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.

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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

Yiyi Ku

New Studio Website

February 22nd, 2014 by

photoMy first studio website was launched in 2006. I had just moved to Long Island, New York from New Zealand, and was in the process of applying to become a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music from MTNA. One of the many suggested projects for Standard III – Professional Business Management, was to build and launch a studio website. Lucky for me, my brother is an amazing website and graphic designer, so I was able to complete the project with minimal cost.

Over the years, I have learned a few website design tips and HTML codes myself, and my studio website has undergone a few major facelifts. Not only does it have my studio information and policy, I have added numerous student photos and videos, studio newsletters and announcements, as well as a blog where I post articles and reviews.

I have so much information stored on my last website, that it was beginning to look cluttered, and the layout was starting to look tired and dated. I decided to search for a new theme on WordPress! Moreover, I decided to make use of the free website offered by Music Teachers Helper. Since I already had my own studio website before joining Music Teachers Helper in 2010, I never thought about taking advantage of its website function. That is, until about a month ago, when Music Teachers Helper announced the introduction of a blog page! That made it very tempting, especially after reading about how to customize the templates. I have been having so much fun building a studio website using Music Teachers Helper, that I have decided to keep it and incorporate it into my new personal website on WordPress. Since doing so, I have discovered a few advantages:

1. On the odd (but seemingly increasing) occasion that my WordPress site is down due to server overload, I still have a “backup” website available to direct potential new students to.

2. I can separate information. “Static” information related to my studio, such as teacher bio, studio policy, and programs that I offer my students, can go on the Music Teachers Helper website. On my WordPress site, I will concentrate on articles, reviews, and my own upcoming performances and recitals.

3. I no longer need to deal with spams. I no longer disclose personal email or phone number on either site. I will use the Music Teachers Helper Contact Form and Registration Form exclusively. My personal contact information will only be given to students that are already in the studio.

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Posted in Promoting Your Studio, Using Music Teacher's Helper

This is part three of my series about interesting ways I use Music Teacher Helper in my studio not always per the software itself.

Keeping track of miscellaneous fees = Headaches

If your studio is like mine, you offer to purchase books and materials for your students. Not only is this a nice service to the customer but it assures that students will have the correct supplies when needed.

My October 2013 blog post discussed ways to earn extra income by offering supplies for the students.

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Keeping track of all theses book and miscellaneous charges is, quite frankly, a pain. First you have to remember to get payment from the student. That job is made easier by adding the fees on MTH, however it is up to you to remember to actually add the fee. How many times do you go through your bookkeeping and realize a charge you paid was not transferred to the student for which the purchase was made? Read more…

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Posted in Customer Support, Professional Development, Promoting Your Studio, Studio Management, Uncategorized, Using Music Teacher's Helper

About a month ago I was asked to write an article about music instruction for a local IMG_1097neighborhood website. They were requesting answers to common questions posed by parents considering lessons for their children. It just so happened I ran into some wonderful articles addressing this same topic so I’ve woven them in within my post below. -Leila

Is there ever a day that doesn’t include music? Think of the moments that would not be the same without music–in the car, at the fitness club, during Sunday worship, at the movies, on the TV, at the big game and on your smart device. Admit it, imagining life without music would be…unimaginable.

Although not everyone is destined to be a concert artist, every human being can be a music maker and enthusiast. Once one explores creating music on an instrument and invests in lessons, an appreciation grows which then instills an admiration for a lifetime.  Giving your child or yourself the gift of learning music on any instrument is something to treasure but finding the right teacher, the perfect fit to suit your interest level is not always easy. Below are answers to some of the most common questions posed by parents who want to know more about the process of learning music and finding the right teacher.

IMG_0343Note: these answers can be applicable to adults looking for a music teacher as well–you are always young enough to learn!

How can I tell when my child is ready for lessons?

You may be unaware of your child’s innate readiness for making music but there are some signs that should help you make that assessment. Here are specific suggestions that will assist you prior to embarking on a music teacher hunt: Read more…

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Posted in Practicing, Promoting Your Studio, Studio Management, Teaching Tips

Grandfather Clauze said, “HO HO HO!!”

This is part two of my series about interesting ways I use Music Teacher Helper in my studio, not always per the software itself.

Excuse my pun on Grandfather Clauze vs grandfather clause – seemed fitting  this time of the year.  As you know, a Grandfather Clause is when an old rule applies to some existing situations, while a new rule will apply to all future cases for those that are “grandfathered in”.

Studio development = Inevitable change

As studios develop, economy and personal preference generate change.

I find that financial changes are scrutinized so I handle those changes with utmost care. Contrarily, changes that I know will take place each year (such as tuition increases) are clearly defined in my guidelines so there will be no surprise and I have not had issues with this thus far.pic of Grandfather Clause Read more…

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Posted in Customer Support, Professional Development, Promoting Your Studio, Studio Management, Using Music Teacher's Helper

Yiyi Ku

How To Make a Studio Yearbook

December 4th, 2013 by

photo.PNGI write an annual Studio Report to highlight my studio activities throughout the year, including records of student achievements, my own concerts and professional developments, and new programs/softwares/equipments I have to offer my students. The report is usually done at the end of the school year (June).

This year, I am doing something new. I am doing a Studio Yearbook – a photo book! They say a picture is worth a thousand words!

I am so pleased with the result. Here is how I did it:
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1. I went back to all the monthly studio newsletters I wrote in 2013 and decided what events I want to highlight in my yearbook.
2. I searched my photo library for pictures. These include recital pictures, pictures taken at the studio, as well as cute student drawings that I receive throughout the year.
3. I got the Shutterfly Photostory App and spent an afternoon on my iPad.

Making the photo book on the iPad was so easy and FUN! Uploading pictures took no time – you can upload from your photo album or from your Facebook account. There are many templates to choose from, and you can make the pages interesting by using different combinations of layouts, number of pictures per page, text, and different color backgrounds. Read more…

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Posted in Product Reviews, Promoting Your Studio, Studio Management

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

studioThis is my first post on MusicTeachersHelper. I have benefitted so much from the expertise and great ideas of my fellow teachers, that I find it more than a bit intimidating to add my own contribution! I hope you will bear with me as I find my “voice”, and share some of my own experiences and discoveries over the past 25 years of teaching and helping students of all ages to find their own voice.

One factor that I have found important throughout my career, is the quality of my work environment, in both efficiency and esthetics. I enjoy the challenge of finding new ways to freshen my studio space and make it as beautiful and as comfortable as possible for myself and my clients. No matter where I am, whether the corner of my carpeted living room with boxes for books (my first years) to a lovely dedicated loft space with soaring ceilings, to the living/music room that is my present studio, I want it to be a place that I enjoy going to.

Some of the factors that I believe add up to a welcoming working environment are:

Natural Light: Although at times this can be difficult to achieve, due to budget or other limitations, it is a factor to consider when choosing a teaching space.

Clutter Control: Whenever possible, I like to have storage that tucks messes out of sight. If your living room is also your studio, being able to close off that constant reminder of work obligations when you are not actually working, is a great stress reliever. Instead of a file basket, I try to use a wicker lidded basket. If I don’t see the paper, I am not constantly being nagged by the feeling of “I should get to that”.

Organization: Although some disorder seems to be a natural consequence of a creative mind, I find I work much better when I have a system that gives everything a “home”. Read more…

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Posted in Promoting Your Studio, Studio Management, Teaching Tips

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