Hiring Staff

If you run a studio, one of your biggest tasks is keeping a staff of good teachers. That can be one of the hardest parts of your job. I’ve managed music lesson studios and hired teachers and I can honestly say this was one of the more stressful parts of the job. Here are some of the things I learned. Please feel free to add your own input. I’m sure many studio owners would love to know how others handle this task!

1. Have them teach you a lesson.

Whenever I interviewed for teaching jobs as a teacher, the best schools had me teach a mock lesson. The ones that just interviewed me like any business would have, ended up being disorganized programs with lots of unhappy teachers and badly behaved children. When a school has you do a mock lesson, it shows the candidate that this is a serious institution and we only hire quality teachers. The lesson doesn’t have to be long. You can have your candidate teach you a specific type of lesson, perhaps a beginner piano lesson or maybe a lesson on reading 8th notes. If your school caters to more advanced students, have them critique a performance of an intermediate/advanced student.


2. Take the mock lesson with a grain of salt.

I know this sounds contradictory, but it’s not. The mock lesson IS important. It shows you how organized the candidate is,

By Alyssa Cowell We offer formal vocal training at The Catoctin School of Music. Many times students sign up for voice lessons expecting to learn a new song every week, or practice singing songs that they hear on YouTube or Spotify. This is not the purpose of voice lessons. Formal vocal training is all about evaluating a student’s current vocal technique and teaching them to change...

Read More

summercampThis year I will be offering my third summer camp at my studio. The past two years, my camps have been small. I’ve only opened camp up to current students already taking from my studio — more as an encouragement to keep them learning during the summer months. I would see six students at a time in my group studio at my house, offering 1.5 hour camps throughout the day for students.

This year, I’m going full throttle, offering a half day camp for the entire community. I’m renting a venue, hiring helpers and advertising. I’m nervous, but I’m also super excited. Here are some things I’ve had to spend the last few months thinking through in order to plan my summer camp:

Recently I was at a doctor’s appointment and was asked what I do for a living. I told my doctor I taught piano. He was very interested and asked many questions, which is typically the response I get whenever I share about my profession. However, as I later reflected on the conversation, I thought that perhaps I could have been more savvy. I often get too wordy and perhaps go into details that are unnecessary and time-consuming.

The experience prompted me to brush up on my “elevator conversation.” An elevator talk is a powerful, compelling, but concise explanation of what you do (or if you are looking for a job, what you want to be doing). Additionally, it can be crafted for different audiences or events, such as interviews or conferences. Its title refers to the length of an elevator ride, meaning that it lasts for about 20 – 30 seconds. Within that time, one should be be able to give the “big picture” about their business that is memorable and clear, sparking curiosity. The goal is for the person with whom you’re speaking to say, “tell me more!”