Category - Studio Management

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

 

 

Group Piano: What it IS and What it ISN’T

On the fence about whether group instruction is right for you? Not sure what format you should use? Good friend and colleague, Marie Lee has some strong opinions on this topic as she should. I consider her an expert in group piano instruction–check out the programs at her Musicality Schools. You can learn more about her experience here or just keep reading and hear what is and what isn’t group piano class.

-Leila


As piano teachers realize that YES, they can make a good living teaching piano, the subject of group classes comes up as a way of increasing studio size and income. But what exactly IS a group class? And what is it NOT? 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

Paul Myatt: One more reason to attend 88 Creative Keys Workshop

Launching an independent, tech-savvy, creative-based piano studio has been a dream come true for me.

Some dream bigger.

Over the last ten years, I’ve had the itch to move out, rent space, teach more group lessons and hire fellow teachers but I haven’t followed through for multiple reasons. Those who do are such an inspiration to me.

Some dream even bigger!

Paul Myatt not only co-founded and directs a successful, multi-teacher school, he’s franchised it! His Forte Music Schools which feature innovative group teaching, are located throughout Australia, New Zealand and have spread to the United Kingdom. I first saw Paul in action at Tim Topham’s blog. Follow this link to learn Paul’s Five Secret Ingredients to Successful Group Teaching.

Listen to all or part of this video to see and hear Paul in action. Read More

Share your sizzling hot summer studio plans in STYLE

Andrea West has just rolled out irresistible graphics for your summer programs. With all the options and variety I believe you’ll find it difficult to choose just one! In addition, she’s created a free template to help you produce a professional looking summer brochure. 

Here’s Andrea with all the details.


Many of us are still planning our spring recitals, while some are basking in the afterglow of another successful event.

Regardless, we all know that looming just around the corner is…SUMMER.piano-is-a-journey-01

It’s that laid back time of year when parents try to find a balance between a flexible care-free schedule and just enough structure to keep their kiddos from getting bored. That’s why so many parents look to camps: vacation Bible school, sports camps, and of course, your Piano Camp (or at least lessons!)

It’s definitely time to promote your summer music program to interested parents if you haven’t already.

Begin by sharing the fun and exciting things you’ll be offering with your current student families. If you are looking to add new students, remember that enthusiastic referrals from your current students who adore you is your TOP marketing strategy. Providing your families a colorful brochure, flyer or email showcasing your summer program will make it easy for them to share the news with others.

In addition, you’ll want to generate excitement through your website and social media outlets like Facebook.

To help with these tasks, I’ve created some special cover art for your summer camp brochures. They are formatted so they can also be used on your website and on Facebook.

There are a variety of eye-catching designs to choose from that will grab the attention of your students and their families. All you have to do is add your studio branding with a title and your personalized content.

If you want help on how to do this, enter your first name and email address below to get a template you can use with the design of your choice.

Check out all the designs in the slide show below

Read More

Celebrate 150 years of Canada with these designs!

Did you know that Canada is celebrating it’s 150th birthday? Nope? I didn’t either! Not

A selfie after lunch out during spring break. Of course, shopping happened, too!

A selfie with daughter-in-law, Brittany, after having lunch together during spring break. Of course, shopping happened, too!

until fellow teacher, Swan Keizebrink filled me in and was requesting a recital program cover for her studio recital in honor of her native land.

Watch the video below to help you understand that it may come as a surprise even to many Canadians. Confession: my lovely daughter–in-law from Alberta, Canada had forgotten about it and she takes great pride in her Canadian citizenship.

Click on the video below to get a one-minute explanation of Canadian history and it’s 150-year birthday.

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Although it’s not quite the Fourth of July celebration we enjoy in the states, the birthday is worth noting. In fact, it’s quite a big deal and is marked with an official logo! (See below.)

My loyalty for Canada begins with my daughter-in-law Brittany, but also because I enjoyed presenting at the Alberta Registered Music Teachers Association in Calgary last summer and met or reunited with many lovely teachers from Canada at the recent MTNA conference.

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So, why the post about the Canadian 150th birthday? As mentioned above, this was spurred by a request from Swan who was looking for a design for her upcoming studio recital program commemorating this Canadian celebration.

Swan asked Andrea West for some designs and Andrea has delivered in fine fashion. You will find her new, custom Canadian designs perfect for a program, an invitation, card–use your imagination. Get them HERE!

Plus, don’t miss her other designs for spring recital covers. Find them all at the Piano Teacher Planning Center right HERE.

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Stay in touch,

Leila

Use a Green Screen for Virtual Performances

The recital venue that I’ve enjoyed for years is no longer available for me to use. It’s a long story so I’ll save it for another post. This turned my world upside down and has had me looking for other possible venues and performance opportunities for my students. When I saw Amber post videos of her students playing piano “virtually” anywhere with the help of a green screen, I had to learn how she did it! Amber has generously written down the steps she took to make this a reality. 

Take it away, Amber…


I love sparking imagination in my students! One of the ways I do this, is to let them perform virtually anywhere! It’s surprisingly easy to create these virtual performance videos.

