Business Acumen

As I have said more than once, it is difficult to describe the graduate piano pedagogy programs that were offered at The New School for Music Study because the curriculum was comprehensive in scope. At the end of my last blog, I pointed out that nothing was left unexamined, including the business of managing a successful piano studio.  Even if you have been teaching for years, you may want to read this post to learn about what was emphasized and then compare your own approach to handling business dealings.

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Focus on the Independent Music Teacher: A Conversation with Scott Donald

When did you begin your studio in Austin?

I thought I would never want to be an independent piano teacher. The 15 year-old version of Scott Donald saw my future as getting a Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate then teaching in college. That vision has followed me for many years. I now find myself as the 50 yea- old version of Scott Donald doing something that I never thought I would want to do – an independent piano teacher. For the first time in my life I am not teaching at a college or community music school. Studio A, my studio name, officially opened this Fall 2015. It was a gradual process. I had taught privately for a few years in Austin with other primary responsibilities associated elsewhere. The thought of opening an independent studio from nothing is a daunting task. I was fortunate in that I had an established reputation in Austin and access to students already.

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Focus on Independent Music Schools: Prairie Music & Arts – an interview with Julie Baskinger

Editor’s note: Julie Baskinger was on faculty at The New School for Music Study prior to relocating to Wisconson. In a recent conversation with Julie, I learned about her valuable and exciting contributions to a thriving community music school. Continue reading “Focus on Independent Music Schools: Prairie Music & Arts – an interview with Julie Baskinger”

Focus on Independent Music Schools: New Tampa Piano and Pedagogy Academy

Editor’s Note:

This new series will focus on those who have succeeded in establishing thriving independent businesses. Judith Jain was on faculty at the New School for Music study before moving to Tampa, Florida with her husband. She first established a successful home studio before taking the plunge and opening her piano academy.

As a former colleague and always friend, Judith consulted with me and many others as she embarked on her new venture. I knew that she had a business plan to start, a good head for business, and an opportunity for a rental property that was ultimately too tempting to resist. Even so, it was stunning to witness the rapid growth of her academy. I was particularly impressed that Judith was quickly able to develop a good relationship with a Yamaha piano store.  I asked Judith to share some of her experience with our readers so far. For more information, click on the link below:

New Tampa Piano and Pedagogy Academy

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Building Better Practicers


One of our greatest responsibilities as teachers is to provide our students with the skills and strategies to practice and improve independently. In working to attain this goal, we carefully plan our students’ course of study, meticulously analyze their pieces, and walk our students through detailed workouts of their new repertoire in their lessons. We provide them with a specific plan for home practice and trust that they will execute these steps and return the next week showing improvement.  However, the results do not always meet our expectations. If students follow all of our practice steps, why are they not improving?  The answer may lie in the way they are practicing.

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