Category - Music Business

Promote your studio with this Free Graphic Design

Sometimes those last time slots in your music studio are the toughest to fill. Andrea West has a free graphic that may get the job done for you. Keep reading…


Is your music studio full, or do you still have a few slots you would like to fill? We all have years where we are full and have a wait list, but there are times when you want to increase your studio size.  If you don’t have a large advertising budget, you may need to rely on referrals, word of mouth, apps like Nextdoor (a free private social network for your neighbor hood) and your website.

Another fairly inexpensive option is flyers.  These can be used as a leave-behind at local events, sent in an email as an attachment, posted to your Facebook page and distributed by your own students to their friends.

It’s important that your flyer be eye-catching. Start with a cool graphic design.  If you don’t feel up to creating the design yourself, I’m offering a free one during the month of September (starting today!) with the purchase of any graphic design. Print two designs to a page, so that you get two 5.5” x 8.5” flyers per page.  Be sure to include your studio name, a clever tagline is always a good idea, a call to action, and your contact information.

You can easily print these at home, or take it to a local printer.  If your budget is tight, you can use any paper you have, but if you want to take it up a notch, print on a heavier weight paper or even card stock.

-Andrea


Purchase at least one of Andrea’s design (I dare you to stop at one!) and receive her clever “Chalkboard with Quote” graphic for free!

Check out all the designs HERE!

 

 

Take the Sweat out of August with a Freebie and a Super Hot Tip!

After you’ve worked hard to set the studio calendar, do families still seem to forget the dates of important studio events?  Andrea West has a timely solution that will help you stay cool and avoid the heat that comes with this time of year. You’ll want some of her lovely program designs to implement her tip. In addition, she has created some dynamite editable covers for your student binders, too. The good news? The downloadable binder covers are free with any purchase here at 88pianokeys.me!

First, read her super tip below and then you’ll want to check out her colorful recital covers. 

-Leila


It’s the hottest time of the year for many of us. And, for piano teachers everywhere, it’s when we start sweating over the scheduling of the fall semester!

We build slick calendars, we shuffle students around like a seasoned pro, we design gorgeous spreadsheets, and then we email everything to our families. Most of us feel inordinately accomplished when we are done. Especially because more often than not, only a few people have emailed back asking for a change or clarification.

But then you start to wonder if they even read your email. You get a text from one parent asking when the semester begins; another asks if there will be a fall recital this year. It was all in the email you sent out.You can send your emails, adding a “Request a Read Receipt”, or print all your documents and send them home with students during the first week of lessons, but chances are you will still have a good number of parents asking about recital dates just weeks before your concert. It’s enough to make you get a little hot AND sweaty, too!

This year I decided to do what brides have been doing for years. I’ve created Save The Date magnets. It’s such a simple solution; I don’t know why I didn’t do this years ago. Using the same cover art that I will use for my program cover, I imported it into VistaPrint.com. For less than $1 per magnet, I have a beautiful 4”x5”recital reminder that will most likely reside on refrigerators in all my families’ homes.

For those who enjoy doing crafts, you could easily print as many as four to a page, laminate them, attach a magnet to the back, and create your own Save The Date refrigerator magnet.

For the super crafty teachers out there, it would be cute to design a clothes pin to look like a snowman or scarecrow. Then, simply attach a magnet to the back, and families can clip your reminder to their fridge.

The possibilities are endless, but in the end you’ve not only created a fun and unique keepsake, your families are sure to remember the date of the recital!


Remember, with any purchase of Andrea’s designs at 88pianokeys.me, you’ll receive two free editable covers for your student binders. This means you can type in them and change the info as you please.

Make sure to take a peek at all of Andrea’s designs for Fall, Christmas or Winter theme recitals. Did you know that she also creates black and white designs to color? Check them out here.

To get your freebie, go shopping at the Piano Teacher Planning Center and fill up your cart with at least one program cover (and any other product) and then when you view your cart, there will be a pop up window inviting you to take advantage of the free gift.

Make sure to check the small box on the image and then

click “ADD GIFT” and the free download will appear in your cart.

Stay in touch and stay cool,

-Leila

 

 

Keeping Safe with Password Safety and Online Security

Do you panic when prompted to enter a password?

