Independent Music Teachers Forum

Wednesday November 9, 2022
10:00 am -12:00 noon
Grandview Heights Library – 1685 W. First Avenue – Columbus, OH 43212
Conference Room A

Amy Chaplin, independent piano teacher and presenter for the first hour. Here’s Amy’s bio on her website:  She is a fun and dynamic speaker! Listen to some of her podcasts before we meet!

Amy will present on the topic
Evolutionary Entrepreneurialism: Grow your studio one “yes” at a time

As independent teachers, it can be easy to get caught up in the comfort zone of how we teach and run our businesses for years on end. Building and sustaining a thriving independent music studio in today’s quickly changing world sometimes requires more forward-thinking. It’s easy to feel hesitant or afraid of trying new things but sometimes small changes can produce significant results.

The interesting thing is, that ideas don’t always have to come from us. It’s about paying attention to what you see happening around you – how families and society are evolving. Potential clients and demand can be the clue to unlocking a studio that not only grows but thrives.

Follow the evolution of one studio that altered focus more than five times to meet demand over the first ten years in business. Through various small (and sometimes significant) changes, potential clients were met where they were, and the studio continued to develop in new ways. Attendees will gain new insights into how to diversify their business, tap into the community and maintain a thriving business by evolving and saying “yes.”

In our second hour we will follow up on Amy’s presentation, as well as continue any leftover discussions from last year about online continuing education opportunities, organization, or whatever topics come up! These meetings are all about getting together and exchanging ideas! Coffee and refreshments will be provided.

Spring IMTF
Wednesday, April 5, 2023
10:00 am -12:00 noon
Location: Chambers Music Studio Cafe

IMTF pretends it’s a book club!
Topic: The unique independent teacher/student relationship

For the first hour, we will discuss the book Every Good Boy Does Fine, by Jeremy Denk, pianist. You can order the book on amazon here.  Here’s a short description:

In Every Good Boy Does Fine, renowned pianist Jeremy Denk traces an implausible journey. His life is already a little tough as a precocious, temperamental six-year-old piano prodigy in New Jersey, and then a family meltdown forces a move to New Mexico. There, Denk must please a new taskmaster, an embittered but devoted professor, while navigating junior high school. At sixteen he escapes to college in Ohio, only to encounter a bewildering new cast of music teachers, both kind and cruel. After many humiliations and a few triumphs, he ultimately finds his way as a world-touring pianist, a MacArthur “Genius,” and a frequent performer at Carnegie Hall.

Many classical music memoirs focus on famous musicians and professional accomplishments, but this book focuses on the everyday: neighborhood teacher, high school orchestra, local conductor. There are few writers capable of so deeply illuminating the trials of artistic practice—hours of daily repetition, mystifying advice, pressure from parents and teachers. But under all this struggle is a love letter to the act of teaching.

In lively, endlessly imaginative prose, Denk dives deeply into the pieces and composers that have shaped him—Bach, Mozart, and Brahms, among others—and offers lessons on melody, harmony, and rhythm. How do melodies work? Why is harmony such a mystery to most people? Why are teachers so obsessed with the metronome?

In Every Good Boy Does Fine, Denk shares the most meaningful lessons of his life, and tries to repay a debt to his teachers. He also reminds us that we must never stop asking questions about music and its purposes: consolation, an armor against disillusionment, pure pleasure, a diversion, a refuge, and a vehicle for empathy.

We will focus on Denk’s descriptions of his formative student/teacher relationships over the years, as this is one of the unique treasures of independent teaching. You can join us even if you haven’t read the book! As busy as we all are, you might want to check if the library has an audio book version.

For the second hour, feel free to bring any fiction or non-fiction book you have that has been pertinent to your teaching profession. Bonus points if it’s helpful and tells an entertaining story. We’ll leave with lots of great book recommendations. Join us!

Check back on this page and in our district newsletters and Facebook posts for confirmation of the event venue. Libraries only reserve spaces a few months prior.

Suzanne Newcomb, DMA, NCTM – (614) 805-3886


updated 1/26/23