Transcript Snapshot 007 – Amy Elmore

Transcript: Snapshot 007 – Amy Elmore

Transcript for Snapshot 007 – Amy Elmore

[00:00:00] Andrea: Hey, it’s Andrea with Music Studio Startup, the podcast about the business of teaching music. Learn from the startup stories of music teachers who are doing incredible things with their studios. Be inspired by creating musicians who are branching out and thriving as entrepreneurs. Be empowered by the insights of experts who will help you grow your own studio.

Let’s get started.

Welcome back. We are doing a special series on the podcast this summer called Studio Snapshots. Rather than the in depth, process oriented interviews you’re used to, these rapid fire interviews give us a glimpse into a guest studio at a moment in time. They’re part reflection, part anticipation of the future, a fully celebration of where these teachers are today.

Today, I’m talking to Amy Elmore. Here’s Amy snapshot.

Hi, Amy. Welcome to the podcast. Thank you so much for being here today. Can you introduce yourself and tell us briefly about your studio?

[00:01:10] Amy Elmore: Hi, Andrea. Yeah, thanks for having me. It’s so fun to be here. My name’s Amy Elmore and I teach piano lessons in Anaheim, California. I have been teaching probably on and off since about 18 years old. So a little over 30 years on and off. I was actually a student of the person who owned the studio originally. And I taught for her. And then I was in school. I got married. I had kids. I was doing other career job types of things, but I was still always teaching kind of in the background. And about, I think it was 2008, she was finished teaching herself and she kind of handed over the studio to me. So I’ve been full-time teaching and owning a studio since 2008. It’s located at our church, which also has a preschool. Which is really great because we’ve started teaching some preschool piano classes.

So that’s been a really fun, new area to reach out to. But we have about 75 students, I believe right now. And at the end of the school year there were four teachers teaching. During the summer there are two of us and in the fall we were gonna be down a couple teachers, but we’re looking ahead to the fall to, to find some new ones, but that’s a little snapshot, I guess, of the studio.

[00:02:31] Andrea: Excellent. Thank you. And we got to meet a few weeks ago because I was in Anaheim and that was super fun to get to meet you and hear lots about your studio today. We’ll just get to hear a little bit about kinda where you’re at right at this moment in time. So what is something you’re celebrating from the last school year?

[00:02:48] Amy Elmore: Well, there were so many fun things that happened. But one thing that I most enjoyed was being able to mentor a student teacher. So we just had more students coming to us. And the teachers that are, were already teaching with me are students themselves in college and master’s programs. And I was looking to sort of back off on my number of teaching hours. So I was looking for other teachers and a former student was available and I got to mentor her during the year to have her first year of teaching with her own students. So that was, that was really fun. Yeah.

[00:03:25] Andrea: Awesome. How were you challenged in the last year or did you have to learn any hard lessons?

[00:03:31] Amy Elmore: Gosh, I think we’ve all been challenged right since 2020 and forward from there. I think for me, since I’ve been teaching for so long, I, I kind of got in a rut and I was just teaching, going through the motions, I guess. And I was tired of it. Tired of just kind of showing up and doing the quote unquote job.

So I really kind of worked on trying to change things up in the studio and with my teaching as well. That’s why we, we started doing preschoolers. I was doing more games, off the bench activities, just kind of a lot of research into how I wanted to go forward to make the job more interesting and kind of less of a job and more of a purpose. All of that came to a mindset challenge really is kind of, you know, I had to stop thinking, gosh, I’ve been doing this for so long. I’m too old to make any changes now, or whatever comes into our minds that we don’t have enough time. We don’t have enough resources or whatever. So those kinds of mindset changes were challenging, but also something to celebrate too, I think.

[00:04:40] Andrea: I’d like the way you described that as coming for a purpose, not for a job. It’s just a really neat perspective. Good mindset.