Here is what you need:

  1. Green screen background: You need a green background of some sort. The best background I have found is the large green canvas sheets that come with the green screen studio kits. You can find the kits, or canvas backgrounds on Amazon. In a bind, I have also used a green plastic tablecloth from the Dollar Store! It worked! Check out the green screen kit here.
  2. Good lighting: I cannot emphasize this enough. Lighting will make or break your videos. Shadows will produce a pixelated effect. The best lighting I have found are the lights that come with the green screen studio 41tntsirx1l-_sx355_kits. I have used table lamps before but, they just cannot produce the same effect.
  3. A green screen app: My favorite green screen app is Green Screen by Do Ink. Once you get the hang of it, it is very easy to use.
  4. Garageband: I use Garageband to record the audio portion of the video.
  5. iMovie: I import my green screen video and the audio into iMovie to edit and create the finished product!
  6. Intro app: I like creating a fun movie intro with Intro Designer Lite.
  7. A keyboard that can be hooked up to an iPad.
  8. A tripod, or other support to hold your iPad for recording. [Leila likes the Manos Mount.}

Now on to the fun part! Read More

Make Recitals Easier with Ready-Made Cover Art

It’s been a pleasure getting to know Andrea West. She’s a piano teacher and a graphic designer who created wonderful cover art for your winter recital programs last year. She’s done it again and created marvelous options for your spring recital programs! I’m pleased to be selling them in the Piano Teacher Planning Center. Learn a little more about Andrea and why she creates her designs below. You’ll also get a chance to vote for your favorite design and it could go on sale IF you spread the word!

-Leila


Preparing for recitals and concerts requires more energy and skill sets than most people imagine.  Not only do we prepare each child for a successful recital experience, but we have to be master event planners as well. The solution for me has been to outsource those things I cannot do (like tuning the piano) or don’t have the time to do (like baking all the recital treats), and to focus on what I do well.pop-piano

Since I have a lifelong background in the arts, I use that ability to create memorable recital programs for my events.  The students have worked unbelievably hard to prepare and present their pieces to the audience, and I want to showcase those pieces in a recital program that parents can take home and put in their child’s scrapbook. 

Because I love it, I spend much of my free time designing cover art.  It starts with a simple idea, and then slowly it evolves into a finished piece.  I’m often inspired by a piece of music a student is playing, or something they say about their piece.  These designs are all created in 5.5” x 8.5” format that are ideal for putting on the front of a folded program.  They insert perfectly into your favorite program like Publisher, a Word document, Pages, or even an Excel spreadsheet. And the best part is, it will save you many hours of work and provide your families with a beautiful recital keepsake.

Take a moment to vote for your favorite design by putting the name of the design in the comments section below. The design with the most votes will go on sale for $.99 from March  17-19, 2017.  Voting ends March 15th!

-Andrea

There are TWO pages of designs so make sure to look at them all.

Click on the page links below or click on the image to view all the covers.

Page One   Page Two

 Remember to let us know which is your favorite in the comment section here, or on either program page by March 11th and watch for the sale!

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How a Teacher Empowered her Piano Students to Plan a Fund-Raising Studio Recital

Renée Holliman is a fine teacher who lives close to Atlanta, Georgia who came up with a brilliant idea for a studio recital. I know she’s a fine teacher because I saw her in action at the Savvy Musician in Action. You can read all about our experience here but, in a nutshell, Savvy Musician in Action is David Cutler’s immersive event for wanna-be entrepreneurs in the arts.

Posing with new life-long friends and fellow piano teachers. We survived SAVVY! BUT, the pic is missing dear Becky who got sick and had to return home :-(

Posing with new life-long friends and fellow piano teachers: Renée is in the white, Marie is in the middle. Sadly, the pic is missing dear Becky who got sick and had to return home 🙁

Renée, along with Marie Lee and Becky Cappelli went with me on this venture and we all came back with input overload and memories for a life time. Renée was the captain of my team during the event and boy, did she keep us on track.

What you’ll read below is all about “Ms Holliman” in action with her own very fortunate students. I’m so eager to implement this plan for my studio recital this spring. I think you will be, too.

Take it away, Renée–oops, I mean Ms Holliman…


The idea of a student produced and performed concert occurred to me around April or May of 2016. I announced the idea to everyone who attended my student “Almost Summer Recital.”

I called the first meeting in July and three students attended:

a 1st grader,

a 3rd grader

a 5th grader.

They were very quiet but, with my prompting they were able to come up with

a date of September 11th,

a venue,

the possible cost of the venue,

and what we should charge for tickets – as this was going to also be a fundraiser.

I had them figure out what job they would like to take on.

“A” likes to chat and is real good with people so I suggested she be the publicist and she took care of emails and social media.

“E” and “H” are siblings, I suggested they be the marketing team. They were VERY apprehensive.

“H” was to design the logo – he’d never really touched a computer other than playing games on it. He said, “I don’t know how to do that”……below is what was emailed to me 2 days later, I was so impressed!

