Opening a music school certainly sounds like an ambitious project and a complicated task. While it definitely is ambitious, it most certainly will also be rewarding.
Starting your career as a music school owner will however pose 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. 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 – a fan favorite amongst 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.
How to Start a Music School
Step 1) The Legalities
This step is never too much fun but it’s certainly necessary.
It’s time to think about the legal procedures that 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 a separate entity (“legal person”) and covers its liabilities with its own assets. Simply said, your 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 is 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 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 by using on-brand marketing visuals. You can use a tool like Canva for this purpose.
If you plan to teach children, keep 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.
Additionally, don’t 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.
You’ll also need to equip your school. Even if you plan for students to bring their own instruments (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 may 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 pros and cons.
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 your 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.
All in all, starting a music school is an exciting endeavor. Being able to use your talent to teach others is both rewarding and fulfilling.
That being said, being aware of the business side of things is essential. Researching the best location, understanding legal requirements, and maintaining a good relationship with local music stores are all important tasks that need to be taken care of before the doors can open.
In addition, creating a good marketing plan and utilizing social media to draw in potential students is essential.
Lastly, it is important to remember that running a music school requires a great deal of patience, dedication, and hard work, but the rewards are worth it.