The Importance of a Quarterly Review for Your Piano Teaching Business

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The Importance of a Quarterly Review for Your Piano Teaching Business

What Is A Quarterly Review?

As piano studio business owners, we spend a lot of time planning ahead. We plan ahead for lessons, for festivals and recitals, and to create the ideal piano teaching schedule. But do we ever look back on our businesses to review and reflect on what has already happened? Do we ever perform a quarterly or yearly review of our businesses?

Awhile ago, I started doing a yearly reflection exercise to help me see the bigger picture of my business more clearly. It was so eye-opening that I started completing the exercise quarterly.

My quarterly reflection exercise has been a tremendous tool that helps me keep my business on track in the most efficient and effective way possible.

So effectively, actually, that I wanted to make sure you were aware of such a fantastic exercise so you could implement it into your own quarterly and yearly schedule.


How Does A Quarterly Review Exercise Help?

This quarterly review exercise will lead you to reflect and think more deeply about what has already happened in your piano teaching business. Completing the exercise will help you gain a more thorough understanding of how things are actually going in your business.

It will also help you unveil specific thoughts and perspectives about your business. This will help illuminate ideas and feelings you’re having about your business that you probably aren’t yet aware of.

Since I started doing this quarterly reflection exercise, I can see much more clearly where I am, where I want to go, and what I need to do to get there in my music business.


How Do I Perform A Quarterly Review?

I complete my quarterly review exercise for 3 primary aspects of my music business: My piano studio, my website (shop and blog), and my Teachers Pay Teachers store. It’s pretty amazing what I have been able to discover about myself and my business just by spending a little time writing things down and reflecting each quarter.

I write down things that went well, things that didn’t, and then I am able to study my lists and expose thoughts and ideas that were in my subconscious waiting to be brought to light.

When I am seeing things clearly, I am more equipped to establish meaningful and achievable goals for the upcoming quarter that align with my business vision and mission, as well as with my life vision and mission.

This exercise is one of my favorite business activities of the entire year, and I encourage you to try it for your own business. It is very enlightening!


An Excerpt of the Exercise

I wanted to lead you through a sample of the reflection exercise so you could begin to experience how this exercise can help clarify your thoughts towards your business.

The more clarity we can create around ourselves and our businesses, the easier it is to run our businesses in close alignment with our business visions, missions, and beliefs.


Step 1: Prepare

Download the quarterly reflection workbook.

Choose an aspect of your business to think about for this exercise. If you’re teaching piano, use your piano teaching business. If you’re not currently teaching, use any part of what you do to earn money: a non-music job, a church musician position, something entirely different, etc.


Step 2: Think and Write

Using the quarterly reflection worksheets, write down at least 5 things that went well over the past quarter (or year) in your business.

There are no right or wrong answers. You can include anything related to your business. Here are some ideas:

  • Students
  • Tuition
  • Schedule
  • Commute
  • Instruments
  • Practicing (or not!)
  • Motivation
  • Communication
  • Piano parents
  • Revenue
  • Expenses
  • Team
  • Literally anything at all related to your business


Write down at least 5 specific things that went well over the past quarter (or year).

You’re welcome to write down as many as you like, and more is better in this case! I hope you are able to write down numerous things that went well over the past quarter (or year), but be sure you write down a minimum of 5.


Step 3: Share

Was it fairly easy to put that list together? Share your list of things that went well with a spouse or close friend and ask if they could add anything to your list that you may have overlooked.

It’s always helpful to have someone close to you review your list. My husband reviews my list and without fail, he always shares something I missed. Getting his perspective illuminates parts of my own life that are in my blind spot, and getting someone else’s perspective can do the same for you.

How many things went well for you during the past quarter (or year)? Lots, I hope!

Here’s an item from my list: I am happy with my current tuition rates. I feel like they’re equitable to my piano families and to me.


Complete the Quarterly Review Exercise

Now you’ve experienced a sample of my quarterly review reflection exercise. I hope you’re looking forward to completing the entire exercise! The rest of the reflection exercise is included in the quarterly review worksheets download. In addition to the exercise, the download also includes questions for further thought and future planning.

In our piano teaching businesses, trends in materials, policies, and even teaching styles come and go. The important thing when you are setting quarterly and yearly goals is to know when to embrace something new, and when to leave something else behind that is no longer serving you or is no longer useful or relevant to your business.

Doing this reflection exercise every year helps me make those important decisions so I can run my business with as much relevance, opportunity, and forward thinking as possible. It has helped me to grow and build and change my business and my mindset over time.


The art of moving forward lies in understanding what to leave behind. -Seth Godin


Final Thoughts on Mindset

You probably noticed I use the word “business” a lot. For me, using the word “business” is a mindset shift that I adopted several years ago.

Over the course of my career, I’ve heard many piano teachers talk about their piano teaching business using phrases like “it’s just a hobby”, or “my little piano studio”, or “I only teach beginners, I don’t have to be that professional”.

Phrases that use words like “just” or “little” or “only” can stunt our growth without us even realizing what’s happening!

So I decided I would start using the phrase “my music business” or “my piano teaching business”, depending on which part of my business I’m talking about.

Not only does this change in wording change the perception of others towards my business, it has also changed my own perception towards my business.

I have fully embraced what I do for a living as a legitimate, full-time, professional business. Because of this, I can view myself as a successful and confident business owner. This keeps me from sabotaging myself by using those negative words, because I choose to view and speak about my business and myself in a positive light.


My Challenge For You

Think back to the quarterly review exercise. As you answer the questions throughout the exercise, I challenge you to consider the words and phrases you use to talk about your piano teaching business. Are they stunting your growth, or are they helping you thrive?

My hope for you is that they’re helping you thrive!

Download the quarterly review worksheets and begin learning to see clearly where you are, where you want to go, and what you need to do to get there in your music business. I’ll see you there!


Other tools to help you with your piano studio business:

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Melody Payne

Melody Payne

Dr. Melody Payne is a pianist, teacher, and educational resource author who believes that all piano students deserve the best musical experiences possible, in every single lesson. Melody self-publishes pedagogical materials for piano students as well as piano teaching articles and professional development courses for piano teachers. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Music with emphases in music education and piano pedagogy and a Master of Music in Piano Pedagogy from Louisiana State University, and a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. She is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music through the Music Teachers National Association. Melody and her husband Greg live in Marion, Virginia, a small town nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, where she teaches children and adults of all ages and abilities in her online piano studio.

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Hi! I’m Melody Payne, a pianist and piano teacher, educational resource author, a fun-loving wife to the most wonderful and talented hubby I could ask for, and a lifelong learner who loves to share. I want to make your life as a music teacher easier by writing and sharing helpful and relevant music teaching articles, and by creating educational resources with your very own students in mind. If you are a parent who wants to enroll your child in piano lessons, I’d love for us to get started building those skills that can give your child a lifetime of musical enjoyment!

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