How I Created a New Ebook for my Studio in 30 Days / by Chris Foley


After getting back from my January examining trip to Alberta (Red Deer, Calgary, and Lethbridge), one of the first things I did was sit down to practice after a two-week practice hiatus. After a few minutes I came to the realization that I need to create something to help my students practice better. Many of them aren’t listening to my ideas the way they could.

Then an idea came to me:

Why not have the students write the practice tips themselves?

Later that day I got to work. I asked each of my students to compile a list of three practice strategies that they found successful and three strategies that they found not-so-successful. Some of my students responded immediately, and some of them needed a week to think about it.

I created a markdown document to collect everyone’s thoughts and the list quickly grew, with plenty of insights notable for not just my students’ ideas, but for the unique way in which they phrased them. Paring down the list and arranging the strategies in a cohesive order was a challenge, especially with the comedic nature of many of the unsuccessful practice strategies (“Get my brother to help me”).

It was a fairly intense month of selling the idea to my students, collecting information, putting it in coherent form, revising, and creating a finished document. However, the intensity of the last month revitalized my creative process, and I learned that working through a meaningful project in a measured sprint genuinely helped me to move down the creative path.

A huge word of thanks goes out to all my students for their ideas on practicing! Since sending out the finished document to my studio a few days ago, several parents and students have emailed me mentioning that yes, they do use this document regularly and yes, they have highlighted certain strategies to utilize while highlighting others to avoid.

Below is a link to finished product, and I hope that you find it useful.

Five Deep Breaths and a Pencil Behind the Ear (pdf link)