talk to the experts

On Monday, November 16th at 12 p.m EST, join Brandon Pearce, David Cutler, and Kristin Yost for a one-hour live talk answering your pressing questions about running a music teaching studio.

Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to gain insight that will help you to flourish as a music teaching studio owner! Head over to the page to learn more about the panelists and ask questions in the comments section. The panelists will answer your questions during the talk. 

Here’s the link again:

Don’t want to forget the date and time? Text savvy to 38470 to receive two event reminders to your phone.

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Posted in Financial Business, Music News, Press, Professional Development, Studio Management

The Savvy Music Teacher is a new book just out this month, offering a comprehensive look at what goes into making a decent living as a music teacher.  The goal of the book is to provide a strategy for making a positive impact on your community and translating that into a good income for yourself.  The book includes detailed discussions about music teaching options, a variety of income streams, financial explanations and strategies, and stories about successful experiences from over 150 savvy music teachers.

savvymusicteachercoverAuthor David Cutler, the Director of Music Entrepreneurship at the University of South Carolina, starts by asking the readers to become aware of their own teaching formulas and priorities, while highlighting numerous ways to freshen or rethink methods and content.  For many teachers, this discussion might inspire some new ideas about how to match teaching approaches and formats with their personal interests and style.

A review of Cutler’s previous book, The Savvy Musician, can be found in an earlier Music Teachers’ Helper blog post at this link.

Read on, and enjoy an overview of the book, as well as a look at the book’s companion website…
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Posted in Financial Business, Music & Technology, Product Reviews, Professional Development, Promoting Your Studio, Studio Management, Teaching Tips














Competition for a good piano teacher is fierce these days. How do you make yourself stand out? Somehow I’ve managed to make a business for myself in the musically congested city of Los Angeles. Here are some of the tricks in my bag:

Use your phone’s video camera.

Most of the time, parents are not around to watch their kid’s piano lessons. Sometimes, they aren’t even home (nannies are there instead). If you have a studio where students come to you, it’s likely the parents don’t sit in the room with you. This means that the very people who hired you never get to see your actual work. You need to show them what you are doing for 2 very important reasons. Read more…

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Posted in Professional Development, Studio Management, Teaching Tips, Using Music Teacher's Helper

Reuben Vincent

Ninja Scales!

October 6th, 2015 by

Ninja ScalesI didn’t understand my teacher!

Each piano lesson was the same. Half an hour of scales followed by half an hour of Bach! I hated it!!!

Needless to say, I didn’t want to practise scales between lessons. What was the point? He certainly never told me if there was one. It just seemed like a pointless half hour of boredom each week.

Fast forward on. Now I am the teacher trying to encourage my students to practise scales!!! How ironic!

Sell the Benefits

As humans, we are much more motivated to do something if we think it will benefit us.

So what are the benefits of scales? Have we discussed them with our students? What do they think the benefits are? Here’s a few to get started: Read more…

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Posted in Music & Technology, Practicing, Professional Development, Teaching Tips

Music Teacher Resources

In 2012, a UK survey commissioned by Disney uncovered that 75% of parents who owned ‘app-capable’ devices shared them with their children, and that, “…37% considered apps to be an ‘integral’ part of their family life.”

It’s no secret that introducing children to music at a young age offers numerous benefits. Many studies carried out over the past decade conclude that children who learn to play an instrument benefit from improved language-related skills, along with increased emotional and cognitive processing skills.

With the prominent rise of mobile devices being used in schools and the household, not to mention the hundreds (if not thousands) of children’s apps on the market, how can parents and teachers fully take advantage of this unique approach to learning?

One of the biggest challenges with musical education among children is that parents may not have the prior music knowledge required to introduce the basic elements to them. This means that many children don’t begin their musical training until the ages of five or six, after they’ve started school.

What Can Music Teachers Do?

Teachers can start developing educational programs based around these apps, which will allow them to take on more students at a younger age. This makes individual music lessons a much more viable option for kids, even as young as three, since it provides an easy entry point to kick-start their musical education; which is a huge plus for everyone.

With an increasing number of children being introduced to mobile technology each year, music-based apps have made the learning experience for kids more accessible than ever.

At a minimum, suggesting app-based learning into their playtime schedule of students’ younger siblings, they can begin to grasp key concepts that will encourage further musical development later on in life and potentially make them ready for music lessons sooner.