[00:04:46] Amy Elmore: Yeah. It just makes getting up in the morning more exciting. Looking forward to what you’re doing and, and the purpose really wasn’t well, yes, it’s teaching piano, but really I think what I’ve kind of grown to feel for myself, the purpose is connecting with people. The people on the bench, the little people on the bench that come the preschoolers, their parents encouraging them, and then connecting with the teachers that are teaching with me. And now other teachers like you on Instagram and online and just. Uh, it’s the connecting part that’s really special for me.

[00:05:19] Andrea: Mm-hmm did you take any risks or go outside your comfort zone last year?

[00:05:23] Amy Elmore: Oh my gosh. Yes. Right now, this is going outside of my comfort zone for sure. In the studio. I would say I took more risks financially, I guess when I put time and resources into personal development, professional development. I know you and I have met and talked about finances for studios. And I did a little bit of coaching with someone else and, um, I was in a mastermind group. So those things were kind of risky because I just hadn’t ever done anything like that before. And going on Instagram and talking live and meeting with teachers, all of it’s been kind of risky. And I know that that isn’t specifically piano related, but I would say that it all eventually trickles down to the students and to the parents in the growth and the, the times and opportunities I’ve been able to grow and connect with people that changes who I am and has been a benefit, I guess, of the risk mm-hmm for the students and the people in the studio.

[00:06:29] Andrea: Yeah. Were there any takeaways you had for yourself as you look at future risks you might take or other things you might do that push you outside your normal boundaries?

[00:06:39] Amy Elmore: Not thinking that something has to happen yesterday. I see and hear other people and, and they may be like in the middle of their journey or at the end of their journey. And I’m just at the very beginning and have to remember that, that it’s not hard necessarily, it just might be new for me. That’s something I say a lot to the students too cause kids get really nervous about seeing a new piece of music, I’ve noticed. And I actually didn’t used to really notice that I would just, “oh, it’s fine. You’re good. You know, start here. What’s your hand position” or whatever, but I think I’m just more aware of it now. And I notice, oh, I see some anxiety here or I see a little bit of apprehension and just to encourage them, just kind of like how I’ve been encouraged just by taking my own risks lately, that it’s not hard, it’s just new.

[00:07:31] Andrea: And what do summers look like in your studio for your students? And also for you.

[00:07:35] Amy Elmore: We do every summer, we do a six week summer session we call it. And it’s more low key, cause there are fewer students that sign up for that, I would say. We’ve typically had about half the students come for summer. This summer, I tried to offer more group classes instead of individual private lessons. And this summer we have probably a third or quarter of the students coming for summer lessons than we normally do. And I was trying to figure out why is that? And I think because I was seeing everybody else doing group lessons, group lessons, group lessons, this is, this is something I should try.

And I’m all about trying new things., but when you try it, and it really doesn’t seem to be what your audience or what your customers or clients are used to, or, or really what they want. It was a good kind of reminder to me that the people in our area, they want private lessons. Probably maybe could have done a better job of explaining what would happen in the group because it was all brand new to them and maybe just didn’t understand that. But they really just wanted private lessons. So, so we kind of switched to that six weeks private lessons, and at the end we do an ice cream recital and it’s just super low key. The kids can, they don’t have to dress up for it or anything like that and they just choose their favorite song that they’ve been playing during the summer. And then we have ice cream afterwards and everybody loves it.

[00:09:08] Andrea: That sounds like a great summer thing.

[00:09:10] Amy Elmore: I know, I try, I tried to change that one year too thinking, oh, you’ve done that enough. Maybe that’s old. And the kids were like, where’s the ice cream recital?

[00:09:19] Andrea: I love your willingness to try new things and just like, take what you can from it and learn about your students and your ideal clients and what they want and just learn and do the next thing.

[00:09:31] Amy Elmore: Yeah. And then know, like try a few things and then pick what works and then just put your blinders on and go and do that thing. Because I can over consume things which gets me overthinking , which get me overwhelmed. So I am trying to simplify and just do what works for our people. Like, we probably won’t offer groups, summer piano lessons in the future, cause it just wasn’t our thing.

