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How to Open a Music School – 5 Step Process

Opening a music school certainly sounds like an ambitious project and a complicated task. While it definitely is ambitious and will pay off in the future, starting your career as a director of a music school poses some challenges. However, it does not necessarily have to be difficult. If you’ve ever wondered how to open your own music school – we’re here to tell you!

By now, you probably have some idea of how you want your school to look like. You defined your target group, potential location, classes you will offer, and general goals. You researched the market and you are sure that your services are needed in your area.

Also, you probably know which instruments will initially be taught. They likely include the guitar – the most favorite instrument of youngsters. The piano is always a good choice, but it requires additional investments and maintenance costs. Or perhaps you want to focus on drums? Maybe you want to diversify and offer a wide range of classes? The choice is up to you. But, in order to make your dream come true, you need to take care of some paperwork first.

Step 1) The Legalities

Now, it is time to think about the legal procedures which are necessary to start your own business. The best choice for small business owners is a Limited Liability Company (LLC). With an LLC, the company is considered as a separate entity (“legal person”) and covers its liabilities with its own assets. Simply said, the property of you as a physical person is protected.

The procedure is different in every state. For example, creating an LLC in NJ requires you to follow specified steps. This procedure includes everything from coming up with the appropriate name, appointing an agent who will represent your LLC, getting an employee identification number, and of course, handling the accounting. You are free to do it all by yourself, or you can use the services of an experienced agency that will go through all the hoops for you. 

Step 2) Your Strategy

Now that you have your company registered, it’s time to start operating. Define what kind of classes you want to offer. Are they going to follow a curriculum or will they be “freestyle” classes? Perhaps you want to use our resources, such as beginner guitar lessons, as an inspiration for the curriculum.  Be ready to adapt your strategy to the realities of the market. Research what the students want, and keep yourself informed.

Besides location,  you need teachers and students. If you are already in the music scene, then you probably have potential teachers in mind. Here you have to pay attention to the law as well, as they might need certain teaching credentials. 

The true challenge is in fact, attracting the students, aka customers. That’s why we stress the importance of marketing!

Step 3) Online Classes

Due to regulations in your state, measures against COVID may also mean that your school might unexpectedly close. Now, you are hesitant because you are worried about the stability of your potential business. Turn this threat into an opportunity – offer online classes! Yes, we know that they are not as effective as teaching in the classroom or studio, but improvisation key! Many people are staying home, they have more free time, and are trying to learn something new, such as playing an instrument. So, if you offer online classes, that will certainly bring you some new students.

If you decide to offer the online classes, make sure you are meeting the technical requirements. Equip yourself with computers with strong audio-visual features. It is of utmost importance that your headsets and microphones are functioning without any faults or flaws. After all, teachers need to make sure that the student hears and reproduces the correct sound on the instrument. It goes without saying that the internet connection must be fast and stable as well.

Step 4) Marketing

When projecting your budget, make sure you allocate funds for marketing. Even if it doesn’t seem important at the beginning, you will realize later that it is an important tool that will bring new students – and new revenue. Right now, social networks are an absolute must! Your target group is active on Instagram, TikTok, and other platforms – and you must be there too! Make sure to build your digital presence – create your website, and profiles on social media. Don’t forget to interact with potential customers – they expect it and they love it!

If you plan to teach the children, have in mind that your advertisement needs to be directed to the parents as well! For them, the location and the price are important, but the quality of classes and the satisfaction of their children always come first.

Step 5) Bringing Everything Together

Opening your own business is a large task to undertake. That’s why it’s important to develop your ideas in detail. There are many things that you need to consider and you have to approach your idea from multiple aspects. Do not be shy to talk about money! You need to put on paper what your initial costs are going to be. Try to make an annual estimate of costs. Think about everything – registration, rent (including deposits), utilities, taxes, and similar fees.

Also, the space must be appropriate and have the proper sound isolation, which can drive the costs up. Then, you need to equip your school. Even if you plan for students to bring their own instrument (guitar, violin, etc), you need to have a backup plan for instruments that aren’t portable. If you plan to teach piano or drums, then it is implied that you will have them in the school. The cost of equipment has two components – the cost of acquisition and the cost of maintenance, so make sure you account for both of them. Buying new instruments will increase your initial costs, but buying second-hand ones will initially keep your costs lower, but eventually, you will pay more for the maintenance.

Think about the teachers and how you want them to work for you. Do you need part-time or full-time employees? Or you would rather deal with contractors? All the models have their advantages and disadvantages, and of course, all carry certain costs.

As we mentioned, it is worth investing in marketing. If you don’t know how to advertise online, hire an expert. You can easily find them on Upwork, where rates are transparent and you can easily estimate that cost. The advantage is that you do not need to hire anyone for a full-time job, but only for the duration of the project.

Once you have the list of all possible costs, try to estimate what your rates will be and how many students you plan to have. Rates must be competitive, so make sure you have researched the market before forming the pricelist. Try to stay on the safe side and do not overestimate the number of potential students. Do not expect an immediate return on investment. In reality, it can take a long time until you start making a profit.

Remember, every success starts with a first step! We wish you luck in operating your business!

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