Transcript Snapshot 008 – Shelly Davis
Transcript: Snapshot 008 – Shelly Davis
Transcript for Snapshot 008 – Shelly Davis
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 hearing, these rapid fire interviews give us a glimpse into a guest’s studio at a moment in time. They’re part reflection, part anticipation of the future, and fully a celebration of where these teachers are today. Today, I’m talking to Shelly Davis. Here’s Shelly snapshot.
Hi Shelly. Welcome to the podcast. Thank you so much for being here today. Can you introduce yourself and tell us briefly about your studio?
[00:01:11] Shelly Davis: Hi, Andrea. It’s so great to see you again. It’s been a long time since we saw each other in person. And actually you were a coach for me a few years back, but I am a teacher in Texas. I’m starting my 33rd year with my private studio. It’s just me in my home studio. I average about 30 students on my roster and I consider piano teaching as my real job. But I do have a couple of other things that I do to supplement my job. I teach general music classes at a daycare and a charter school here in town. And then in addition to my weekly teaching, I also host a weekly podcast that is designed for piano parents. It’s called The Piano Parent Podcast, and I was happy to have you as a guest on the show a few years ago. I’d be happy to send you a link to that if your listeners would enjoy hearing you be on the other side of the microphone.
[00:02:08] Andrea: Yes. I think that was the first podcast interview I did. And I always say it’s much harder to be the interviewee than the interviewer, so . Yeah. And I can’t believe it’s taken this long to have you on my podcast, right? I appreciate you being here.
[00:02:20] Shelly Davis: I’m glad to be here.
[00:02:21] Andrea: So today’s interview is kind of a quick, rapid fire kinda reflection and anticipation interview. So what are you celebrating from the last school year?
[00:02:31] Shelly Davis: I, and I love that you call this a snapshot because in my mind, thinking of the last year, I have a whole lot of pictures. One was earlier in the summer, we were able to actually go back to an in person conference here in Texas. So it was so great to get to see my teacher friends from across the state. But then the more personal celebration in regard to that is that also at that conference, and from my local music teachers association, my former high school private piano teacher, Mrs. Heath, is a member of my association. And we were at the conference together and a student of mine who graduated from my studio studied music in college. She was a band director for a few years, but this past year she opened her own private piano and clarinet studio. She’s a member of our local association and was at the conference. So I have a picture of the three generations, my teacher, myself, and my student together. And I, I just can’t get over that. I love having that connection.
[00:03:36] Andrea: Wow. That’s incredible. And that’s the Texas music teacher, correct convention that you’re talking about, which is a huge event. How were you challenged last year?
[00:03:44] Shelly Davis: Okay. This is a challenging question. Since I’ve been teaching piano for so many years, I feel like I have developed over the years, a lot of good systems as far as my studio is concerned, but I feel like I’ve got that going and I always seek to improve those, but it’s not a particular challenge. It’s something very, more manageable. I mentioned the podcast. That is where my challenge is. With my students I have a tangible accountability. I have to get information to them. I have to inform parents because I just have to, and they’re often emailing me or texting me asking for answers. And that sparks a communication with everybody.
With the podcast. It’s something that I enjoy doing. It’s something that I want to do, but it’s one of those things that can easily be pushed aside because I really don’t have good, solid, tangible systems and accountability. I’m only accountable to myself and sometimes I let myself slide. But the lesson that I kind of take away from that is maybe a little more sympathy for my students.
I don’t think when a student leaves my studio, I don’t think they say in their heart, I’m not going to practice at all. I’m not going to touch the piano this week until I see Ms. Davis again. I think the intention is there just like I have good intentions for my podcast. And I think the willingness is there, but with the busyness of life and other obligations, it’s just the first thing to go.
And so that’s my challenge is to develop better systems and better routines so that my podcast isn’t a challenge that it just runs like a well-oiled machine.
[00:05:28] Andrea: I appreciate the way you take that back to just having perspective for your students too, and what their intentions are. Did you take any risks or go outside your comfort zone last year?
[00:05:37] Shelly Davis: Ugh. No, because I’m too scared. I don’t want to get out of my comfort zone.
[00:05:47] Andrea: Is there a risk that a particular risk that maybe you’re wrestling against right now?
