6 Ways to Turn Your Music School Into a Well-Oiled Machine

6 Ways to Turn Your Music School Into a Well-Oiled Machine

Most music schools are built around six essential business functions. Every task you do throughout your day fits into one of these categories, shaping how your school operates. To transform your music school into a well-oiled machine, outline a set of instructions and processes for each function. While you may already be executing these tasks, naming and categorizing them allows for a more systematic approach and reveals any weak points in your processes.

The 6 Business Functions

  • Operations
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Accounting
  • Human resources
  • Business development


Operations can be divided into two categories: recurring events and situational events. Recurring events are predictable tasks that occur over the course of a week, month or year.  Opening/closing procedures, student onboarding and recital planning all fall under this category. 

Situational events are tasks that usually happen when there’s a breakdown or anomaly in your daily operations, such as inclement weather, a parent complaint or teacher running late.

Consider the student onboarding process. Creating a bullet point list that maps out the steps to bringing on a new student can help you simplify and improve this process. After you create your list, ask yourself if there are any ways to exceed your clients’ expectations. For example, sending a postcard before a lesson or following up after onboarding can enhance the student’s experience.


Your marketing efforts encompass various tools and strategies, including your website, email campaigns, social media, advertisements, and participation in local events. Identifying these tactics and opportunities is just the beginning; a cohesive strategy is essential to maximize their impact.

A marketing strategy is a comprehensive plan that focuses on these four main ideas: 

  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • How

Who: Understanding your target audience better allows you to tailor your marketing message so that your content feels like it speaks directly to them. To better understand your audience, take note of their economic/social situation, behaviors, and worldview. 

What: Outline specific content types and topics that resonate with your target audience and align with your brand values. Content about parenting and the emotional development of kids is likely to resonate with parents in a way that content about music may not.

When: Establish a timeline and schedule for your marketing activities, including content creation and posting frequency. Research optimal times to post on social media platforms to improve reach.

How: Select appropriate social media platforms, strategies, and tactics. Define metrics and KPIs (key performance indicators) to measure the success of your marketing strategy and to adjust tactics accordingly.

Your marketing strategy doesn’t have to be a complicated and overly detailed plan. Create a one-page outline with bullet points and discuss with your team to flesh out the details.


Simply having a casual conversation with prospective students and sharing what you offer and how much it costs might lead to a sale, but a sales call is the beginning of what will hopefully be a long relationship.

A sales call with a deliberate structure that encourages and inspires a parent to open up and express their hopes, dreams, and concerns regarding music lessons can help build rapport and establish a feeling of trust. Having a few set questions, such as ‘what benefits do you hope your child will experience from music lessons?’ or ‘how did you choose the drums as your instrument of choice?’ can feel good to answer and allow you to better customize your sales presentation on the call.


Accounting can present an emotional hurdle for some music school owners. Despite their passion for music and education, managing finances can quickly lead to feelings of frustration, anxiety, and fear. The pressure to balance books, track expenses, and interpret financial statements can be overwhelming, especially for those without a financial background.

Developing a weekly and monthly accounting calendar is critical for financial health. Establishing set times to review bank account activity, plan budgets, and conduct financial analysis can alleviate some of the stress associated with accounting, ensuring sound fiscal management.

Human Resources (HR)

From placing job postings and hiring to performance management and employee development, HR processes are vital for maintaining a motivated teaching and office staff. Documenting these processes streamlines operations and ensures consistency in personnel management.

The following ‘how to’ Google or YouTube queries can help you better develop your HR strategy. 

How to:

  • write a job posting
  • conduct a job interview
  • train a new employee
  • manage employees
  • make my employees feel appreciated
  • reprimand an employee
  • fire an employee

Business Development

Focusing on product development and teacher training can enhance the quality and appeal of your music lessons. Product development can include streamlining the lesson experience, curriculum building, and introducing new programs.

Music teachers take pride in their work, and there is a risk of alienating them if they feel you are imposing your teaching methods instead of allowing them to teach in their own way. You can avoid this by involving your teaching staff in the process. My approach involved teachers observing each other’s lessons and taking notes on structure, style, and technique. We also held seasonal meetings to share observations and insights, which helped foster a sense of value and appreciation among my staff.

Creating Systems in Real Time

I recommend keeping a notepad at your side throughout the day and naming situations that pop up in real-time that require more than one step to implement. Something as simple as a teacher running late requires a process. Name the process (i.e., Teacher Running Late) and jot down the steps required. For example:

Teacher Running Late

  • Confirm with teacher estimated arrival time
  • Call parent to inform them
  • If no answer, text parent
  • If no reply from parent, inform parent when they arrive
  • Share estimated teacher arrival time with parent
  • See ‘Teacher Warnings’ if this has happened more than once

Since the process above involves a client interaction, I recommend considering steps to add that will exceed the parent’s expectations. For example:

  • Refund parent for lesson if teacher is more than 5 minutes late
  • Email the parent an apology the next day. Reinforce brand values in email. 

Setting Your Business on the Right Track

Documenting processes lays the foundation for an operations manual, essential for building a business that can function seamlessly without your constant oversight. By envisioning your music school operating independently, you set the stage for sustainable growth and success.

By identifying and documenting the six business functions and their respective processes, you pave the way for a more efficient and resilient music school operation. Whether it’s refining customer service protocols or enhancing marketing strategies, a systematic approach ensures sustained success in the dynamic landscape of music education.

Author: Dave Simon

Dave Simon is a former music school owner and Business Development Manager at Ensemble Performing Arts. He is also the host of Music Lessons and Marketing – a free Facebook group and podcast that teaches music school owners how to effectively market and grow their business.

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