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#1972203 - 10/12/12 07:19 AM Need institute/studio owner's help!
Liezl Tajanlangit Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/06/10
Posts: 43
Good day teachers! laugh

I am a young freelancer piano teacher.. My dream since i was much younger was to start my own music school one day. Of course that's something huge! haha

I am really looking forward to having an institute or at least "multiplying" myself in the sense of having another teacher or 2 work under/for me.

I live in Dubai, UAE.. I have no idea what this country requires.. and being very young I have noooo idea at all what the first step even is. I know I have a lot of time and I know a lot of you are very successful in this field. Will any of you kindly give me tips and/or advices or anything whatsoever related to this topic that might help me out?

Thanks so much!
Liezl

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#1972796 - 10/13/12 02:48 PM Re: Need institute/studio owner's help! [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]
Bluoh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/11
Posts: 421
Loc: Canada
Hi Liezl! How long have you been teaching?

Generally, you can go about this in two ways:

(a) Pay piano teachers to teach at your studio; students pay you, you pay piano teachers. Keep in mind that even if you have very few students, you must pay the teachers a regular salary.

(b) "Share" a studio with other piano teachers; you're essentially partners and you share the profits a certain way.

You can even employ some teachers and partner with others.

I would establish a reputation in my community and have my studio fully booked first; when it becomes clear that I can't take any more, I'd outsource students to a teacher who will teach at my studio.

I'd start off by finding a space and a couple teachers that you'd like at your studio.

This is essentially starting a business, and takes a lot of practice and trial to nail.

Good luck!

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#1972817 - 10/13/12 03:38 PM Re: Need institute/studio owner's help! [Re: Bluoh]
Liezl Tajanlangit Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/06/10
Posts: 43
THANK YOU SO MUCH for your reply. I have been checking this every few hours looking for a reply.. I have first started teaching when I was 14. I've experienced teaching as a private piano teacher, a music teacher at a school and the piano teacher at institutes. I am now 21 and I have settled at private teaching in hopes to get a good business.

Right now I am aiming to do all you say. My only question right now is... HOW do you get to make a teacher want to work for you? Wouldn't that teacher want to have his/her own students and earn full fees? Besides providing "visa" (because as of now I can't).. Why else would a teacher want to work for me?

Thanks

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#1972823 - 10/13/12 03:53 PM Re: Need institute/studio owner's help! [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]
MaggieGirl Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 492
From a business standpoint - why would anyone work for anyone? Maybe they don't have a home to teach in and don't want to drive to students. Or they want to walk into a bright clean well equipped studio and not have to think about paying for the piano tuner or electricity? Maybe you pay for all the advertising, billing, etc and keep potential students coming.

So for some, it would just be easier to work for someone else.

At my daughter's studio many teachers are all finishing schooling so they are young, bright and energetic and they like a little downtime when they can chat and hang out. For them coming in at 3 and leaving at 7 a couple days a week works really well with their school schedules.

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#1972825 - 10/13/12 03:57 PM Re: Need institute/studio owner's help! [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]
spanishbuddha Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 2429
Loc: UK
Dear Liezl, welcome, I am not a teacher but a 'business person' and I think the previous reply has already indirectly started to answer your question 'why'.

You need to provide something the other teacher cannot easily provide themselves, or would rather that someone else provide for a price, such as a studio, a piano, a source of students, a name or brand, contacts, advertising, appointment or diary, library facilities, resources, book-keeping, billing and collection, backup, supply discounts, access to trustworthy tuners and techs, and so on. Of course maybe not all of these, but something(s).

I hope someone who owns a studio or works in a studio also pipes in with examples for your profession.

Good luck,

Edit cross posted with MaggieGirl, but let me add a biggie where I live, liability insurance.


Edited by spanishbuddha (10/13/12 04:03 PM)

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#1973183 - 10/14/12 01:29 PM Re: Need institute/studio owner's help! [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]
Bluoh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/11
Posts: 421
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Liezl Tajanlangit
THANK YOU SO MUCH for your reply. I have been checking this every few hours looking for a reply.. I have first started teaching when I was 14. I've experienced teaching as a private piano teacher, a music teacher at a school and the piano teacher at institutes. I am now 21 and I have settled at private teaching in hopes to get a good business.

