Building a New Piano Business? What To Include In a First Piano Lesson

Building a New Piano Business? What To Include In a First Piano Lesson

As you’re building a new piano business, one of the first things you’ll have to plan is a first piano lesson. This can be a trial lesson to get to know your student, or the first lesson after booking a new client. 

This sets the stage for how you’ll work with a client. It’s an important first meeting. It can be a stressful experience for both teacher and student. 

But as a teacher, it’s your job to put your new client at ease. Ready to do it effectively? 

Start by putting the student at ease

Both students and their parents might be a little anxious about starting a new hobby. They’ll have questions and expectations, and it’s up to you to put them at ease. Make the first session more about getting to know them as a person too. Start with questions to get them talking, such as:

  • Do you have a pet? 
  • What’s your favorite band or singer?
  • Why do you want to play the piano?
  • What songs do you listen to?
  • What other hobbies do you have?
  • Can you play anything on the piano?

By finding out a little more about your student, you can use that to build on as you explore music together. 

Do some rhythm activities

Help your student find the beat of a few songs. You can clap out different rhythm patterns to help them get into different songs. A lot of music is opening up awareness to how it’s created. This is a good first step, one they can continue thinking about over the next few weeks. 

Explore the keyboard

It’s important that a student starts defining the keyboard from the moment they sit down and play. Talk about how the white keys intermix between the black keys. Have them play simple songs to learn more about how they fit together. 

Introduce lesson books

Every piano teacher has a preferred lesson book they will be using for each lesson. This is a time to give your new student their very own copy, and discuss the first pages and how you’ll be using them. You should also provide them with lesson plans and music theory books – anything you’ll be using in the coming weeks to help them learn and stay on track. This is your chance to establish how each of your lessons will progress.. 

Give practice instructions

Brand new students have no idea how to create a practice routine. This is your chance to help them set it up correctly. Give very specific practice instructions, and include instructions for both parents and students. This should include things like:

  • How many minutes per day
  • Setup of a good working environment
  • Expectations of the student each week
  • Expectations of how a parent can encourage their child
  • Stress fun at the top of the list

The purpose of every piano lesson should have an emphasis on fun. People learn piano to enjoy making music. It should never become a chore. 

What do you use during your first piano lesson? 

Time Saving Tips If You Run a Busy Piano Studio

Time Saving Tips If You Run a Busy Piano Studio

Life has changed a lot over the past two years. Where we once drove everywhere, scheduling things closely enough to be busy every hour of the day, we’re now looking for ways to stay closer to home. 

It’s also made us realize there’s more to life than being busy. Sometimes it’s about relaxing, and doing things we love. 

Maybe that’s why the arts have suddenly moved forward and are on the top of everyone’s mind again. That’s good news if you run a busy piano studio. 

With a little ingenuity, you can fill your calendar with clients, bringing the joy of music to many more people in your community. 

But before you get overwhelmed with possibilities, start the process out with a few time saving tips. 

Track your time

This is a lesson taught in a variety of productivity classes because it’s the starting point to becoming more efficient. You have to know how you spend your time before you do things to add more time to your days. And that’s important if you hope to run an efficient piano studio. 

Keep paper or your favorite app nearby and track everything you do for a week. This gives you a running look at where your time goes, and can help you make choices for ways to curb time spent on things of little importance. 

Limit social media

As you track your time, do you find a great deal of it goes to checking in on your favorite social media site? It’s an escape for many of us. But if you’re like a lot of people, you also find that a simple check can quickly turn to thirty minutes wasted. It’s also a distraction that holds you back from doing other more important things. 

If you really love social media, possibly using it for your business too, schedule it. Put a time on the calendar where you give yourself permission to check in and surf to your heart’s content. Just be sure to activate a timer with it so you know when your time’s up. 

Organize your to-dos

Have you ever organized your to-dos with sticky notes? The pile grows, they get lost, and there’s no way to manage if you’re truly doing what’s important first. 

Get rid of your sticky note pile, and go with a calendar system instead. You can use something as simple as the calendar system that comes with your phone. Or use a paper calendar if you like a visual that sits by your desk. If you have something that needs completion, write it down. Create lists for your piano studio and your personal life. Then give them priorities, and work items accordingly. 

