Key to a Successful Music Teaching Studio

Key to a Successful Music Teaching Studio

by | Jul 19, 2021 | Teaching Business

When you are trying to teach music, let us not even try to contest whether or not you know your subject. Of course, you do! But as many of you would have realised, that is not enough, is it? There are so many hurdles that come in the way of running a successful music teaching studio. Whether it is on your own, or you have a team working with you, how well everyone teaches is just not enough to keep y’all going.

The key lies in how well you MANAGE.

I promise you if you are able to manage well, and stand your ground, there’s nothing stopping you from finding success in your own venture.

Here are things that helped me. I’m sure they will help you too!

Initial Counselling

Teaching music is a very personal and subjective field which makes the initial counselling essential.

A single instrument is a vast subject. One teacher cannot be expected to be able to teach all aspects of it. Ensure that you understand whether or not you are the right fit for the kind of education the student is looking for and explain to them what and how you plan to teach.

How can you do this?

Give a brief overview of your teaching methodology and how you expect the student to progress. Be clear in explaining the service you are providing to avoid any disappointment in the future. Also you must check if the student is the right fit for you.

So, before you agree to teaching a student, check if you can positively answer these questions.

Are you ready to adapt to this students needs to give them are best education possible?

Is the student open to trusting you and learning in a way that you think is best for them?

If the answer to both these questions is yes, then you know you’re good to go.

Fee Factor

I’ve found asking for money every month the most difficult part of starting a music teaching studio. After a few months of stress, nervousness, anger, panic and anxiety, I came to a simple realization.


It makes sense, right? When you are your own boss as well as your own employee, that distinction is SO important.

I have so many colleagues that tell me “I just can’t ask them the students for money.”

Think about it! When you are teaching your students, are you thinking about whether or not they have paid their fees? No! When you are in that classroom you are a teacher, not an administrator.  Then, when you are asking your students to pay the fee, why should the teacher in you rule how you feel?

Well, I know you know that all of this makes sense, but the question is how to get that mental distinction. So, teachers, I’m happy to report that I’ve done it…

…So, you can do it too!

1. Standardize the fee

You absolutely need to standardize your fee structure and fee amount. That way you’re being fair to yourself and everyone else. So if anyone comes up to you and makes any special requests, you’ll feel stronger in telling them that the rules are the same for everyone.

2. Distinct Contacts

However, you chose to communicate with your students, whether it is via texts or emails, create a separate contact for your business. Think about it as being part of an organization. You’d be personally giving students their homework but not any other information regarding the holidays, reschedules, or fees. So, create a distinct email or phone number for your business and let all such communications happen through that contact.

3. Automation

Let all communications regarding the fee be automated. If this is not possible, you need to put them on a schedule. Don’t be shy to send your student’s fee notice. As I realised,  often they just forget to pay with no intention of delaying payments. These notices should go out on a fixed day of the month. If there are students who haven’t made the payment on time, send them reminders. As you are doing this through your business identity and not your teacher identity, you will not feel conscious about it. Eventually, things will fall into a system and you will start getting most of the fee on time.

I’m not asking you to be strict or harsh and lose students over this. You can definitely provide discounts from time to time. For the students who require it, provide scholarships if you want. Set aside a number of hours or an amount of money you are ready to put aside for this. Use that as an upper limit of your charity.

For all those teachers who travel to students’ homes or wait for students, add it to your bill! Remember, to have a successful music teaching studio, it needs to give you enough profits!

All in all, VALUE YOUR TIME. There are only a fixed number of hours that you can teach. Use them well!

Learning never Ends

You can never learn everything.

To be a successful teacher (and especially to run a successful music teaching studio!) you need to always be a student.

Keep learning, keep growing. Think of it as a BUSINESS INVESTMENT. The better you are, the more valuable you become.

READ books on teaching, music theory, music history, child psychology, leadership and business practices. Think of taking out half an hour every other day to do this.

LISTEN to teaching, education, business and motivational podcasts for inspiration. Do it while doing dishes, taking a walk or even driving.

OBSERVE your students and your peers. Learning can come from anywhere. What are your colleagues doing differently that works for them? How are your student’s learning curves different from your own and why? Observe and understand what you can gain from others in your world.

INTERACT with a variety of people. Whether it is inside or outside your industry. Don’t be shy to tell your story. Hear their story. There is something to learn from everyone. If you like something, find a way to apply that in your own classroom.

Plan it Out

Plan your student’s musical journey.

You might want to follow the same plan for all your students, make that your brand! Or you might want to make a different plan for different students. Use that as your specialty.

