You might not know this, but most Musicologie teachers are also performers and make up to 50% of their income from performing. So when covid-19 hit and gigs were canceled and venues closed, our teachers lost a huge portion of their income, even if they were still able to teach. We knew we wanted to do something to help bridge that gap. The first thing we did was make sure our transition to virtual lessons was quick and simple, so teachers didn’t lose students and could still work. The second thing we did was start hosting virtual concerts every Friday at 6:30 with suggested donations going to the performing teachers.
Then, of course, students started losing their jobs. Families couldn’t afford lessons anymore. So we expanded our scholarship program to cover the cost of lessons for any students who lost income because of covid-19. This is such a good thing because not only does it enable a student to continue learning, but also those lesson fees go directly to a teacher, helping maintain their income.
We asked our student community to help. And boy did they! Our students, families, and supporters gave $4381 as of May 10. That has gone to help 19 students continue lessons, and helped 22 teachers pay their bills.
I know this such a tough time for everyone, but a silver lining has been seeing communities come together support each other.
How We Spent the Money
I have a quick note about how we’ve allocated the money. For performers, anything donated during a virtual concert was split between all the performers. This amount has varied quite a bit based on the number of teachers performing, and of course the amount donated. So we decided we wanted teachers to make at least $50 each, and Musicologie pitches in the difference if we don’t get there. That has added up to $1682 given to teachers for our weekly virtual concerts.
The remaining money has gone to our scholarship program. Our scholarship program has always covered 50% of the monthly lesson membership fee of $138, and the student has covered the remaining 50%. Now, we’ve changed that so our scholarship covers the entire fee. Of course, that $138 fee covers the teacher’s pay, but it also covers rent, utilities, admin expenses, etc. We wanted to make sure we could stretch the scholarship money as far as possible, so we’re only covering teachers’ pay with the scholarship money. For example, if you were to give $138, it doesn’t just cover one scholarship because we’d take out what we needed to pay the teacher to teach the scholarship student, and instead of using the rest to cover operating expenses, we use the rest to help provide another scholarship.
There is one caveat to that. We have four studios, and they all have different numbers of students, and are different ages. One is 6 years old, one is less than a year, so they make very different amounts of money. Our two oldest studios, Musicologie Grandview and Musicologie Westerville, aren’t in danger of not being able to pay rent and have a different business structure than the other two studios. Our Dublin and Lewis Center studios, however, are closer to the edge financially. But more importantly they are co-owned by Megan Rainey and Justin Swain, who are Community Managers and teachers. Those two make money teaching, but they also make money based on how profitable their studio is. This pandemic has caused a huge hit to that part of their income, and so in their case, if you gave $138, a portion pays the teacher, but we do put the usual portion toward operating expenses so their studios stay in the black.