The Business of Teaching Music: A Guide for the Independent Music Teacher

Second Edition

Sandi Siemens

Details: 150 pages, B&W, Softcover, 6" x 9"

ISBN13: 978-1-63550-400-2

© 2023 | Available


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Based on her 50 years of teaching music in a private studio setting, Sandi Siemens’ The Business of Teaching Music: A Guide for the Independent Music Teacher, Second Edition is a professional resource for independent music teachers of all instruments and levels that provides a step-by-step road map for setting up and running a successful teaching studio. The book includes strategies for finding students, establishing workable policies, and achieving financial stability.

This guide provides tips for the day-to-day operations as well as solutions for the common problems and frustrations that plague teachers on a daily basis. Guidance, timelines, and cost saving ideas for various events such as recitals, masterclasses, and concerts/shows are provided.

New Chapters Include:

  • The Novice Music Teacher
  • Making an Impression at Auditions
  • Showcasing Our Students
  • The Internet: The Music Teacher’s Website and Online Music Lessons

New/Expanded Topics Include:

  • The Collaborative Artist/Pianist
  • Working With the Professional Musician
  • Income Tax Time
  • Code of Ethics and Its Importance
  • The Issue of Copyright
  • Fees

The book also includes access to a PluralPlus companion website with useful, printable documents, including annual teaching income sheets, registration forms, rehearsal and recital notices, and student assessments.

"Sandi made a huge difference in my life. At a time when I needed guidance and craved confidence, she was instrumental in giving me both. I feel I was extraordinarily lucky to have her as a teacher, and more importantly, a life-long friend. Enjoy the revised version of her book, folks. You’re in good hands." 

Michael Bublé, Recording Artist, Singer


About the Author

Chapter 1. The Novice Music Teacher

Welcome to the World of the Private Music Teacher
     Initial Concerns of Those New to the Private Music Teaching Business

Chapter 2. Teaching Music as a Business

The Code of Ethics and Its Importance
Building a Strong Student Base
Initial Call of Inquiry
Setting the Stage
     The Music Teacher
     The Private Studio
     The Teacher's Home
      The First Meeting
      The Student Interview
      The Audition/Mini-Lesson
      The Initial Student and Parent Interview
      Setting the Stage With Talkative People

Chapter 3. Achieving Financial Stability

The Music Studio Agreement
      Comments on the Studio Agreement
      Fundamental Principle for Fees
      Lesson Fee
      Increasing Fees
      The Collaborative Artist/Pianist
      Payment of Fees
      Record Keeping
      Filing Taxes  

Chapter 4. Studio Communication

General Notices and Issues
      Studio Performances
      Student Performances
      Cultural Events
      Studio Parking
      Cancellation of Lessons by the Music Teacher
      Social Events
      Helpful Hints for a Successful Performance
      Student Assessment
      Year-End Newsletter
      Email or Texting

Chapter 5. Making an Impression at Auditions

Helpful Hints for Auditions
      Rule of Thumb for Auditions
      Professional Groups (Choirs, Orchestras, Opera Chorus)
      Musical Theater 

Chapter 6. Showcasing Our Students

The Recital/Master Class/Concert/Show
      Preparing the Timid Student for a Recital Performance
      The Recital
      The Master Class
      Studio Concert/Show
      Profit or Loss
Obtaining Donations
      Choosing the Right Companies
      Keys to Success

Chapter 7. The Internet

The Music Teacher's Website
      Ideas and Tips
Online Music Lessons
      The Lessons
      What Levels/Ages Work Best for Online Music Lessons

Final Thoughts

Sandi Siemens

Canadian mezzo-soprano and author Sandi Siemens has devoted much of her life to sharing her deep passion for music with students, peers and audiences. Based in Port Moody, British Columbia, Sandi has gained a reputation over the past 50 years as an accomplished and enthusiastic vocal coach and teacher (in both private and college settings), clinician, choral consultant and adjudicator. An active member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and recognized by Cambridge Who’s Who, Sandi operates a successful private studio where she has nurtured hundreds of talented voices over the years. Many of her students now enjoy active professional careers in opera, musical theatre, jazz and pop – most notably recording artist and multi Juno and Grammy winner Michael Bublé.


Over the years, Sandi has performed on stages in North America and internationally and has served as an adjudicator for numerous vocal competitions and talent searches such as Filipino Idol, Japanese Talent Search and the Pacific National Exhibition Talent Search. She has held executive positions with the Burnaby Lyric Opera Company, Triad Concert Society, Vancouver Cantata Singers, National Association of Teachers of Singing, KPU International Music Festival and was founder and artistic director of the highly successful All Saints Gala and Songs from the Heart fundraisers in British Columbia, Canada.


Her passion for music and desire to teach led Sandi to open her own voice studio and to write The Business of Teaching Music and create the Maestro Joli Clef teaching tools. One of her greatest pleasures in life is to help others fulfill their potential and to experience the joy of music.

Learn More

Purchase of The Business of Teaching Music: A Guide for the Independent Music Teacher, Second Edition comes with access to supplementary materials on a PluralPlus companion website.

The companion website is located at:

To access the student resources, you must register on the companion website and log in using the access code located in the front of your textbook.

*Note for students: If you have purchased this textbook used or have rented it, your access code will not work if it was already redeemed by the original buyer of the book. Plural Publishing does not offer replacement access codes for used or rented textbooks.

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