Batch your tasks

The more detailed your to-do list, the more you start to see related tasks. Batch them together to help get things done faster. You’ll start to see related items that can be combined into one session with possible overlap that shortens your time involved with each project. You’ll see efficiencies in ways you never thought about before. 

Plan your days in blocks

When do you have your most energy? When do certain projects have to be done? 

We all have our own internal clocks that give us peak energy. Are you a morning person, or do you prefer to work late into the night? Taking advantage of your optimal workspace can allow you to get things done quickly. Learn when your peak work times are, and create a block on your calendar where you work on specific projects during that time frame. Block other time wasters out, and you’ll quickly see a boost in your productivity. 

Are you working to create a more efficient piano studio this year? What tips have you used to save time throughout your days?  

How To Find The Right Students For Your Piano Studio

How To Find The Right Students For Your Piano Studio

Building a thriving piano studio takes a lot of hard work. 

Buying a piano and building a studio around it can be the fun part. Seeing your business cards and website for the first time can be rewarding. 

But you can start to question everything if you take on the wrong clientele and don’t enjoy what you do. 

That’s why initial consultations are so important. 

Before you agree to take on any new prospective student, initial consultations with both the student and the family are important to set the ground rules before you begin. Consider adding consultations to:

  • Allow you to meet the student and parents face to face before the lessons start.
  • To learn their goals, assess what they know, and make a plan to begin. 

This also gives both parties a chance to meet and assess if it’s a good fit. Do you see yourself working together long term? This is important from both of your perspectives. 

Consultations will fall into two categories: new students and transfer students. A lot of who you attract depends on what you put out to the world. 

Is your expertise designed around introducing piano to new students? Or do you work better with experienced piano players, helping them refine their goals and techniques? 

When you define your ideal client, you can build your practice around those types of students, and utilize what you learn to help attract more with the same goals and desires. Use this in your marketing and you’ll weed out prospects who don’t meet your standards. 

For your initial consultations, create a system that helps you analyze your prospective clients. Things you can have them bring include:

  • A filled-in questionnaire to help you understand their goals – this gives you a starting point for conversation
  • A piece of music they can play for you
  • A calendar to discuss potential lesson time slots
  • Audio or video of past performances
  • Q&A for you

Tailor this for who your client is. New students might bring in ideas for things they wish to play in the future, while transferring students could share more about past performances and goals for the future. 

Remember, initial consultations are as much for your new students as they are for you.

What do you wish to convey to the students and their parents before you begin working together? Don’t worry if you don’t have this all figured out. As you grow and learn, you can continue to build a more comprehensive consultation to help you bring in the very best students for you. 

Running a Successful Private Piano Practice

Running a Successful Private Piano Practice

Love playing the piano? Want to run a successful private piano practice to help others fall in love with the piano too? 

It takes more than printing a business card and shouting it out on your Facebook newsfeed. Running a successful private piano practice takes time and commitment to build a piano studio people love to do business with. Where do you start?

Start with your teaching statement

Successful businesses start with a plan. You can do that by creating a teaching statement – why do you want to start and grow a private piano practice? What do you hope to accomplish? What do you want to share with your audience? What kind of experience do you hope to create for your students? How can you share that in everything you do? With this in hand, it makes it easier to build your website, your marketing materials, and your studio space. 

Find a teaching space

One of the first things you’ll have to create is your teaching space. Luckily, this can be just about anywhere in today’s world. Are you giving lessons virtually, or meeting students in person? Will you be creating videos, or will it all be one-on-one help? With a quick search online, you can get ideas from other piano practices and use them as guides. Be sure to make your space easy to find, and comfortable to use whenever you need access. If it’s in a school or office building, will you have access to it for weekend lessons or performances? Can you operate from there after school and into the evenings? Be sure the space works with your schedule, and has all the materials you’ll need, including a functional piano. 

Set your rates 

This can be one of the most difficult processes for private piano practices. It’s easy to look at what other instructors around you are charing, lowballing it if you’re new. But that doesn’t give you what you need to run a successful practice, nor does it take into account your expenses. 

