Hi! This is Pamela! I have been teaching piano since 2004 and am co-founder of the co-operative teaching studio Boulder Piano Lessons in beautiful Boulder, Colorado.
Kirsten and I met at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where I earned dual master’s degrees in piano performance and piano pedagogy followed by a doctorate in piano performance.
I have spent the last decade making the transition from researching and teaching in an academic pedagogy environment to co-founding a successful community piano studio. In the process, I realized there was a need for independent teachers setting up their own businesses to have greater access to practical advice and develop a working knowledge of how a business-mindset and entrepreneurial concepts directly apply to our profession.
In writing this blog, Kirsten and I set out to cultivate a resource for piano teachers everywhere who want to take advantage of business strategies and tools that will increase their revenue and efficiency, build the prestige of their profession, and boost their satisfaction and professional opportunities.
We hope you can use what you learn here to set up a business that will thrive in today’s unique arts environment and with today’s extraordinarily diversified students, and do so with confidence that you are employing the most useful strategies and practical insight we can dig up.
Hello there! I’m Kirsten. Thanks for visiting our site! As Pamela mentioned, we met while studying at the University of Colorado six years ago. After earning my Masters in Piano Performance I built up my studio in and around Boulder. I taught concurrently at a local music school, and through my own private piano studio. While I enjoyed teaching a great deal, I struggled to find solutions to some financial and logistical aspects of the business. Additionally, I wanted to break out and teach independently, as my income would have drastically increased, but felt trapped.
After several years of freelancing and teaching full-time, I realized I had a deep curiosity in entrepreneurship, marketing, and finance. I did a lot of research independently on these subjects, as it helped me to become better at managing my studio operations. I am one of those odd musicians who actually really enjoyed creating my monthly invoices for my students, tracking expenses and mileage, and logging these things in excel spreadsheets to create a budget for my small business. I always felt so stoked when I found a new tool that could help me manage my fledgling studio. I also became very interested in personal finance topics and spent a great deal of time reading about these things independently.
Eventually, I pulled a complete 180 and decided to get my MBA, which has been an incredibly challenging and rewarding pursuit. I now work in Market Development at a medical device company, and will finish my degree this May. I really love what I am doing now, and find working in the healthcare industry to be extremely satisfying.
While I am quite happy on my newfound career path (and all of the spreadsheets I get to build – I know, I’m a weirdo), I have found that there are many basic concepts addressed in business school that would profoundly help any pianist that is even considering starting his or her own piano studio. Today’s piano pedagogy education is better than ever before, and pianists have an incredible wealth of resources and tools available to develop their teaching skills and become truly accomplished pedagogues.
Even with all of these improvements, many talented piano teachers continue to accept low salaries, face difficulty in managing studio operations and finances, and battle countless damaging stereotypes among those who do not appreciate the value in what they are offering. Many pianists could easily manage a full studio independently, without having to share a large portion of their income with a local school, but do not know how to take that first step. The goal of this site is to provide some helpful frameworks and interesting perspectives that Pamela and I have gained over the years to guide those who would like some practical tools to improve their studio. We hope you find something useful here!