September/October 2018: First Looks, New Music Reviews

jingle-bells (S1-2) Jingle Bells, arranged by Wendy Stevens.

New Music Reviews Editor's note Ho, ho, ho! The holidays are on the horizon. We know how it is for piano teachers (we're teachers ourselves). We frantically run to the music store, hoping to snag our favorites before the teacher with 120 students cleans out the inventory. Clavier Companion is here to help. This issue's holiday reviews will help you...

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How to become an indispensable piano teacher


In a world where parents are constantly reevaluatiing the cost of a recurring service, job security may depend in part upon how indispensable we are to our piano students. How do we become indispensable? How do we keep parents from jumping from teacher to teacher or experience to experience? How do we cut past the busyness of parents, who migh...

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What are the foundational reasons for having a policy?


Sometimes it is easy to get into a tizzy about making policy changes when something pushes us to our limits. Conversely, some teachers "set it and forget it," to the detriment of not making policy changes when needed, or not revising policies to keep up with the times. But even teachers who are somewhere in the middle of these extremes can lose sig...

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Making Money Making Space: Creating space to move from good to great


One of the wonderful realities and paradoxes about being a piano teacher in 2017 is that a good idea is only one click away. The proliferation of good piano teaching ideas and the increased connectivity that we have through email, social media groups, and websites means that there is never a lack of creative ideas, games, and teaching techniques. A...

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New music reviews: September/October 2017

Happy Holidays! (S1-4) We Three Kings, We Wish You a Merry Christmas, and Deck the Hall Hoedown, arranged by Wendy Stevens. For teachers wanting some fun and creative options to spice up their holiday recitals, three new arrangements by Wendy Stevens are fantastic choices. "We Three Kings" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" even invite the audienc...

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How to get paid on time

If you have successfully moved from a per-lesson payment system to a tuition-based structure,1 you may still be left with the challenge of parents paying on time. There are many ways to tackle this issue, so choose what works best for your business.   Prepay in full The most effective means of ensuring that payments come to you on time is prep...

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How to dismiss a student with kindness

A studio full of hard-working and well-mannered students is every piano teacher's dream. But few teachers actually have the opportunity to live this dream for their entire careers. The truth is that most teachers have at least one student that they do not enjoy teaching. It might be due to a communication problem, a mismatched energy issue, a behav...

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New music reviews: March/April 2017

(S1-4) Signature Solos, Books 1-5, selected and edited by Gayle Kowalchyk. Students and teachers are in for a lively musical journey, with brand-new compositions by favorite Alfred composers, all in one collection! Students will learn pieces by beloved composers including Dennis Alexander, Melody Bober, Martha Mier, Wynn-Anne Rossi, Robert D. Vanda...

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Are your marketing strategies deep enough? Part II

In Part 1 of "Are your marketing strategies deep enough?" (Jan/Feb 2017), we talked about the first four frequently overlooked principles of marketing: 1. We must know what our clients really want. 2. We must make sure we have a product or service that they want. 3. Regardless of how they hear about you, we must remember that parents of school-age ...

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Making money, making space: Are your marketing strategies deep enough?


While we frequently discuss the advantages and disadvantages of certain types of piano lesson marketing, we often stop short of asking deeper questions that can make our marketing more effective. Understanding how people in the twenty-first century respond to the constant barrage of marketing, and then tailoring our approach respectively, can actua...

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Are you a workaholic? Seven ways piano teachers can fight this damaging behavior


Authors note: They say it "takes one to know one," and I humbly submit this as someone who struggles with working too much, simply because I love what I do! I hope these thoughts and tips help you as much as they have helped me. Workaholism is rampant in western culture, and, unfortunately, piano teachers are not immune. A significant study involvi...

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If my studio is full, why should I keep marketing?

Marketing piano lessons is most often used to refer to the process of obtaining new piano students. ​Consequently, when our studio is full or has a waiting list, it is easy to think that we no longer need to market. But marketing is also about retaining current students, especially since we want the diligent ones to continue in our studio. In ...

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Five income-affecting policy tweaks

As you review and send out your new studio policy for the coming year, it might be wise to re-examine a few important aspects of that policy. These five income-affecting policy tweaks have the potential to generate more income or more cash in hand, thus enabling you to concentrate on the most important part of your business: creative and effective ...

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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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How to determine your rates and profitability


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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Problem solved! Seeking solutions online. Part 1: Blogs

woodtype blog

As a pedagogy professor, I try to keep my students abreast of the latest publications and teaching approaches, maintain an up-to-date pedagogy library, and offer flexible office hours. So it was a humbling and eye-opening experience recently when a graduate student stopped by my open door and said "I was stuck on what to do with Billy, so I went on...

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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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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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