If Music Teachers Helper (MTH) allows you to gain or retain just ONE student, the way I figure it, you will earn double the cost of the service.   In addition, if MTH helps you avoid losing money through better payments and accounting, you might actually be saving the equivalent of MTH‘s cost each month you use it.


But let’s take a look at the details.  Read on for 10 reasons why I think MTH pays for itself–


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Posted in Financial Business, MTH 101, Promoting Your Studio, Studio Management, Using Music Teacher's Helper

There’s been a buzz in the press about research showing the benefits of music study. The gist: it’s been found that music is closely tied to gotmilk intelligence and other desirable traits. In other words, “it’s good for you.” There’s also been talk that there is lack of substantial evidence to back up these claims. And then there’s talk amongst musicians, many of whom are dismayed by the fact that these side benefits are being touted when really music stands alone as its own subject, one beyond compare and undeniably the highest art form.

Although I understand those idealistic arguments of fellow musicians, I pose these questions:

1) Why should we be ashamed of the scientific findings surrounding music study when they provide free advertising, maybe somewhat false advertising but still FREE and offer greater exposure in the press?

2) Why do we seem to hang out in our own little corner of the world, self-righteous, worn out, under paid and frustrated that the world seems to undervalue our profession?

3) How is it that even though we are experts in this universal language we still find it hard to communicate the importance of music study when music clearly permeates about every thing and every part of society on this planet?

All these questions got me thinking about milk. Mmmm…quite the strange segue, I know, but pause for a momentand think about milk. It stands alone as the one beverage that satisfied ALL of us when we first entered the world as babes. However, this life-giving liquid began to lose popularity as soda, tea, coffee and sport drinks became the drinks of choice. Did the dairy association hang out moping and wondering why they just couldn’t compete with their competitors? NO! They rejected their failing “good for you” marketing strategy and headed for a new campaign focusing on milk’s co-dependence upon other foods and the consequences of milk deprivation. Read more…

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Posted in Financial Business, Professional Development, Promoting Your Studio, Studio Management, Teaching Tips

David Cutler wants to help musicians succeed in today’s world.  An accomplished musician and composer himself, he has written one book to help musicians build a career and expand opportunities for income and outreach; and is working on a new book focusing on music teachers in particular.

The first book is called The Savvy Musician: Building a Career, Earning a Living & Making a savvy2Difference, and addresses a broad range of ideas relevant to musicians, such as how to create opportunity, how to make your work stand out, how to create supporting products, marketing yourself in today’s internet world, how to deal with the new paradigm for recording and selling music, how to better work with people, ideas for managing finances, and last but not least, musical ideas for improving your performance skills.

The new book he’s working on is called The Savvy Music Teacher, and seeks to aim music teachers towards an income in the $50,000 to $100,000 range, with vignettes of over 150 teachers – not well-known stars, but hardworking, typical music teachers – who have found ways to put together a workable and enjoyable career.  Cutler hastens to point out that the specific income range is all relative – what may seem a lot of money in one place may not be much in another.  But the book seeks to offer blueprints for helping readers craft sensible solutions that can add up to a good income.

Let’s take a look at some of Cutler’s ideas for musicians and music teachers, but first, who is David Cutler and where did he pick up on all these ideas?
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Posted in Financial Business, Music & Technology, Product Reviews, Professional Development, Promoting Your Studio, Studio Management

How do you add extra profits to your Music teaching business?

I love to teach students to play the piano! There is no doubt I get much pleasure out of seeing the progress of each student as the years go by. However: bottom line is this is my business and I teach to provide an income.

There are likely many ways to add extra income and I would love to hear your ideas. I am writing today to share how I use Music Teacher’s Helper to assist in a very simple way to add extra income.$ image

As music students complete materials, new materials must be available. Some studios request that the student provide the new materials but I found several problems with this:

1. The parent/student forgets to purchase the materials in a timely fashion.
2. The parent/student forgets what is needed and orders the incorrect supplies.
3. Multiple emails about the needed materials to accomplish a simple task.

To rid my studio of these problems, I supply materials for students. I purchase the materials from supplier at a discount which allows me to make a profit on the materials. This helps to offset the time it takes to complete this task. Read more…

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Posted in Financial Business, Studio Management, Using Music Teacher's Helper

Recently, the Kansas City Music Teachers Association began a forum for teachers. Jennifer Fink of Pianimation.com is the how-i-made-100000-my-first-year-as-ms-kristin-k-yost-paperback-cover-artpresident and explains:

KCMTA has just launched an online “Tip of the Month” forum, designed to connect teachers and share the wonderful wealth of knowledge that exists among us in a centralized, public place.   Over the course of the year, we’ll be talking about all kinds of topics that affect independent teachers – studio business & marketing, student motivation, literature, pedagogy and more.    

