Studio Operating Structure
How Will You Structure Your Work?
Since you're the boss, you have the privilege to structure your job any way you want! Consider these basic questions:
- What age students will you seek?
- What level students will you seek?
- How much independence do you want? Do you want to work alo or are you more comfortable working in a cooperative (consort m of teachers) or as anotherI' son's employee? In answering this question, ask yourself whether you can (or could learn to) deal with unpleasantness(calling a parent about overdue tuition a bounced check or dismissing a student for lack of effort).
- Where will you teach? Are there any strictures location might impose (gated community, apartment complex; access to publicI' nsportation; zoning)? Do you need permits from city/county?
- How much do you want to earn? (Also, how much do you need to earn?)
- How many hours a week do you want to teach? Are there any strictures (baby's nap evening only, no weekends)?
- Will you teach private lesso only? Group only? Both?
- How long will lessons last? I' and 60 minutes? 45 minutes? All three?
- How much will you charge?
- How will you calculate tuition? Flat fee every month regardless of how many lessons a given student receives in a month ("levelized billing") or multiply the number of lessons a month by your hourly/half-hourly fee (students pay differen amounts each month, depending on whether they have 4 or 5 lessons)?
- How will you handle federal vacation days (such as Martin Luther King Day, Thanksgiving; but also local holidays and school-off days for conferences and teacher in-service)? Make up by squeezing in either before or after the date? Having students pay for the lesson anyway, assuming that vacation days wil "even out" for all students over the course of a year (leveliz billing teachers)? Forfeit your income on those days (non-lev ized billing teachers who doI' make up lessons)?
- What calendar will you follow? (I recommend the local school district calendar.)
- How will students obtain music? Go to a music store? You buy and they reimburse you? If the latter, will you have materials account into which the students deposit a sum of money at the beginnin of the year?
- What other fees will you charge (ex.: library fee for borrowing sight-reading books, videos, etc.; computer ab fee for purchase of new software and hardware; recital fee to cover food/programs/hall rental; registration/administration fee to help offset some of your min expenses; materials fee for music and other items you give tudents)?
- Will you use electronic instruments or computers in your studio? If so, for what?
- What are the major elements of your studio curricul ? (I recommend literature, technique, sight-reading, theory, and fun.)
Plan Before Your Start
Opening a new business requires planning and decision-making in advance of throwing open the doors. Take your time. Whatever you invest at this point in the development of your business will be amply repaid later in time saved and problems avoided.
Manage by Goals
Don't manage your business by solving crises as they pop up. Instead, manage by goals and procedures you have set up in advance. Ce ainly these will be modified, but you need structure. Don't just wing it.
copyright 1997, Martha Beth Lewis, Ph.D.
Contact me about reprint permission.
Piano Home Page | Pedagogy Topics
| Home Page