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#951808 - 02/16/09 07:46 PM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
1RC Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/06
Posts: 502
Loc: Alberta
Gerry: I agree completely! When experience comes up I always remember when I met a guy who had been doing my job for longer than I've been alive. I thought "wow, I could learn something from this fellow", but shortly found out he was pathetically incompetant. I guess for all those years, he hadn't put in an ounce of effort.

Though I'd like to throw out there that although somebody can make a living by acting the part, it's those few people who CAN tell the difference between good and mediocre whose opinion actually counts.

Kreisler: It's even worse than I thought! I met a friend of my brothers who was sent off the our nations capital in order to write speeches for politicians. His job is to write down the speech as well as to figure out any objections to the politicians position and have a retort ready... I guess the politicians don't need to know anything so long as there are interns to do the thinking!

btw I loved your response to the topic, couldn't be improved on IMO.

Wayne: thanks, I hope this was all helpful to you!

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#951809 - 02/16/09 09:44 PM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13796
Loc: Iowa City, IA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Wayne723:
Now what is my competition offering? A $500 - 600.00 yearly program based on a signed contract.

Who do you think gets more business? [/b]
It would depend a little.

All things being equal, the company demanding a signed yearly contract will have trouble attracting customers.

BUT, if the company demanding the contract has been in business for 25 years and has a large number of very satisfied clients recommending them, they might be just fine. And a new, untested startup company offering a trial might very well have trouble getting a foothold in the community.

Another main difference in independent piano teaching and other business models is that piano teaching isn't scalable.

If you're in the Pest Control business and you're doing very well, you can add more employees, more trucks, open branches, and expand your geographical coverage.

Piano teachers can't really do that. Once you fill up your teaching schedule with 40 or so hours worth of students, you're done - that's as big as you get. The next step would be to hire additional teachers and rent space, at which point you're no longer an independent piano teacher.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#951810 - 02/17/09 06:16 AM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
Magz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 88
Loc: Illinois
K

Your response is valid. I think any new company starting off will face challenges at the get-go. All new businesses do for the first couple years. Actually we are a big organization however I prefer the small shop or family business instead. You have more control and many times, believe it or not, the bottom line is more attractive.

I have found that you lose control the bigger you get, particularly when you have a large employee base. It gets hard to manage. I'm not suggesting that your industry doesn't have its problems also but I would think that its a whole lot easier to manage and control.

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#951811 - 02/17/09 07:18 AM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
lotuscrystal Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/22/08
Posts: 304
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Wayne...I am put off by your 'control' issues. I didn't like your wording from the start...it didn't 'resonate well' with me...it seemed controlled and demanding...

You say your words and then placate any misunderstanding by false sincerity/flattery. I would venture to say that you have a salesman background. And though others have been manipulated...I am not 'buying into it'. There's just 'something' that doesn't sit right with me about your responses and this thread, and you. My ears are screaming 'narcissistic' amongst many other things. I feel you are taking advantage of really great teachers on this forum for the sake of your 'research' and 'playing' them. And I wonder how much 'spam' is really involved here...

Carry on, if you must, and while they are willing \:\) All the best.

Lotuscrystal.

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#951812 - 02/17/09 07:37 AM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
I find it rather boring.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#951813 - 02/17/09 07:53 AM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13796
Loc: Iowa City, IA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Wayne723:
I would think that its a whole lot easier to manage and control. [/b]
It is. The trade-off is revenue. 400 people can generate a lot more than 1.

(My uncle and brother-in-law both own their own companies, so this is actually something I've thought about quite a bit.)
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#951814 - 02/17/09 08:45 AM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3214
Loc: Virginia, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Kreisler:


All things being equal, the company demanding a signed yearly contract will have trouble attracting customers.
[/b]
Ah, but what is your customer base? What demographic are we really targetting?

Other manufacturers and service providers have a target audience and market to them. They don't use the same techniques with AARP members vs teenagers, for example.