First, figure out what your expenses will be. How much income do you need to make this a successful business? With these as your guidelines, you can start building your rates and packages around it. 

Piano instructors usually charge one of two ways: by the hour, or by the month/term. Research both and figure out which gives you a stable income to help you stay in business all year long. 

Create your policies

How many things do you sign a contract for? It’s a part of our daily process. Your piano practice should also have policies set to ensure your students understand how you operate. Include things like make up lessons, cancellations, and scheduling changes. Ensure you both sign and get a copy. Then stick with it to ensure your studio stays on track. 

Build your framework

To create a successful process means establishing systems for everything you do. 

How will you attract new clients? 

How will you manage the clients you have? 

How will you create your lesson plans? 

How will you handle billing? 

While you don’t have to understand every nuance of building a private piano practice upfront, as you discover more aspects of building a business, it’s important to put a framework to it. Systems help with efficiency. And to be someone who gets referrals from the community regularly, the stronger you build your systems, the easier it will be to handle new work. 

How To Teach Piano Virtually

How To Teach Piano Virtually

If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that we can teach just about anything online. 

Want to move your business online? Want to teach piano virtually? It’s possible, and it doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated. 

You don’t need a high-tech studio. Instead, you need a plan and the ability to see, hear, and listen to your students. To support them as they achieve their own goals and learn piano from the comfort of their own homes. 

What you need is:

  • Any device with a built-in camera. While a smartphone will do, upgrading to a tablet or laptop will give you more flexibility in the way you set up your space. 
  • Access to the music your student will be using.
  • A place to set your device, such as a music stand, so you can work with your student efficiently.

As your studio space becomes more sophisticated, you can consider adding things like:

  • Headphones – they can help avoid feedback, and may make the communication clearer between you and your student.
  • External microphone – it can make your communication clearer, especially if you’re working in a group format. 
  • Tripod – if you move or change angles, a tripod can make the process seamless. 
  • Apps and programs – Zoom is a great way to get started. But the more comfortable you get with teaching virtually, the more programs you can incorporate into your lessons. 

Let’s get down to teaching the piano virtually:

When it comes to actually teaching online, it may take a few tries to adapt to a learning style that works best for your needs. 

The first step will be to instruct your student setup formats. Once you have this down, it will be easy to replicate for other students. Consider creating an intro class – you can even video this and provide it as a part of your welcoming packet – where you describe how to set up student space for effective learning. You can provide low or no cost ways to connect virtually, and have guidelines for setting up play space so you can both move throughout the training effectively. 

Because you won’t be sitting near your student, you’ll have to use words to direct your students. Learn to listen to the way they play. Direct a student to change angles if you want to see posture or hand placement. Discover what works best for you to stop them mid-play and teach them improvement techniques. 

Don’t hesitate to demonstrate the skills you’re teaching. But remember, communication will be everything. You’ll have to pay attention to sounds and visual cues to pick up on how your students are managing. 

The key is in booking your first lesson, and moving forward and trying. We’re all on a learning curve. You can modify your classes over time. Teaching virtually is something you’ll perfect as you go. 

How To Return To Piano Lessons After Summer Break

How To Return To Piano Lessons After Summer Break

Summertime. It’s a time for relaxing, playing with your friends, and spending time at the swimming pool. It’s a time for summer vacations, and for leaving your cares behind for at least a little while.

For most families, that also means forgetting normal routines. You can start those up again once structure returns to your daily lives. Push aside piano lessons for a bit, and wait until the school year returns. 

But like everything, if you don’t make something a practice, you start to lose your ability. You forget the individual nuances that made your piano practice routine possible. 

Before you return to your weekly piano lessons, slowly bring the piano back into your lives by doing these few things. 

Start with warm-ups

If your child has taken piano lessons for any length of time, they know warm-ups are part of a normal practice. It gets your fingers and wrists into the game, and your mind on what you hope to accomplish. Let your child do a few things they enjoy. Practice scales. Play easy songs. Play music they enjoy. This will give them a positive reason to get back into the piano practice routine. 

