Evernote Basic or Premium?

This post is part of a series called “Your Questions Answered“.

Over the years I’ve gotten lots of emails with great questions from readers like yourself.

Recently, it dawned on me that instead of keeping that information between me and the person who asked, perhaps others could find it useful!

 


Hi, Amy,

I saw that there are three levels of Evernote to choose from.
Is the free version worth trying?

I definitely want to get more than my feet wet with Evernote (perhaps knees??? lol!), but I’m not sure which version to start with.

Do I need the Business level? Can you give me one or two differences between Basic and Premium please?

Organization is not my forte….

-AH

 

Hey, A,

I get it. Things like this can be confusing!

There are currently three plans for Evernote:

  1. Evernote Basic (FREE)
  2. Evernote Premium ($7.99/month)
  3. Evernote Business ($14.99/user/month)

As an independent music teacher, you definitely do not need Evernote Business unless you have a team of teachers you want to have access.

In comparing Basic and Premium, there are two big items independent teachers like yourself would benefit from considering:

 1. SPACE:  How much will you be using it?
(A question you can’t really answer until you use it.)

Basic = 60 MB of uploads per month
Premium = 10GB  of uploads per month

2.  DEVICE LIMIT: How many devices will need access?
(Desktop, tablet, phone, etc.)

Basic = 2 devices
Premium = Unlimited

The short answer to your first question is YES, it is worth trying Evernote Basic for free, of course! It won’t hurt to start there.

It’s no big deal to upgrade if you begin to find that you need more space, devices, or want more features.

A few features of the extra features I use and love that Premium offers but Basic doesn’t:

  • Annotating directly on PDFs.
  • Search the text of PDFs. (When you do a search, it will search the text – including handwriting – inside PDFs and Office Docs.)
  • Forwarding emails directly into Evernote.

Here is a great comparison chart on all these features and details from Evernote.

Good luck and I hope you find Evernote to be a useful tool in your professional and daily life as I do!

 

~Amy

P.S. Evernote is offering 40% off premium through 2/4/2021!

If you haven’t signed up yet, please consider using my link! 🙂

 


Affiliate Disclaimer: Please note that Piano Pantry is part of the Evernote Community affiliate program which simply means I get a very small percentage from Evernote sign-ups (or upgrades) that come via my website (at no extra cost to you). Since I provide free content, this small amount means a lot. Thank you for your support!

 

One Registration Question Not to be Missed!

A month or two leading up to the turn of a calendar year, school term, or school year is always the height of new student inquiries.

Before that time comes, we as teachers should always take a moment to make sure our registration process is updated, refreshed, and ready to go. I’m always making tiny tweaks and improvements!

Today I want to share one question you don’t want to miss asking on your registration form.

This question is my absolute FAVORITE to read and I know will become yours as well.

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The Perfect Teaching Table

Have you ever experienced a feeling of giddy elation over finding the “perfect” (insert: piano, piece of office furniture, studio equipment, or teaching chair)?

It’s amazing how the physical things around us affect how we move and interact in our spaces.

When I first opened my studio I remember being on the hunt for MONTHS for the perfect piece of furniture to place next to the piano to help store all the items I liked to have within arms reach such as pens, stickers, teaching tools, etc.

The one I found (and still love after 9 years) is the Graphix Open Rolling File Cabinet, Graphite

 

I purchased it initially from Walmart.com for $79, but it has also been available in the past on Amazon for $65.

Unfortunately in both places, at the time of this post, it’s unavailable. (Sorry, I didn’t share this sooner!)  I did some searching though, and currently, you can get it here:

USOfferStore.com ($65)
OfficeSite.com ($90)
HomeGoodsCenter.com ($126)
eBay ($142)

There are lots of options for this kind of thing out there, so here are a few things I love about mine you might consider as you search for YOUR perfect teaching table.

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How to Free-Up Storage Space in Gmail

This post is part of a series called “Your Questions Answered“.

Over the years I’ve gotten lots of emails with great questions from readers like yourself.

Recently, it dawned on me that instead of keeping that information between me and the person who asked, perhaps others could find it useful!

 


Hi, Amy! I keep getting emails from Google saying that I am close to being out of Gmail storage. Of course, they just want me to buy some. Is there a good way to free this up?

