A post I wrote recently got me thinking about how to make your studio a comfortable space for your students. Here's what I've learned since I started teaching:
Playing the flute when your hands are freezing cold or slick with sweat is a tough thing to do. Lessons are a vulnerable time for students; they bring in music they're working on that isn't polished yet and they're asked to try new techniques that might not work perfectly right away. Your students don't need the added challenge of being overheated or chilly. If you have your own teaching space, make sure you set the thermostat appropriately. If you share or rent a space, talk to the owner about making sure the temperature is comfortable.
Your students will come in with varying qualities of sheet music. Some might spring for the lifetime-edition Urtexts that read as clear as day, while others might have a grainy printout from IMSLP. In the case of the latter, your students will need more light to read their music. If possible, invest in a floor lamp that you can move around the studio and invite your students to place it where it's most helpful for reading their music.
This is the element of studio ambiance that teachers tend to have the least control over. You might be lucky enough to have an entire classroom to use, or you might be stuck in a tiny practice room. You might be extra lucky and have a dedicated studio space of your own that no one else uses!
Regardless of room size, the first priority is to create a setup that allows your student to play their instrument without feeling cramped. If you use a shared space, this might mean that you need to arrive early and reorganize the room a little. Don't be afraid to move desks out of the way, push that grand piano into the corner of the room, or exile all those chairs to the edges of your teaching space. It's worth it to avoid turning out students with cramped, furtive playing posture.
Studios need stuff! A basic studio starter kit should include:
Beyond the basics, I like to have:
If you're just starting out, you probably won't be able to make your studio space exactly like you want it. That's just part of the process. Start with one thing on this list, and once that's squared away, move on to the next. Teaching is a living thing, and it evolves. So will your studio.