Right now I am aiming to do all you say. My only question right now is... HOW do you get to make a teacher want to work for you? Wouldn't that teacher want to have his/her own students and earn full fees? Besides providing "visa" (because as of now I can't).. Why else would a teacher want to work for me?

Thanks


They want to work for you because you offer stability, a regular paycheck, and they know that they'll have this for however long they stay with you.

Isn't that the reason we're not all freelancers and entrepreneurs? There's such a high risk of failing when you venture out on your own that only a few brave ones will risk it.

You have to show that you're worth it, that you can offer stability, and that your studio has potential.

Create value in your studio, have a brandmark and a consistent set of materials.

For example, let's take FedEx. FedEx competes with Canada Post (run by the Canadian federal government) and is as recognized in Canada as in the US. This is because they've managed to create a good brand and reputation.

They're not just some old shipping company with two beat-down trucks and whose name you can't remember, they're FedEx. This comes from their branding. They have a great logo, their applications are consistent (the way they apply their logo is the same everywhere), and their service upholds their brand.

Other shipping companies in the US and Canada probably offer just shipping services that are just as great, but they haven't managed to create a cross-border brand as effectively as FedEx has.

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#1973318 - 10/14/12 08:53 PM Re: Need institute/studio owner's help! [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]
michiganteacher Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 69
Loc: Michigan, United States
Hi Liezl,

I founded a music school two years ago in Michigan when I was 24. I also was a private piano teacher for 8 years before that (maintained a private studio in my dad's house) and always dreamed of owning my own music academy. When I was first thinking about "really" doing this, I was completely at a loss of how to start. Someone I trusted told me that the way to start was really just to...start. Here are things I did between making the decision to open a music school and my actual opening day (9 months):

- Set an opening day and chose a business name (which was changed three times in those 9 months)

- Sneakily surveyed my current students to try to get a feel for whether they would be OK with this transition (since I definitely needed my base of 40 students to come with me to the new "school" to keep us afloat at first)

- Viewed a lot of other music school websites and wrote down questions that I had to consider about my own (here is my website if you are interested: www.expressionsmusicacademy.com)

- Read a lot of business books

- Wrote a business plan, of which the "financial plan" part of it was the most important. To do this, you just have to make a lot of "educated guesses" on expenses, revenue, etc. You will find yourself asking a lot of questions, which is good. Then you just keep adjusting it as you get answers.

- Got a realtor and started touring available spaces in the area I wanted to open the school

- Wrote a school policy and created a very basic admin system (such as how I wanted to schedule students, enroll them, bill them, etc.)

- Interviewed quite a few instructors 5 months before opening (the response was overwhelming when I e-mailed professors from local universities). I was shocked just how much they DID want to work for me.

- Found someone to do my website and put it together

- Built a basic advertising plan

- Attended one of Sam Beckford's Successful Studio Strategies seminars (VERY valuable in those formative months...and worth the $$ investment)

There are plenty of other things I did, too. But really, all of them stemmed from the major things I listed above. I kept a giant list of things to do at all times. You might want to break your list of tasks into major areas and then have sublists of things to do for each area. Areas would probably look like this:

- Facility
- Business/Financial Plan
- Instructors
- Website
- Policy and Systems
- Advertisement

I also had some serious help from a few people. My dad, for example, is an accountant and was also a big supporter in many other of the "business" type areas. My step-brother had some experience building websites, so I was covered there. Other than that, though, it was me getting out of my comfort zone, working harder than I've ever worked in my life, and just going for it. I also invested some savings from my teaching the past few years.

Since I made the actual decision to pursue this in 2009, I have been the happiest I've ever been and am now a great supporter of anyone who wants to try to start their own business (especially in an industry they are passionate about). Expressions is debt-free and we have 260 students and are growing at about 6 students per month and expanding our facility in January. I have made so many mistakes and learned so much and am happy to share it with you. Please just e-mail me at my business e-mail address (on website) if you would like to know more. I had a lot of help getting started (including from someone on this forum) and am glad to do the same for others.

