Studio Business

Q: Who buys the music books — teacher or student?

Today’s blog post topic comes to you as a result of a question submitted by a reader. The question I received was essentially: How do you go about acquiring music books for piano students and managing the reimbursement/expense?

While there is no single “best” way to do business, there are certainly a number of good options to consider in order to find a procedure that works best for you and your clients. In this blog post, we’ll explore a handful of possible procedures and discuss their potential downsides and upsides.

4 Main Options for Acquiring Music Books and Managing the Expense

As I see it, here are the main options for self-employed music teachers:

  1. You can ask students/parents to purchase their own sheet music.
  2. You can purchase sheet music on behalf of your students and then collect reimbursement afterwards.
  3. You can purchase sheet music on behalf of your students and cover the expense yourself via a special books/material/registration fee.
  4. You can purchase sheet music on behalf of your students and cover the expense as part of the tuition fee charged for piano lessons.

Let’s discuss each option in more depth.

Continue reading “Q: Who buys the music books — teacher or student?”
Studio Business

Printable: Welcome Poster for Piano Studio

In yesterday’s post, I talked about my gradual transition from online lessons to in-person for my Michigan-based students (my Ohio-based students from before my move will remain online). As promised, in today’s post I am sharing a free printable poster you can use to welcome students and help remind them of your protocols when they first arrive.

Any time students come for their first lesson at my studio, I find it’s important to “train” them, so to speak, with my expectations such as removing shoes, washing hands, etc.. After welcoming students at the door, this involves stating something like: “Whenever you arrive in the future, I’d like you to remove your shoes here, wash your hands here, and then head to the piano!”

I thought it might be useful to post a friendly poster with these reminders, in case it helps students remember what to do the first few times they arrive until it becomes a habit. I laminated it and use poster putty to hang it where it will be easily seen.

I created a few different variations of the poster, in case you might like to use it! I’ve included versions with and without masks (for pandemic times and non-pandemic times). And there are versions included for using hand sanitizer versus washing hands in a sink.

To download this PDF, visit the Printables > Studio Business page and scroll down to “Welcome Poster for Piano Studio.” Enjoy!

  Welcome Poster for Piano Studio (158.9 KiB, 450 hits)

Studio Business, Teaching Piano

Transitioning Back to In-Person Lessons During/After the Covid-19 Pandemic

[Just for fun…here’s a selfie taken after chopping off 12 inches of pandemic-time hair and donating it to Wigs 4 Kids!]

Hello readers!

I hope you all are well. Here in Michigan, we are in the midst of BEAUTIFUL summer weather and it feels as if the worst of the pandemic is behind us (which I would certainly like to believe is true!). The current full vaccination rate in the state of Michigan is 46%, which is also the current rate in the U.S. as a whole (as of June 2021). In my local county, the full vaccination rate is even higher at 60% and the rate of reported Covid-19 cases per day is down to low single digits.

With these facts in mind, I have started transitioning a few of my students from online lessons to in-person lessons at my home studio. (You might recall — 75% of my students are in Ohio from before I moved and they will remain online.) I am taking a number of precautions, because I would much prefer to err on the side of caution and keep everyone healthy if I can help it!

In case you happen to be in the same position and might find this useful, below is the wording I used to communicate my precautions and expectations to parents via email.

Continue reading “Transitioning Back to In-Person Lessons During/After the Covid-19 Pandemic”
Teaching Piano

Take a Tour of my Piano Studio! (2021)

After moving from Northwest Ohio to Southeast Michigan in December of 2020, I had promised to give you a tour of my new studio space. Somehow, a year has already passed…but I’m finally delivering on that promise! Below is a photo tour as well as a video tour (scroll down to the end). I think it’s always fun to see other teachers’ piano studios, so I hope you’ll enjoy!

Continue reading “Take a Tour of my Piano Studio! (2021)”
seasonal / holiday

Christmas Gifts for Students, 2011-2020

Hi there! Christmas Day is nearly upon us. Today, I thought I would make an update this flashback post to share what I gave my students this year. (You can skip down to the bottom of this post to see!)

Things to keep in mind: I don’t think it’s necessary to give your piano students gifts at Christmastime, but it’s a nice gesture if you feel so inspired! Some years, I’ve kept it pretty simple while other years I have felt inspired to take on a more time-intensive project. I hope you’ll enjoy browsing this post and perhaps gaining an idea or two to tuck away for the future!