Make sure your students have some LONG TERM GOALS and some SHORT TERM GOALS.

Plan out what you want to teach in each lesson. Things may not go as planned. You may even have to alter plans multiple times (more times than you’d like!). But try to follow a path and achieve set goals.

This will give your students and you a sense of DIRECTION and MOTIVATION.

You are a Business Owner!

Hey, remember! You’re trying to run your own music teaching studio! The studio is your baby now. You need this studio as a whole to be successful. It needs respect. attention and nurture for it to flourish.

You’re not just a teacher trying to guide each of your students. You’re a BUSINESS OWNER!

It doesn’t matter whether you’re going solo or working with a team. This is the mentality you need to go in with.

Have a clear picture of where you want to take it in a couple of years. Ask yourself these questions:

Who is my target audience?

Figure out the areas, the age groups and the professions you are targeting to capture as your students.

How much can I charge?

Once you have a clear idea of your target audience you can try and make decisions on how much you can charge. You need to look at both sides of the coin. What will your customers be willing to pay? How much do you need to run successfully and earn a substantial profit in the long run?

How can I promote my studio for better reach?

Experiment with different sources of promotion and see what works out for you. As a music teacher, word of mouth is definitely going to have the highest conversion rate! Brainstorming, discussing with peers or even meditating over these questions will help you grow as a teacher.

How much can I reinvest in my business?

In order to charge a higher fee in the future, you cannot just depend on inflation. You need some value addition in your studio. Whether through decor, books & resources, organizing events or better infrastructure. Set aside an amount that you can reinvest in your business for better profits in the future.

Most importantly, remember to be patient. The answers will take time coupled with a lot of trial and error.

Pillars of Policy

Policies are definitely the pillars of your organization!

This is not something you can leave for later. We’re music teachers, we know the importance of rules and regulations. You have them inside your classroom, right? You have them in the subject you teach as well! So policies are the rules and regulations your business requires to run smoothly.

When a student joins, set expectations with your students on the teaching schedule, discipline expected, payment schedule, reschedule policy, refund policy, etc. What these are, is absolutely your decision. But they need to be there.

The POLICIES NEED TO BE IN WRITING. Often, also signed!

Get them to read it, understand it and agree to it. keep them concise and easy to understand. Don’t just tell them about it. You need to have them written down. You also need to be able to get back to them in case of misunderstandings and misinterpretations.

Yes, from time to time, you might have to go out of your way for some students and break some rules. That is okay. But having a policy structure ensures that regular troublemakers can be controlled.

Self Branding

Earlier we discussed that teaching is your business, and therefore a business needs branding to be recognized. Develop your logo, design a website and have a brand name that you feel is relevant.

Get your story out there!

Tell people what you do, and how you do it. Share your student’s stories and reviews. Show how you teach. Whether this is through a website or a social media account. These days everyone likes to do their research before committing to a service. To be successful you need a way for people to find your music teaching studio when they are looking for it.

Makes people notice you and don’t be afraid to tell them who you are!

Build your Band of Loyal Students

Make sure you care for your students and it shows. Like, a lot!

Be a friend to their parents. Show them that you’re concerned when their child is stuck somewhere. Or that their achievements elate you as well. Make sure you greet them on various occasions.

With the kids, play different games, and stay in touch with their life. Know what is happening with them at school. This might affect their performance. At times, students value recognition, so plan recitals for them where they can showcase their talents to their peers. Nurturing your students will go a long way in increasing your credibility.

Happy students are the best form of promotion!

Own your Awesomeness

Yes, well, you are! If you are trying to make your music teaching studio successful, we already know you are absolutely amazing. What other type of person dedicates their life to educating others?

Own it! Show it! Let the world know it!

Be an effective music teacher and be an approachable person. Teachers play many roles in a student’s life. We are educators, counselors, life coaches, confidantes and so much more.

If you are a person people want to come back to, then your studio will be it too! Your business is just an extension of who you are. Bring out your personality into it. Or create it into the person you would like to be.

Most importantly remember that everyone may not like you, and that is okay. If you accept that, you are going to overcome a lot of disappointments very easily!

Thinking and consciously working on all of this has really really helped me in multiple ways.

I have been able to retain students easily. It has become a lot easier to collect fees on time. I haven’t had to work as hard to get new students. Staying carefree and less stressed has been a lot easier for me. And there are only some of the ways it has helped.

So go ahead, and start thinking about the things that matter for your business. It’s only a matter of time before you’ll be able to tell yourself that your music teaching studio is truly successful!