Recession-Proof: Your Music Studio’s 3-Step Plan for Thriving During a Crisis

by Daniel Patterson

Recession Proof: Your Music Studio’s 3-Step Plan for Thriving During a Crisis

In this video, we’re doing a follow-up to the Q&A session that we had just a couple days ago, answering questions about marketing and how to do online lessons.

I’m also going to be addressing topics like how to price online lessons, what your ad budget should be, and more questions about handling objections from parents about online lessons.

Additionally, I’ve created a 3-step attack plan for studios who are marketing in this new environment… whether you are marketing online lessons or in-person lessons. You can read that in the article below.

Now, let’s jump into the video!


Would you rather read instead of watch?

Click here to download the transcript. 


Video Content

  • Introduction: Three-Step Attack Plan for Online Lessons (see summary below)
  • (22:06) How can you set your ads to be global without spending a fortune? Should we try to advertise to the entire globe since we’re online now?
  • (26:00) How should we teach a trial or introductory lesson with so many studios transitioning to online lessons during this time? What if they don’t have a piano at home?
  • (29:29) If your marketing system is so simple, and you only spend 30 minutes per month on the marketing, why is your training on marketing so big?
  • (31:17) What if you hate the idea of online lessons, and are not reliant on the income right now?
  • (34:02) I do not have all the lesson books that my students are in. Do I ask parents to take a photo of their page to email me prior to their lesson?
  • (35:47) How do I go about setting a monthly price for online lessons? 
  • (41:41) What if I end up loving online teaching so much that I don’t want to go back to teaching in person? 
  • (41:48) How do I deal with families who might not be too happy with online lessons?
  • (45:04) How do you get desk copies of method books inexpensively? What’s the best resource? 
  • (47:44) Any recommendations for teaching visual learners online? 
  • (52:52) Should I keep my Google ads running during coronavirus? Should I modify them? 
  • (59:00) Any new miracle recommendation for communication with overwhelmed parents? 
  • (1:01:30) How do you record your lessons or messages to families and make it into a suitable format? How can we do this easily?
  • (1:03:11) What if students themselves don’t like the idea of lessons online?
  • (1:05:19) “I just can’t keep up with teaching three different grades and trying to keep from going crazy.” How do I deal with this?
  • (1:08:57) What’s the best resource for learning how to produce quality live lessons via Facebook Live?

Do You Assume That Making a Change in Your Studio Will Be Hard?

I’ve seen a word coming up over and over again. Adapt.

“We’re adapting to…”

“I’m having to adapt to online lessons…”

There are two options here.

We can see this crazy time as an opportunity for growth and creativity

Or we can see it as an unwelcome intruder, a challenge, something that you will have to “deal with.”

The word “adapt” might be signaling that you are making some assumptions about the next few months.

You be might assuming that

  • Parents won’t accept online lessons
  • Everyone’s going to quit on you
  • That online lessons will be harder
  • That you are going to be terrible at it
  • Any number of frightful, negative thoughts that might be popping up in your head right now

The assumption itself is going to create that reality in your life, and it will create that reality in the minds of the parents, too.

So, my biggest recommendation right now?

Don’t assume.

Now, that doesn’t mean I’m suggesting you be naive.

We don’t want to be like Stuart Smalley, that character from the Mad TV sketches in the 1990s…


All I’m saying is that there is a balance to strike… and most of the studio owners I’ve spoken to right now are very fearful.

Don’t assume. It’s a happier way to live.


If having to learn one new piece of software, or teach someone over Zoom is stressing you out, then it isn’t the format or the software that’s stressing you out.  

It’s your own mindset.

There simply needs to be a shift to the curiosity-based, open mindset…not a fixed, constricted, fearful mindset.

Now, someone objected to this by saying: “But, it actually IS hard, Daniel!”

OK! Let’s ask that question:

Are online lessons hard to teach? 

My First Time Teaching Lessons Online 

The very first time I taught online, it was involuntary.

10 years ago, I was teaching a nurse how to play the piano.

She worked the night shift, and she would come to my house to take her lesson once a week. We worked together for years.

She got married and moved 20 or 30 miles south of me. It was far enough away that she asked, “Would it be okay if we just kept doing lessons but online?”

My initial reaction was, “She wants to stay a student. Awesome!” 

But I was also thinking, “Okay, well, how would we make that work?” 

I looked at my options, and we figured that doing lessons via Facetime would suffice.

She moved into a rural area, and her connection was really poor. The video lagged and froze sometimes. The video quality was terrible. But, we made it work!

I would sit at my desk in my office, not even at my piano, and I would listen to her play. I would make comments. Obviously, I couldn’t interact with her physically.

I could have made it a big deal. I could have had all these mental reasons as to why this wasn’t going to work. But I just said, “Hey, let’s see if this will work!”

And guess what? It did.

I didn’t do extra “prep.” It wasn’t hard to do. I sat at my desk, made comments, and she found it to be valuable.

In hindsight, I think the reason it went well was because I was open.

How does this apply to you?

Your conversion to online lessons will feel very different, depending on which assumptions and which mindset you take.

Again, you have two options: fear or curiosity.

So, how can you get started? How do you go about making this a wild success? 

Your 3-Step Attack Plan

I am going to give you a simple three-step attack plan to solve any problems that come up in your online lessons. 

STEP ONE. Define the actual problem (facts, not emotions). 

STEP TWO. Turn the problem into a number.

STEP THREE. Determine three to five actions to reach that number.

Here’s an example:

I don’t know if my own students want online lessons.

That’s step one. We calmly defined the problem.

How can we turn this into a number?

Well, you will know if your studio will accept online lessons if you get feedback from 90% of them.

So, that’s the number we need to hit. We need to ask 90% of the studio if they will convert.

So then, step three. 

What would your three to five actions be? 

Well, I would ask parents to fill out a small survey. You will probably only get a 10% participation rate.

So, another action would be to mail all the non-participants every day until you get to 90%  

KEEP EMAILING. Every single day, until you have 90% participation.

This is how you calmly solve the problem

And, you can do this with all kinds of problems!

Here’s just a few:

When you convert your problem from an emotion to a number… it will feel a lot less confusing.

And, you will actually be able to WORK on the problem.

(By the way, I give several more examples in the video, this is just one example that I pulled from the video).


I’ve just given you a formula for staying positive and doing something productive during these uncertain times

  • Define your problem
  • Turn the problem in a number-based goal
  • Come up with 3 – 5 actions to achieve your goal number

The sky is not falling. Yes, this is a serious problem, but there’s no reason for panic. Those who maintain a growth mindset during this time are going to come out on the other side of this a stronger person simply because they met the challenge with curiosity. 

That is the thought I want to leave you with.  

What do you think? What questions do you have? Let me know in the comments!

The following two tabs change content below.
Daniel Patterson is a private teacher, writer, and marketing consultant for music schools. He began teaching in 2004. He co-founded and led marketing operations for a summer music camp that sees over 200 children each summer.

How Do You Want to Grow Your Studio?

Get More Students

Bring in $1000s in new revenue with a studio funnel

Begin Group Lessons

Start a high-quality group program that parents say “Yes!” to

Free Up Time

Scale your studio, make more, and in less time

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share This