Often times, music teachers are a bit squeamish about linking business aspects of the profession with the artistic side of a student’s personal development. This newly released book, Two-Year Waitlist provides a trail-blazing guide about how teachers can gain maximum results by building a studio in a professional, savvy way while still being devoted pedagogues upholding the highest standards of education.
Noreen Wenjen earned NCTM certification from the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) and has been involved in teaching piano students of varying ages and levels of proficiency since receiving a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from the University of California, Santa Barbara and subsequent mentoring from and assistantship to renowned American concert pianist Joanna Hodges in Vancouver, Washington – of whom she dedicates this book.
She is currently President of the California Association of Professional Music Teachers (CAPMT) and has a teaching certification from the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM). Wenjen also has a background in marketing and computer technology from her work at Aquent, a tech staffing company co-founded by her sister – of which inspires her next book to be released by Audrey Press in 2020, “Zoom, Tweet, Text: Interacting with Today’s Music Students through Videos, Websites and Technology.”
Throughout its 19 chapters, Two-Year Waitlist offers a compendium of hands-on advice about how to make your teaching studio more viable, profitable and enriching for both student and parent. “Parents may not realize that the person they choose to be their child’s music teacher could turn out to have a profound influence on their child’s life…No other type of teacher or coach spends this amount of one-on-one time with a student,” writes Wenjen. Through the years, her successful studio represents a reflection of ideas and suggestions contained in this book. You can even purchase and download a copy of her teaching studio policy from her website.
Topics that are discussed in detail include studio set-up and scheduling, fees and rate increases based on the COLA index (cost of living), advantages of teaching in-home or at students homes, how to handle makeup lessons and how to plan for retirement by setting up a Roth or SEP IRA. There are questionnaires and even thoughts about the challenges and rewards of teaching students with special needs. “Having a music studio waitlist changes people’s mindset from getting the best bang for their buck to choosing the most qualified music teacher for themselves or their child,” Wenjen comments.
In this regard, she offers valuable suggestions about what a teacher might charge based on a variety of criteria such as qualifications, location of studio and depth of events offered that could include performance workshops, competitions, auditions and evaluations. She also mentions tips on how teachers might get more marketing exposure for their studio by joining local, state or national music organizations, engaging in the social media through Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat or giving lessons on Skype – while getting technology guidance from MusicTeacherHelper.com, for example.
Wenjen’s premise that music teachers should think of their private studios as a business investment provides a relevant component for people wanting to become career-oriented educators. She also points out that dedicated music teachers often impact the lives of students in very profound ways and their efforts should be rewarded with more than words of praise.
I just finished reading Alan Walker’s insightful over 700 page book, “Fryderyk Chopin: A Life and Times” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, October, 2018) where the author observes how Chopin charged a top fee for his private lessons, thus establishing a certain respect for his qualifications especially as his reputation grew - along with his expenses.
Two-Year Waitlist is a user-friendly read that is chock full of information that should serve as a source guide for established teachers looking to fine tune their studio policy or musicians ready to take the plunge. The book is available for sale or download March 1 through Audrey Press at www.audreypress.com, Amazon.com and www.wenjenpiano.com, among others.