Continue reading “Christmas Gifts for Students, 2011-2020”
Studio Business

Inviting Piano Students to Remove Their Shoes

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_ecc0.jpgAs shared in this post, my husband and I recently relocated from Bowling Green, Ohio to Saline, Michigan (outside Ann Arbor). I’m sure I’ll share a full tour of my new piano room, but for today, I wanted to share a simple solution I found to help remind my students to remove their shoes when they arrive.

My new piano room is carpeted, and it’s a light color. I didn’t always enforce the “shoes off” rule in my previous home, but I decided I wanted to be more consistent about that here. Even I follow this rule strictly myself.

The main way to achieve that is to train students from the first time they are at the studio. However, I thought it might be nice to also add a friendly reminder for them to see when they arrive.

This is the entryway area to my studio. Continue reading “Inviting Piano Students to Remove Their Shoes”

Games

Scrabble Tiles in the Studio: Music Crossword Project

I just thought I’d share this idea my students and I are enjoying.

Some years back, I used to run an Etsy shop selling handcrafted items. Among the things I crafted, I used to make Christmas ornaments using Scrabble tiles. I still have a ton of tiles from games I purchased for $2 at the thrift store, now just waiting for a fun purpose.

Recently, I had the idea of putting out the tiles out in my studio. When students arrive early for their lessons or wait during a sibling’s lesson, I invite them to add a musical term or composer name to our crossword. They are loving this!

It’s fun to see how the crossword grows from week to week, and which music-related words they choose.

If you want to do this in your studio, all you need are a couple of Scrabble games (you can always sort out the tiles back out into separate games again afterwards) and some table space. I also put out a few music dictionaries, for word inspiration.

I’ll probably leave this out for a month or two, and then set it out again next year.

What other fun activity ideas have you used for your studio waiting room area?

_________________

By the way, here’s another use for Scrabble tiles in the studio:

In my game drawers, I also keep a black drawstring bag of Scrabble tiles containing only the letters of the musical alphabet. I use the tiles as a way for students to randomly choose a letter of the musical alphabet during games such as The Amazing Keyboard Race, or deciding which scale to play that day. Students can also sort the tiles onto the piano keys.

DSC_20140210_135315_1

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Announcements

Setting Up A New Studio Space

This post is a long time coming. I haven’t been as active on my blog so far this year as I usually am, but I’m excited to finally have gotten these photos ready to share.

Earlier this year, I moved into a new space. I was looking for something that would allow for a more convenient layout for my studio being in my own home, and we found this wonderful old house to rent. Location-wise, it is still near my Perrysburg students, but it is actually closer for some of my original students in Bowling Green, which is where we first lived when my husband and I moved to Ohio.

I love old houses!

Continue reading “Setting Up A New Studio Space”

Announcements, Studio Business

2016 Studio T-Shirt

Look at what arrived in the mail recently! I love how our T-shirts turned out this year.

2016 T-shirt selfie w

Since 2012, I’ve ordered studio T-shirts each summer as a gift for my students. It’s a fun way to show appreciation for being a part of my studio and build camaraderie among my students. And it’s good marketing, too.

Just for fun, here’s a peek at the designs from past years.  Continue reading “2016 Studio T-Shirt”

Announcements

Record Wall Art in My Studio

During my two-week break from teaching last month, I finished a project I’ve been wanting to do for awhile now. I initially saw the idea on Pinterest and was thrilled to finally find the materials I needed!

20150903_083710 wm-2

It’s wall art created using old 45 records! At a thrift store back home in Michigan, I found 45’s for sale priced at 6 for $1. I selected the ones with the most colorful labels.

20150903_083530 wm-2

You could also use standard-sized vinyl records for this project, but you would need a much larger wall space.

I hung the records using small Command hooks. Have you used them before for your walls? They are wonderful! No need to pound holes into your walls. I bought a package of the smallest sized clips, which are only appropriate for hanging light-weight things. They were perfect for this project.

command hooks

The clips allow the records to easily slip into place, and I can even rearrange the order of the records if I want to. Using pencil and a tape measure, I marked out the places where I wanted to the hooks to go. I measured and re-measured and RE-measured to make sure that the clips were evenly spaced. 🙂

20150903_083621 wm-2

I love how it turned out! It adds color to my wall that I can enjoy every day from my teaching chair.

20150903_083740 wm-2

It was an inexpensive, fun project — and perfect for a music-themed room!