-MC

 

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A Simple Incentive Program

and Prize Box Items Students Love!

On March 12, 2020, I wrote a post called Implementing Incentives: The Struggle Is Was Real where I shared my struggle with implementing incentive programs in my studio.

I had intended to follow up that post immediately with a second one sharing what I had ultimately found as a super simple and successful solution to implementing an incentive, more specifics on the program, and a list of popular prize box items, and some free downloads from my own programs.


Then COVID-19 hit.


Suddenly, all we could think about was how to transform our studios overnight to online instruction.

The need for hearing about an in-person incentive program and physical prize boxes suddenly felt completely useless at the time, so I decided to put the post on hold in order to do my part to help which included these posts:

A Simple (and Free) Video Supplement to Support Your Online Teaching

Musings on Keeping a Positive Perspective During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Save Time and Money Taking Online Payments with Coinhop

10 Products to Make Your Online Teaching More Comfortable

Healthy Snacks for Long Teaching Days

I haven’t forgotten you though, and so here I am, back on the topic of incentives in the studio!

Each of our situations looks quite different at the moment in our studios with some remaining online, others going back to in-person or some version thereof, and some having to close down their businesses (our hearts go out to you!)

Before we dive in, if you didn’t catch the first post, be sure and read it first!


Implementing Incentives: The Struggle Is Was Real


 

My “Winning” Incentive Program

All in all, my struggles with implementing an incentive program helped me realize what I really needed out of a program. It had to be:

  1. Simple
  2. Flexible
  3. Consistent
  4. Easy to implement
  5. Work for all ages

Not only that, but the program I ultimately landed on also gives students a bonus life skill.

What is it?

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Student Birthday Cards with a Surprise Twist!

Ever since I opened my full-time studio, I’ve been sending a birthday postcard to students every year – you know, kind of like when you get birthday postcards from your dentist, eye doctor, or auto-dealership? Not all businesses do this of course, but it’s a nice gesture and a great way to keep in touch with customers.

Prior to doing postcards, I would give them their favorite candy bar but I got tired of having to go out and buy individual candy bars and remember to do so throughout the year.

My reason for sending postcards has actually been more intentional than just doing something nice for students (not that that isn’t a good reason in and of itself, of course! 🙂 )

To me, it’s a way of creating great rapport with your families and I wrote a little more details on this in this post: Marketing with Postcards, It’s Not What You Think!

Each year I find a new postcard with the goal of sending something unique, fun, and visually inspiring. (Get some ideas here: Fun Postcards for Marketing Your Studio and 2019-2020 Birthday Postcards.)


Today I want to share how my (almost) burnout on this annual studio project propelled me to take a fresh approach with a little twist this year.

This will also include details on how to organize this project so you don’t have to continually attend to it throughout the year.

Sneak-peak! If you happen to use My Music Staff to manage your studio, I’ll show you a tool they offer that will display your student’s birthdays on your Google, iCloud or similar digital calendar!

 

A Simple (but Real) Burnout

For years I’ve had the same routine.

  1. Purchase a set of postcards.
  2. Print out address labels, and pre-label and stamp all the cards.
  3. Every Monday morning, look at the calendar and see if anyone has a birthday the following week, then write a little note on the postcard and drop it in the mail.

After nine years of this routine, while it was still fairly streamlined, I’ve gotten burnt out on hand-writing notes – especially when Spring comes around and I have multiple students in a week with birthdays.

I really didn’t want to stop my birthday mailing though because I think it’s important (I mean, what kid doesn’t feel special getting something in the
US Mail these days?! LOL)

 

small Tweaks to Keep it Fresh

Amidst pondering my dilemma, I realized that many of the birthday cards that come from businesses are usually pre-printed. Aha! While not the most personal approach, it was the perfect answer to give me a little break and a change of pace.

Tweak #1: Pre-print the cards

I also wanted to change it up and do a little something more for students.
A gift card to DQ was an easy idea but $5 is usually the minimum amount most places will do on a gift card, making it a pricy option. Plus, the statistics show a lot of people never end up using them and I hated the thought of wasting that money!

