1. The key to success

When you decide to teach piano lessons, the freedom is appealing. You can create your own schedule and even quit your day job. No boss! 

However, such freedom can also be terrifying. There is no guaranteed income. Instead of one boss, you have twenty or thirty: your clients.

So how do you build a thriving studio you can depend on? How do you attract new students? And how do you ensure that, when summer vacation comes, your students stay with you instead of scattering to the four winds?

The answer is simple:

  • A successful studio is built on referrals.

  • Referrals come from happy clients (that is, your adult students and the parents of the children who are your students).

  • The client is happy when the student  is successful.

  • Success is defined by  being able to play piano pieces well (whether in the context of formal recitals or impromptu performances) and experiencing positive feelings about them.

  • Being able to play piano pieces well is a result of consistent practice.

Therefore, in order to become a popular piano teacher with a neverending stream of referrals, you’ll need to learn how to create students who practice consistently.

The good news is that you have a great deal of influence over a student’s practice habits.

Here’s what it takes:

  • Maintain, in every lesson, a warm, positive atmosphere.

  • Choose appropriate material.

  • Teach the student how to practice.

The people who actually spend time playing their instruments are the ones who are good at playing their instruments, because they spend time playing their instruments.

Early on, talent is a factor. But effort is a far more important factor in the long run.

If students are successful as a result of practice, that means that virtually any student who practices will become proficient on their instrument.   

When students are making visible progress, they don’t quit. They take lessons all summer and then send you their friends.

As a piano teacher, your job is to transform your students into strong, independent practicers. This is the key to your success and theirs.


In the spirit of connecting with your fellow teachers, I invite you to share your thoughts on this post in the comments. Consider the following: 

  • What, in this post, felt new to you?
  • What action might you take in relation to the ideas in this post?
  • What follow-up questions or suggestions do you have?