Check posture

Kids can grow almost overnight. When was the last time you ensured their piano stool met their needs? Take a few minutes and see how they sit. Are they correctly placed at the keyboard? Also make sure they are sitting properly on the bench. No slouching. 

Check out new games

Every time you look at the app store, new games pop up, ready to be played. Do a quick search and see what’s new. Are there challenging piano games they might enjoy? This can get them back into the basics, and make them want to jump into playing the piano once again. 

Play with a group

Birds of a feather … Chances are if your child enjoys music, they have friends that enjoy it as well. Why not bring the gang together to make music? You can think beyond piano players – violins, guitars, flutes, even the drums can bring variety to practice sessions and allow your child to explore their creativity. Other parents may also enjoy the process. 

Ready To Start Your Child On Piano Lessons This Fall? Do These 5 Things First

Ready To Start Your Child On Piano Lessons This Fall? Do These 5 Things First

Guiding kids in the right direction is a hands-on task. Every year you help them choose classes and sign up for activities that’ll make a difference in their lives. You hope to give them the skills that will make them happy, successful adults. 

Maybe that’s why you’re leaning towards piano lessons for your child. If you’ve done any research, you know it’s a skill that’ll make a difference in their lives from this point forward. It’s the one activity they can continue pursuing until they are 100 years old. 

You’ve made the decision. You’re ready to start your child on piano lessons. What should you do before they walk into the first lesson?

Buy a quality piano

Make sure it’s a quality piano, as you can find so many different options on today’s marketplace. A quality piano should have good tonal quality, be tuned, and provide your child with advancement as they improve. This isn’t something they’ll be able to do on a little toy piano. Acoustic pianos are wonderful options, and they come in a range of sizes and prices. If you want digital, that’s an option too. 

Get an adjustable piano stool

Depending on the age of your child, they will grow quickly. An adjustable piano stool gives them the option of changing the settings as they grow. It’s important to remain comfortable while sitting at the piano to avoid strain and injury while playing. 

Bring piano music into your lives

Depending on your child’s age, they might not realize how the piano is incorporated into today’s music. Let them listen to piano music in a variety of genres. Consider taking them to a concert so they can see the piano in action. Watch YouTube videos from their favorite music, showing them how their idols play the piano too. This sets them up for a desire for learning. 

Set clear expectations

Before they start their first lesson, talk about the experience. Tell them what they’ll face working with a teacher, and expectations at home during the week. Listen to their ideas, and use that to build up a practice routine. Would they prefer before school or after? Length of time doesn’t constitute good practice. Regular practice is better with clearly defined goals for each session. 

Commit to the routine yourself

Kids won’t commit if they don’t feel it from their parents. Set aside the time to ensure your child becomes successful at playing the piano. You can use the time they practice to do something for yourself. This gives you free time too. Or use the time to sit down and listen on occasion. It can be a great way to bond with your child. 

What’s The Best Age To Start Piano Lessons

What’s The Best Age To Start Piano Lessons

When you have small children in the house, you’re constantly looking for ways to peak their creativity. You introduce art, keep them active, and share great music. 

To keep their artistic talents budding, it’s only natural to put them in classes to express themselves freely. Sign them art for painting? Of course. How about piano lessons? Sure, it’s a great way to introduce them to music. 

But when is the perfect time to start? What’s the best age for piano lessons? Is there such a thing as too soon? 

Learning something new as a child can have a dramatic impact on their lives. They may fall in love with it and turn it into a career. Or they may just find something they love that will be impactful throughout their lives. Either way, it’s up to you to introduce different activities in the right way. 

When a child is ready for piano lessons

While there isn’t an age too young for music, there is an appropriate time for starting piano lessons. It has more to do with the structure of their hands than what they’re capable of learning and retaining. 

Piano lesson readiness varies, and isn’t necessarily dependent on age. Instead, you should look for:

Hand size – to play the piano, you need to stretch your fingers comfortably on the keys to be able to touch five white keys next to each other. 

Dexterity – each finger will have to move independently of one another. 