Best wishes to you!
_________________________
Jessica S.

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#1973337 - 10/14/12 09:27 PM Re: Need institute/studio owner's help! [Re: michiganteacher]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2649
Originally Posted By: michiganteacher
Hi Liezl,

I founded a music school two years ago in Michigan when I was 24. I also was a private piano teacher for 8 years before that (maintained a private studio in my dad's house) and always dreamed of owning my own music academy. When I was first thinking about "really" doing this, I was completely at a loss of how to start. Someone I trusted told me that the way to start was really just to...start. Here are things I did between making the decision to open a music school and my actual opening day (9 months):

- Set an opening day and chose a business name (which was changed three times in those 9 months)

- Sneakily surveyed my current students to try to get a feel for whether they would be OK with this transition (since I definitely needed my base of 40 students to come with me to the new "school" to keep us afloat at first)

- Viewed a lot of other music school websites and wrote down questions that I had to consider about my own (here is my website if you are interested: www.expressionsmusicacademy.com)

- Read a lot of business books

- Wrote a business plan, of which the "financial plan" part of it was the most important. To do this, you just have to make a lot of "educated guesses" on expenses, revenue, etc. You will find yourself asking a lot of questions, which is good. Then you just keep adjusting it as you get answers.

- Got a realtor and started touring available spaces in the area I wanted to open the school

- Wrote a school policy and created a very basic admin system (such as how I wanted to schedule students, enroll them, bill them, etc.)

- Interviewed quite a few instructors 5 months before opening (the response was overwhelming when I e-mailed professors from local universities). I was shocked just how much they DID want to work for me.

- Found someone to do my website and put it together

- Built a basic advertising plan

- Attended one of Sam Beckford's Successful Studio Strategies seminars (VERY valuable in those formative months...and worth the $$ investment)

There are plenty of other things I did, too. But really, all of them stemmed from the major things I listed above. I kept a giant list of things to do at all times. You might want to break your list of tasks into major areas and then have sublists of things to do for each area. Areas would probably look like this:

- Facility
- Business/Financial Plan
- Instructors
- Website
- Policy and Systems
- Advertisement

I also had some serious help from a few people. My dad, for example, is an accountant and was also a big supporter in many other of the "business" type areas. My step-brother had some experience building websites, so I was covered there. Other than that, though, it was me getting out of my comfort zone, working harder than I've ever worked in my life, and just going for it. I also invested some savings from my teaching the past few years.

Since I made the actual decision to pursue this in 2009, I have been the happiest I've ever been and am now a great supporter of anyone who wants to try to start their own business (especially in an industry they are passionate about). Expressions is debt-free and we have 260 students and are growing at about 6 students per month and expanding our facility in January. I have made so many mistakes and learned so much and am happy to share it with you. Please just e-mail me at my business e-mail address (on website) if you would like to know more. I had a lot of help getting started (including from someone on this forum) and am glad to do the same for others.

Best wishes to you!



Wow! How professional and impressive! Your post and website show me that some of you have a lot more ambition than I do.


Top
#1973544 - 10/15/12 11:14 AM Re: Need institute/studio owner's help! [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1376
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Jessica, thanks so much for that helpful and lengthy post. Your school looks terrific, and I'm sure you're giving modelling ideas to some of the go-getters on this board, while others of us like Ann and I would like to work for you! The word that comes to mind is "Bravo."

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#1973647 - 10/15/12 03:29 PM Re: Need institute/studio owner's help! [Re: Peter K. Mose]
michiganteacher Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 69
Loc: Michigan, United States
Thank you! It has certainly been a "wild ride" and I am proud of where we are now and very excited for the future! I appreciate the kind comments.
_________________________
Jessica S.

