The last couple months of the year are filled with holidays and school vacations, which often interfere with lesson schedules and student practice time. How do you, as a teacher, balance your students' progress with the reality that they'll be traveling or spending time with family and thus not as likely to spend time practicing during the holidays?
It's tempting, especially when working with older students who are prepping for big auditions, to tell them that their required time is what it is, and that's that. This only leads your students to lie to you about how much time they spent working on their music that week, and that doesn't do anyone any good.
Instead, recognize that in order to get progress out of your students during the patchy holiday lesson schedule, you'll need to plan things out ahead of time and make it easy for your students to continue to work during their vacations.
If I know a student won't see me for a few weeks, I make up a packet of etudes and pieces for them with an instruction sheet on the front indicating what activities I want them to do with those materials. Sometimes I send a weekly email with reminders, helpful articles, and tips about those activities to make sure my student is at least thinking about flute.
Showing your students how many ways they can practice without using the flute also helps keep them engaged in music during the holiday months. Some things they can do include:
So this holiday season, don't despair at the thought of your students backsliding. Instead, take the initiative and show them how to fit practicing into their schedules.