Why (and How) Musicologie is Building New Teaching Studios

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About the Author

Joseph Barker

Joseph is co-founder of Musicologie.

When my wife Kay and I started Musicologie in 2014, there was no career path for private music teachers. Sure, you could teach with a local studio, but pay was low, community and support were non-existent, and there was no upward mobility or security. So what did we do? We opened Musicologie.

Musicologie’s Beginning

Our goal was to build a career for ourselves and to create a community we were proud of. But we had no idea how to do it. We had to start from scratch. Without business school, without resources, without experience, without money. Yikes.

We decided it was worth all the risks and we took the leap. We researched demographics and neighborhoods, we went on numerous property tours, we learned how to negotiate with building owners, we made spreadsheets full of financial projections, we wrote pages of policy ideas, we taught ourselves how to code and built a website, we learned how to write a business plan. And finally, we opened Musicologie. Since then, we’ve grown from a tiny home studio into something bigger than we ever imagined.

Sharing Musicologie’s Success

We opened our first studio in Grandview. We ran that for two years while we learned, made mistakes, made changes, and we grew. Then we opened our second studio in Westerville. We made more mistakes, made more changes and kept learning. We slowly became experts not just at teaching, but at the business of teaching studios.

We realized we knew so many musicians who were like us back in 2014: skilled players and educators with a passion for private teaching, a desire to build a sustainable career by opening a studio, but with no idea how to do it. Our new mission has become sharing our expertise with other private music teachers and helping them open studios. We know how hard it is to grow a studio. We’ve been there. We’ve done it. And we understand how important it is to share music with new learners and have an impact in your community. Creating something big is hard. But it’s absolutely worth it.

Community Manager Program

So, we’ve designed a brand new partnership model called the Community Manager Program that allows great teachers to become part of Musicologie and grow their own studios the way they want to under the Musicologie umbrella with all of our resources, and all of our experience.

Every Musicologie is co-owned by a Community Manager who teaches at and operates their studio. Musicologie is NOT a franchise, and we’re NOT a corporate lessons company. We don’t partner with investors with cash to burn. Our studios are individually co-owned and run by a person who is first and foremost a great musician and teacher.

As you might imagine, music teachers generally don’t have the money to pay a franchise fee, or the capital to invest in a studio — Kay and I certainly didn’t when we started. Our Community Manager Program provides the help that we would have loved to have when we were opening the first Musicologie. That includes a business plan, location research, marketing strategy, website, SEO, admin software, merch, teacher onboarding, branding, social media content, financing and — most importantly — a group of like-minded studio owners at Musicologie who have been through it all before. That’s why we’re here and why we chose this model to share and grow Musicologie.

You can see this in action at our Dublin studio, co-owned by Megan Rainey, who always wanted to open her own studio but didn’t have the resources. She worked with Musicologie to create the studio she wanted. It broke even in four months. She teaches at her studio, runs the day to day, and has the flexibility to continue performing with her band, Backwards Blackbirds.

Megan Rainey

Megan Rainey has an MM in Piano Performance and is the Community Manager of Musicologie Dublin.

Our most recent addition is Musicologie Lewis Center, opened by Justin Swain. Justin was on an academic career path, having received an MM in vocal performance and an MA in vocal pedagogy when he realized that academia couldn’t provide the career that he wanted. Justin’s Lewis Center Musicologie is now six months old and thriving. Justin continues to perform with local organizations like Opera Columbus and has found a new love in teaching Musicologie Junior.

Justin Swain has an MM in Vocal Performance, an MA in Vocal Pedagogy and is Community Manager at Musicologie Lewis Center.

Our Community Manager Program is open and available to music teachers everywhere. If you’re a great teacher and want to grow your studio into something big, we can help. Get in touch: Joseph@musicologielessons.com

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