[00:05:53] Shelly Davis: The biggest one is some sort of online course. There are things that I teach my students and I feel like I’ve got a pretty good system of how I teach them. And I feel like it would serve other people if I could figure out a way to deliver that to them and, and response, then that might be a little bit of passive income that I could supplement my own family with. And so I think I have a good idea for a course. I took a course on courses but I haven’t, I just haven’t put it together. I don’t know if I’m afraid that it will fail or that I’ll just fall on my face. I don’t know. Usually I’m the kind of person that I’m just dumb enough to give it a try. What’s the worst that could happen. But for this, I just keep stalling out.
[00:06:43] Andrea: Well now you’ve declared it. So we’ll check in with you.
[00:06:46] Shelly Davis: That’s maybe just what I need. Thank you.
[00:06:50] Andrea: and what do summers look like in your studio? Both for you and for your students?
[00:06:54] Shelly Davis: For this summer, I do feel like it’s very good for my students to keep some sort of, at least maintenance over the summer. I don’t want them to kinda get stuck or not have that accountability to be able to keep moving forward with their piano progress. And then I just on a practical matter, need the income too. As much as I try to save through the year, it’s always nice to have that income. And so I teach two days a week during the summer and I offer eight weeks of lessons. I do schedule a vacation and all of the things that I would want to enjoy.
I love a good break just as much as anybody. And I recommend that my students continue their lessons and they can structure it pretty much any way they want to. I recommend that they get three hours of instruction. So if they’re going to be really busy, they could book three hour long sessions with me across the eight weeks of the summer.
If it’s a beginner student, they could do six 30 minute lessons that still is equivalent to three hours. And then I have some students that will do 4 45 minute lessons. So there’s a lot of flexibility in the summer. I mentioned that I’m always trying to learn and improve the things that I offer my families, and a lot of that has to do with communication and them being able to control their schedule. And so during the summer is when I test out new platforms. Like a couple of years ago, I added Calendly to my arsenal. And that has turned out to be a really good thing for my families because they can book their own lesson. They can cancel their own lesson and reschedule it some other time. So that’s been a really good system that I set up with them. This summer I tried Notion. I really liked the idea of that communication and I could put a link in their dashboard and just be able to share all this information. And that has turned out to be kind of a dud. I didn’t like the digital format of putting stuff in. I’m an analog kind of girl. I like writing it down and I don’t think many of my students took advantage of it on their side of things. So it was a good try. But now I can go back to what I feel like is more comfortable.
[00:09:06] Andrea: That’s a risk that you took. That’s a risk you took was trying that thing. So celebrate that.
[00:09:11] Shelly Davis: And then finally, as far as the summer goes, uh, that’s a great time for new students to try to onboard or maybe just try piano lessons on a short term basis. When I get calls during the year, especially during the spring semester, and I don’t have any room for them, then I recommend that they give it a try for the six weeks of the summer. And then if they like it, we can roll ’em into the fall roster. And if not, okay. We tried that and that’s all done.
[00:09:38] Andrea: Nice. So kind of a different balance of teaching and exploring new products and things like that for the summer? And what are you doing this summer to prep for the upcoming school?
[00:09:47] Shelly Davis: Well, I mentioned, we were finally able to go to the conference, our state conference, and that is such a great professional development opportunity for myself. It was a great camaraderie building thing with my fellow teachers from my local association. So that was a nice boost. I got to hear new music, hear new teaching techniques and all of that, that I’m looking forward to sharing this coming year. Also, Michelle Sisler from Keys to Imagination, presented a session at the conference.
She was talking about different studio incentives and games. And I actually every year try to do some sort of studio wide practice incentive. Not exactly a competition. I don’t want to have a first place. I don’t want that kind of competition, but I do think a little bit of peer pressure and a little bit of friendly competition is a good motivator.
And so I bought one of her studio wide practice incentives. It’s called Manhattan Medallion Hunt and it’s like a giant game board with a park. And depending on how many days they practice is how many spaces they get to move on the game board and they get to go to these different areas of the park and earn medallions based on some activity in that space.
And so I’m excited. I, I do lots of different studio incentives. Last year we collected beads on a string. And so each student got to see how their string of beads compared to somebody else’s string of beads and all of that. But this is a brand new practice incentive that I’m excited to share with my students this year.
