Transcript Snapshot 013 – Anna Fagan

Transcript: Snapshot 013 — Anna Fagan

Transcript for Snapshot 013 – Anna Fagan

[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 are used to hearing. 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, and fully a celebration of where these teachers are today.

Today I’m talking to Anna Fagan. Here’s Anna’s Snapshot.

Hi, Anna. Welcome back to the podcast. Thank you so much for returning for this studio snapshot.

[00:01:08] Anna Fagan: Oh, it’s great to check back in with you. Andrea.

[00:01:11] Andrea: Can you introduce yourself and tell us briefly about your studio?

[00:01:14] Anna Fagan: Oh sure. Anna Fagan. I spent my entire life in the state of Florida. I’ve been teaching privately for, gosh, over 40 years. And two years ago, my husband and I decided to sell just about everything we owned or get rid of it, give it to our kids. And we have been full-time living in a motor home. We finally left florida in April, and now we’re in North Carolina. And I teach from our motor home, teach full time.

[00:01:39] Andrea: Yes, which is super fun and we don’t get to get into that today, but listeners might remember you from your episode 0 9 4, and if they wanna hear more about your teaching, what it’s like to teach from an rv, they can go back and listen to that episode. And today’s format is a little different. We’re really just checking in hearing what has been happening in your studio over the last year, what you’re doing to prep for the upcoming year.

So what is one thing you’re celebrating from the last school year?

[00:02:04] Anna Fagan: I’m celebrating that I am getting closer to a goal of having a bigger mix of adult students. And a lot of that has to do with that I’m teaching all online and I just feel like the format of online lessons works best for teens and adults, and I have like 50% of my studio is adults.

[00:02:22] Andrea: Oh, wow. Wow. That’s, yeah. Quite a big percentage. How were you challenged last year? Did you have to learn any hard lessons?

[00:02:28] Anna Fagan: Well, I think the biggest challenge for me this last year has been trying to decide how I wanna rework my studio policies and my tuition. Since I do have so many adult students, and since I have probably 25% of my students are in a variety of states, trying to figure out how to be fair, fair to students and also fair to me and honoring my personal time and still keep what I want for tuition, which is average billing. I charge the same amount every month. I’ve been doing that for quite some time but it’s been a different format.

[00:03:06] Andrea: I see. Yeah, that does introduce some different challenges.

[00:03:09] Anna Fagan: That it does.

[00:03:11] Andrea: Did you take any risks or go outside your comfort zone in this past year?

[00:03:15] Anna Fagan: Well, trying to schedule us outside of Florida, you know, that’s a teaching thing for me because I’ve gotta make sure that we’re in parts that we can get some kind of internet. And as we talked in the last interview, we kind of cover all the bases, but there’s still that. Consideration, you know, making sure that I could be online. I would say the other big risk for me was kind of a financial one. You know, as a teacher we have the option to have, I don’t know what some people call a portfolio career.

You know, you can diversify your income. And I had done a lot of accompanying, which I had kind of scaled back on, certainly with, you know, COVID scaled that back. But I had been a church musician for over 40 years. I had been at the same church for 31 years. And so in order to move out of Florida, of course I had to be willing to step away from that job. So that was difficult on so many levels, financial and otherwise. So that’s something to kind of wrap my heart and my head around.

[00:04:10] Andrea: Yeah. Did you have any like general takeaways from that that you’ll carry forward into other potential risk taking opportunities?

[00:04:18] Anna Fagan: Well, I was glad that I made it a gradual process and I was glad I had talked it over with other people and that I had a kind of a plan in place that I can hopefully as we move around, continue to occasionally do some performing, um, life for church services, hopefully, and things, you know, a lot of this is just, it’s, it’s new ground for all of us, right? I mean, I, I don’t personally know anybody else who’s doing this, so it’s not like I can go online with, with four or five other teachers who are moving every two or three weeks.