I feel your pain to remember them all and therefore took the advice of a high-tech guru. Believe it or not, she advised me to keep things simple and write down all my passwords in a small notebook and keep it in a safe place. The comfort of this precious notebook soothes the soul when it’s time for a password. It’s pretty old school but, it’s been working for me. I’d suggest the same system for you UNTIL you are ready to jump into a more up-to-date solution.

There, I’ve made a confession, my life is not as “techy” as one might think. I tend to wait for trends to be set before I dive in. From what I’ve gathered from friends and colleagues, it’s evident that a tool called LastPass is THE way to go when you are ready to shed the notebook and save passwords in 21st-century style. You’ll read more about it in this guest post written by Nathan Hughes at SecureThoughts.com.

Nathan supplies excellent information that we all NEED to know in this digital age. You’ll learn about the need for password security, what makes a good password, what’s the best way to manage passwords and how to avoid scams.  

-Leila


Technology makes today’s world go round—it is the oil that greases all modern trade and social interactions. It helps businesses promote their interests and it keeps us in contact with the people we care about.

Yet technology is evolving at an incredible pace. Whereas at the turn of the century few of us had mobile devices (and those that did were limited almost exclusively to basic calling), nearly everyone today carries a phone, tablet or other device.

Even our children are armed with the latest tech, with some studies suggesting over half of kids in elementary and middle school own a cell phone. For all the benefits we derive from technology, there’s one little issue most of us still struggle with: security. Read More

Can you carve out a career by ear?

Jake Mirow is one of those students you don’t forget. Don’t get me wrong, I treasure all my current and former students but Jake was different. In fact, that’s how Jake came to my studio, because his mom and dad knew he was different and that he needed something different.

What does different mean? Jake has an uncanny ability to play by ear with style and flair. The best way to explain it? He’s hard-wired differently than most.

Example? After seeing the movie Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey in 2009, Jake returned to his lesson and played a jaw-dropping medley of the soundtrack. It’s like his ears have a photographic memory?!?

Mmm….what does a classically trained pianist trying to get over her own fear of improvising do with a student like Jake? Read More

Marie’s Secret Sauce for Getting New Students

NEWSFLASH! Marie Lee (good friend and featured here at 88pianokeys.me) is writing a happy-music-camp-01group teaching resource for the Piano Teacher Planning Center! I, along with many others, can’t wait to learn from this long-time expert in group teaching.

In this post, Marie gives us a taste of what’s to come.

Even if you are not interested in teaching piano in groups, you will want to read Marie’s article for great tips on how to grow your studio during the summer. She shares her “secret sauce” –a brilliant way of getting more students in the door during the summer months. Also, keep reading so you learn how to market this “secret sauce.”

Take it away, Marie… Read More

Register NOW for the 88 Creative Keys 2017 Workshop

Take a moment to check out the video below –you’ll learn what we’re cooking up this summer at 88 Creative Keys and get a chuckle, too.

Here we go!

The 88 Creative Keys 2017 Workshop Registration is open. If you’ve been thinking about attending, this is the year to commit. 

The first ten registrants get an extra discount–they are going fast (I mean SUPER fast) so press that blue button below.

register-now-button-dark-blue-hi

Need more info before you commit? Here are some answers to the questions you may have. Read More

A Look Back at Trendsetting Piano Teaching Resources in 2016

Grab a cup of coffee–here’s 40 resources worth your time!

My friend and colleague Marie Lee and I compiled a list of winning resources that worked for us in 2016, and we can’t wait to share them with you. They are organized according to topic.

What did we forget? We didn’t include everything we intended–we had to stop some where.

What would you add to the list?

Professional and Creative Development

1.

Piano Teacher Planning Center is a brand new component of  88pianokeys.me. I’m so excited to piano teacherplanning centerhave a store–no, a center–where teachers will find a growing collection of free and for-purchase teaching aids, some created by me but others created by fellow teachers who have great ideas.

In celebration of the new year, there’s a store-wide sale until January 15, 2017. By the way, if you have a cool game or product that you want to sell, contact me at lviss@me.com and let’s plan to make it part of the PTPC in 2017. -Leila

2.

I attended my first 88 Creative Keys Workshop in Denver this past summer. I waited almost an entire year and 88 CK was well worth it! It was one of the best things I could do for my continuing education as a teacher.  You can read reviews from 2016 attendees here and learn more about 2017’s workshop here. -Marie
Here’s a video of Leila leading a body beat activity with teachers.

3.

