By Jamey Mann Around Christmas time every year guitar instructors are inundated with questions about buying new guitars. In addition many instructors use the holiday season to push their advancing students into better instruments. As a teacher I try to get my students into the best instrument possible. Here are a few suggestions to help guide you when looking for an instrument: Don’t make it a surprise-...

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First piano lessonSummer is the time when many families begin to consider what activities they will be enrolling their children in for the fall. Potential clients will be calling and e-mailing, checking out your website, and asking for word-of-mouth referrals.


Now is the time you’ll want to make sure that you are communicating to families what YOU have to offer.Here are some things you will want to think through when it comes to selling yourself — and telling others what sets your studio apart.

1. Your credentials. Do you have a degree in your field? Do you participate in ongoing education? Have you been running a studio for years on end?

A student signs up for lessons. He and his family are super enthused.

“He’s so naturally musical,” his proud parents tell you at his first lesson.

“He practices all the time. We don’t even have to ask him!” his parents marvel two months in.

And then…maybe in 6 months, maybe in a few years, there’s the all too familiar…

“Getting him to practice is such a fight.”

“He’s so busy with sports and school work, it’s hard to find time to practice.”

“I’m tired of battling him to practice. We’re going to take a few years off from piano and see where things go.”

How do we, as teachers and studio owners, stop this from happening? While certainly there will be counsel and encouragement needed throughout the students years of instruction, I believe that setting the stage before a student even begins lessons can be the most effective in combating the above scenario from playing out.

We all have a bag of lessons we tend to teach every single student at one point in their lessons. For example, all of my students learn the C Major Scale in the first lesson, everyone eventually learns an Improvisation exercise, etcetera, etcetera. After a few too many occasions of students forgetting how to do what I showed them, I realized, I should have a YouTube channel. That way, as soon as I finish my lesson, I can send them a link to the video in my Music Teacher’s Helper Lesson Notes. So far it’s been great!

Students love being able to see the videos while they practice. It’s like having me there with them throughout the week. Here is an example of one of my videos:

masterclassSpring in my studio means that it’s time for my local association’s annual Spring Festival, an event we hold for teachers and students. We bring in a local/regional teacher at the university level who conducts teacher workshops, and also holds masterclasses for our students.


Even though the majority of my students have only had 2-3 years of piano (I teach group classes and move students to private teachers once they reach the intermediate level), I strongly encourage even my beginning students to participate in these classes. While the name itself — “masterclass” — and the idea of playing for another teacher can be intimidating, there are many benefits to be gained: