So What Makes a Piano Teacher “Business-Savvy”?

Setting up a business that will thrive in today’s unique arts environment and with today’s extraordinarily diversified students takes strategy and insight. Given the recent advancements in the education of today’s music pedagogues,  it can be frustrating for new graduates to feel that they lack some of the most vital skills and resources to implement what they have learned in a independent studio business in a profitable and business-savvy way.

When it came to setting up my own teaching studio, most of the knowledge that lead to my success in the industry didn’t come from a pedagogy program or from my many great artist-teachers in academia. It came in the form of straightforward matter-of-fact guidance during a brief period of mentorship with a brilliant business-minded piano teacher. It was this teacher’s way of running his studio, setting rates, writing policies, advertising, managing the day-to-day interactions with his clients, establishing expectations and boundaries, and cultivating respect from his students and their families that changed my perspective on independent teaching as a potentially profitable and prestigious profession. Even more extraordinary, my mentor had no formal business training and only minimal music education, yet he boasted a series of thriving piano teaching businesses, first in New Orleans and then again in Boulder, when he was displaced by Katrina.

Inspired by his “tricks-of-the-trade” approach, I launched my own teaching business from zero to 40-students, and went from making a couple hundred to $1,000 a week, in less than three months time. Over the next several years, I would learn to cultivate the skills needed to sustain my growing business, begin to consciously crafting my image and reputation, and start to incorporate greater efficiency into my business operations. The following years taught me how to sustain and grow my studio, how to communicate with and ensure the satisfaction of students and their families, and how to achieve greater efficiency and organization, and begin to strategize about the future of my business.

It is this combination of business-smarts and practical guidance that we want to share with the readers of this blog. One of our primary goals is to demonstrate how entrepreneurial skills can be integrated in an industry-specific way to the piano teaching business. The language and tools of the business world can seem overwhelming or unrelated to what we piano teachers do every day. We want to make the methods for applying business strategy and an entrepreneurial mindset accessible and show you when and where this content is relevant to the day-to-day operations of running your teaching studio.

But they don’t teach you that in music school. That’s where this blog come in. 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.


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