Last week my studio families and I walked in our 5th annual parade since I opened in 2011. A 5-year anniversary is a perfect time for celebration, so I wanted to share a little more about it with you today.
Not only are you going to see photos from the last five years (including my three different hairstyles!), but I’m going to share a little bit of the logistics, and why you should consider doing something like this in your studio.
2011 – Year 1 (For the parade & my business!)
This is before I had my logo designed. I cut a sign out of black poster board (yes I cut out the logo!) and put clear plastic sleeve covers behind the poster board so I could stick down the inside pieces such as those on the 8’s.
Yes, it was cheap and homemade all the way! 10-15 students were supporting me at this point!
I made the keyboards out of foam-core poster board I bought at Wal-Mart.
Last night a few of my students, parents, husband (yes the goofy one in the back), friends, and I walked in a parade during our city’s September Street Fair. It’s become an annual event for my studio as a way to not only keep my name in the community but to foster a sense of community within my studio.
I’m going to share a bit more on this in an upcoming post!
: America’s Test Kitchen’s former beloved host Christopher Kimball has a new venture. Milk Street will bring recipes of the world to home kitchens making them easier and more accessible. Their bow-tie logo is beautiful, simple, and genius. Perfect in my opinion. Check out the siteor Facebook page.
*In the spirit of full-disclosure, this is an affiliate link which simply means I will get a small commission off any registrations. Please know I wouldn’t recommend it if I didn’t think it was a great professional development opportunity!
I’m off now to my own piano lesson. Yep, that’s right, I’m still learning and always will be!
About Friday Finds
Each Friday on this blog, I share some of my favorite finds from the past week. You’ll find anything from directly piano-related resources, articles, podcasts, and music, to recipes, world-happenings, fun finds and more.
I look forward to helping you as busy teachers see what’s worth checking out and promise to try and keep it under 10 items each week!
Since I’m a one-woman show here on Piano Pantry, it’s taken me until now to figure out the technical side of how to make this resource available to you in the best way possible. I like things to look clean, well-laid out, and organized.
There are 15 assignment sheets of all kinds of sizes, shapes, and colors (well, not exactly, but the phrase seemed to work here). 🙂
The best thing? There are MORE to come! I have at least another ten sheets ready to be added to the page on top of the 15 already there. It takes me about 20 minutes per sheet to get it onto the website, so I didn’t want to have to wait until I got all 25+ up to make it available to you!
Hopefully, 15 choices are enough to get you started!
Swapping up assignment sheets every 6-12 months is just one way I keep things fresh.
The resource page can be accessed from the main menu at the top or click here:
A good article on the historic Paul Harvey. I always loved listening to him as a kid. I looked and am surprised there isn’t a CD archive of his shows available for purchase. Has had the most incredible radio voice.
It’s called organizational fever; more specifically to this post – file fever – and I don’t know how to stop! Being organized is fuel to my body. It gives me clarity and peace of mind.
My studio gets organized and reorganized every few months and rearranged to some degree once to twice a year. I’m getting to the point where I’ve nearly perfected the arrangement, but rearranging and organizing to me are like a breath of fresh air. I’m a better teacher when everything is in its place. I have my moments – we all do – but I strive to keep my studio and workspace continually tidy for mine and my student’s sake!
Today I’m going to share how I organize my (physical) student files. In a future post, I will share how I organize student information using Evernote. First, a quick note on what inspired me to improve my organization even more.
Getting Things Done
A few months ago I finished the book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivityby David Allen. Ever since I have been working hard to streamline the way I work. Some of the topics he covers include cleaning up the space you work in, setting up the right tools, corralling your “stuff”, and keeping things fresh and functional.
One of the first things I did was purchase a label maker. After several months of using it, I wonder how I’ve gotten by as a supposedly “organized” person without one my whole life. I’ve been label-making like crazy!
My file drawer is one place where my label maker has been put to work. I love my 4-drawer lateral file. All my student files are kept in one drawer. Every student gets a hanging folder. Monday students names are labeled, and the label situated in the slot clear to the left. Tuesday students are in the second space, Wednesday students in the third space and well, I think you get the idea. I love seeing the files laid out this way.
