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:
Questions and Answers:
- Date that the Academy was founded: October 2014
- Current Enrollment: Over 100 students, and a short waiting list
- Number of Faculty: 3 Full-Time Instructors
- How did you promote your school? The location of the school was very advantageous: a middle and upper income neighborhood, full of young families and many schools in the area. Yard signs and open houses were low budget and effective advertising tools. One of the Community Outreach Programs we did was during ‘Great American Teach In.’ We were invited to several schools in the area. We came in with a ‘transparent’ piano from Yamaha. Kids got excited about the piano’s action. We also brought in different parts from the piano, which students got to touch and see how they work… We played for the students, and they sang along with our playing… It was a blast! At that time we distributed our Brochure, and several enrollments resulted from this event.
- What are some creative ideas that you have worked well? “Mommy and Me” classes for 4 and 5 year old students, trio classes for 4 and 5 year old students. Programs for the 6 year old student to adult are a combination of private and group lessons resulting in all components of musicianship being covered.
- How do you maintain the quality of the teaching?
- Salaried faculty
- Teaching obserations
- Faculty training sessions
- Regular faculty meetings
- Unified teaching philosophy
- I am the group class instructor for all students at the academy.
- How do you handle studio policies? I recommend after figuring out what is really important for you that your clients understand about the way you run your business, to go to a lawyer who specializes in policies for small businesses, and have him or her put together a document that parents initial and sign upon enrollment. This will give you peace of mind, and will help set clear expectations for the clients.