 The best part?  Thanks to the web, you don’t have to be a member of our group to join in the discussion.   We’re excited to have the opportunity to share with and learn from colleagues all across the country (and even around the world).   

This September, we’re hosting a discussion on studio marketing.  Are you a business and marketing-savvy teacher who consistently has a full studio?  We’d love to hear your tried and true methods, or creative ideas for keeping your roster full.   Do you need some ideas to fill your last few slots for the year?  Come on over… you just might find something that will help!  

You’ll find us on the Tip of the Month page of the KCMTA website.  If you’d like to keep up with the conversation and be notified when comments and/or new posts are added, you can sign up to receive email notifications (on the left sidebar of the site), or RSS notification (on the top right menu bar). “


After hearing about this, it got me thinking about what tips I would share to those who are looking to fill a studio. In no time, I had a blog’s worth of ideas. I’ll limit them to 10 (that was hard to do!) in no particular order.

1) Focus on Your Current Families: Your best customers are the ones already on your bench so make sure to keep them happy. :-) Your present students may have siblings so consider offering a special tuition break to any family who enrolls a brother or sister.

2) Offer a Bonus for Referrals: Again your current families are perhaps THE best marketing tool. If they like you, they’ll spread the word so reward them with a tuition discount, a free book, etc.

3) Launch AND Maintain Your Online Presence: Thanks to MusicTeachersHelper.com, a studio website is possible for anyone who may be fearful of this 21st century studio essential.  If need be, pay someone to help you set up a simple site, you won’t regret it.  My favorite feature of the MusicTeachersHelper.com website is the Student Registration Page. I direct anyone who is interested in lessons to complete the form. Once registered, the student’s name appears on my wait list and when an opening occurs, there is a pool of students from which to contact.

b02665I’m guilty of not updating my studio site as often as I should and I know the content could use improvement. The innovative David Cutler, author of The Savvy Musician, provided friendly critiques of current websites here. I will be implementing a great deal of his enlightening suggestions, you might want to do the same.

4) Deliver the Goods: At your initial interview, it’s all about selling yourself to the potential student/family. What is promised at the interview (ex: concert pianist level playing in 2 years) better match what the student experiences. Determining, posting and sticking with a specific mission statement is crucial to customer satisfaction, student retention and referrals.

5) Stay Current with Technology: Even if you choose not to teach with the latest tech tools, an awareness of technological advances and the mobile generation will show your sensitivity to those warming the bench and quite honestly, the “real” world. Taking advantage of technology will only enhance your instruction. As many of my previous blogs suggest, I’m a tech fan and will be releasing a book this month, The iPad Piano Studio, highlighting my favorite device.

6) Plug into the Daytime Student Pool: Home schoolers, Pre-K peeps and Adults are available during those “off ” hours. Wendy Stevens of ComposeCreate.com offers her advice for marketing to home schoolers Read more…

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Posted in Financial Business, Product Reviews, Professional Development, Promoting Your Studio, Studio Management, Using Music Teacher's Helper


Playing Interval Water Ballloon Catch

Over a year ago, I posted a blog about increasing summer fun and income here at MusicTeachersHelper.com. This idea of holding a Piano Olympics camp to build summer income was spurred on by the countless games stored on my studio shelves waiting to be played. It dawned on me that using indoor and then outdoor games within a camp setting could be a great way to boost theory skills, continue contact with students over the summer and guarantee income.

Inspired by the idea of Piano Olympics, a reader named Gwen C. developed her own Piano Olympics  in her studio out in California.  Triggered by Gwen’s questions about details, I posted an article with more details  here.  I was pleasantly surprised when she emailed me to let me know of her experience with her camp. (By the way, feedback is always wonderful and especially so when a success story is shared!) As we exchanged emails, she invited me to submit a proposal to present at MTAC (Music Teachers Association of California) about this topic and I invited her to write about her first time out of the gate with her studio Piano Olympics.

Here it is a year later and I’ve just wrapped up my time at the MTAC in San Jose. I enjoyed attending part of the conference, presenting my session called Increasing Summer Fun and Income: Let the Games Begin! and of course meeting Gwen C in person. It was an honor to have her preside over my session. My one and only regret, why did I not pull out my camera and grab a snap shot of the two of us?–wish I was better at documenting events, I just get too distracted. So below is Gwen’s article she wrote after her first year of camp:

This summer I tried something new! I read a great article by Leila Viss about increasing your income during the summer months by offering “Piano Olympics”. Summer time can mean a drop in income when several students take the summer off. However, I was mainly motivated to create something fun, to get off the bench and to solidify some theory concepts in my students.

Playing rhythms on original instruments

Playing rhythms on original instruments

I started with a beginner session with 4 students that had between 6 and 8 months of study. We focused on note recognition, tempos and terms. Leila’s article provided many links to other sources that provided ideas of games to play and I enjoyed using my creativity to design games for what they needed to learn.