Over the last two years, I’ve been implementing a big push for students to always be able to play Happy Birthday. So, I began wondering how could I tie this into the birthday gift?

Aha! 

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My Top 6 “Buy It Again” Office Products from Amazon

As the years go on, the number of items I purchase on Amazon has slowly increased. With the current times, for many, it has increased exponentially.

If you’ve never done so, it’s kind of fun to go back through your Amazon order history and see how it grows and evolves from year to year and even decade to decade!

My first Amazon purchase was one item in December 2003. After that, it’s quite fascinating to see how it would stay consistent for several years but increased quickly.

2005 – 2012:  8-10 orders per year
2013 – 2014:  20-25 orders per year
2015 – 2018:  30-40 orders per year
2019:  60 orders
2020: 41 orders (thus far = by August)

Amazon is really good about not only letting you know how often you’ve purchased a product…

…they also make it really easy to “Buy It Again” directly from your order history page.

Today I want to share with you six items I’ve found myself buying for my piano studio again and again on Amazon.

Perhaps not surprisingly, they are all consumable office supplies!

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Get Organized!

Bills, Expenses, and Receipts

Don’t get too excited, I’m not about to give you all kinds of financial advice on saving money or doing taxes as an independent music teacher. (I figure we have our dear Wendy Stevens at Compose Create who has shared a lot of great stuff like that over the years. 🙂 )

I’m going to stick with my strength and talk to you today about organizing and managing your incoming bills, expenses, and receipts. Yea!

Let me introduce you to the best thing that has happened to me in our daily financial management process and that’s my file folder system.

It’s not complicated and it makes ALL. THE. DIFFERENCE.

Isn’t she beautiful? 🙂

First, a little back history on the straw that broke the camel’s back and made me come up with this system.

 

Quicken

My husband and I have used Quicken for years and love it. If you’re not familiar with the program, it’s like a check register for all your finances in one place including loans, 401k’s, credit card bills, checking, and savings accounts. We manage both our personal and my business finances through this.

Budgeting has been important to us through our entire marriage and Quicken has a lot of tools to help you track expenses and manage a budget properly. If you keep up with it on a regular basis, keeping expenses categorized makes life a whole lot easier when it comes time to do taxes as well.

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Help Your Students “Enable Original Sound” on Zoom With This Email Template

You know how sometimes in life you’re told about something that you know you should do but at the moment, you just can’t bring yourself to mentally mess with it?

That’s how I was when we started using Zoom for our online lessons.

Teachers in Facebook groups were mentioning the importance of the “Enable Original Sound” setting to help with sound quality but I was just trying to wrap my head around getting myself set up online to pay it any mind.

Then two or three weeks of lessons went by and I was DONE with the garble. It was time to upgrade our sound.

Do I kick myself a little for not dealing with this sooner? Yep. But, oh, well, I’m over it now.

Through all of this, I have to say one thing all my studio families have been mentioning in our evaluation meetings this week, was the quality of my communication throughout this whole process. They felt the instructions were incredibly helpful and easy to follow.

That’s part of our job! Quality communication.

To spell things out as clear and easy as possible, I gave my step-by-step instructions using screenshots. It doesn’t get easier than that!

Teachers: You have my permission to copy and paste this entire email and use these images to send to your studio families (if you don’t mind having my mug shot! LOL).

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Book Review – Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World

Do you have a stack of books you purchased (like two years ago) that you’re excited to read but never seem to get the time?

Yeah, me too.

Today I’m soooo excited I can finally share thoughts from one of those books in my stack:

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant

I first heard about Originals when current MTNA President-Elect, Karen Thickstun, did a presentation inspired by it at MTNA Spokane 2019 (The Curious Careers of “Originals” and Independent Music Teachers).

Since I’ve always considered myself somewhat of an “original”, my curiosity was piqued and I immediately threw it into my Amazon cart.

In this post, I’ll share brief thoughts on why I love this book, why this non-piano-teaching book can still inspire us in our profession, and a few key-quotes.

 

Why I Enjoyed It and You May Too

The biggest reason why I love this book is that the author, Adam Grant, manages to take what could be boring case studies and research and presents it in an engaging story-driven manner. You’ll read about anyone from Michelangelo to George Washington, Martin Luther King Jr., and (of course), Steve Jobs.