Tim Topham’s podcasts keep me happily occupied on my Sunday afternoon walks. I look forward to them each week. Tim finds the best guests who discuss–you guessed it–trendsetting topics! Here are seven of my favorite podcasts because they deal with creativity at the keys. -Leila

4.

I look forward to Amy Chaplin’s Piano Pantry Friday Finds. Amy is one of my new, favorite bloggers. -Marie

5.

Even though I didn’t practice like I should have, I learned so much from Bradley’s online lesson session that I can use with my students. Bradley Sowash is encouraging and informative. It has opened up a whole new world of piano playing for me. -Marie

6.

ForScore, Turbo Scan, the Air Turn Pedal and the iPad Pro is a combo I’ve used every Sunday since writing my December 2015 blog post. I’m not sure how I survived without this set up. In the post you’ll learn how I move hard copy sheet music to ForScore so I can enjoy hands-free page turns. This is the wave of the future for reading scores. -Leila Read More

Extreme Studio Makeover: Check out Songbird Studio Now!

A couple of weeks ago I shared Becky’s story of expanding her Songbird music studio where she teaches voice and piano. You can read the post here.

Here’s part two of Becky’s journey written in her own words with plenty of pictures to help you see the transformation.

From Becky

It has definitely been a crazy and amazing ride so far!33songbird-m

Just today I contacted my new landlord to ask a quick question. If you remember correctly, he was the “intimidating” landlord… well, he shared that he had stopped in at the new location and was “greatly pleased” with the changes and upgrades we made and shared how excited he was for Songbird Studio to be there.

That felt nice! – he’s warming up… yay!

We start moving tomorrow!

Below are pics of the new location primed for Becky’s magic touch. Read More

The Makings of a Great Website: 7 Things You Need to Know

If you are around my age–definitely older than 29 but still feeling 29–you’ve had to make friends with websites, social media platforms, emails, webinars with little or no training. Those younger than our “seems-like-only 29 years” have grown up comfortable with a sea of terms like….browser, upload, download, mobile, link, stream, text, PDF…and more.

But some–you know who you are–may feel like you are sinking in the sea of trending terms and savviness and are struggling to stay afloat. I admit, it’s not easy!

That’s why I’ve invited Nick Colakovic to write a post about setting up a website. If you want to teach piano in the 21st century and get the word out, a website is mandatory. Nick provides seven things that you’ll want to include when building your website. I know I need to update my own after reading his tips!

Take it away, Nick.


Are you currently in the process of making your website? If you are, then it’s good to know what things you need to be aware of before you begin.

Creating a website can be a challenging task, and since there are so many different things that need to be included, it’s no wonder that many people struggle when trying to put them all together.

This is why I’ve prepared this guide, to inform you about the seven things you need to know when you are designing your website.

Design and Feel

Read More

Reactions to 88 Creative Keys Workshop and What’s Next

Bradley Sowash and I just finished our fourth 88 Creative Keys Denver Keyboard Improvisation Workshop. It’s one of the most gratifying yet equally exhausting events of my life. I believe Bradley would agree. After taking a breather, we’ve begun to think about what’s next.  Before I share what’s on the horizon for 88 Creative Keys, it’s time to express our gratitude for those who attended and for the honest feedback offered in the completed surveys after the workshop.

THANK YOU!

The groups we hosted at both tracks and the record turn out for our very first ever Saturday Pedagogy created a dynamic bunch. Bradley and I were thrilled and exhausted and then recharged by everyone’s energy and enthusiasm!

If you want to know the details of our workshop, we made every effort to stick to this IMG_0586schedule allowing ourselves the freedom to improvise when necessary.

We were extremely honored to hold this year’s 88 Creative Keys workshop at Colorado Christian University thanks to Steven Taylor, Dean of the Music Department.

In addition, our attendees were privileged to learn from group improvisation expert, Debra Perez–a world-class teacher and wow, does she know her Clavinova!

What follows is an unexpected and unsolicited “bonus” from Marie Lee . She carefully compiled comments made by some of  this year’s 88 Creative Keys attendees.

Disclaimer: Marie Lee–friend colleague, extraordinary group teacher and one who is always thirsty to learn more–collected these comments and wrote some of her own without even a nudge from yours truly.  I do hope you will take the time to read her “coast to coast” collection.

The comments reveal what’s on the hearts and minds of the population of teachers we reach at 88 Creative Keys–from California to Connecticut . It could match your heart and mind as well and nudge you into joining us next time and look into what we offer between workshops. Read More