I have suggested there are at least two distinct populations in the piano lessons arena, and they probably find different incentives attractive.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#951815 - 02/17/09 08:51 AM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13796
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Um, that's why I said "all things being equal."

When things are not equal (different customer base, demographic, types of services), everything is different.

I can think of several different populations in the piano lessons arena:

Preschool
School Age - serious/competition
School Age - recreational
School Age - parents do it because of peer pressure
Adult - late beginner
Adult - coming back to it from before
Adult - continuing serious amateur

And within each of those categories is classical, jazz, pop, and church music.

And many teachers address a combination of these demographics.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#951816 - 02/17/09 10:54 AM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
I think Wayne723 has been helpful from a point of view of looking at the big picture and examining the efficiency and effectiveness of our business methods (this has been a particular slant - not a 100% review).

It is good to question and evaluate how your prosedures, systems, and strategies are working for you. Communication is a mighty and necessary tool. I appreciate what I've learned here from the perspective that I do need a change and I identified where it was because of Wayne's stimulating comments.

Yes, it was strange to find that he was doing "marketing research", but I was able to not let that irritate me.

The words manage and control as applied to our precious music studios is exactly what we have to do to keep it alive and thriving. Manipulation is something that would turn my stomach. However, in selling ideas or program, hidden relevant selling points must be made, and the whole goal is sign on the bottom line.

My interviews have taken a different shape because I used to treat every inquiry as "legitimate" and now I'm seeing that it's not information about what will be happening, and what the parents and students "role" is in it, and trying to demonstrate/model what they will be receiving in a lesson, I find none of that matters to them. They just want to get started and go - and you have to say a magic word that brings them to that moment of decision. Otherwise,

I find the latest interviews in the last 2 years to be very different in outcome than the successful interviews I've had over the years. The families seem to want no restrictions/responsibilities on their part and want to be free to do lessons their way - no contract or statement of good intentions.

I am trying to decide if I want to make changes to create easier entry to my studio.

We can't avoid being business oriented and for all practical purposes the bottom line of income generated is a huge question for us in these trying economic days, as much as it is for anyone else.

Betty

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#951817 - 02/17/09 12:37 PM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3214
Loc: Virginia, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Kreisler:
Um, that's why I said "all things being equal."

When things are not equal (different customer base, demographic, types of services), everything is different.

I can think of several different populations in the piano lessons arena:

Preschool
School Age - serious/competition
School Age - recreational
School Age - parents do it because of peer pressure
Adult - late beginner
Adult - coming back to it from before
Adult - continuing serious amateur

And within each of those categories is classical, jazz, pop, and church music.

And many teachers address a combination of these demographics. [/b]
You've been at it a while, can you see any trend in the percentages of these over time?

From the outside I would have guessed:
school age serious, stable over time, small niche
school age recreational, disappeared
school age parents (let's call it educational reasons rather than peer pressure) expanded, largest part of potential customer base
adult beginner - relatively new phenomenon
adult returnee - stable over time, tiny numbers
adult serious am - stable over time, tiny numbers

It was only a few decades ago that accordion schools flourished with hundreds of students and large performing ensembles.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#951818 - 02/19/09 09:30 AM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
MrsCamels Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/18/09
Posts: 176
Loc: Los Angeles
i think the best teachers are those who strive to be the teacher THEY always wanted to have. different teachers suit different students. For me, I had a BEST teacher myself growing up and try to emulate her style. This includes exposing my students to ALL aspects of playing so they can fully know how many doors are open for their pursuit: a strong classical foundation, aural skills, composition, improvisation, theory, playing by ear, etc. though not every student loves composing, working on it in lessons takes away some of the mysticism of it and shows them that just b/c they're classically inclined doesn't mean that all the more creative avenues are closed to them. and then, those that do enjoy playing without a page can discover a new passion.
my favorite part about teaching is watching a student learning to love something they previously felt little affection for - whether theory, scales, etc.
_________________________
Teaching since 2004
Private studio owner since 2008
www.ecsorota.com

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