Did you know 80% of VMTA members run private studios? EIGHTY PERCENT of us are educators AND entrepreneurs. In fact, teaching music literacy in some capacity is highly likely to arise in the journey of all musicians.

Entrepreneurship classes and cross-discipline partnerships within the music degree program are on the rise. Cutting edge university programs are including business management, marketing and technology skills as part of the recommended class schedule. The American Music Teacher Magazine now highlights the Everyday Entrepreneur and recently printed a fantastic article in the April Issue on the need for introducing viable business skills at the college level: Priming Gen Z to Save the Arts.

STUDIO ONE is a dynamic new VMTA conference session designed to bring to life the practical know-how needed to nurture a thriving private studio and give insight into FOUR STUDIO MANAGEMENT areas. Whether you’ve been teaching for a lifetime or are just getting started, STUDIO ONE strives to be the space where Entrepreneurship meets the Arts. This session will provide tools you can use in your studio or share with students who may be heading into studio-based careers.


PEDAGOGY: We need knowledge of our subject. And not just basic theory. We need anatomical knowledge of how things change as a child grows. We need knowledge on learning styles, incentives and strategies. Games, detailed explanations, problem solving and inspirational encouragement are our tools. From keys to winds to strings to voice, our job goes well beyond “playing the instrument”. We require consistent, up-to-date growth in our ability to TEACH the instrument.

PARENT PARTNERING: When educating young children, parents can be our greatest ally– and sometimes our biggest challenge. Studio entrepreneurship requires diplomacy, communication strategies and the ability to convey the importance and the how-to of parental support while crafting a balanced professional relationship. In our changing world, understanding the cultural and educational needs of our families is a necessity. Beyond partnering, how do we respectfully communicate concerns regarding learning disabilities, discipline issues or emotional health that affect a students time under our tutelage?

TECH SKILLS: The 2020 Pandemic threw open the doors of technology in the home studio. It also ramped up the technological expectations of our students. The technological smorgasboard includes parent portals, social media, gaming apps, QR codes and even filling out forms and registrations on a fully digital format! Simple subjects such as a basic website, digital storage and media permissions need our attention. The studio entrepreneur has endless opportunities to improve their studio function (and their students’ learning environment) through the incorporation of technology.

DAILY OPERATIONS: Running a business means taking care of the less than interesting details of insurance, liability exposure and taxes. It means managing your income and your financial future. Setting basic policies and providing boundaries to those who enter your private home for private lessons are best addressed proactively. Even challenges such as parking, policies for teen drivers, late arrivals and payment options fall on the entrepreneur’s very full plate.


  • Focus 100% on Private Studio Management
  • Be a series of 15-20 minute ONE Talks
  • Be a fast-moving Group Presentation
  • Allow Presenters to also be Participants

ONE Talks will engage a variety of styles, including:

  • Role playing (set up the scene)
  • Technology
  • Q&A format or audience participation
  • Teacher/Student approach (show a lesson moment)
  • A platform/app/philosophy that you love
  • Games
  • Problem/Solution Approach