About the author: Ernst Renner is the founder of, which make apps designed for children to learn on their own. Their apps are made by music teachers with 20+ years of teaching experience. Little Composers apps are available on all touch-screen devices (including iOS9), laptops, and desktop computers. Learn more about their educational music apps by clicking here.

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Posted in Professional Development, Teaching Tips

There are four secrets of a successful studio. I realize it’s a bold claim to narrow it down to just four and you may be asking, what does successful mean? Keep reading.

Four SecretsFB2

Like any other human being, your bottom line comes down to:

  1. food on the table
  2. a roof over your head
  3. decent clothes on your back.

These three essentials require an income and as a music teacher that means you’ll need students and preferably, lots of them.  The trick is figuring out how to attract and retain them. When you have met and exceeded your bottom line and enjoy a waiting list, I believe you have made a success of your studio.

After extensive research, David Cutler discovered that music teachers who generated substantial (successful) incomes were more likely to integrate these three elements (OK, they are not really secrets but it caught your attention, right?) into their instruction compared to other teachers who did not. They include: Read more…

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Posted in Financial Business, Product Reviews, Professional Development, Promoting Your Studio, Studio Management

Bella Payne

Piano Practice Incentives

September 21st, 2015 by


Piano LessonsSome time ago, I realized my students were getting a little bored of the same old routine. I thought they needed some stimulation, so I decided to re-think my rewards system. For a long time, I mostly focused on educational music games at the end of the lessons as being a good enough reward. But it didn’t help with energy levels throughout the lesson. I needed some help.  Read more…

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Posted in Music & Technology, Practicing, Professional Development, Promoting Your Studio, Studio Management, Teaching Tips

teaching guitar lessons

A version of this post originally appeared on the Music Teacher Info, written by Martyn Croston.

Starting any business takes a lot of perseverance and patience.

Some people compare it to bringing up a child or having a relationship – more often than not it’s a total rollercoaster!

But if you strongly believe and enjoy what you’re doing, it can be the most rewarding job in the world. Music teaching, like any profession, requires the right approach and strategy in order to succeed.

Here are eight factors you need to bear in mind when setting up a successful music teaching business.
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Posted in Financial Business, Professional Development, Promoting Your Studio, Studio Management

Reuben Vincent

“Raise a Cup…”

September 6th, 2015 by















This month, my blog is a simple one (like me!). I’ve stumbled on a cheap idea for teaching anything involving sequencing and I’m loving it (and my students too)!

Enter the mighty…(drum roll)…cup!

Yes, some easy to come by disposable cups can quickly be transformed into some really fun teaching aids. Why not lay out the cups in a random fashion and challenge your pupil to stack them into the correct order.

Think about how you could use this technique in your lessons. Here are some ideas for organising musical concepts:

• Dynamics (from quietest to loudest)

• Rhythm notes and rest (from shortest to slowest)

• Periods of history

• Technical names of the scale

• Key signature sharps or flats Read more…

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Posted in Music History & Facts, Music Theory, Professional Development, Teaching Tips

wide paper LB

Last month I wrapped up my first year of chairing the inaugural Creative Pianist Track at NCKP 2015, the National Conference of Keyboard Pedagogy under the auspices of The Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy.

It was an honor to work alongside master improvisation teachers Bradley Sowash and Forrest Kinney and the patriarch of piano pedagogy, Dr. Samuel Holland. Their wisdom and insight continually influence my philosophy and approach to teaching.

The session that I presented on Friday afternoon was entitled “Finding Time to be Creative.”  My presentation offered ideas on how to find TIME to BE CREATIVE, but ultimately it morphed into the importance of FINDING a CREATIVE STATE of MIND.

Why am I telling you this? Because I’m wondering if you are like me and are enjoying a renewed sense of purpose beyond the page? Do you find yourself encouraging students to play by ear, read lead sheets, improvise arrangements and compose their own pieces? If not, are you at least wondering if you should include more of these activities in your lessons? Personally, I’ve never felt so strongly as I have right now about equating eye skills and ear skills. I believe this combination will encourage the development of well-balanced and lifelong musicians. Many of my new friends made at NCKP seem to feel the same way. Read more…

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Posted in Composing & Arranging, Music News, Professional Development, Teaching Tips