Studio Business

An Introduction to Notion — A Customizable Digital Workspace to Organize Everything in Your Life

Do you find yourself using paper LESS and using apps MORE when managing your to-dos and projects?

I know I do! Although there are a few areas of life where I prefer paper, most of the time I prefer keeping things digital.

In fact, I’ll admit I’m a little bit of a nerd when it comes to following what new apps or platforms are available in the productivity and note-taking space. I find it fun to see what each one has to offer, and if it looks interesting enough I might even take it for a test drive.

In 2021, I revisited a platform called Notion and was blown away with its capabilities. I downloaded a few of their free page templates and started customizing them to my own needs, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

Notion has become my go-to hub for keeping track of almost anything in my life, both personal and professional. For me, it has replaced other tools such as Apple Notes, Evernote, Trello, Airtable databases, and even Google Docs/Sheets/Forms in many cases. Notion is simple to use, yet can be incredibly powerful, flexible, and customizable.

In this blog post, I’ll tell you why you might want to give Notion a try, what it can do for you, and how you can get started with it. Perhaps Notion will become an all-in-one place for you to keep your life organized, as it has for me!

Continue reading “An Introduction to Notion — A Customizable Digital Workspace to Organize Everything in Your Life”
Studio Business

Freebie: Lesson Attendance Sheet Updated for 2023-24

I just updated one of the studio business forms from my Printables page for the 2023-24 school year.  It is called the Lesson Attendance & Payment Sheet PDF.  Even though I don’t personally use this sheet myself anymore (I now charge a monthly flat tuition rate), every year I receive requests from teachers asking if I would please update it for the upcoming school year. And I’m happy to do so! 

Continue reading “Freebie: Lesson Attendance Sheet Updated for 2023-24”
Studio Business

5 Steps for Successful Interview Lessons with Music Students

Interview lesson, meet-and-greet, intro lesson, trial lesson, consultation—whatever you choose to call them, introductory sessions are a great way to jumpstart your potentials students’ success in music lessons. This article presents five steps to help you make the most of your interview lessons with new music students.

Step 1: Define Your Goals for the Interview Lesson

Before conducting an interview lesson, it is important to determine your goals for an interview lesson. For many music teachers, these sessions are useful for setting expectations for their music studio and determining if a student-teacher fit is possible. They allow you to build rapport, communicate your expectations for practice, behavior, payments and other studio policies and procedures, and assess the student’s goals, needs and level of interest.

Additionally, an interview lesson can also be an opportunity to:

Continue reading “5 Steps for Successful Interview Lessons with Music Students”
Studio Business

Freebie: Lesson Attendance Sheet Updated for 2022-23

I just updated one of the studio business forms from my Printables page for the 2022-23 school year.  It is called the Lesson Attendance & Payment Sheet PDF.  Even though I don’t personally use this sheet myself anymore (I now charge a monthly flat tuition rate), every year I receive requests from teachers asking if I would please update it for the upcoming school year. And I’m happy to do so! 

In case you haven’t seen this from before, here is how it works: Write your students’ names in the first column.  Each week, write the lesson date (in a month / date format) in the column for that week.  This is how you can track attendance.  The small circles in each cell are where you can write checkmarks indicating tuition payments.  Whether you charge by-the-week or by-the-month, you can place a checkmark by each paid lesson date.

Download it below or on the Printables > Studio Business page.

  Lesson Attendance & Payment Sheet (2023-24) (138.1 KiB, 36,357 hits)

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?”
Teaching Piano

Meet my new digital piano: a Kawai CN29!

I bought a new digital piano! It’s a Kawai CN29.

The backstory: My grand piano has ivory keys I don’t want to use sanitizers on, so I’ve been using my digital pianos since transitioning my Michigan students to in-person lessons. (Fortunately, I can still use my grand for online lessons!) My current digital pianos are old and in need of update, so I started researching and looking at models at a couple of local stores.

Continue reading “Meet my new digital piano: a Kawai CN29!”
Studio Business

Freebie: Lesson Attendance Sheet Updated for 2021-22

Just a quick post today! 

I just finished updating one of the studio business forms from my Printables page for the 2021-22 school year.  It is called the Record of Lesson Attendance & Payment PDF.  I do not currently use this form myself anymore, but every year I receive multiple requests from teachers asking if I would please update it for the upcoming school year! 

In case you haven’t seen this from before, here is how it works: Write your students’ names in the first column.  Each week, write the lesson date (in a month / date format) in the column for that week.  This is how you can track attendance.  The small circles in each cell are where you can write checkmarks indicating tuition payments.  Whether you charge by-the-week or by-the-month, you can place a checkmark by each paid lesson date.