[00:11:21] Andrea: That’s fun. We can include links to that initial notes, too. What’s one project or area of your business in which you spend irrational amounts of time.
[00:11:30] Shelly Davis: Well, can you guess that it might possibly be about my podcast? I’m constantly thinking about and, um, kind of envious of other teachers who have figured out ways to maybe expand their reach or expand their area of service into online offerings. I would like to do more of that. And I spend a lot of time kind of thinking about that. I need to get out of thinking and get more into the action. And I’ll put a little plug in for you if it’s okay. You spent several coaching sessions with me a few years ago and the one single digital product that I have is because of a direct result of your coaching. And you’re helping me be accountable and motivated. And so thank you for that. I just need to, maybe I need to hire you again.
[00:12:21] Andrea: I appreciate that endorsement and it might not be a surprise to listeners that it is a practice challenge or a practice incentive. So we can add that to the show notes also that a fall practice encouragement to get students excited.
Is there a book that you’ve read in the last year that you’d recommend for our listeners summer reading lists?
[00:12:39] Shelly Davis: Yes, if it’s okay I have two books that I would like to share real quickly and I’m holding them up as if your listeners can see. One is called Profit First by Mike Michalowicz. And I’ll tell you, I listened to his book on audible first and I loved it so much that I bought the hard copy in his audible format. He reads it himself, but then he chases a lot of rabbits and he’s very funny. And so it’s an easy read, but it actually kind of saved my bacon as far as this past tax season because his recommendations as far as setting up different accounts and putting a percentage of your income into the different accounts from the get go. That’s the whole idea. Saving profit first, but I won’t go into that a whole lot, but since my kids are getting older and we don’t have the same child deductions on our income tax that we once had, that’s adjusting what our tax burden is. But because I had been saving, then it wasn’t as much of a shock wave as it could have been.
The second book is called Storyworth by Matthew Dicks. As teachers, I think we’re always trying to frame things in a story. I try to get my piano students to play their music as if it were the soundtrack for a movie and just try to paint a musical picture. And I like the way Matthew Dicks teaches how to frame a story. And I, in fact, I used a lot of his techniques. I was able to do a presentation at our state conference last month and I used his techniques to try to start my lecture in more of a story format rather than a college lecture style.
[00:14:21] Andrea: Okay. Who is that book intended for? Is it for teachers or presenters, or…
[00:14:27] Shelly Davis: The subtitle says, engage, teach, persuade, and change your life through the power of storytelling.
And he refers even like to parents teaching their children. If you do it in more of a story format, it just, it, it captures your emotions and it makes a much better connection than just, you need to clean your room or whatever. There’s one thing that he talks about in his book and he calls it homework for life. I won’t go into a whole lot of detail about that, but another thing that I kind of nerd out on is my adaptation of his homework for life. I enjoy word art and bullet journaling. Every day, at the end of the day, I try to figure out some highlight from the day and I put it in my bullet journal. I use markers and colored pencils and I just try to make some sort of word art and then I can go back and look at that. And it takes me back to that day as a, a nice memory.
[00:15:24] Andrea: Oh, if you’re willing to share a picture of that.
[00:15:26] Shelly Davis: I will send you a picture. Yes.
[00:15:29] Andrea: All right, Shelly. Um, where can listeners get in touch with you?
[00:15:33] Shelly Davis: I am on, um, Facebook and Instagram @pianoparentpodcast. That’s where most of my stuff is. I do have pianoparentpodcast.com. My website, if you’re interested in things that I’m doing on the studio side, I do have ShellyDavispiano.com. I’m working to one of those getting out of my comfort zone, things to offer more teacher related things more than just my own studio happenings on that studio website.
[00:16:01] Andrea: All right, Shelly. Thank you so much for being here.
[00:16:03] Shelly Davis: Andrea. It was so good to see you. I feel like I’ve been catching up with a friend. I won’t say old friend, but a, a good friend. Thank you.
[00:16:11] Andrea: Thank you for taking the time to be with us, Shelly. We’ll include a transcript and all the links mentioned in this episode at musicstudiostartup.com/snapshot008. 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.