In the middle of the night, I was scrolling through social media and came across this amazing quote by Bob Ross. “Talent is pursued interest.” I quickly realized there were many lessons to be learned with these few simple words, especially when running a successful music studio.
Think about it…
Tell me about something you’ve been very motivated to do or learn recently.
Likely, you couldn’t get your mind off of it.
You likely become infatuated with it.
What was it for you?
Was it learning how to play a new instrument? Learning a specific piece of music? Is it possible that it wasn’t music at all? For example, you might enjoy photography, jewelry making, or genetic engineering among other things.
If you are thinking about pursuing a particular passion, consider the measures you will need to take to pursue that interest.
- Time – As a teacher, you are well aware that you will not be able to truly perfect your skill if you simply devote 30 minutes each week to it. While there is no magic number when it comes to time, consistency is always the most essential aspect to consider.
- The ability to learn new things – The beauty of life is that you can ALWAYS learn something new, no matter how long you have been engaged in your chosen area of interest. For piano teachers, knowing how to play or teach a different genre might be an excellent example. Most piano teachers are confident in their ability to offer classical style instruction, but many teachers struggle when it comes to performing or teaching popular music.
- Take action – While reading about your subject or viewing videos about it is a terrific method to learn, you must act on what you are learning and put it into practice.
What works for some people will not work for others, and vice versa. It is your responsibility to put new actions into action and see what works and what doesn’t for you. Believe me when I say that failures are just as important as achievements and that you will gain a great deal of knowledge from them.
Is this the perfect blueprint for talent?
To be honest, I don’t think so. I don’t believe there is an “ideal” recipe for developing talent.
I feel it takes a lot of tenacity and a lot of passion to succeed.
You must devote enough time and effort to your passion that you become so comfortable with your own mistakes, achievements, and preferences that you will just ‘know’.
That is when the element of talent is introduced.
I tell people this all the time when they ask me, “Where do you get all of your ideas, creativity, and motivation to achieve what you do?”
Ultimately, it is the result of passion, grit, familiarity, and consistency.
That is crucial, especially when it comes to running a successful music studio.
You do, you review, you make adjustments, and you repeat the process.
Is this something you’ve heard before?
When you’re learning a new piece of music, you’re familiar with this formula.
When you’re working your way through a piece of music, you analyze yourself and provide feedback to yourself. Then, you correct your mistakes and then repeat this process.
You could begin by working on notes that need to be corrected.
After that, you can adjust the timing or rhythms.
After that, you work on dynamics.
Making small adjustments over time allows you to progress from simply playing notes on the piano to creating a beautiful piece of art.
There wasn’t necessarily an “Aha!” moment, but there was a series of “Aha!” moments along the process.
It’s an exhilarating, stressful, challenging, and ultimately gratifying learning journey filled with aha’s! that leads you to your current position on the map of your pursuit.
Whatever your area of interest is, whether it is performing, teaching, or anything completely unrelated to music, it is the product of familiarity and consistency.
Time + Learning + Action = Pursuing
If you’re just getting started, if you’re in the middle of your journey, or if you’re taking a break… don’t think about the destination.
Take a look at your present abilities. Identify what you enjoy, what you would like to improve, and what you would like to better, and then just keep pursuing your interest.
These are exactly the kinds of things I ask myself when I think about my studio. It’s referred to as my studio audit.
What is the purpose of auditing my studio?
My ultimate objective is to establish a successful music studio, and while certain things are going quite well in my studio, I am happy to make little adjustments to make it a better experience for everyone (including myself).
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I’m aware that many teachers are feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, and that others are questioning whether they will be able to keep up.
Allow me to tell you that I understand what you’re going through.
I sit down twice a year to audit my studio to ensure that I am operating at the highest level possible during this stage of my life.
For the majority of us, the last couple of years have been difficult. Teachers have shown incredible fortitude, but it has taken a toll on many of us.
My studio audit assists me in remaining in the present moment. It helps me to take a step back and assess where my students and I are at this point, allowing me to make the necessary modifications to keep the passion alive.
How to Create a More Successful Studio: 4 Questions to Ask Yourself
What aspects of your studio were particularly successful?
Take a deep breath and think about all of the wonderful things that have transpired in your studio. These victories can be minor or significant in scope.
Did you enjoy the sense of belonging you created within your studio? Perhaps, you include games in your teaching on a more frequent basis? Have you enjoyed your time spent in the classroom?
In the recent six to twelve months, what events have occurred that have been nothing short of extraordinary?
What are some of the stumbling blocks in your studio?
Teachers frequently remark that one of the most difficult responsibilities they have is setting boundaries.
Do you despise the fact that families approach you through a variety of channels at various hours of the day? Possibly, you are receiving messages through several channels such as email, text, and even Facebook Messenger.
Perhaps you had several students who had difficulty grasping a particular concept.
Perhaps one of your biggest frustrations is the plethora of paperwork that comes with owning and operating a business.
If you’re anything like me, you’re constantly juggling your professional and personal lives.
Possibly, your pain points could be performance-based. Did your students meet your performance expectations during recitals or exams?
It’s possible that you’re feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.
What are the things that you want or need to adjust for a successful music studio?
If you take a good look at question number two, you may notice that you have a few sticking points in your music studio.
Investigate each of these concerns in depth.
What was it exactly that wasn’t working for you? Did you spend 1-2 hours a week attempting to arrange your makeup lessons? Did you have a situation where students failed to show up for lessons, resulting in you not getting paid?
Is it possible for you to make some modifications to turn that problem into a success in the next 6 to 12 months?
Is it necessary to make changes to the studio policy? Do you need to set office hours? Do you need to separate your teaching schedule from your personal time? Is it necessary to include more games to reinforce theory concepts?
If your bookkeeping and paperwork aren’t up-to-date, do you need to set aside an hour every month to keep up?
If you’re feeling fatigued and stressed, it’s possible that you need to schedule some relaxation, take a getaway, or even ask for help.
Student cancellations are one of the most common complaints I hear from music teachers. If a student cancels, are you trying to fit them into another time slot so you still get paid? Do you have a no make-up policy? Perhaps you could provide flex weeks to make up for any classes that you or your students may have missed during the year.
Believe me when I say that no successful music studio is without flaws. However, by dedicating time to your studio, learning valuable lessons along the way, and taking action to resolve issues, you will be one step closer to establishing a successful studio.
Someone might approach you and say, “How did you learn this?”
You can then say, “Have you ever heard ‘Talent is a pursued interest?’… Allow me to tell you about it…”
Here at TopMusic we have a proven formula for incremental improvement – a steady path to studio success without the overwhelm.
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