Do you believe in Steinways– legendary hand-made pianos?
Whatever type of instrument you love, there’s a way to make music so that people want to listen.
This summer, I am taking intensive ballet classes. During a break, I step into a Tom Lee music store in downtown Vancouver. I ask the saleslady to tell me about the grand pianos–because, why not?
She sits me at seven grand pianos where I play the same Un Sospiro phrase. None of these sounds repulse me anymore— although some are more favourable, nothing feels perfect.
“Come,” she says. “I want to show you the Steinway room.”
Outside, spotlights shine in the main showroom and my ballet bodysuit-shorts combo feels chilly. Inside, the Steinway room is saturated with spotlight-light.
At the first piano, a Boston, two of the keys are a smidge out of tune and most of them feel sticky with something that is, the saleslady suggests, ice cream.
Some of the pianos sound alright. I love white grand pianos, although it’s a rule that white grand pianos in display rooms sound weak.
The Steinway with the touch I like best is a wood-finished concert grand that costs 1/3rd of a small Vancouver condo. I’d rather have the condo, but this reminds me of a study I read last year.
“This girl is unbelievable.”
That’s what I first thought when I discovered Ann Makosinski and her work. Plus, she can rock a stage.
As an introverted girl (and naturally on the shy side), these are skills I wish I had when starting out, before the dealing with music students’ parents and design pitches.
Today, I’m THRILLED to share this chat with Ann Makosinski. She is awesome, as in full of awe. Not only did she invent the body-heat powered flashlight at 15 years old, but she easily commands a theatre-full of people. For musicians, this skill is especially useful for teaching music classes and workshops.
In this video, we’re chatting about public speaking tips, and other big ideas, like how to be “yourself” when you don’t fit with everyone else.
The ideas for public speaking transfer to other types of performance as well, especially piano playing and teaching.
Let’s jump right in! Here are the public speaking tips that Ann goes by:
Many people ask about starting a business, in particular, how to teach music.
In January, I met a girl who was building her business and I thought we’d cheer each other on as buddies, because my first rule to excelling in some area is finding a friend in the same space.
I shared my favourite tools and strategies with her. “Friends share their best stuff,” I thought. But every time I asked her opinion, she introduced me to her consulting service.
A few weeks ago, she emailed me:
I’m sorry but I can’t continue with our chats. I don’t have the time to check in every couple of weeks.
Best of luck with everything in your business.
How do people find best friends to grow with?
I don’t have a buddy but I’ve shaken the system up for building a business–here it is.
How to build a community of learners
All my businesses have been based on learning, with a community involved. This is no exception. I thought I’d be running design strategy consulting sessions all summer long, but it has grown beyond that.
Here’s the strategy I ran with this time:
A good website is powerful– it can attract students, 24/7.
Working with design clients, this question always catches me off-guard:
How did you learn all this… design?
“I learned it myself,” I say.
But I didn’t describe the thousands of hours sketching and nudging graphics and training my eye for design.
Since many Artiden readers are music teachers, here are 3 non-sketchy ways to gain students using your website.
There are many ways to do it, and this is about turning visitors into music students without being desperate or sketchy. It’s not a magical, but it’s part of a recipe.
People say things like, “I don’t have these extra university degrees [or qualifications], so I won’t get hired to teach here.”
Enter the self-fulfilling prophecy. If you don’t believe it, then it’s probably not going to happen because you’ve given up already.
Getting the job you want isn’t about coveting qualifications you don’t have, but presenting what you have, in the best light.
Here are my top 4 tips for getting hired to teach:
1. Help people for free
Let’s say you’re a piano teacher whose students are mostly middle-school kids. You want to teach college students, but you don’t have the time nor money to get the music degree that increases your chances of getting hired at a conservatory or university. We know those jobs are diminishing anyways.
To get hired, you have to show that you are better than everyone else.
There should be something that you aspire to– not that you’re discontent with what you have right now, but you want to be constantly evolving, to your best self that is ever-changing.
Getting to your next goal might mean sharing your skills for free.
When you help someone for free, you have the freedom to explore different sides of the same task. You can break into new territory.
You only need to work with 3 people before you instinctively know whether you’re a fit for teaching that type of student. I gave free lessons to beginner pianists through Skype and realized that beginner piano needed to be taught in person, there was no way around that.
I’m not a coffee addict, but I learned some important insights about earning your worth, from a coffee shop. Namely, how much to charge for a bit of service.
My design teams met at one coffee shop (let’s call this Coffee Shop #1), so it’s my go-to. The baked goods are familiar and I think no one will make fun of my coffee ignorance.
They change their wifi password every few days, so you’re locked out until you buy a drink; also, you need a code to get into the washroom.
“What do you write about?”
I smile and scour my brain before I open my mouth, because I don’t have a good answer ready.
Like most, I dislike the term networking, and I refuse to attend any party that’s a ‘networking event.’
But I’ve found good buddies at events in town. Here are my top tips for surviving at events (and getting the most out of them).