[00:09:56] Andrea: And what is something you’re doing this summer to prep for the next school year?

[00:09:59] Amy Elmore: Well, I mentioned that we’re losing a couple of teachers, so we are prepping by interviewing and looking for new people to kind of fill in those spots. And yesterday I actually had a former student come and shadow me in the studio to see if that might be something he would be interested in doing in the fall. So it was, I, I think we’re going to go ahead with a mentoring, a new hire with a student teacher, like a mentoring position. So I’m looking forward to that and working on that. But I also want a new teacher that can teach more advanced students. I like the beginners. I like kind of onboarding if you will, the families into the studio. I like the preschoolers. That’s not everybody’s cup of tea, so, but I don’t wanna lose or miss the older ones that are getting more advanced. And so I’m looking for teachers.

[00:10:49] Andrea: Sure. Yeah. And some really like strategic hires it sounds like. Okay, so switching to a more fun question, what’s one project or area of your business where you might spend irrational amounts of time? Because it’s something you enjoy or like to nerd out about. Is there an area for you that’s like that?

[00:11:07] Amy Elmore: Yes, that was one thing I don’t have to think about too hard in its Instagram. I spend a lot of time there. I used to tell my husband I’m working, I’m working. Like, he’d see me on my phone. I, I swear I’m working and I really love it because a being able to connect with other teachers and other people there, because it’s an isolating position to be in running your own studio.

And before I had teachers teaching with me, it was really kind of lonely. I had no like teacher’s lounge to hang out and chat with other piano teachers to find out what they were doing. And so connecting with people on Instagram, I think has been valuable. The creativity portion of it is really fun as well. But I do spend a lot of time there, but I, I think it’s all worth it. I do need to set, I found a new like strategy for my phone and it goes on focus mode and it does not notify me of anything during work hours. . I can check it if I want to between lessons or on a break, but I’m not always hearing the dings and that’s been helpful, but I do spend a lot of time on Instagram.

[00:12:14] Andrea: Is there a book that you’ve read in the past year that you’d recommend for our listeners summer reading list?

[00:12:20] Amy Elmore: Yeah, I actually, didn’t used to be much of a reader, but now I just, I devoured them. I, I hear a lot of books from other people and I don’t know. It’s like this Renaissance time period in my life or something, just trying to learn a bunch of new things.

So I would say Grit by Angela Duckworth. I think her name is, was a good one. Atomic Habits. The Lazy Genius. Kendra Adachi practical stuff. And like, those are books that I’ve underlined things in. And I go back to time and time again to like, how, what was the strategy there? Or what could I use or whatever.

And then I just started a new book and it’s just come out, I think this week. And it’s called, How Are You Really? By Janet Kucher. It’s more my degree is not in music actually. It’s in psychology and counseling. So I I’m always drawn to those kinds of human stories and mindset shifts and those kinds of things.

[00:13:17] Andrea: And that makes sense with all the, like the mentoring that you’re doing with your teachers. Yeah. So great, great recommendations. All right. And where can listeners get in touch with you to follow along with what you’re up to?

[00:13:28] Amy Elmore: Well, surprise, surprise, Instagram. . And it’s at Keys to Praise Studio is how you can find me there. And that’s probably the main part main way. I love to be in DMS and talk to people like directly. And get to know people that way. There are so many people, I feel like I know them so well, even though we’ve never spoken directly or heard each other’s voices. But we’ve had long conversations and chats and have been able to encourage and support and help and give ideas to each other. And we haven’t even met in person. So, yeah, that’s the best way. So I’d love to talk to anybody there.

[00:14:04] Andrea: All right, Amy. Thank you so much for being here today.

[00:14:07] Amy Elmore: Thank you for having me, Andrea.

[00:14:14] Andrea: Thank you for taking the time to be with us, Amy. We’ll include a transcript in all the links mentioned in this episode at The Music Studio Startup website is also filled with lots of other resources for music teachers, just like you, who want to set up their studios for success.

That’s all for today. Thanks for listening. I’ll be back next week.

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