Book Review: The Savvy Music Teacher by David Cutler

savvy-book-coverDavid Cutler is widely known for his first book, The Savvy Musician—a fantastic guide to being a successful musician in today’s changing world.

After attending the SAVVY Musician in Action conference at the University of South Carolina, we were all the more eager to read Cutler’s newest book, which promises to offer music teachers the blueprint for making $50-$100k per year as private teachers.

Now of course, we are not music instructors ourselves. However, we work with numerous musicians for whom teaching is an important component of their musical lives, as well as a crucial income stream.

We were eager to read The Savvy Music Teacher: Blueprint for Maximizing Income & Impact so we could recommend it to clients and support them in implementing the suggestions presented.

Researching the Book

To research this book, David interviewed over two hundred teachers, and many of the ideas in the book come from case studies shared by real teachers who put these methods into practice.

It’s incredibly inspiring to read about the diversity of teaching methods and styles used effectively by teachers around the world. The vast creativity and dedication that these teachers bring to their teaching and businesses indicates what a fruitful and fulfilling vocation music instruction can be.

This book, and the case studies within, indicate the limitless possibilities that exist for savvy music teachers, both in terms of financial potential and impact. It’s a treasure trove of brilliant ideas, some big and some that can be implemented on a micro level.

A Treasure Trove of Ideas

At the most basic level, The Savvy Music Teacher challenges the assumption that a music lesson only involves what I had experienced growing up: a focused hour at the piano (or other instrument), with the individual attention of a teacher.

This book expands the boundaries of what effective teaching can look like, with particular recognition of the different needs of students of different ages and levels.

From my perspective, some of the most valuable highlights of the book include:

— pricing and time optimization strategies
value-added activities that involve several students at once
technology as an enhancement to teaching
additional revenue streams that provide value to students and families
— best practices for studio management and growth
time management techniques
— detailed information about financial planning, with a tailored application to private instructors.

It’s one of the best guides on financial planning and management for musicians I’ve read, with fantastic, actionable ideas on every page. If you were to implement just a few of Cutler’s ideas, you’d be taking a big leap forward!

Interestingly, I really enjoyed reading this book from the perspective of an advanced adult amateur who is in the market for a piano teacher (in LA or northern California, in case you want to teach me or can recommend someone!).

The Savvy Music Teacher has made me hopeful to find a teacher who not only has the artistic chops to take me to the next level, but who can offer a wide range of techniques and options to enhance my learning, beyond the traditional lesson framework.

If teaching music figures into your life in any way, this book deserves a spot on your shelf.

Congratulations David Cutler on writing yet another masterful book!

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