Monday, May 2, 2011

New Studio

Our long-time friend and roommate recently moved out and I've decided that I'm going to turn his old room into an office/studio for me to start giving music lessons and also have a better space to practice in.  This seemed like an easy enough project when I was first thinking about it, but I have come across things I didn't think of before that I now have to consider.  This is going to be more work than I originally thought but I think but it'll be worth it!

I do not have a real piano unfortunately.  I have a pretty nice Yamaha keyboard that I think will work just fine for what I need it for.  The one major problem though is that I've noticed my piano skills have gone WAY down hill since I was in college.  And they weren't that great to begin with.  I knew enough to competently pass my Piano proficiencies but that's about it.  And the Piano is one of those instruments, that at least for me, that if I don't practice daily, I lose the skills real fast.  I know enough to easily plunk out chords and such for my own practicing but when it comes to helping others, and accompanying someone...forget it!  I think piano is something else I need to make sure to add to my daily practice.  Otherwise, giving lessons to others is going to be very challenging.

I think I also want to offer clarinet lessons in addition to voice but my clarinet is in serious need of refurbishing.  It needs new pads, new corks, tightening, oiling blah blah blah.  I called around to see how much it would cost me and I didn't get a quote below $200.  I'm poor...that is a lot of money right now.  It might have to wait until I can get some good money from voice lessons.  I also thought I could maybe do some beginning Piano too but going back to #1, I am just not that confident in my own piano skills to foresee giving someone else lessons on it.  That will definitely have to wait.

I need to get one more bookshelf so that I can put all my music and theory books etc. in one place.  Not that big of a deal you would think...but when you are as broke as we are, even a little money to buy a bookshelf can be difficult to come by.  I'm going to see if I can hit up some garage sales this weekend and check Craigslist and Freecycle.  If anything I can head to Ikea and see if I can get something small.

I need my own desk.  I'm currently using the kitchen table as a desk and if I'm going to be pretty much running a business from home, I need something more functional.  Again, I'm poor.  A new desk is money I don't necessarily have at the moment.  So again with the garage sale, freecycle, craigslist thing.  I need something I do all my paperwork on, book keeping etc. and a file cabinet to hold student records etc.  DONE!  :)

The business side of things is where I start to flounder.  I know I need to get a good bookkeeping program for my computer and get the file cabinet etc.  But I just thought of the possibility that I will probably need a business license now.  And then there's taxes etc. and and and....I really feel like I have no idea when it comes to that part of it.  I guess I need to start doing some serious research into it and talk to my other friends who give lessons and see how they handle it.  I just want to make sure I don't make any big mistakes.  I have a pretty good idea how to run things on the business end of the food industry since I've been doing cakes for a few years but this is a new field and I'm not sure how alike and how different things run.

Publicity.  I need to really think about how I'm going to advertise.  Of course there are flyers at schools and music stores etc.  But I need to decide if it's worth it to pay for other avenues such as FB ads and newspapers etc.  Of course there is Craigslist.  But I think a lot of what I'll have to rely on is word of mouth like I have done with my cakes.  I am going to probably start another FB page for my teaching services.  I had business cards set up but they are out of date now as both my phone number and address have changed.      

And then there's the issue of letting people into my home.  After we were burglarized, I've become really antsy when it comes to letting semi-strangers into my house.  Hopefully this will fade in time but I'm having a hard time getting all of this started because of that reason.  The idea of someone in my home that I barely know, regardless of the fact that they are beings supervised by me, makes me twitch honesty...



  1. For business stuff, contact your local city hall. They can tell you what rules you need to follow, licenses you need, etc. It shouldn't be much.

    At tax time, I'm a big fan of professionals. They can usually save you more than they cost. Barring that, has an online version of quickbooks for $12.95 per month. It should do all the tracking you need and dump data into turbo tax. All you REALLY need is a spreadsheet though.

    Good luck.

  2. My voice lessons have always been unaccompanied. It forces the student to learn how to be expressive on their own and not rely on the piano to get them there. As for marketing, do you have connections with any churches or schools? I would start there. Word of mouth is the best way to gain new students. Good luck! Let me know if I can help in any way!