“Welcome to our studio, waiting room, living room, dining room, and kitchen!”
This sentence describes our first teaching location, our tiny apartment while Dan was in school.
The painted cinder block walls were adorned with cheap prints of famous paintings in our attempt to give a sense of style and class to our humble abode. We taught in the heart of international student housing, so the smell of ethnically diverse foods wafted through the metal screen door. The grand piano we had just purchased dwarfed the living space that most people would have used for relaxing and television-watching.
But while we had a modest beginning, our early students gave us enriching, joy-filled lives. Even when money was tight, our studio and students gave us the support and the means to carry our vision further.
And we have! Since that time, we moved out of state to open a new studio. Then a few years later we moved again, about an hour away, and opened a second location. Due to the convenient distance between the two studios, we were able to keep the first branch open while starting the second one in our new town.
So now we have two beautiful studios with twelve faculty members working for us. Our staff teaches piano, voice, composition, guitar, all orchestra & band instruments, early childhood classes, and even drum corps.
Despite all the hard lessons we’ve learned, our studios are thriving and consistently growing.
One surprising part of starting a studio has been how much we love the business side of our teaching. Yes, this is weird, we know.
Most teachers love teaching music and simply endure the behind-the-scenes business part. The business side, more often than not, seems like a chore and far from the passions of teaching.
What’s the reason for this? We have discovered the answer.
You see, in college we learn so much about two things: performing and pedagogy—how to hone our skills on the instrument we love and how to teach those skills to other people.
But most colleges teach very little about music as a profession—that we need certain business skills to make money, stay profitable, and enjoy an enriching life.
So, this is where we come in! Let us help you with the professional side of your studio—all the behind-the-scenes business plans and strategies that you need to thrive.
No one wants a job where the only goal is survival. Getting to teach music is a rewarding, fun, and enriching way to instill your love for your instrument in other people’s lives. But in order to get to do what we love, we have to stay in business and therefore have to make money.
Music teachers deserve to live a rich life—personally fulfilling, professionally rewarding, and financially profitable.
Most musicians lose thousands of dollars learning these lessons by trial and error through the early days of their careers. Don’t let that happen to you! Let us help. Get started here!
This blog is all about giving you a systematic checklist of all the tricks of the trade you need to succeed in the business part of your studio.
Personal Stories from Our Studio
“My background is in violin and piano. I had my first students while still in high school and got hooked on teaching at a young age. I paid for college with a job I loved—teaching violin at a wonderful Suzuki school in Chicago’s Chinatown.
“A repetitive stress injury in college caused me to rethink a performing career, and I decided to truly focus on teaching as my profession.
“Since building a full-time studio after graduate school, my job has transitioned to mostly administration. I welcomed the transition, and I’m continually challenged to help our business succeed in a competitive and technological culture.”
“I have an unusual and longstanding relationship with piano. I begged my parents to let me take lessons when I was very young. By the time I was seven years old, they finally acquiesced to let me begin lessons. With my early love for piano, it’s no wonder that I eventually felt the call to be a teacher.
“Piano was my first love, but a number of other musical activities have come up throughout my career. For example, I taught high school and middle school choir for a year, giving me a deep sense of respect for classroom teachers!
“I’ve also taught a variety of college classes as an adjunct professor. One of my most enjoyable seasons was when I served as a musical director for a professional theater company in Chicago. My experience with churches has also been very rewarding, and I’ve served at a few churches as the director of music as well.”
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