fear and dance anyway. She is learning how to win humbly and lose gracefully because you don’t always come home with a medal.


When I see her get up and dance it literally thrills my soul. Whether she wins or loses at a Feis or has a perfect performance doesn’t matter. She is having fun and this experience is shaping her life in countless positive ways.


Why am I telling you this? Because you are doing the same thing for your students…or you should be.

So many of us worry about raising rates, retaining students, or having the perfect studio space. There is so much anxiety over studio policies, drop-off, and pick-up routines, and whether to allow parents into the studio.


Are you trying to walk that line?


Keep everyone happy so they won’t quit?


So you can make enough money to pay your bills and keep your studio open?


You don’t have to. There is another way.


Dr. Suzuki nailed it when he said, “Where love is deep much can be accomplished.”


For me, there is no line to walk.


I am all in.


I will do everything I can to help every one of my students achieve success.


It all starts with me.


ME helping MY students sparkle and shine.


When parents see their children loving music, practicing, and looking forward to their lessons, their souls are thrilled.


Parents know that their child is learning patience, persistence, and tenacity. They understand she is learning to face her fear and play anyway. She is learning how to accept applause humbly and bounce back when things don’t go so well because you can’t always be perfect.


When parents come to recitals and performances and see the progress of their child, and all the other children they are not going anywhere.


When families know that you really care about them and their children, they will stick with you.


Just like I will do anything and everything to keep Kaylie dancing for as long as she wants to. And when she doesn’t (which will inevitably happen because nothing is ever a straight shot.) I will encourage her to keep going.


The way I see it there are three key people that make this a success. Kaylie’s family (especially her mother Danielle who takes her to most of her lessons.) Kaylie herself (because she has to do the work) and her teacher Catherine is the only one in the group who actually knows how to teach Irish dance. Without her, there would be nothing to talk about.


We are the ones who know how to teach people how to play the piano. Without us, there would be no more piano players.


And playing the piano is awesome!


So for myself, I have found that keeping positive and being all in with my students and their families has really paid off. I believe it will for all of us.

In my next post, I will share exactly how I handle going ‘all in’.

I would love to hear all of your ideas in the comments.

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