Gearing Up for Fall: Part 3

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Well, I finally got around to writing Part 3 of my Gearing Up for Fall series! In Parts 1 and 2 we covered material preparation and fall scheduling. Now it’s time to get into some of the technology we’re using in the studio this year.

Today’s post is all about subscription services.

You’ve probably noticed that over the past several years music apps and subscription based services have absolutely exploded all over the internet. It can be difficult to keep up with all the options out there!

(Side note: How many of you out there are app hoarders? I have SO many music apps on my iPad that haven’t been used to their potential! Maybe I should start a Music Apps Anonymous group?)

While I haven’t quite addressed my “app issue,” I did make a decision to focus my attention on a few of my monthly subscription services.

Here are a few services I’m focusing on right now:


Studio Subscription: My Music Staff

This “studio assistant” is a life saver. I’m using it for my lesson calendar, invoicing, online payments, and for lesson swaps/reschedules. In the past I used several free services to do these things, but it was just too time consuming!

My favorite part: Automated invoicing and the options to send text/email reminders to families who have really busy schedules. I’m really hoping that this cuts down on last minute cancellations this year.

(And I want to stop playing “monkey in the middle” when it comes to rescheduling. Here’s to hopefully making that part of my business hands-free.)


Voice Students Subscription: Virtually Vocal

While I enjoy being able to accompany my voice students during lesson time, it can be a real a distraction to always be stuck behind the piano. This service is an accompaniment/warm-up database that will allow teachers to assign repertoire to specific student accounts.

I’m hoping to use this service in two ways: 1) to free up my brain so I can focus on teaching and observing when we’re polishing a piece, and 2) as a service my students can use at home.

The studio option for this accompaniment database is pretty new, so it’s seems like there are still some bugs to work out. It’s been a real challenge to get my students to connect, but at least I’ve been able to find at least 1 or 2 accompaniments for each student that we can use in the studio this fall.


Piano Students Subscription: Piano Maestro

This well-known piano app isn’t new to my studio, but the subscription part is! Joy Tunes announced this summer that they were creating a new subscription based model for their flagship app, Piano Maestro. It’s my absolute favorite way to encourage sight-reading in the studio.

This app has been invaluable for some of my young students who have trouble visually tracking a single line of music. Bonus: Parents absolutely love how PM gets their kids to the piano bench to practice without complaints! Students typically practice without the iPad first, and then they do their PM assignments.

Upgrading this service: While it was great to be able to use this service for free over the past two years, I’m happy to pay for the studio/home subscription option. It’s well-worth the money, and I’m excited to use all new options that the Joy Tunes team included.

So far this subscription service “focus project” has worked pretty well.

While those subscriptions do add up each month, at least now I feel more confident about using these services. It’s a nice to know know that you’re getting your money’s worth!

My advice to you: If you have a bunch of subscription services that are only being partially used — take stock! Make a list of all the subscriptions you’re using each month and start really focusing on getting the most out of those services. Don’t let that money go to waste!

Now I just have to start looking at all those other music apps… but I’ll save THAT for another post. 🙂 Have a great weekend, everyone!

Let’s Share: What monthly subscriptions do you use in your studio? Comment below and let us know what works for you!

Be sure to check out Part 1 and 2 of my Gearing Up for Fall series!

Getting Geared Upfor Fall

Getting Scheduled for Fall

Stay Tuned — Be sure to SUBSCRIBE to the blog for future updates.

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  • by Zoé Posted August 26, 2016 12:49 pm

    Besides PM, I also subscribed to the Supersonics Plus, Sproutbeat Plus and the Piano Game Club. I mostly did it because they were already a hit in my studio so I thought it was absurd not to upgrade- just like with PM. I announced all these new features for the new year and parents were happy to see that I’m always looking for new stuff to make lessons more interesting. In addition, last year I bought the yearly subscription of The Piano Bench Mag and it was totally worth it!

    • by Sara @ Sara’s Music Studio Posted August 26, 2016 2:03 pm

      Nice! I haven’t tried Supersonics Plus yet, but I do have Sproutbeat and Piano Game Club! Those are on my “to-do” list.

      Love the Piano Bench Mag – Karen does a great job with it!

  • by Diane Posted August 26, 2016 6:51 pm

    Which of your apps can be used on android or on a laptop device.?

    • by Sara @ Sara’s Music Studio Posted August 26, 2016 6:52 pm

      My Music Staff is web-based, so it will work on all platforms. Same as Virtually Vocal. 🙂

  • Trackback: My Music Staff Mention - Sara's Music Studio Blog - » My Music Staff
  • by Christine Posted July 26, 2017 7:21 pm

    I know this is an old blog post but I was wondering if you are still using virtually vocal? I was thinking about trying it in my studio this year.

    • by Sara Campbell Posted August 2, 2017 4:56 pm

      Hi Christine! I’ll be honest… I’m not using it anymore. I had a ridiculously hard time getting my student accounts to sync up. Apparently my account was messed up on their end during a site transition. After dealing with tech support for several weeks, I gave up using the program. Maybe they’ve improved in the past year?

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