Michelle Maves is a professionally trained musician and teacher based in New York City. She and her husband run a tag-team tutoring program that includes music, SAT test prep and more. Here’s how she built her music school — and why she loves the work she does.
I started teaching while I was in college in Chicago. I was a performing arts major and there was a school nearby where I taught voice and piano. I moved to Los Angeles with my husband who was in film school and continued teaching lessons on the side. When we moved to New York my business expanded really fast. When I couldn’t take on more students I turned to my husband (who moonlighted as a test prep tutor) and said: “Why don’t we start a real business?”
Teaching is both of our full-time jobs now. We backed off of other jobs as we got more and more customers, and hired two other instructors to help with overflow. Things grew really organically from there.
We create really strong lessons that are individual to each student — and we can really only do that now, because we have so many wonderful teachers to pull from. We have as many as fifteen teachers on staff when the school year is in swing.
Hiring has been a lesson for us. We have to make sure that our teachers are great musicians and can connect with the students. They have to be professional, reliable, engaging and good at what they do. We hire instructors for both tutoring and music, and even though they are very different disciplines, what we’re looking for is very much the same.
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