After having successfully built a studio in 3 different locations in the last 20 years, I find myself moving once again in my life! This is the biggest move of them all, 6913 miles, across the Pacific Ocean, from sunny California back to my home town, Christchurch, New Zealand. Actually in terms of distance, this is not my biggest move (I did move from Christchurch to New York which was 9166 miles!) but in terms of complexity – I now have a family, a young daughter, and a 40 foot container to ship!
You may be thinking, I must have a lot on my plate! And you are right! The move is still in progress, the container which will bring back two grand pianos has not left the port, I have to get used to driving on the other side of the road all over again, say hello to opposite seasons, getting my daughter into new school…the list is quite endless! But the one thing that actually does not give me much anxiety is rebuilding my studio.
So how do I plan on rebuilding a very successful studio? My answer is, unlike all previous moves, I am not rebuilding, I am not leaving behind every student, I am simply changing the physical location of my studio. For anyone in similar positions, I would like to share my tips.
- Keep your current students! How? you say. Remote teaching! By now online piano lessons are not unheard of. I taught exclusively online during the Pandemic. Most of my students are very used to it. Even after I started teaching in-person, many of my students chose to stay online. So it actually does not matter where my physical location is.
- Upgrade your gear. I am talking about the online studio set up. I already invested in high quality hardwares – computer, iPads, microphones, multiple cameras; I will be exploring alternative softwares. Zoom has served me well, but I am super excited to try Online Studio. It is the newest offering by Duet, soon to be launched. It is a music/audio-optimized video conferencing platform that will open up directly in the Duet app – no additional accounts or logins needed. It will only be an additional $8 per month on top of your Duet subscription, but that is half of Zoom’s current $15 monthly fee. Best of all, it will have a lot more music teacher-specific features, such as digital tuner, metronome, chord generator, etc. I can not wait to try it!
- Recruit new students. This used to be on the top of the list. It is still essential to “get new bloods,” as no student stays with you forever! It is not a priority for me right now, but at some point I will be updating my website and start marketing for new students, both local and online. Online presence is key. I will be doing a lot of work to revamp my website, Facebook page, and YouTube channel.
- Try new things. I plan on starting group classes. I have only ever taught one-on-one lessons! I still believe in private lessons, but I will be looking into in-person group classes for beginners and recreational learners. I will also be looking into level-based online masterclasses, for exam preparation for my current students who will continue with assessments such as Certificate of Merit offered by Music Teachers Association of California and RCM exams offered by Royal Conservatory of Music. I even have dreams of writing online courses on Teachable! I want to diversify and create different streams of income.
- Continue to learn. I always believe that when we invest in our own professional development, we can have as many students as we want to teach. For me, this means getting back into practicing, exploring new repertoire, reading, listening, going to live concerts, may be even getting back to attending music teacher conferences.
I am excited to be back writing for Duet. My career took off in California soon after I first started blogging for Music Teachers Helper (now Duet) in 2010, so it feels fitting that I am returning to this platform. I am still very much in the middle of my move, and I look forward to sharing my adventures!