Archive for the ‘Product Reviews’ Category

Minute for Marketing: Review for Philip Johnston’s Promoting Your Teaching Studio

Friday, September 25th, 2009

practicespot1By Laura Lowe

Republished with permission from the Piano Studio

No series on marketing the independent teaching studio would be complete without a review of Philip Johnston’s book The PracticeSpot Guide To Promoting Your Teaching Studio.

In general, I think this book’s a worthwhile read. It will help you launch and maintain a full-fledged advertising campaign, as opposed to utilizing a few isolated marketing efforts here and there. Especially since most of us have spent more time learning how to play and teach well than how to advertise effectively, it provides a valuable education in how to think like a marketer. It’s one of the only books about marketing geared specifically for piano teachers. The ideas range from yellow pages ads to community involvement.

Most reviews of this book praise it for the many ideas it presents for advertising the teaching studio. I think the book’s greatest strength is not in the individual tips, but in the marketing theory which is woven throughout the book and which you’ll assimilate without even realizing it as you read. Most of us could think up those practical marketing ideas – we see other businesses using those techniques all the time! But, I think we fail to realize that we can do the same things, or even need to do those things. By the time you finish Johnston’s book, you’ll be thinking of your teaching studio as a business that needs a marketing plan just like any other business, and you’ll some good practical ideas for how to put your plan to work.

I do have a couple of criticisms. First, the book fails to address how to prioritize marketing efforts according to cost-effectiveness. Most of us have very limited advertising budgets. I think this should have been a major point, and it will be the subject of my next Minute for Marketing post.

My second criticism is that, even when it was copyrighted in 2006, the book was limited in its discussion of online advertising. The last chapter of the book, Using the Power of the Internet, is an advertisement for Johnston’s own web service for teachers, PracticeSpot’s webvertisements. While I don’t blame him a bit for doing this (he’s a savvy marketer and after all, the book’s title is The PracticeSpot Guide to…), it does prevent the book from being complete as a guide to marketing the teaching studio. Even in 2006, the power of the internet for music teachers was certainly not limited to PracticeSpot. For instance, there’s no mention of blogging, a medium alive and healthy in ‘06. By now, the book is sorely outdated where internet marketing is concerned as social networking, social bookmarking, and other dynamic applications are changing the game in a big way.

In short, I like the book and would recommend it to anyone looking for ways to grow a teaching studio, especially new teachers and especially those who are opening a large community facility. Just keep in mind that it’s incomplete.

References – as requested

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

By Leah Coutts

I have been asked to supply the references I used for my presentation on motivation – here it is, along with where the books are available to purchase online (the pictures are links):


Clark, F. (1992). Questions and answers: Practical advice for piano teachers.Northfield,Illinois: Instrumentalist Co

Uszler, M, Gordon, S., & McBride Smith, S. (2000). The well-tempered keyboard teacher (2nd ed.). New York: Schirmer Books.

Darling, E. (Ed.). (2005). A piano teacher’s legacy: Selected writings by Richard Chronister. Kingston, New Jersey: The Francis Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy.

Coats, S. (2006). Thinking as you play: Teaching piano in individual and group lessons. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press.

Guy, S. (2006). If it’s not new and exciting, it’s old and boring. Keyboard Companion, 17(4),30-31.

Hisey, A. (2002). What is “fun?” Keyboard Companion 13(2), 25-26.

Huitt, W. (2001). Motivation to learn: An overview. Retrieved from Educational PsychologyInteractive: Motivation Web site:

Kreader, B. (2000). What do you do with a student who hates to play the piano? Keyboard Companion, 11(1), 5-7.

Lyke, J., & Enoch, Y. (1987). Creative piano teaching. Champaign, Illinois: Stipes.

Tollefson, M. (2000). How do you motivate a student who is not practicing?Keyboard Companion 11(1), 26-28.

I recommend that all teachers have a library of resources on which to draw to further their insight into learning styles and teaching practices that can further their own teaching.

“Forte” Notation Software: A Review

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

By Ronnie Currey

Republished with permission from Music Teachers Helper

I recently began using Forte notation software to compose or write sheet music especially tailored for my students. Forte not only records tracks and allows you to play back your creation, you can also use the software to edit MIDI files.

Some of the many features of Forte is it’s ability to  Sequence and transpose by Instrument. The software also has a MIDI in & out, as as Punch Record, Loop Record & Playback. The list goes on and on.You can go to and check it out for yourself.

I was a little hesitant at first, as I thought software with these feature would take time to learn. I then learned that there was a program you could download called “Forte in Ten Minutes”. Without too much work or studying the manual I was up to speed writing out my music for the students. Forte provides a good music teacher resource for their students.

I have tried several programs, especially ones in the music departments of schools, and I found them a little expensive to purchase as well as a little time consuming to learn. Forte is downloaded from their site and has a freeware version as well as a standard version you can try for 30 days. After trying it I had to get it and use it in my studio. Forte Light is $60, and the Standard version is $180. You can also download a feature comparison chart so you can decide which version is right for you.

Has anyone else used Forte? What is your opinion as a music teacher?