Is music your passion? If you’ve played a range of different instruments from a young age and have always dreamed of starting a music school, you’ve come to the right place! Here’s how to start a community music school, from initial brainstorming to finding your students. Let's get started.
How To Start A Community Music School: A Checklist
A checklist is a great way to visualize the path in front of you. Think of it as a roadmap. Here are the tasks you need to tackle.
- Shadow or apprentice at a music school you respect
- Create your music school business plan
- Find the right venue for your music school
- Hire office staff and teachers
- Focus on getting organized
- Grow your music school with marketing
If you’re ready to learn more about how to start a music school, read on for details.
1. Shadow A Current Music School Owner
It’s important to have a clear understanding of the many roles you’ll take on when you’re starting a music school.
To start, find a music school you admire and introduce yourself to the owner or manager. Ask if you can spend time shadowing them to see what a typical day is like for them. Try to find someone you won't be in direct competition with—a school in a different part of town or one that serves different types of students.
Once you know more about the daily operations of a music school, and are sure you want to pursue this dream, it's time to get started.
2. Create A Detailed Music School Business Plan
Your music school business plan is an important document that lays out your goals and how you plan to achieve them. You’ll also dive into specifics about your cost of starting a music school.
While every business plan is unique, it should at least include the following sections:
- Executive summary: Clarify your goals and values in a few sentences. This section should also establish what type of legal business entity your school will be, and how you'll comply with licensing or regulatory requirements.
- Market analysis: Research your potential customers, as well as the competition. Be honest about any potential challenges.
- Products and services: Discuss important details about the types of classes you plan to offer, the ages you plan to teach, and more. Note if you'll provide both in-person and online classes, or if you'll sell any accessories.
- Financial projections: Detail where your revenue will come from and how much your bills will cost. Whether you have the money for starting music lessons, or will be using a bank loan, be thorough about how you plan to get up and running.
- Marketing overview: Whether your marketing strategy will use social media, in-person referrals, newspaper advertising, or a combination, develop a plan. Break down the cost of each method.
If your music school is a joint venture, be sure to work on this with the entire team. This document will help you lay the foundation for a successful school.
3. Find The Right Location For Your Music School
When you start dreaming of how to start a community music school, you probably envision a warm space filled with music and smiling students.
While you want to find a place that is inviting, there are several other practical aspects to consider. Think about parking, safety, and potential foot traffic when you’re making this important decision. Give special thought to the acoustics of the space.
Also, will you want a dedicated area in the studio to host online classes for another revenue stream? What size will your classes be? Think through these things before signing a lease on a new place.
Once you have your space, map out where you'll host in-person and online classes. Note any waiting areas for parents or other shared spaces.
From there, you'll need music stands, sheet music, and of course, instruments! Don’t be afraid to find used instruments, especially in the beginning. This is one way to help you cut costs while you’re trying to get your music school up and running.
4. Hire Support Staff And Teachers
While you probably want to spend all of your days teaching music, it may take some time to get there. Don’t be afraid to hire support staff, especially while you’re still getting your business off the ground.
Find someone to help you manage your office and front desk, as well as a music teacher to take on some of your classes. If possible, consider investing in a studio software tool to streamline some of your administrative tasks, like student enrollment, communications and billing, to reduce your workload.
5. Focus On Organization And Sustainability
Building on this, organization is key to keeping your music school running smoothly. Develop a plan for your systems and processes early on (and plan to re-evaluate them as your school grows!).
At the beginning, consider how you’ll keep track of enrollment, billing, and your annual teaching and events calendar. Tools like music studio management software can even analyze your data and track trends in your business over time. This will help you make well-informed decisions as you move forward.
Also remember that it's important to keep your customers coming back year after year! Don’t lose students during the summer or holiday breaks. Make a plan now to capitalize on these times by hosting camps and other unique events, like online classes, workshops, or performances.
6. Grow Your Music School With Marketing
Marketing should begin from day one, long before you open! There are so many ways to get the word out without breaking the bank. These include:
- Posting flyers on local community boards
- Starting social media accounts to engage with your potential students
- Looking into newspaper or magazine ads
- Offering virtual or online workshops for new students to test your services
- Connecting with local parent bloggers or social media influencers to tour your school
- Hosting an open house with performances and live workshops
- Networking with partner businesses who could advertise your services, such as daycares, schools, or dance studios
Speaking of, networking is an essential part of starting any organization or business. Get involved in your community by joining the local Chamber of Commerce. Ask about ribbon cutting opportunities that can help you share the news that you’re officially in business!
Connect with other music teachers and performing arts professionals in your area as well. These connections will help you stay in the know when it comes to your industry.
Start Your Community Music School
You’ll have more time to enjoy the music and grow your studio when you have Studio Director helping out. Our music studio management software handles the many details that will make your studio run efficiently. From class scheduling to financial reports, as well as communication with students, Studio Director can do it all.
Ready to see for yourself? Take a look at how we can help with our free demo!