He often debunks common misconceptions about what it means to be a purveyor of change. In eight chapters he covers:

  1. The risky business of going against the grain
  2. The art and science of recognizing original ideas
  3. Speaking truth to power
  4. Strategic procrastination, and the first-mover disadvantage
  5. Creating and maintaining coalitions
  6. How siblings, parents, and mentors nurture originality
  7. The myths of strong cultures, cults, and devil’s advocates
  8. Managing anxiety, apathy, ambivalence, and anger

Often times books give us all of this great information then you’re left trying to figure out for yourself what to do with that information or how to apply it to your situation.

Adam Grant has you covered. At the end of this book, he has an entire section titled “Actions for Impact.” He goes the extra mile and gives you practical applications. Broken into three areas they are:

  1. Actions for individuals to generate, recognize, voice, and champion new ideas
  2. Actions for leaders to stimulate novel ideas and build cultures that welcome dissent.
  3. Recommendations for parents and teachers to help children become comfortable taking a creative or moral stand against the status quo

If you consider yourself an original “thinker” and love growing, learning, and thinking outside the box or you’re looking to grow a music studio and need inspiration for what it means to be a non-conformist, then this book is for you.  

 

Taking Application as Studio Teachers

It really is true that no matter what our profession is, we can learn so much from other areas of life that apply to what we do on a daily basis. This is one of those books.

One of the biggest points I took away as a teacher came out of chapter six where he’s addressing how siblings, parents, and teachers can literally mentor originality – it doesn’t just have to be innate. 

By explaining moral principles, parents encourage their children to comply voluntarily with rules that align with important values and to question rules that don’t. Good explanations enable children to develop a code of ethics that often coincides with societal expectations; when they don’t square up, children rely on the internal compass of values rather than the external compass of rules. (Page 165)

He also discussed the importance of highlighting how what we do affects others. Here are a few examples (pages 170, 169, 166 respectively):

Not this: “Don’t drink and drive.”
But this: “Don’t be a drunk driver.”

Not this: “Please don’t cheat.”
But this: “Please don’t be a cheater.”

Not this: “Hand hygiene prevents you from catching diseases.”
But this: “Hand hygiene prevents patients from catching diseases.”

(The last one is, of course, an ironic example at this point in our history. LOL.)

Children were found to do better when having their character praised rather than simply having their behavior praised.

So, as a teacher perhaps one quick example we could reword would be something like this:

Not this: “That was very creative.”
But this: “You are very creative.”


P.S. I would love for us to all share some examples of how we can turn our praise from behavior to character in the comments!


 

9 Key Quote(s):

I’m sorry, I was really hoping to share just 2 or 3 but I just couldn’t cut them down!

“The hallmark of originality is rejecting the default and exploring whether a better option exists.” (Page 7)

“Advocating for a new system often requires demolishing the old way of doing things.” (Page 13)

“They [originals] feel the same fear, the same doubt, as the rest of us. What sets them apart is that they take action anyway. They know in their hearts that failing would yield less regret than failing to try.” (Page 28)

“When we bemoan the lack of originality in the world, we blame it on the absence of creativity. If only people could generate more novel ideas, we’d all be better off. But in reality, the biggest barrier to originality is not idea generation—it’s idea selection.” (Page 31)

“It’s widely assumed that there’s a trade-off between quantity and quality—if you want to do better work, you have to do less of it—but this turns out to be false. In fact, when it comes to idea generation, quantity is the most predictable path to quality.” (Page 37)

“Many people fail to achieve originality because they generate a few ideas and then obsess about refining them to perfection.” (Page 37)

“Exposure increases the ease of processing. An unfamiliar idea requires more effort to understand. The more we see, hear, and touch it, the more comfortable we become with it, and the less threatening it is.” (Page 78)

“Being original doesn’t require being first. It just means being different and better.” (Page 105)

“In the quest for happiness, many of us choose to enjoy the world as it is. Originals embrace the uphill battle, striving to make the world what it could be.” (Page 242)

 

I hope you will find this book an interesting and inspiring read as I did! You and find it on Amazon or any other place that sells books! 🙂

 


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