Download it below or on the Printables > Studio Business page.

P.S.: Here is a link to where I explain an alternative system for tracking payments received. But nowadays, I enter everything into a Google Sheet! I explain my system and share the spreadsheet in my online course for piano teachers, Excellence for Piano Teachers. If you’re interested, you can learn more and join the email list to be notified when the next session is offered (usually in January).

Hope you are having a great week, everyone!

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)”
Studio Business, Technology

How I Use Instagram, and an Invitation to Follow Me There!

Are you on Instagram? Although I’ve had an Instagram account for a long time, I have been surprised to realize that the enjoyment I get from Instagram has been increasing the more/longer I use it. Although Instagram is owned by Facebook, I like Instagram better than Facebook.

In this blog post, I’d like to share a little about how Instagram works, how I use it, and why you might enjoy being on Instagram, too.

[If you enjoy the content here on my blog, you’ll probably enjoy the content from my Instagram channel, too. I invite you to follow me there!]

Using Instagram

Instagram is available as a free smartphone app (iOS | Android). It is also free to create an account.

Instagram is a visual-based platform. It differs from Facebook in that all posts must contain a photo or a video — you cannot post text alone. This puts the visual element front and center. For that reason, there is generally less negativity (and less political talk) on Instagram than on Facebook. I enjoy scrolling through my Instagram feed!

[Here’s an example Instagram post from earlier this year. You can find the mentioned BINGO sheet here.]

Instagram is a fun way to connect with friends and contacts. You can use Instagram for sharing anything you’d like, whether personal or professional. You can also opt to create multiple accounts — one for your personal life and one for your piano studio, for example. Personally, I prefer using only one account and using it to share a combination of things from my family life and professional activities.

In short, I use Instagram as a “microblog.” As the name implies, microblogging is like blogging except the posts are generally shorter and quicker to read. I see my blog here at ColorInMyPiano.com as a platform for sharing lengthier articles, while Instagram can be a platform for sharing smaller, everyday things. When I have something fun to share that doesn’t warrant an entire blog post here at ColorInMyPiano.com, I can post it on Instagram!

Continue reading “How I Use Instagram, and an Invitation to Follow Me There!”
Studio Business

Freebie: Lesson Attendance Sheet Updated for 2020-21

Just a quick post today!

I just finished updating one of the studio business forms from the Printables page for the 2020-21 school year.  It is called the Record of Lesson Attendance & Payment PDF.  I do not currently use this form myself anymore, but every year I receive requests from teachers asking if I would update it for the upcoming school year!

In case you haven’t seen this, here is how the form works: Write your students’ names in the first column.  Each week, write the lesson date (in a month / date format) in the column for that week.  This is how you can track attendance.  The small circles in each cell are where you can write checkmarks indicating tuition payments.  Whether you charge by-the-week or by-the-month, you can place a checkmark by each paid lesson date.

Screen-shot-2010-06-27-at-9.33.12-PM

Download it below or on the Printables > Studio Business page.

P.S.: Here is a link to where I explain my more recent system for tracking payments received.

Studio Business

Studio Communication: Printouts, Newsletters, Emails, Oh my!

Let’s talk studio communication! In this blog post, I’ll share about how my studio communication has evolved over time since I began teaching and some examples of studio communication I’ve sent to my students. At the end of the post, please consider sharing with us about your own studio communication. I hope you’ll pick up some fresh ideas or inspiration!

1. Hardcopy Newsletters

Do you remember the days of hardcopy studio newsletters? 🙂 I bet many of us have gone digital nowadays. But there’s certainly a time and place for hardcopies.

When I first started teaching piano back in the 2000s, my newsletters and notes to parents were all hardcopy printouts. My newsletter was published monthly. I spent a decent amount of time creating them, but I enjoyed it.

Below is an example newsletter I made for my students back in 2011. Click the images to enlarge.

I switched from hardcopy newsletters to email around 2012. But, I do still find it useful to send home hardcopies of certain things. Perhaps you agree!

For example, I like to send home hardcopy flyers about certain local event opportunities for students. Another example is for important communication — such as when I informed students of my planned move from Ohio to Michigan. In these cases, I use both email and hardcopy.

2. Email Marketing Services

When I decided to make the switch to email newsletters, I researched the popular email marketing platforms and ended up choosing MailChimp. I liked their user interface and the attractive email templates. The plans are reasonable; in fact, many piano teachers will be able to get by just fine using the free plan.

Continue reading “Studio Communication: Printouts, Newsletters, Emails, Oh my!”
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”