Forum Q&A's, Studio Business

Forum Q&A | Studio Business Structure: Sole Proprietorship, LLC, Corporation…?

It’s time to get another Forum Q&A going!!  Let’s talk about business structure options for teaching studios.  Despite having a music degree, I still know very, very little about setting up a business.  I doesn’t seem right…I wish one of my college courses had covered this topic at some point.  :/

Do you have a solo proprietorship, partnership, an LLC, or a corporation?  What are the benefits of each option?  Do you have a separate bank account set up to manage studio income and expenses?  Do you hire an accountant or bookkeeping services to help with the accounts and taxes?  What other business advice can you offer?

I hope you can help me out — and hopefully other readers will benefit too!  Update: Here is my follow-up post. 

Photo Credit: o5com | CC 2.0

Uncategorized

Advice for Teachers Seeking to Professionalize their Studios

This week, I received an friendly email from a piano teacher in Texas who is looking for ways to professionalize her studio.  I already sent her a reply via email but I was thinking that you readers may have some suggestions and advice for her too — so here are some of her questions!

  • Do I need a business license?
  • Should I maintain a webpage and how do I do that?
  • Is what I have (20 students) enough to call it a studio?
  • How do I know if I am charging enough?
  • How do I find a place for a recital that doesn’t cost much?

So please – share!  What advice do you have for this teacher?

Photo credit: th0mi | CC 2.0

improving as a teacher, Motivation, Practice, Teaching Piano

My Thoughts on Practice Requirements

Many of you may remember being required by your piano teachers growing up to practice a certain amount of minutes each day/week.  Perhaps your requirement looked something like this:

  • 15 minutes a day,
  • 140 minutes each week, or
  • 45 minutes, 5 days a week.

One of my previous teachers built her incentive program around how much practice time each student completed each week.  She would set an amount for each student (15 minutes/day for the young ones, and then gradually increasing up to 60 minutes/day for the advanced ones).  If you completed all your practice time each week, you’d receive a sticker on your chart for that week.  When you received 7 consecutive weeks of completed practice, you were allowed to chose a prize from the prize box.  She used a system similar to the following:

  • Beginners: 10-20 minutes, 5 days a week (depending on their age).
  • Intermediate students: 20-45 minutes, 5 days a week.
  • Advanced students: 60 minutes or more a day, 5 days a week.

Personally, I use a simpler, more flexible practice requirement for my students.  I simply tell my students and parents that they are expected to practice daily.  And that’s it.  Here are my reasons why I like to leave it at that: Continue reading “My Thoughts on Practice Requirements”

Resources, Studio Business, Technology

Free Studio Website Builder: Weebly.com

Have you thought about starting a website for your studio, but felt that you didn’t have the resources or expertise to build one?  Check out Weebly.com — an attractive and easy-to-use online resource where you can create a website for free.

Personally, I currently use iWeb software (comes free on all Mac computers) to create and maintain my studio site.  However, Weebly sites are so attractive, I might make the switch someday!  I switched, and now I use Weebly for my studio website!

Some great features:

  • Extremely user-friendly. The drag-and-drop site builder is extremely easy to use, even for those who might not consider themselves to be very technologically savvy.
  • No software is needed. That means, no buying or installing software onto your computer.  Creating and maintaining your website is done completely online.
  • You can use a free ___.weebly.com domain name, or use your own domain name. Weebly is one of the few free website building sites that allow you use your own url (e.g., colorinmypiano.com) if you desire.  Just purchase one from a site such as Name.com (a year usually costs around $10).  If you don’t want to use your own domain name, for free you can just use yourname.weebly.com.
  • Attractive themes. Of all the free website building sites I’ve seen, Weebly by far creates the most attractive-looking sites.  They have tons of great customizable themes to choose from.

Here are some links to some studio websites that were created using Weebly, to get you inspired:

Good luck!  If you are successful in creating your own studio site using Weebly, be sure to share the link with us in the comments!

Announcements, Group Classes, Motivation, Music Camps

A Peek into the Incentive Program Prize Box

Here’s a peek into the prize box I use for my incentive program.  In case you haven’t read about my incentive program before, here’s the lowdown:  I create an index card for each student, and when they pass a song, they are given a point/sticker for every page of the song learned.  They can also earn points/stickers for doing theory worksheets, memorizing their pieces, etc.  When they earn 25 points/stickers on their index card, they are allowed to choose a prize from the prize box.

I recently restocked the prize box with some cute new items.  Take a look!

The purple prize box.

It’s decorated with some cute music stickers!

Continue reading “A Peek into the Incentive Program Prize Box”

Games, Group Classes, Motivation, Music Camps, Music Theory, Resources, Rhythm, Teaching Piano

Group Piano Class Ideas

I recently came across this great video/podcast on Mario Ajero’s YouTube channel: an interview with pianist and piano pedagogue Dr. Julie Knerr.  Both Maria Ajero and Julie Knerr are graduates from University of Oklahoma’s widely recognized piano pedagogy program.  In this video, Dr. Knerr shares some of her game ideas for her group piano classes — which she holds weekly in addition to her student’s weekly private lessons — to build a variety of musicianship skills.  Check it out!

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EbQDrLwkxo&feature=PlayList&p=F4AF6DA098C0399F&index=0&playnext=1

Most of these activities could be easily modified for use during a private lesson, music camp, studio party, and other settings.  You can visit Dr. Knerr’s website at julieknerrpiano.com.  She has recently been co-writing a new piano method series called Piano Safari (as mentioned back in this post) available by order via PayPal at pianosafari.com.

Be sure to also check out more great podcasts at Mario Ajero’s website, The Piano Podcast.

Printables, Studio Business

Make Business Cards for Your Music Studio

Having business cards on hand is a convenient and professional way to give your contact information to potential students and their parents.  Here’s a simple, clean template for making your own business cards for your music studio!

Printables > Studio Business > Business Cards Template for Music Teachers

This template is a Microsoft Word (.doc) file, containing a page of 10 business cards, which you can edit to fill in with your name and contact information.  Then all you have to do is print them onto card-stock or other professional-looking paper and cut them apart.  Have fun!

General

Link: Pno-Ped-L Studio Policy Website

Yesterday, I came across this great resource for reading other teachers’ Studio Policies!  It’s called the Pno-Ped-L Studio Policy Website.  The website is not fancy, but there’s a lot of good information there.  

This site has a collection of Studio Policies submitted by teachers all across America and Canada.  (Names, tuition rates, and locations have been omitted for privacy.)  What a great way to see how other teachers handle absences, payment, cancellations, etc!  To see my other posts concerning Studio Policies, see here and here.  

In other areas of the site, they have examples of parents letters, game and camp ideas, and other teaching ideas.  Check it out!

Studio Business

Studio Policies

As a fellow piano teacher, I can’t stress enough how important it is to have written Studio Policies.  They’re great for letting new students know about how your studio is run!   It will help improve the level of communication between you and the parent/student, because it becomes more clear what you each expect of each other.  

Things to include in your Studio Policies handout:
  1. Studio name.  This may seem insignificant, but it’s surprising how much more professional you will look just by naming your studio.  It doesn’t have to be fancy; just try something like Piano Studio of Joy Morin or The Morin Music Studio.
  2. Yearly Calendar.  It doesn’t have to be detailed by any means.  Just state when lessons will be beginning and ending (e.g., September 1 – June 1) and when the holiday breaks will be Continue reading “Studio Policies”