Play, Teach and Compose Pop Music: Why you need to make this webinar a priority


Is this you?

Are you an incredibly successful teacher who teaches Bach, Beethoven, Brahms and maybe some Gershwin. Are your students dynamite practicers and do they regularly win competitions? Do students flock to you because of your stellar track record at local and state festivals?  Is this you? Is this who you want to be?

Or, is this you?

Have you determined you just don't/can't match the description of the teacher above? Have you recognized that there is another pool of potential clients in your area looking for a teacher that enjoys teaching current styles, how to write songs and composition? Do you believe that some student families are looking for a balanced approach with a mix of the classics, some pop and creativity?  Is this you? Is this who you want to be?

Can you relate?

I faced this delineation of teaching styles when I finished grad school. After setting up my own private studio, I joined a local teacher's association and it was immediately apparent who the top teachers were and their students were amazing. I knew I couldn't compete with them but I needed students. So, I embraced the philosophy that I'll teach anyone who's interested and customize my curriculum to suit their preferences. It meant I needed to reinvent my approach--I had been taught to only read and interpret the classics. Boy, was I in for a ride. It's been bumpy AND lonely YET fun along the way.

What is the market telling you?

Defining who you are as a piano teacher in your local area helps you determine the direction of your studio.  The trick is knowing your potential customer base as well as your competition --other teachers in your area. If your current style of teaching is similar to all the other teachers AND doesn't match the interests of potential and eager clients in your neighborhood, you may need to make adjustments.

Being adequately equipped to serve your customers' ambitions will help them achieve their goals and ultimately keep them on your bench and remain loyal to your studio. That means more referrals, more students and more income!

Speaking from my personal experience, this means you need to offer something more or in addition to traditional repertoire and competition registrations. Understand, I teach Mozart, I participate in a few festivals and contests. I'm not bashing the "traditional approach" but I am encouraging you to think beyond it.

David Cutler, author of The Savvy Music Teacher, discovered from his extensive research that music teachers who generated substantial (successful) incomes were more likely to integrate three elements into their instruction compared to other teachers who did not. They include: improvisation, technology and multiple musical genres.

Did any of these phrases resonate with you?

  • another pool of potential clients
  • current styles
  • make adjustments
  • being adequately equipped
  • offer something more
  • improvisation, technology and multiple genres

If so, then consider the words of my favorite fitness instructor:

If you want results, you have to push yourself!

How do you push yourself?

First and foremost, you must open your mind to all styles of music and recognize that there is good and bad music in every genre. It's your job to find the good and lead your students to it.

Next, ask your students what they want to play and listen to their choices with them.

If they choose something from the radio or their iTunes playlist, aka: pop music, you'll need to be equipped to help them learn it and that's why you will want to sign up for the 88 Creative Keys Winter Webinar Webshop. Boy, do I wish this would have been around YEARS ago!

This unique webinar is only $49 for three hours of fun and learning! If you are already sold, sign up HERE or read on to learn more.

What's a webshop?

In the summer, 88 Creative Keys holds an improvisation workshop here in Denver for pianists and teachers. Bradley Sowash and I, co-founders of 88 Creative Keys, decided we wanted to offer something during the winter months for our alumni (note: the webshop is FREE for all 88 Creative Keys alumni!) as well as those interested in learning more about creativity beyond the page.

The best learning happens by doing and so we are inviting all who attend the webinar to watch it at or by your home piano or keyboard to try things out--thus the title webshop.

What will you learn at the webshop?

The 88 Creative Keys Winter Webinar Webshop will be held January 22, 2016 at 4:00pm EST. It will teach you step by step how to play and improvise in the pop style and lead you to the top tech tools to assist you in this creative process so that you feel well-equipped to teach and play hit tunes.

Perhaps you saw on a recent video of my students on Facebook creating their own ensemble? (See below.) I'll step you through the process so you can do this with your students. In addition, I'll include tips on how to guide and encourage composers using pop music. It really does work!

The webshop will push you (gently, of course) to enhance your approach and will possibly help you expand your current student enrollment.

You'll walk away feeling creative, savvy and diversified.

Who will lead the webshop?

Bradley Sowash, along with yours truly (Leila Viss), will each lead a session AND we've invited a very special guest and the aussie king of teaching pop, Tim Topham, to lead a session, too!

Bradley will focus on how to play pop music so that it sounds good on the piano. Tim will provide savvy tips for teaching pop music and I'll discuss how to compose pop music and how to use it as inspiration for composing.

Bring your own libations--the webshop starts at 4:00 EST which means it's wine o'clock somewhere! Pull up a bench at your keyboard and enjoy three dynamic sessions that will hone your creative skills at the keys and energize your teaching of pop music styles. Cheers!

Where do you sign up?

The webshop is a bargain at $49. If you can't make it on January 22nd, a video will be made available for you to watch at your convenience. Yes, there will be handouts!

Get even more details and sign up HERE

FYI: 4pm EST 3pm Central 2pm Mountain 1pm PST

For any other time zone across the globe, check out this handy table:,-1425,cn3