Welcome to the Piano Sensei Way! I’m your host, Clinton Pratt, and I’m here to help you master the art of running a successful piano teaching studio!

The Piano Sensei Way is a podcast where I help piano teachers minimize stress and maximize success! I share my way of doing things, which in my opinion is the best way! It’s similar to Mr. Miyagi in the movie The Karate Kid where he tells Daniel to wax the car, sand the floor, and paint the fence. Daniel thought he was crazy just doing Mr. Miyagi’s chores for him. But Mr. Miyagi knew what he was doing! He was training Daniel’s muscle memory so he could defend himself! Similarly, I am so confident in my ways, if you trust me and try it, you’ll see the results!

The Piano Sensei Way is available on all your favorite platforms. Just click the button below or listen right here on this page! 

Episodes

Use the podcast player for each episode below, or click the title of the episode to go to the post for that specific show. There, you will see all the show notes, listener comments, and the YouTube video version, too!

21 The Way to Spark Motivation (Amy Immerman)

Amy Immerman, Founder of Cincinnati Music Academy (a school that she helped grow to 750 students), joins the show to discuss motivation! Is it our job to motivate students? How can we help spark motivation? How can parental involvement help? We both talk about our own practicing and motivation growing up. Amy describes some engaging practice games, a 100-Day Practice Challenge, how events keep students excited, and advice on vanquishing “energy vampires!”

20 The Way to Count … or Not!

Prompted by a lively discussion in the Piano Teacher Central Facebook Group, I decided to host a live debate on YouTube! This is the recording of our “debate” on counting. The teachers who joined me were Mike Langer, Brian Lotter, Jeff Millis, Val Muller, Harrison Richter, and Jordan Thomas. It was a very thought-provoking discussion where we discussed the meaning of “counting”; if and how it helps students learn rhythms; other ways to learn, know, and feel rhythms besides counting; and using words and syllables instead of just numbers. Below are some of my favorite quotes from the episode …

19 The Way to Master a Multi-Teacher Studio pt 2 (Jordan Thomas)

This is the second of a two-part interview. In the last episode, Jordan interviewed me about teacher pay including fair rates, negotiating, benefits, living wage, tuition rates, and teacher raises. In this second episode, Jordan asks me about other aspects of running a studio such as: What do you look for when hiring a teacher? Do you train teachers? If so, how? How much leeway do you give teachers for how they teach or what materials they want to use? How do you keep continuity if a student switches teachers in your studio? How do you prepare teachers for transfer students from outside your studio? If you don’t have an administrator, how do you manage everything and when is a good time to hire one? . . .

18 The Way to Master a Multi-Teacher Studio pt 1 (Jordan Thomas)

To shake things up, our guest, Jordan Thomas, interviews Clinton! It all started with Jordan’s FaceBook post in Piano Teacher Central about the feasibility of a multi-teacher studio business model as opposed to a solo studio. Jordan is a solo teacher and has been considering expanding, but has questions about how to make it work. I answered some of his questions in his FaceBook post, but we decided to discuss it on the podcast and share it with you! This first part is all about teacher pay. He asks me: How do you pay teachers fairly? How do you provide incentive for them to stay at your studio? What benefits should a teacher consider when working for a studio? Does your tuition have to be higher in order to properly pay teachers and run the business? If so, does that deter potential customers? How and when can teachers get raises? Do you negotiate pay if a teacher expects or asks for more? . . .

17 The Way Forward: Setting Expectations in Piano Lessons (Jake McHugh)

Jake posted in the group “Piano Teacher Central” on Facebook about setting expectations for piano students in his studio. It was quite the lively discussion as there were strong and varying views on what kind of standards we should set, and what we should do if students don’t meet those expectations. Despite Jake being fairly new to piano teaching, I tended to agree with his ideas and was impressed at how thoughtful he was. He agreed to come on the show to talk about expectations, requirements, measuring progress, setting goals, rewarding successes, and the question: “can lessons still be fun?”