How to use LessonMate for more than just make-ups

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Leah and a few of her students

by Leah Rockweit

Like many music teachers, I’ve spent the last two years experimenting with ways to connect virtually with students and families: emails, Google Drive folders, a variety of apps. I’ve found that LessonMate stands out as an amazing tool for enriching my teaching and my relationships with students.

Though LessonMate is primarily meant to replace canceled lessons, I’ve found some unconventional uses for the program that you may find useful, too!

Note-taking during remote lessons

It’s so easy to take notes in LessonMate during a remote lesson, and it doesn’t add any time to my day. I simply keep a LessonMate open during the lesson and write notes like I would in a notebook. The lesson ends and boom, notes are sent!

Parents also appreciate seeing a record of what we’re working on remotely, and it’s a reminder for the students: “Johnny said he doesn’t have anything to practice? Check out the LessonMate!”

Sharing music between lessons

When my students and I choose songs together during our lessons, it’s super easy to upload audio or video files to LessonMate. This way they can start listening and watching digitally instead of waiting a week until I return with the sheet music. Nothing makes me happier than walking into a lesson to find my student’s ahead of the game!

Staying connected between lessons that I need to cancel

As active working musicians, sometimes we just can’t work around canceling a lesson. Even though it’s not required, I’ve used LessonMate to send a few “sorry I needed to cancel this week, keep up the hard work, see you next week” videos to families who weren’t interested in remote lessons. Recording these takes a little time (around two minutes per student), but it’s worth it to maintain a regular presence in my students’ lives.

Using LessonMate to create incentives

I am all about incentive programs! I call one of my newest the “Rockweit Raffle” (based on my last name), created from my need for a program for teens and adults. (Because let’s be real– even older students love incentives!)

Basically, great work equals a ticket to the raffle, where students can earn prizes like books, sheet music, etc. I do a raffle roughly every four months. When it comes time to announce winners, I record a video and send it via LessonMate for students to watch and see who won.

Using LessonMate in out-of-the-box ways might be a little confusing for families initially. I’ve gotten a few texts or emails saying, “Wait, we didn’t miss a lesson, was this sent by mistake?” But now that they’ve grown to occasionally expect it, I see more people viewing their LessonMates. And I truly find that the more I use it, the more frequently I see the videos not only viewed, but valued.