(In case you’re wondering, I used the app “Blur it” to blur out the last names in this photo.) Continue reading
I have been on the lookout for awhile for a book of hymns in their original state (not arranged) that were slightly simplified. The homophonic texture of most hymns is quite complicated for most students to play. The Piano Student’s Hymnalis exactly what I was looking for. I have one adult student using it who loves it – it’s the perfect level of difficulty. I would love to see Alfred publish one that’s even just a tad easier.
A few days ago I had a Facebook private message from a fellow Indiana colleague with some questions regarding marketing.
I’ve heard you mention before that you had good luck meeting with school music teachers, letting them know about your services and asking them to refer students to you.
How did you find out which teachers to contact?
Did you call or email?
Did you meet with them in person?
What did you say to make them more likely to agree to the meeting, and what things did you bring up during the meeting?
“Aha!” I said to her, “This will make a perfect post for my readers, can you give me a few days?”
…and here we are.
She’s right. One of the many marketing tactics I took in the first two years I was open for business included contacting and preferably meeting in person all the school teachers in mine and even surrounding counties.
Psst…there’s a freebie at the end to help you organize your new marketing strategy so stick with me!
Why This is So Important
Who is it that parents go to when they look for lessons? They ask the kid’s music teacher.You should know who they are and what they look like so if you see them around town, especially if you’re in a small town, you can at least put a face with a name.
Building rapport with school music teachers is building your referral network.
Since I keep detailed records of every inquiry, conversation, and contact I have with potential students, I can announce for a fact, that 6% of my total inquiries thus far have come from school music teacher. This includes those who only inquired as well as those who ultimately registered. Even better, 8.7% of my total registrations have come from this marketing effort – nearly 1/11.
In April I purchased this Handmade Acrylic Washi Tape Dispenser from Etsy that has a fun paisley design. I was looking for something that didn’t take up a ton of space, would fit on the piano next to the music rack and that was at least somewhat pretty/design friendly. This one fit the bill. (*Disclaimer: You have to press on the tape a little to hold it down when you tear it off since the cutting edge is acrylic and not overly sharp, but I don’t mind that being that my kiddos use it.)
My husband and I like to can. We can anything from chicken/venison stock and soups to corn, green beans, pears, strawberry jam, pear butter, and more. Find out about the rise and fall in popularity of the mason jar inA Short History of the Mason Jar.
I just ordered my fall edition of the ever beautiful Sift magazine put out by King Arthur Flour. This first step into fall time has made me feel like pulling out fall decorations for the studio in the next couple weeks. Autumn is in the air!
One of my favorite articles in the MTNA American Music Teacher Magazine is “It’s None of all Your Business” by fellow Indiana colleague Karen Thickstun.
Karen is not only an excellent teacher but she’s highly intelligent and business savvy. I am blessed to know and get to work with her on the Indiana MTA board of directors. (P.S. I also have to mention that she’s a nominee for President-Elect for MTNA in the upcoming election. Consider that my endorsement) 😉
“When Amy Chaplin opened her studio in a small Indiana town a few years ago, she implemented 40 different marketing strategies. Two years later, she had a full studio and waiting list. She meticulously tracked every inquiry, every registration. Of those who inquired, but did not register, 35 percent came from traditional marketing (location near an ice cream store, fliers, print ads); 20 percent came from personal marketing (referrals, networking, personal connections); and 13 percent came from online marketing. However, when she analyzed who inquired andregistered, she found that 54 percent of her students learned about her studio through personal marketing, 20 percent through traditional marketing and 6 percent through online marketing.
As evidenced by Amy’s research, word-of-mouth is a trusted, powerful method of sharing information and building a studio.”
It’s true. Word-of-mouth does still work, ESPECIALLY in a small community. (Just remember it can’t be your ONLY form of marketing – but that’s another topic!)
Lots of people inquire when they see you online, or they see your great location. When it comes down to making that commitment, however, it’s those who know you best–customers who refer you, teachers you network with who recommend you, and those you already have some connection or relationship with that ultimately drive your business.
So what does this mean for us? What else can we do besides be the best teacher we can be and hope people will recommend us to others?
From Houston Public Media: “Houston Public Media classical music librarian, Dacia Clay has a secret: she knows next to nothing about classical music. But she wants to learn! Luckily, she’s surrounded by classical music experts every day. In each episode of the Classical Classroom, Dacia’s colleagues and some local classical music luminaries take turns giving her classical music “homework assignments”. You’ll learn about everything from bel canto aria to the use of leitmotif in the score to Star Wars. Come learn with us in the Classical Classroom.”