Music Teacher's Helper Blog

Four Secrets of a Successful Studio

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.

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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:

  1. improvisation
  2. technology
  3. multiple musical genres.

When I first read this short list, I was stunned. More income is not necessarily related to teachers who produce competition winners, or dependent upon the degree earned by the instructor–although they should not be discounted. Apparently, it boils down to:

  1. creativity
  2. innovation
  3. variety.

Let’ back up and discuss the validity of this information and how it was gathered. As I mentioned earlier, David Cutler made these discoveries and shared them in his latest book, The Savvy Music Teacher, Blueprint for Maximizing Income and Impact. The author conducted extensive interviews with teachers around the world. His diligent research and his own experience as the University of South Carolina’s Director of Music Entrepreneurship, were combined to produce a significant resource that will impact the business of music teaching for years to come.


What will make you want to purchase this book is not only your hopes of meeting your bottom line. You’ll want to keep reading to obtain marketing strategies, time management skills and financial independence.  The book is packed with perspectives from fellow professionals about designing and maintaining a thriving studio and even planning for future retirement. Yes, music teachers-savvy music teachers–CAN retire like everyone else!

The Savvy Music Teacher is a page turner because Cutler weaves vignettes featuring various teachers around the world and we get a sneak peek into how they make their businesses boom. In addition, the 387 page book is crafted around the story of Kristin Yost, a successful teaching artist and entrepreneur. The book tracks her humble beginnings, ambitions and insight into her endeavors to establish what is now a renowned school in the Dallas area.

If you notice, I mentioned there were FOUR secrets of a successful studio. The fourth secret is the easiest to accomplish: purchase Cutler’s book here and you’ll learn how to integrate the other three secrets; or, at least be inspired to:

  1. deepen your skills in improvisation
  2. employ tech-savvy tools
  3. teach Bach and Beethoven as well as Beyonce and Bruno Mars.

No, I was not paid to promote this book and I won’t get a cut when you purchase The Savvy Music Teacher at this link. I share this resource with you because it’s a must-read for any rookie or established independent teacher. I daresay that if you were doubting the music-teacher path, this book may change your mind.

OK, one more reason to purchase it: I’m honored to be featured in the book! You’ll find my vignette on page 148. In addition, take a peek at the back cover and you’ll see a quote from yours truly. I meant every word as I do here.

This unprecedented page-turner is THE BIBLE for any present or future savvy music teacher. David Cutler’s gripping and empowering approach will keep you glued to the end.”

Leila Viss


David Cutler balances a varied profile as a jazz and classical composer, pianist, educator, arranger, author, speaker, and director of the world’s premier experiential arts entrepreneurship workshop The SAVVY Musician in Action. His books The Savvy Musician and The Savvy Music Teacher: Blueprint for Maximizing Income & Impact help musicians build a career, earn a living, and make a difference. Cutler serves as the University of South Carolina’s Director of Music Entrepreneurship.

To learn more about David Cutler and his book, visit the companion site to The Savvy Music Teacher here.






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  1. […] post Four Secrets of a Successful Studio appeared first on Music Teacher’s Helper […]

  2. Marc

    Great article thanks!

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