Top
#1974204 - 10/16/12 06:06 PM Re: Need institute/studio owner's help! [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]
pianomouse Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/12
Posts: 93
Loc: Europe
Just a small input from a happily employed piano teacher: I'm glad I don't have to deal with billing my students and with the whole administration. I'm glad that rooms, instruments and maintenance are provided, and I like the company of other teachers for exchange. I also like to have this 'system' behind my back, if there are problems with either students or parents, because I'm not left alone to deal with them. So, if your school offers good conditions, I'm sure you'll find teachers who like very much to either be employed or be your partners.
GOOD LUCK! :-)

Jessica: Congratulations! This sounds awesome and I wish you good luck for the future.
_________________________
The piano keys are black and white,
But they sound like a million colours in your mind.
(Katie Melua)

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#1990451 - 11/24/12 07:13 PM Re: Need institute/studio owner's help! [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]
Bluoh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/11
Posts: 421
Loc: Canada
Liezel, I'm just wondering: how's your studio-forming going? smile

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#1991781 - 11/28/12 01:35 AM Re: Need institute/studio owner's help! [Re: michiganteacher]
lovefamilypiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/10/11
Posts: 45
Loc: Rexburg, Idaho
Hi Jessica S,

Very inspiring and helpful post. I share the same dream as Liezl, it's all I ever think about, I can't seem to finish school quick enough. I have a small studio (if you can call it that) of 25 students. I get to teach on a clavinova, though I'd rather teach on a real acoustic piano. And though I'd like to stay here in Rexburg, Idaho and open a school of music, it seems the culture here is to find lessons for as cheap as possible. Stay at home moms are giving away the first month free and charging $35 a month for lessons. How do they feed their children? Though demand for teachers is high, there is a huge supply of underqualified teachers, and many qualified as well, thus driving down the price.

Where should I move to maximize profit?
_________________________
David Love
The Love Family Piano Studio
www.rexburgmusic.com

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#1991860 - 11/28/12 08:26 AM Re: Need institute/studio owner's help! [Re: lovefamilypiano]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12141
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: lovefamilypiano
Hi Jessica S,

Very inspiring and helpful post. I share the same dream as Liezl, it's all I ever think about, I can't seem to finish school quick enough. I have a small studio (if you can call it that) of 25 students. I get to teach on a clavinova, though I'd rather teach on a real acoustic piano. And though I'd like to stay here in Rexburg, Idaho and open a school of music, it seems the culture here is to find lessons for as cheap as possible. Stay at home moms are giving away the first month free and charging $35 a month for lessons. How do they feed their children? Though demand for teachers is high, there is a huge supply of underqualified teachers, and many qualified as well, thus driving down the price.

Where should I move to maximize profit?



Generally more urban areas charge higher fees, but then again, the cost of living is generally higher too.

It sounds to me like you are battling a couple of things in your area. What's positive about your situation is that you have 25 students already - that's more than half-time for teaching if you teach only 30 minute lessons (12.5 teaching hours). However, if you teach 45 minute lessons, you'll be close to full-time hours (18.75 hrs), and your students will notice the difference in their progress.

So one thing you can do is talk to parents about increasing the lesson time - explain the reasons for this, which is time to spend on theory, and reinforcing concepts, working through practice ideas, their pieces are getting longer and more complicated and need more time to get through everything, etc.

I know you didn't ask about this, but it actually will solve your competition/profitability problem by having your students will improve, thus giving you a reputation as a quality teacher. There will always be people looking for cheap lessons, and those families apparently have an abundance to choose from. But there will be ones who go there and realize that their child is not really learning anything, and wish to find someone who will give them their money's worth.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1991965 - 11/28/12 01:50 PM Re: Need institute/studio owner's help! [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1027
Loc: Irvine, CA
I am just curious...18.75 hours is "full-time" hours?
I thought 40 is full-time, and 20 is part-time
_________________________
http://ezpiano.org
Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
@ http://bit.ly/Ready123

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#1992411 - 11/29/12 01:05 PM Re: Need institute/studio owner's help! [Re: Liezl Tajanlangit]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1376
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
EZ, fulltime work as an hourly employee is indeed 35-40 hours a week in N. America. But most piano teachers would describe their fulltime teaching as fewer hours than this, since (as you know) it is both exhausting work and involves preparations.

A better model for us might be the classroom schoolteacher, whose face time with students is - I don't know - maybe 20-25 hours a week.

Someone can correct me if I'm off.

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