Studio Booking Software Articles

Too many referrals

Yesterday during a break between lessons, I checked my voicemail to find three messages from parents seeking a voice teacher for their children.  Three inquiries in a week? Completely normal.  But three in the span of two hours?

I got my explanation when a teacher from another local studio called and revealed himself as the referral source.  He is in the process of downsizing his student load in order to take on other projects, and has been recommending that his students continue their studies with me.

To most teachers and studios, this would be a jackpot situation (literally and figuratively).  But when you already have a completely full studio with a growing waiting list, receiving a slew of new referrals all at once is a bit overwhelming.

The good news is that if you find yourself in this situation, your reply to potential students and parents doesn’t have to be “no”. 


In 2009 I had the pleasure of hearing Beth Gigante Klingenstein, author of The Independent Piano Teacher’s Studio Handbook, speak on the question of “Who’s in Charge of Your Studio?” at the University of St. Thomas Summer Music Institute. The main message I took away from her workshop was that if we as studio owners are complaining about our wages or any other aspect of our business, we have only ourselves to blame. We are the captains of our own ships and we can remedy the situation by raising our rates, setting studio policies and enforcing them, and ultimately, by realizing our worth as teachers of music and art.

In 2002, Beth conducted a survey of Independent Music Teachers (IMT’s) in the Music Teachers National Association and found that the average IMT earned $29.00 per hour and had an average gross annual income of $17, 893. What I found shocking was her comparison of the independent music teacher’s salaries to that of other business professionals. The IMT income was lower than a pharmacy technician, janitor, receptionist, file clerk, and even a manicurist! Why are we underpaid? Beth offered many reasons:

• Traditionally female profession – historically, traditionally male professions tend to be paid more
• We are independent
• We do not raise rates often enough or by enough
• We think “per-hour” instead of annual income
• We think “part-time” instead of “full-time”
• We fail to realize the difference between gross and net income
How do we change this? First of all we have to recognize and acknowledge our worth. One of the most disturbing mindsets that Beth discusses in her book is, “I don’t need the income because I am being supported by my spouse.” This attitude is a detriment to our profession. Many teachers support not only themselves, but also their families on their teaching income. If some teachers charge artificially low rates, everyone in the profession suffers.

booksI find that often times I’ll pick up business books from the store looking for inspiration and they just end up sitting on the shelf collecting dust. Sound familiar? Sometimes it’s because I get excited about a new topic, ie. Social Media which warranted me purchasing not one but five social media marketing books! Needless to say I barely got through one and skimmed a couple others. I realized that as with any other task I hope to achieve associated with my business (Brooklyn Music Factory) I need to actually set aside the time to accomplish them. Books somehow felt different, but of course, they are not. They require time during my workday if they are in fact a priority. So, that is what has changed as of late. I now set aside some reading time a couple times during the week and, low and behold, I am starting to pull new books off that dusty shelf! This entry marks the first of a series on business books that I have discovered to be chock full of useful info. And how I see that info affecting my business operation.

"what are the goals of YOUR program"? Have you thought about why you teach and what you hope to see for your students? Are you a professional training program? Do you have a speciality, a preferred age range, a required time/class commitment? Have you communicated your goals effectively in your program or school? Are you meeting the needs of your participants? And does your program...

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I will take my cue from cseifert, who wrote an excellent article entitled “Maintaining Income During the Summer” to expand on the topic I would like to address… “Ideas on Maintaining Interest During a Normally Slow Summer of Lessons and Creating Interest During a Time When Potential Students May Be Interested in Starting Music Lessons”.

How can these ideas help you bring in new students? I’d love to hear from you! Already, a few have come this studio’s way… I hope, if you use some of these ideas, the same will happen for you.

Summer Sun

Yes, absolutely the longest title I’ve probably ever written, but covers the idea of this article rather thoroughly.

Many in the audience of this blog are teachers, while others are purely the business minded who manage said studios. Still others do both. Hopefully this article will hold tips and ideas many of you will enjoy, be able to use, and inspire studios around the world. If not, maybe I am simply enjoying the writing experience. 🙂

Summer is a difficult time for most studios, and while everyone handles it differently, I’ve come across a solution in my studio that seems to work for all the families involved…