ASMTA Conference: Making a Living as an Independent Music Teacher


By Lee Galloway


Balancing of life- family, friends, health, environment you live in- anything getting neglected?

It’s important to know what your values are. Characteristics, attributes, beliefs- respect, love, consistency,art, physically, peaceful, business, etc…

Find the value words that speak to you. Narrow down to 10 words then put in order of importance. How much does it manifest in your life.

A mission statement should have 4 components-

-what you do

-who you do it for

-what the benefit is for them

-what the benefit is for you


-I teach piano

-to children age 7-10

-enriching their lives with music

-earning enough to pay my bills easily (Last statement is most likely for your own use.)


It is important to write things down (goals, etc…) as the subconscience usually takes over.

Read books


ie: If you can have it anyway you wanted, how would you schedule your week.

Make a goal and visualize

It might not be immediate but it will get there.


ie: Lee wanted to make a goal to stop teaching by 7pm. Two years later he was there.

Before making this goal if he had an opening after 7pm he would fill it. But after making his goal, if he would have an opening after 7pm instead of immediately filling it, he would feel his sub-conscience take over and not fill it.


10 Techniques for improving the efficiency for your studio

– Value yourself- Charge what you are worth. You value yourself more and become better over the years.

– Advertise- ie: water pipe example- loading the pipe from one end, the other end you want people calling you. It takes a while for the stuff in the pipe to get to the other end. Keep your name out there, then the calls come. Then they fill up, they stop advertising. They are still getting calls, then the pipe empties out, the calls stop. Keep the pipe full.

– Hold a free interview/sample lesson

– Teach adults- Upside- lessons are less intense, can come during the day. Downside- expectations unrealistic,

– Reactivate previous clients- see if they want to come back (works really well with adults). He will mail a calendar to previous students, reminds them of your name/business.

– Ask for referrals- referral benefits are not necessary. They are glad to give you referrals, they just don’t realize you have openings. Just need to tell them.

– Giveaway or sell extra books- stick in a box- 1/2 price books, or buy 2 get one 3 etc…; gives books away for participation. (great idea for group classes and camps); Include your books in your tuition. Simplifies things so much!

– Make lessons longer- analyze which students can benefit from longer lessons. You are looking within your studio.

– Payment plans- These vary. Some options can be by lesson (not preferable); by the month- how many weeks in a month; 4 per month system- 4 lessons each month- same amount each month; averaging system- like tuition system but a little different- figure out how many weeks to take off, 40 lessons a year. Multiply that number then divide that and figure out monthly tuition (paying for an installment of lessons); Tuition system- charge for a semester and then can choose payment options.

-The best way to be an efficient teacher is to be an excellent teacher.

“How lucky we are in our field to change people’s lives one on one…. to do it with music, what can be better then that… the one subject the one art that penetrates to the very of our being of one’s soul…. appreciate yourselves”




  1. Coila Robinson

    Lee Galloway has given a similar presentation at MTNA national conference – great ideas! Thanks for the reminder on things that make so much difference in running a studio. If a teacher has a good effective studio policy, he/she will spend more time teaching (our main goal in life, I think!), and less time with problems that don’t deserve our time or attention.


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