Presenting at MTAC

 My second session was with an older group, 9-11 year olds. This session was only 3 students and was a bit more challenging. Our focus was on primary and secondary chords, terminology and rhythm. For this group I purchased an “Eggspert” from Amazon.com and it was a big hit. They loved the game show feel to this activity. But, again, the biggest hit was the scavenger hunt. For this group, I created cards for primary and secondary chords in addition to relative major and minor scales. They enjoyed this game the most. I think they enjoyed the activity of it because it involved a lot of running to the piano and kept them active.

 I also created a relay race with pylons. Each student was given a group of notes and had to take them one at a time from one pylon to the next to create a major scale, then primary and secondary chords.

 This second group was a bit more challenging because their levels were more varied (from 2 – 5). I was a bit worried that the most experienced wasn’t challenged enough and conversely that the least experienced was a bit lost. But, we worked through it, I made modifications along the way. They all had fun and learned something in the long run.

 I am so grateful to Leila for writing about and sharing this great idea. I know that I will be offering it next year.”

-Gwen C

I too, am grateful to Gwen for inviting me to present at MTAC and also happy to learn that she is holding an Olympic camp again this summer! It was marvelous meeting Gwen in person as well as many other teachers looking for innovative ways to make summer fun AND profitable.

If you are interested in learning about my latest round of Piano Olympics (yes they are held every year and not every four!) I’ll be posting an article soon at 88pianokeysme. It was especially fun this year as the entire camp was designed around creativity…

Have you hosted an Olympic Camp at your studio? Would love to hear your success story!



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Posted in Financial Business, Music Theory, Promoting Your Studio, Teaching Tips

I have a confession to make.image

I am a musician. I possess a wonderful, creative, passionately-interested-in-the-world right brain. I love to explore, to learn, to ponder, to express. I love to share ideas, to share emotions, to create beauty.

It is a great kind of brain to have.

Most of the time.

There are those times, however, that the possession of such a brain creates chaos, confusion, and disorder. I am sure that there are many of you fellow musicians who have never had these feelings. I am sure there are many of you who have learned to harness both your right AND your left brains, that your paperwork is all in order, all of your financial dealings with students have been handled in a timely, professional manner, and that you have no questions about how to start over from a muddled, unsure record-keeping state.

This post is not for those of you who fit that category. Instead, please fast forward to the end of this post and leave us your wise counsel and organizational tips in the comment section. We need you. We really really do.

For the rest of us, though, I have this promise: you are not alone. We creative sorts have many gifts. So what if filing isn’t one of them? Let’s use our creativity to find new solutions. I have some advice, some tips, some words of hope for you. Read more…

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Posted in Financial Business, Studio Management, Using Music Teacher's Helper

It’s tax day in the United States.

Does that sentence fill you with dread?

Or are you lucky enough to be one of those music teachers who has all of your receipts in perfectly organized envelopes, a well-filled-out mileage tracking notebook in the glovebox of your car, and a tax accountant on hand to answer any tricky tax questions?

If, indeed, you are one of these blessed souls, can I come watch how you work? Can I adopt your systems? Because here is how tax season works at my house. Read more…

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Posted in Financial Business, Studio Management, Using Music Teacher's Helper

The average time spent on a website is less than 60 seconds!

How can we, who have a website, possibly hope to engage with our audience and encourage them to want our services? There are some basic marketing techniques that can help our virtual “shop window” look attractive and encourage potential customers to “step inside.”

Put Your Feet in Their Shoes

The most effective way to present ourselves is to consider what information prospective clients want to know. Give them this information quickly and easily and their experience on your website will be satisfying. What do they want to know?

What instrument/s do you teach? Where are you located? How much do your lessons cost?

Think for a moment how frustrating it is when you look at a product for sale that doesn’t have a price tag, you can’t work out where a company is located or what exactly it is “they do!” You can see how important it is to clearly state your

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Posted in Financial Business, Music & Technology, Professional Development, Promoting Your Studio, Using Music Teacher's Helper

Yiyi Ku

Role of Parents

February 27th, 2013 by


All private music teachers know that in order for a student to succeed in their music study, parents play a very important role. Some parents were music students once before, so they understand the commitment involved, others are new to the world of private music lessons, and often need to be reminded what their responsibilities are. Of course, this does not mean that parents need to be musically literate or even play an instrument, but without the encouragement, support, and cooperation of parents, music lessons can be short-lived and frustrating for everyone.

I shall attempt to list some of the parent responsibilities:

1. Bring student to lessons on time – On time means just that, not five minutes late, or ten minutes early! Yes, traffic is hard to control, the occasional early arrival is understandable, but being consistently early means either interrupting the previous student’s lesson, or taking up the teachers’s private time.

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Posted in Financial Business, Studio Management