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Six keys to enforcing an effective studio policy

music business
A good studio policy is only effective if it is enforced. And while it is relatively easy to write a policy, it is certainly much harder to enforce it in a kind but firm manner. Yet enforcement of an effective policy is the key to a running a smooth, profitable studio that benefits everyone. Here are six important tips to help you enforce your poli...
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Should we fear the future?

Should we fear the future?
"What is the future of piano teaching?" is an important question, but it may tend to strike a bit of fear into each of us. Almost implicit in the question is another, more ominous question: "Will there be a future for piano teaching?" With the prevalence of online courses, YouTube videos, and iPad apps, all geared toward learning to play the piano,...
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Does word-of-mouth advertising fall on deaf ears? Seven web essentials for marketing

Word-of-mouth is often accurately touted as the best way to market piano lessons. But the concept of word-of-mouth has changed tremendously in the last ten years, both in how it works and what it really is.1 Consequently, word-of-mouth is starting to fall short in effectiveness and conversion for those who do not have some essential compo...
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Promoting interest in your class or studio

​We all have heard a teacher exclaim, "I can't make my students do anything. They have to want to do it on their own." The teacher's belief presumes music students are a set of individuals innately eager and curious to study music. I believe some students love music and naturally want to study it. Others, however, grow into music, and its offe...
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How often should I raise tuition?

​In the last article, we discussed how to determine a reasonable tuition and make sure that your studio is profitable. Once you've determined this and set your plan in motion, however, you can unknowingly sabotage your plan if you do not also plan to raise your tuition regularly. In any business relationship, knowing what to expect and when to...
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How to determine your rates and profitability

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Implementing a tuition structure that yields a consistent monthly income will ensure a comfortable income only if the chosen tuition rate is reasonable.1 Whether you are just beginning to teach or have been teaching for decades, it is important to go through two evaluative processes regularly to ensure that your tuition rate is reasonable to you an...
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Three keys to making a consistent income

One of the unhealthy mindsets in our profession is the notion that piano teachers cannot make a reasonable or a consistent income. This is tragic because it is simply not true! Adjusting your business policy to ensure a consistent and reasonable income can be accomplished in three steps. Reframe how you think and talk about payments When we charge ...
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Studio policies for your sporadic adult students

I am a very happy and fairly healthy "Baby Boomer"—my father was a World War II veteran, and I was born in the fifties. We "Boomers" are your current and upcoming adult piano students. Why? Because we realize we have more to learn—we are excited learners. We are not isolated but are well read and intelligent—we are logical learners. We are wonderfu...
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Effective,enforceable studio policies

Why do I need policies? Constructing effective and enforceable policies is ultimately about preserving relationships with our piano families. By communicating our expectations formally, we are making space to concentrate on what is most important—teaching. It may feel a bit stiff to require that parents read and sign a contract, but clarifying expe...
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Questions and Answers

Q: How can I learn to use social media to improve and expand my studio business? A: In the last column, I mentioned that if you're not contemplating retirement in the near future, you need an online presence that includes a website, a professional Facebook page, a LinkedIn account, and a Twitter account (at least).  At the Frances Clark Center...
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Still on fire or burning out?

W​hat type of music teacher burns out? Often she is an idealistic, "on fire" individual who does not have a firm pedagogic sense of what is real and what is fantasy. Someone who believes that all children can achieve a high level of mastery at the instrument, regardless of their level of intelligence, talent, discipline, and parental support. He ma...
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Music teacher as CEO: Marketing your strengths as a teaching artist

Music teacher as CEO: Marketing your strengths as a teaching artist
During this political season, you will hear a lot about small businesses and their role as the engine that drives our economy. Did you ever stop to think that the politicians are talking about piano teachers? As an independent teacher, YOU are a small business. You are the owner and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of your business—a business dedicate...
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Feeling singing? Coping with burnout

As you returned from the holiday break (or madness!), did you look forward to your regular teaching schedule, or did you feel less than enthusiastic at the idea of seeing your students again? Most of us have times in our lives when we feel tired and withdrawn, not ready to face another long day of teaching.  In this issue and the upcoming May/...
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Social media, teacher directories, and websites: online marketing strategies for your piano studio

In the Spring of 2011, Clavier Companion sponsored its fourth annual Collegiate Writing Contest. College students at any level from any country in the world were invited to submit 1,500 word essays on a pedagogical topic of their choice. The grand prize was publication of the winning essay in Clavier Companion. The esteemed panel of judges was comp...
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The recession-resistant studio, Part II

According to follow-up reports from Music Teachers National Association members, the impact of the economic crisis on piano studios continues to be related to similar criteria reported in January 2009. A survey was prepared and conducted by graduate students Gulimina Mahamuti and Erika Kinser under the guidance of Dr. Robert Weirich and Dr. Di...
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Starting a studio: What, where, and how?

Teachers sometimes find themselves in the position of establishing or re- establishing a studio. Perhaps they have just graduated from a college or uni- versity with a degree in music; perhaps they have recently moved to a new location; or perhaps they don't feel that their studio is as successful as they wish it to be and would like to rethink the...
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How do you build, organize, and manage your website?

from the series: Tomorrow Today: Technology George Litterst, Editor A professional website is the essential doormat for the 21st-century piano studio. It is a location where prospective students can learn about you and what you offer, a tool for communicating with your students, and a venue for sharing your students' performances with the...
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How do you recover the costs of your technology-related equipment?

from the series: Tomorrow Today: Technology George Litterst, Editor Equipping a traditional piano teaching studio is not an inexpensive proposition for at least one big reason: the cost of the piano. A good quality new upright can cost several thousand dollars. Large new grands can cost tens of thousands of dollars. These costs can double or tripIe...
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Views: What Factors Do You Consider When Setting Tuition Rates?

The World Around Us: News and Views Helen Smith Tarchalski, Editor Charging appropriate tuition rates benefits all involved. I told Lionel that this is going to be very expensive, so he must follow directions and practice a lot. Piano lessons are very important to us, but we're not going to fool around when this kind of money is being invested...
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The Magic Triangle: Teacher/Student/Parent

Elizabeth Van Ness teaches music appreciation and enrichment in Los Angeles area public schools. A mother of two daughters, she believes that students benefit when parents work in cooperation with teachers. In addition to teaching, Elizabeth is a writer for computer programs, television, and magazines, including Keyboard Companion's A Parent's Poin...
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About Piano Magazine

Piano Magazine is the leading resource for pianists, piano teachers, and piano enthusiasts. We bring you informative, interesting, and inspiring ideas on all aspects of piano teaching, learning, and performing. The official name of Clavier Companion magazine was changed to Piano Magazine in 2019.

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