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Next, I set up a meeting with Mr. Mills, the V.P of our local Steinway Piano Galleries so that E, H and A could reserve the date and discuss the fee for the venue. E, H and A got spiffed up and I had them rehearse what to say and how to conduct themselves. We practiced shaking hands, greeting, looking the person in the eye and being respectful. We also practiced what to say and how to negotiate. They got all spiffed up, I met them there, gave them a pep talk and sent them in and I waited outside.

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A, E and H meeting with Mr. Mills

After the meeting A, E and H were beaming from ear to ear and so proud of themselves and their accomplishment of meeting with the V.P. of Steinway Piano Galleries of Atlanta! Mr. Mills was so impressed and said they did a great job. They negotiated the date, time and rental cost of the recital hall (which was $0.00.)

Our next team meeting was well attended and I set up a table and chairs boardroom style. They sat quiet and wide-eyed. Again, I asked them lots of questions to get their creative juices flowing about

ticket price and design,

charity to donate the proceeds,

and who would do what.

They each wrote down ideas for a name for their concert. I emailed many people with these names to vote on their favorite. With all the votes tallied, the name evolved and became…

Holliman’s Student Extravaganza

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The photo above shows some of the names they came up with. You’ll notice the team members are all pretty young by their penmanship.  In the other photo is the team discussing ideas and planning.

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Above are the tickets that were to be sold and the poster–totally designed by the marketing team.

I attended the Savvy Musician In Action Conference this past summer and learned a ton on how to make “it” happen. The “it” in this case was the concert. At Savvy we used large Post-It paper on the walls to keep us organized…..well, I had the concert team do the same. It was great for figuring things out and brainstorming. The kids LOVED writing on the Post-It paper and they all begged to get a turn to do so. Below is an example of the Post-It paper.

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Above left is a worksheet where they were figuring out their possible income from ticket sales and donations.

The other is a photo of the math of the treasurer who is a 13-year-old math genius. They found out that the recital hall fit 90 people comfortably and 100–not so comfortably. Our treasurers figured they could bring in at least $470 as they were also going to sell tickets at the door for $7.00.
At the next meeting I handed the team a computer and an iPad to find an organization to which they would donate the proceeds of their concert. Again, most of them hadn’t really done much research on a computer. They found quite a few but, selected the organization called Tuesday’s Children.

Tuesday’s Children was formed after 9/11 to take care of the needs of the children that lost their parents in the terrorist attack of 9/11 and the 300 unborn babies who lost their fathers.

I called the organization, talked to them and learned so much. They are evolving since the children are now getting older. The unborn children are now 15 years old. Now they offer help to people who have been impacted by any terrorist attack and other acts of violence.

The tasks that the students assigned themselves were all suited to their strengths; for example, the marketing team went gangbusters and sold the most tickets and asked everyone in their circle to come.

There was a job for everyone. My newer student, “T”(2nd grader), is very quiet and shy so I asked if she would like to design a Tuesday’s Children Donation Box. She did a wonderful job and put a lot of thought into it.

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Four students wanted to host the recital as they liked to speak in front of an audience. I wrote the script and handed it to them to figure out who would say what and when. They did an awesome job and owned it by memorizing their parts and making little note cards just in case they had a memory slip.

We had one dress rehearsal two days before. H’s Dad offered to run the recorded music prior to the concert and videos of snippets from Tuesday’s Children. He then handed all the information to his son and said “this is for you to figure out how it’s going to happen and I’ll help you” (loved that.)

On Holliman’s Student Extravaganza rehearsal day everyone was excited!

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September 11, 2016 arrived and the concert went off without a hitch. The students decided to enter the recital hall as a processional at show time carrying an American flag with the national anthem playing. What was so unexpected and moving was the audience all stood and sang the National anthem.

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In the photo above, you see a TV that we used to show the snippets of Tuesday ‘s Children videos for the audience to get a better understanding of the organization.

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After the concert the marketing team approached the audience as they were leaving to donate to Tuesday’s Children with the donation box and they were quite successful at it.

The following week the Finance Team went to work. I wanted to give the performers a stipend from the ticket sales for all of their hard work. The Finance Team met and did the math to see if this would be possible as they could only use the money from ticket sales. Over 57 tickets were sold plus they had many buy tickets at the door.

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They were able to give each performer a $6.00 stipend but most of the performers donated their stipend to Tuesday’s Children. The projected donation to Tuesday’s Children through ticket sales and donations was exceeded! Our extravaganza made a donation of almost $500!! Tuesday’s Children was so pleased and they have asked the team if they would do this again next year.
What I noticed after this experience, is that my students have exceeded their musical benchmarks. This concert was such an enriching experience and I have seen my their musical skills grow and their level of playing increase. Because I put the responsibility on them, they now understand the wonderful results that occur with planning, practice, diligence and teamwork.

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Some of the Holliman’s Student Extravaganza performers and team.

Thank you, Renée, for such an inspiring project and post. Please thank all your industrious and dedicated students, too!

-Leila