Conferences, Studio Business

MTNA 2012 Conference | Prof. Studio Institute: Studio Documents

Here begins my notes from the 2012 MTNA Conference in NYC!  I had such a wonderful time, and I learned so much.

Saturday is always an optional day at the MTNA Conference.  For an extra $75, you can attend Pedagogy Saturday or choose the Professional Studio Institute track.  I chose the latter, which was led by Lee Galloway, Beth Gigante Klingenstein (author of The Independent Piano Teacher’s Studio Handbook), and Scott McBride Smith.

9:00am – Studio Documents That Work!

Having studio documents is important for professionalism, to protect yourself, to save time, for marketing, and for organization.  Some documents you should consider having for your studio:

  1. Mission Statement – a statement of the purpose for your life or career.  It establishes goals and can help you stay focused.  It has four parts: (1) What you do; (2) Who your target market is; (3) What benefits there are for them; and (4) What benefits there are for you.  Example: I bring joy to others, enriching lives through the gift of music in a fun, energetic, and inspired environment.
  2. Teaching Philosophy – a longer, more narrative statement describing: (1) What you teach (including theory, history, improvisation, etc. – not just “piano”); (2) Who you teach; (3) How you teach; and (4) Why you teach.  (See my post on the teaching philosophy here.)
  3. Policy Statement – outlines the policies of the studio, big and small – for parents to sign.  Some ideas for what to include: tuition, method of payment, book fee/deposit, makeup policy, swap list info, performance opportunities, practice expectations, group lesson info, calendar, computer lab info, parental involvement, parking, instrument requirements, etc..
  4. Registration Form – name, birthday, grade, number of years of study, personal needs/circumstances, choose payment plan, signature for photo use, signature for swap list.
  5. Studio Brochure – unlike the previous documents, this is a selling piece where you highlight student achievements, your qualifications, your studio’s unique features and offerings, contact info, and photos.
  6. Business Card – keep them with you always!  Keep it simple, but include: business name, logo, contact info, website, logo.
  7. Studio Assignment Book – Beth Klingenstein suggested creating your own assignment book and getting it spiral bound.  You can design your own cover page and include studio documents (policy statement, calendar, etc.).  You can design the assignment pages to suit your needs, and even include pages in the back for musical terms, manuscript paper, repertoire lists, practice logs, composer-of-the-month pages, etc.
  8. Studio Newsletter – to inform parents/students of upcoming dates, recent student or teacher achievements, and other news.  Can be sent out monthly, quarterly, or whatever, by email or paper.
  9. Studio Assessment/Progress Report – Beth and Lee suggested that doing some kind of yearly or semesterly assessment is not only valuable to the parents and students, but to you.  Although it can take a lot of time, it is worth it.  The paper assessment can be given to the parent and student during a set-up conference session if desired.
  10. Swap List – Create a swap list each year for students to opt into.  This can help prevent absences and requests for makeups.  (Be sure not to publish your student’s contact information without signed permission.)
  11. Resume – Update your resume frequently, so it’s not a huge task to get it updated when you need it!  List all your education, achievements, offices, duties, etc.
  12. Interview Form – used to record observations made during the initial interview with a student.

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