August Teacher Series – Episode 1 with Stephanie Chevalier.
The idea behind the teacher series is to showcase teachers who have already expanded online, what they’re doing, why they chose to make those decisions and all that fun stuff. This episode is with Stephanie Chevalier, who is doing some really cool things out of her home in Baltimore Maryland.
Stephanie is a piano teacher and voice teacher and a performer. She had her european opera debut in 1999 and sang for 10 years at the Kennedy Center with the Washington opera. She has taught at various music schools including Levine School of Music in DC and Charleston Academy of Music in Charleston, South Carolina. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland and teaches out of her home.
She has been on the online space for a while mainly because she had many students that were military and would go overseas or would leave and then come back and they wanted continuity.
Before Covid, she had students coming in and out of her home in groups and individually. Covid was the impetus to make the switch to fully online.
Stephanie’s Online Offers
She offers group classes as part of her private study program. The students come for one private lesson a week and then they come as a group. This is how it was structured in person before, but now it is all happening on zoom.
It’s a program, it’s not just one on one lessons, which is more than what students get in person. In most studios you just come for a lesson; especially with piano, you just come for a lesson, you leave and that’s it. Whereas with Stephanie, students meet once a week as a group.
These groups are where they do theory, training, singing and performance. Each week, she rotates what she does with them. There’s always something new and something fresh to do!
I love the fact that Stephanie understands the necessity and desire for one on one lessons and also appreciates and expresses how valuable the group programming is. I am all about the group programming! I think that that is such a huge, valuable component of what we can offer in the online space. That when you have the opportunity to provide your students instruction through multiple disciplines and in multiple environments, they’re going to be a more well rounded student and be able to take their learnings further into their future.
And Stephanie’s second offer lhas evolved since it started last summer. She felt very strongly that students needed to have music all summer. Which started as doing a sing a song a day, for free online on Youtube every day. Five days a week she taught a song in a music concept, every morning it went about 20 minutes.
Stephanie is motivated by what music does in and for the brain. She stacked this on top of equality and having resources. In the fall, she continued on one day a week on Saturdays.
And now, a year later it has evolved into a Patreon page! With Patreon she is able to augment the YouTube classes with weekly group lessons — in piano, ukulele, voice and jam sessions.
Let’s talk about being resourceful
Stephanie has already mentioned zoom, YouTube and Patreon.
Next: the Marco Polo app. It’s a place where Stephanie uses rooms to allow people to come in and talk about your YouTube video or other content and stuff. The advancements in the app are pretty awesome. And it’s on your phone, which is a benefit for sure. We discuss other ways Stephanie uses Marco Polo with her private students as well.
Hello Audio – which is the tool and platform I use to house this podcast. It allows for private podcast feeds as well as my public podcast. So what I can do is if I had a student that only wanted asynchronous lessons and they wanted to listen to them from their phone, from their podcast app, I could put all of my recordings for them right there. These audio recordings will be a podcast feed and it would drop into their podcast app every single week or whatever cadence made sense and they’re the only subscriber!
There is nothing that says that you have to use today, what you’ve always used, there is nothing to say that you can’t try using something new.
With online, occupancy isn’t an issue, students bringing attitude into class doesn’t need to derail everyone and you can reach more students than in person, not just with respect to space but also geography.
We discuss a lot of the ways Stephanie is taking advantage of online tools. But even though she is “fully online” she will be doing a little bit of hybrid with the young ones once they’re vaccinated.
Since the start of the pandemic, Stephanie’s student roster has increased by 50%. Which she attributes equally to word of mouth and doing something online on the regular. People got used to learning a song every Saturday morning! Even on the West Coast — super early for us out here.
It didn’t happen overnight. She went from a handful of people coming to the livestreams to a dozen to several dozen and more. And that doesn’t even factor in the people who watch the replay.
In her own words “But I have had to get really a lot better at telling people to sign up and this is where you find me because I just want to teach.”
If you are listening or reading right now, I want you to know that you’re not too late nor are you too early. You are right at the right time to make the investment in your future. Because just like Stephanie did, she started.
Stephanie has had great online success and over the past year and a half and I know that it’s going to continue because she’s got her heart in it, and she’s got her mind in it and she wakes up every day with the expectation of providing value to her audience as well as her students.
Stephanie’s parting words:
Well, the one thing that I will say is, well, two things don’t give up because, you know, I’m still plugging away at it. And the other thing is that you can do two things at once. You can continue to teach in person while you’re building your online presence, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. And then when you get a certain amount online, you start switching or do what you need to do. But you can do two things at once. You know, you don’t need to just quit your job and all of a sudden do everything online. I say, you know, switch a little bit gently. I love that. I think that is the best way to wrap up this episode.
Be sure to connect with Stephanie:
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/charmcitymezzo/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Patterson-Park-Piano-Voice-Studio-175140449173381
- Website: https://chevaliermusique.musicteachershelper.com/
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCT2CX0_eXydxHRZxUQHrm-w
- Patreon https://www.patreon.com/stephaniechevalier