So I would just say it’s like anything else. You have to kind of do some brainstorming, you know, get it down. I’m a big lover of spreadsheets. Just kinda explore possibilities.

[00:05:00] Andrea: Mm-hmm. And what do summers look like in your studio for your students and also for you?

[00:05:05] Anna Fagan: Well, this coming summer will be very similar to when I was teaching in person, in that I, I only work Monday through Thursday.

I decide how many weeks I wanna teach during the summer, and then I present that to students and parents, allowing them to be a little more flexible in when they study. I actually have a note in my to deal list today to send an email.

I have some ideas about maybe breaking away from whatever they’re working on right now, lesson books or whatnot, and just focusing on one thing for the summer. Mm-hmm. So I’m kinda excited about that. I usually do, even online, I do some workshops on lead sheets and chord charts. I have some students that play in jazz band, so we do some improv workshops and things like that. So it’s a relaxing time for me.

[00:05:53] Andrea: That sounds fun. And what do you do during the summers, if anything, to prep for the upcoming school year?

[00:05:59] Anna Fagan: Well, I always get, like I said, I’m a big fan of spreadsheets, so I always get the spreadsheet. Now, this year is gonna be a lot easier because I’m not gonna have to work around the church schedule, and I’m not gonna have to work around, you know, high school choir schedules.

In the past it was this huge puzzle of figuring out, I need this week, I need Thursday off, and this week I need Tuesday off. Trying to juggle all of that. So in part that played into this whole business of what I’m actually going to is a 12 month calendar. That I finally figured out. Hopefully I finally figured it out and I’ve run it past several of my adult students. A way in which I can be kind to myself and also kind to students who take vacations and business trips that don’t coincide with school holidays.

[00:06:48] Andrea: Sounds like a fun summer. I love spreadsheets. That’s great. Is there an app or tool that has made a big impact in your studio or personal life management in this last year?

[00:06:57] Anna Fagan: I have had a long and extended love of many apps. Apps and online digital resources are what I think most women feel about their clothes in their closet, that you get so many of them and then you start poking around and go, oh, I forgot I had this blouse.

And so this year I have started using classroom maestro. I don’t really know why I forgot it, but you know, I have an overhead cam and a side camera, and those come in really handy for demonstrating techniques. But I’ve found that for so many of my students, if I’m showing them, I don’t know, chord progression or something, that virtual keyboard on classroom maestro is, you know, worth a million bucks. That’s my current favorite.

[00:07:38] Andrea: Okay. Good resource to share. And what is one area of your business where you might tend to get carried away or go overboard just because it’s something you enjoy nerding out about?

[00:07:49] Anna Fagan: Well, my first thought when I started thinking about this question was music. I buy way too much music, even now that I’m not buying hard copy music.

I buy so much digital music. You know, I mean, that’s my, that was my gut level reaction to that question. Anything else? There’s not that much, so much I’ve pulled back on, you know, recitals are online, so I’m not doing all the million and one things my spring recitals used to be. Gosh, doing all this work in, I roll pro, putting charts together for the praise band at my church because all the kids would play a piece with that, you know, and you can’t do that in a live recital. So things have kinda simplified outta necessity, I’m happy to say.

[00:08:31] Andrea: Mm-hmm. I remember you mentioning that scaling back your music library when we talked in the last episode. And where can listeners get in touch with you and hear about your adventures as an RV piano teacher?

[00:08:42] Anna Fagan: The best place to follow that would be on Instagram, and it’s really easy hopefully to remember at RVpianoteacher.

[00:08:50] Andrea: Alright. And if you’ve got any other links that you wanna share, we can drop those in the show notes. Thank you so much, Anna, for doing this check-in again.

[00:08:56] Anna Fagan: Oh, you’re welcome. It was a pleasure.

[00:09:03] Andrea: Thank you for taking the time to be with us, Anna. We’ll include a transcript and 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 wanna set up their studios for success this summer, including our popular self-paced Business Building 101 course.

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

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