Interest in playing the piano – if a child wants nothing to do with sitting and playing, there’s little you can do to motivate them. They need a desire to create music to ensure they stick with piano lessons. 

If you do a search on finding the best age to introduce piano lessons to your child, you’ll find advice ranging from age 2 to 7. Because children progress at different speeds and have interests in different subject matters, timing depends on when they’re ready cognitively and functionally. 

Once they reach that point, it’s up to you to pique their interests and find the right teachers to help keep them committed to creating music for years to come. 

It’s Time To Start Planning Your Fall Piano Lessons

It’s Time To Start Planning Your Fall Piano Lessons

Have you noticed the leaves turning colors? The morning air is just a bit cooler. And pumpkins suddenly are popping up everywhere. 

It’s a time of year many of us love. It’s also a time for you to change up your routine and start planning fall piano lessons to keep your students motivated and happy. 

Pumpkins everywhere

If you’ve decorated your home for fall, why not bring it into your piano studio as well? Nothing brings out the festivities like fall leaves, black cats, and an array of pumpkins. Since your students might not be trick-or-treating your studio, why not offer them treats all month long. Fill a festive bowl or jack-o-lantern with different activities for warming up, and have them pick one at the beginning of each lesson. You can even provide treats at the end, depending on how well they perform. 

Bring out their creativity

Many students love to create their own music. Why not give them a challenge of creating songs perfect for the fall. You can give them a theme – leaves, Halloween, football – and have them create music to fit their message. Be sure they add words to their songs. 

Provide special music

While most of us provide books to work through as a student advances in ability, changing it up with seasonal music can keep them interested. Find things that interest them, and give them special challenges throughout the month. You may even wish to hold small recitals for students to show off their new songs. 

Bring your students together

How about a duet? Or a small group to practice something new? While group lessons might not be feasible all throughout the year, they may add depth to your students’ lessons by bringing them together for special occasions. This can be a perfect way to keep them challenged and allow them to meet other students at their levels. It may be just what they need to stay motivated. 

How will you keep your piano students motivated this year? Planning your fall piano lessons? What works for you? 

Do Kids Need a Break From Piano Lessons Too?

Do Kids Need a Break From Piano Lessons Too?

Vacation. It’s something each of us looks forward to each year. 

It’s a time to step away from the normal routines. It’s a time when you can leave your regular chores at home, and do something different for a bit. It gives you a chance to relax, unwind, and refresh yourself so you can jump back into life with more energy. 

While adults need time away from the regular routine of work, kids need a chance to kick back and take it easy as well. They may have several weeks off from school, but what about the rest of their normal routine? 

Your kids may enjoy playing the piano. And if they do, there’s no reason to stop them from playing. But would a vacation from the usual routine be good for them? 

Risks from taking too much time off

There’s always a debate on summer vacations away from school. Is several months off too long? The same concept can be applied to piano lessons. If you take extended time away from practice, you can:

Lose your skill – just as you’re mastering new concepts, you step away and forget the intricate details of what you’ve learned. 

Lose momentum – as you gain new techniques, it’s easier to apply it to new concepts and ideas. When you step away, you lose the ability to push forward. 

Weaken memory – playing every day and practicing regularly works your memory muscle. When you take away the routine, you break the habit and fall into new routines. 

When kids take too much time away from their practice, they are more likely never to return. The catch-up process can be difficult at best. 

Change the routine instead

For many parents that want to continue to push their child into music, they look for different routines rather than letting music lessons fall to the wayside. 

How can you take a break from the regular routine, yet leave piano an active part of your lives?

Change the structure of the lessons – lessons might be short events after school. Why not make them longer events in the morning? Or change locations for something new?

How about group lessons – check with your current instructor – is there a way your child can play with a larger group for more variety? This may even be a summer camp or other activity that allows them to experience music in a new way. 

Change it up – while your child might get into more music theory during school sessions, maybe vacation time is a time to play something fun. Does your child have special requests? Have they been asking for specific songs? Find it and build those into the routine. 

How have you kept piano lessons in your routine, even when you’re on a break? Do you step away from piano lessons regularly? How do you get back into the routine?