Technology Tips and Tools: The Best Music Studio Management Applications for Music Teachers
Davis Dorrough, NCTM
MTNA Business Digest, Volume 1, Issue 1
Gone are the days of keeping track of financial records in a written ledger. Not only are there valuable accounting apps, we now have online programs developed specifically for music teachers to assist with registrations, auto invoicing, scheduling lessons, payment reminders, communications with parents/students and more. Here are four excellent programs worth considering
My Music Staff
My Music Staff does a great job checking off many boxes when it comes to managing an independent music studio or music school. The robust features of this application allow a high level of complexity while also being an easy-to-use platform. A few notable features include the ability to place an enrollment form widget on a studio website, which allows students to send their student registration information directly into the teacher’s student database—no more data entry! Auto Invoicing, text and email Reminders, PayPal integration, Zoom integration, financial report creation, and a free studio website are other features included. My Music Staff’s affordable $12.95/mo. plan for one teacher covers unlimited students. If you own a music school you can add each additional teacher for $3.95/mo. with unlimited students. My Music Staff is currently offering a 60-day free trial to MTNA members who are first-time users of My Music Staff. Visit the link here: www.mymusicstaff.com/mtna-business.
Fons is a studio management application with the goal to eliminate invoicing, streamline scheduling, automate payments, and provide an excellent client experience. Fons was founded by a third-generation music teacher. Its signature feature is stellar automation options that set scheduling and payments on autopilot. In fact, Fons claims that it reduces administrative time by over 80% and increase revenue by 15% or more.
Fons supports individual and group classes as well as events and workshops. Teachers can share a personal booking link where students can book lessons themselves or reschedule lessons based on a teacher’s preset availability. There is also an automated cancellation policy enforcement feature. Fons will send your students appointment texts and/or email reminders to make sure you get paid. Fons easily integrates with QuickBooks software to automatically import clients, payments, and deposits so you don’t have to. Teachers are also listed in a Teacher Marketplace where they gain free marketing exposure and excellent SEO for potential students. Fons moderates a community of supportive, encouraging teachers from all over the world, working together to elevate the profession of teaching.
Fons costs $29.95/mo. for up to five teachers and unlimited students, a particularly excellent value for multi-teacher music schools. MTNA members can use the code welcomemtna to get Fons for 50% off for the first three months.
Duet (formerly Music Teacher’s Helper)
Duet, formerly Music Teacher’s Helper, is a music studio management software built by music teachers for music teachers. This month it is launching a brand-new platform that involves a complete rebrand and redesign. New features include a marketplace for teachers to advertise lessons, a teacher community, and new pricing. As a part of the launch, Duet also has started a semimonthly podcast for teacher education. MTNA members can use the discount code MTNA20 for 20% off any subscription level.
With a strong focus on tracking student practice, sharing files such as sheet music, links, and recordings, setting up assignments with point rewards, and promoting healthy competition through practice leaderboards, Tonara has some uniquely outstanding features for music studio management. Another favorite is the chat feature where teachers can communicate directly with students through Tonara’s App, available on Android, iOS, and Desktop. Students can send messages, recordings, and other lesson files to their teacher safely without the assistance of a parent. You can even create a group chat for classes or students of similar ages/levels to build community within your studio. Teachers can also share virtual stickers through the chat application to support and encourage students as well as reward them for their great work.
One of the most amazing features of Tonara is the ability for the teacher to assign a “compare recording.” Teachers can record themselves playing a piece, send it to their student, and then have the student play it back through the app. While the student plays the piece, artificial intelligence technology will listen to their playing and compare it to the teacher’s performance. Students receive real-time feedback on their fluency, pitch, rhythm, and tempo.
Tonara includes many of the basic features of studio management software, including a studio calendar and lesson reminders but does not provide financial management features that would allow a teacher to send invoices, collect payments, or create financial reports. It is important to remember that Tonara’s main objective is motivating students, communicating with students, improving practice habits, and organizing assignments and repertoire. Tonara offers a free 30-day trial to all first-time users.
Davis Dorrough, NCTM, MM, is an independent piano teacher based in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is chair of the MTNA Certification Commission and a frequent presenter at music conferences, including MTNA, NCKP and MusicEdConnect.