Hi! I'm Sarah Lyngra and creator of Teach Piano Online, Yellow Cat Publishing, and Couch to Concert Hall and many other music education products over the years.
I have been teaching online lessons for almost 10 years, but have been teaching piano lessons for almost 30 (YIKES!!) 20 of the overseas.
I have been taking lessons myself for almost 7 years- vocal, jazz, and classical.
I have an engineering degree- that makes me not as relatable as a piano teacher but gives me an outside edge when it comes to playing with new technologies, and making decisions about what works and what doesn't.
How this helps you- This means I can figure out systems to keep you from being overwhelmed by choices. It saves you time, and shortens your learning curve.
I am a huge reader- easily over 300 books a year. (Plus the NY Times Sunday, the Economist, The Atlantic, The Whidbey News Times, Real Simple, Sunset Magazine...) Lots of the books I read, in addition to historical romance, pulp fiction, and westerns, are about marketing, how we learn, culture, organizations, behavioral economics, science, research, talent, the brain, and a ton of other stuff.
How it helps you- I have turned my piano studio into a learning lab where my students and I are continuously testing new ideas on how students learn. I take what others are doing well in different disciplines and test how it can work when learning to play the piano. My students are open to giving me feedback, then I send these ideas out to others in the teaching community and get feedback from them as well. I share these ideas on my blog.
I coach middle school volleyball. When I was in high school, I was a 3 sport athlete (in the Paleozoic era, to be sure) and in college I played until I got injured and was out. Teaching and coaching are tied at the hip. Creating a psychologically safe environment is important for any learning environment.
How it helps you- Piano students and student athletes are driven and motivated by similar factors, so additional training in one area bolsters the others. The other coaches I work with are amazing and I am always getting ideas on how to work with my students by watching them in action, which I share.
My husband is a Norwegian national and lives overseas (for the time being). I am on Zoom daily. We lived together overseas for 20 years. Many of my friends are in the expat communities, and I have taught hundreds of students from every continent except Antartica, a few of my students have visited there. When I was first overseas, I tried to fit everything into the American mold (I was pretty young when we moved).I didn't understand the importance of culture, and always was shocked and surprised that people could do those silly things foreigners do. Now I am shocked and surprised that they don't happen more often. Culture is full of unwritten rules that people in the culture get, but outsiders don't. That's why I honor requests of students not to play certain pieces, like Christmas music, if they aren't Christian. And, I will go out of my way to learn the cultural traditions of a student's family.
How this helps you- if you are teaching students in the overseas expat market, there are many parts of their culture you may not be aware of. Being sensitive to this, asking questions, and finding ways to teach the music that they are connected to gives you loyal students who will follow you to the ends of the earth. I can help you figure out the right questions to ask.
It also means, I am comfortable online and can connect from pretty much everywhere, so can you.
I'm a daughter of aging parents, and acting as a single mom for a teen who is about to leave the nest. I understand how life gets in the way of our best intentions.
How it helps you- In creating a step by step system to get online students, I am saving you tons of time in the "have to figure it out myself" category. I keep it organized so you don't have to. Sometimes it is nice to be told what to do to get the results.
I have had breast cancer, arthritis, back problems, sports injuries, immune system issues (all good now, by the way). These have put me in the hospital for prolonged periods of time, and years spent with physical therapists and trainers.
How this helps you- I understand intimately many of the reasons that people take and teach online piano lessons. I also understand the limitations students may have when going through treatments, or when dealing with longer term consequences of illnesses.
This also helps you because in the physical therapy and training area, I work with a Master Trainer who is putting a strength training program specifically designed for piano teachers who teach online. These exercises are short, can be done in a teaching space, won't break a sweat, and will give you core strength to help with the long term postural effects of having a sedentary job in front of a computer.
It feels as if all the things I have been exposed to or worked on in the past have put me in a great position to help you navigate the emerging world of online teaching and learning. I am excited to share what I have learned with you and have you join in this global online teaching revolution!