A lot of teachers of music, especially private ones, just fell into this line of work. Someone asked them to show them a few chords and one thing led to another. This is fine. But if at some point you find yourself really beginning to love teaching others, you need to start thinking of it as your career and your business. And teaching music is a business.
As your music teaching business grows, you need to have systems in place to take over the drudgery and complications of trying to manage scheduling, billing, and a website.
In the beginning, I used a combination of Google Calendars, a spreadsheet on my computer, and a one page almost-free Wordpress website. And it worked for a few years as I built my business from a handful of students to about 3 dozen. After about 15 students, it really does get to be a major pain. At this point, some teachers hire an administrative assistant. But that seemed a bit more than I needed at this point. Especially since I was teaching out of my home.
A music teacher friend of mine told me about Music Teacher’s Helper and I was intrigued. Being a guy, I hate to admit that I need help. But at the cost of a few coffees a month, it was a no-brainer. Heck, I can make myself coffee a few mornings to save for that. So what is it?
Software As A Service (SaaS)
It’s a software as a service. You don’t need to install it. You just go to the website or access the app on your smartphone or tablet. What’s great about this is that you never have to install it or update it, it just works. Plus, there’s great support through a chat window, phone or email.
What’s even better is that they keep upgrading it. When I started out, I was charging by the lesson. I quickly realized the advantages of charging in blocks of lessons and then finally moved to a semester billing. This has done wonders for my cash flow. It’s entirely automated and allows me to run a real business with predictable income and expenses.
So guess what? They just announced that semester billing is now an option in the software! I’m thrilled and I know you will find it so much easier to run your business. Now what to do with all that extra time?
The 80/20 Principle
There’s a famous rule called the Pareto Principle. It was discovered by an Italian economist named Vilfredo Pareto and is usually applied to finance, economics, and business. But it’s applicable to almost any activity. Basically, it says that 80% of your results come from just 20% of your input. Some have called it the 80/20 rule. Author, Blogger and Angel Investor Tim Ferriss has made a life and career out of hacking the 20% that delivers 80% through his 4 Hour series of books. I highly recommend the 4-Hour Workweek. It just may change your life.
But here’s an example in music.
A Magical Way To Practice
Let’s say you are practicing a piece of music. There is a 20% portion of the entire practice session that is giving you 80% of your results. The more you can become aware of it, the more you can refine this and get even greater results.
Think about it. If you are getting 80% output from 20% input, then by focusing on a further refined 20% within the original 20% means you’ll get exponentially greater quality results in your output. It goes on and on. I think that the more you can become aware of high leverage points like this in your life and business, the higher quality of your life, without a lot of extra effort.
Delegate the Other Stuff
Administrative stuff is so taxing to me. My eyes just glaze over. I really wanted to find the most efficient way to not spend a lot of time on billing, scheduling, registration, waiting lists etc. That’s why I use Music Teacher’s Helper. And the best part is that it is designed specifically for music teachers. It uses the language music teachers use so you don’t have to modify it at all.
So take a moment and figure out, what is your 80/20? What productivity hacks can you implement immediately to start boosting that ratio?