Is Piano Study Declining? If so, what can we do about it? (MTNA Conference presentation)

One of the sessions I attended at MTNA conference was a panel of teachers that shared some interesting stats, thoughts and information on the topic: Is Piano Study Declining?  If so, what can we do about it?


I wanted to share my notes from this session as I find it very interesting and am curious to what your thoughts are on this subject…


Companies know if they don’t change to keep up with the market they won’t last.


*Collegiate Piano Study (easiest to find info)
Slight increase to late 80’s and then flat since then in piano…
DMA increases more and continuing to increase
BM declines quite a bit starting in late 80’s
MM also declines (not as much but continues)


Surveyed colleges/universities
41% say % students declined in undergraduate
DMA increased
Pop of US students declining
Some comments- “W/o asian students we would have to close” etc.
Job market for graduates are declining
Over half of them said piano study is declining
“fewer students are serious about study”, “more competition for students time,” “fewer choosing to major in music”


*The Independent Studio-  What this female teacher (on panel) noticed in her studio around 2007:
Demographics- more younger starters, fewer 10 year old, HS beginners, more older adult students
Environment- Sports programs, academic demands, social pressures, arts valuation (not a good way to earn a living)
Endorsement- School music programs- If you have a good school music teacher and a good program they encourage students to take lessons, Economic status, other instruments (guitar is popular)
Technology- Internet, DVD’s, Electronic keyboards (single button chords)


The market has changed!  As IMT’s we must adapt to the market.
Less school age children learning, more RMM adult students wanting to learn.


*Publishing (EL Lancaster)
No publisher is going to share their sales data so hard to answer the question.
IBIS world industry report (sheet music publisher in US)
Since 2006 sales has declined 3.9%
Could be due to free music online, schools closing, programs closing, etc.
19% of music sales is classical music
18.9% Christian music
13% Children’s music (methods, supplementary, etc.)
Printed music sales: flat (hasn’t gone anywhere)
Same # of beginning students
Students studying for shorter period of time
Same # of adult beginners
Increased # of self study materials
Overall piano study: same or slighly declining


Digital formats for music-
In it’s infant stages
Pop music leading the way
Size of notebooks (disadvantage to printed music)
Ability to write ondigital format (also disadvantage)
Feb/March issue of Am. Music Teacher read article on music teachers


*Piano Sales (Brian Chung and Mike…)
No definitive numbers exist so taken from the music trades
Grand piano sales have decreased dramatically from 2005-2009
Upright slightly better but not much.
Digital piano’s goes up and down
Keyboard sales 2007-08 go down but coming back up
Keyboards under $199- slight decline but coming back up.
*we never see these students because they give up ie: poor instrument
We need to build our career and be versatile (play for funerals, weddings, church, etc…)


*MTNA (Gary Ingle)
Membership has remained more or less the same (22-25,000)
This year 23,000 members- 80-85% are piano teachers
HS competitors have remained about the same.
Most teachers have told him that they have the amount of students they want, have smaller waiting lists, fewer calls.
Rural areas seem to be impacted more.
Newsweek magazine survey. Top 10 lucrative (doesn’t pay) majors- #1 Journalism  #2 Horticulture…  #7Music


Bureau of labor statistics- entertainers (musicians, singers, etc.) expected to grow 8% between 2008-18.  Fast as average for all occupations.  Most new jobs will be in religious organizations.  Slower than avg growth for self employed musicians.  Education- musicians must be knowledgeable about a broad range of musical styles, training…  Talented individulas who are talented at multiple istruments and/or styles will have the greatest prospects.  Self ed expected to increase by 33%.  (RMM adult rec programs will increase, need will grow).


Employees in music stores decreased in 2001 (when iPad came out) rom 80,000 to 20,000.
Music teachers who are willing to gig, other type of music jobs, diversify, will have the most opportunities.
Music teachers that view it as a profession and not just a “hobby” will last longer.  Certification importance may increase (people will start looking for this), more competition in the market.  The future will demand that we compete.
The new things with the traditional will be more successful.
Find out what the customer wants and adapt.


? and A-
“The only time meaningful changing occurs is when you feel threatened.  We need to assume that piano study is declining.” Brian Chung
We need to get on FB, YouTube, Craigslist, web presence, Linked In, have a website, etc.
Take your complaints and ask why and what can we do?
ie:  soccer,  why is soccer so popular, what can we do?  (Team, social opportunities)
Make sure parents know that Med schools, law schools and business schools LOVE music majors or students that have studied music.
The teachers that are doing better in struggling areas are investing time & money in learning marketing skills.
Think out of the box, participate in many things, create a name for yourself, get out there.


So are you finding these stats and thoughts to be accurate in your area or are you experiencing something different. What do you do to keep your studio thriving?

Tech Tuesdays: iPad Music App website

Last week I shared some fun video’s of people making complete bands with their iPads.

Today I would like to share a website called iPad Music Apps.  This website gives tons of app resources and reviews to help you make music with your iPad.

They cover: Beat Makers, Virtual Instruments, Utilities, DAW, Guitar Amp Sims,Multi Trackers and Musical Games.

Now you too, can create an iBand! How fun would that be to do with your students? Do many of them have iPads? I know a lot of mine do. I asked my intermediate summer students if they have some kind of iDevice and all of them did. So we’re going to try making creating an iBand this summer. Can’t wait!

Tech Tuesdays: iPad Bands

I’m sure you have seen the iPad bands that are coming out. They are so fun! I wanted to share a few today.

One of my favorites is this one with 24 iPads: 24 piece iPad Band

iPad Band

North Point’s iBand (Live and on stage!)

iBand (using iPhone’s and a handheld game system)

Student iPad Band (though this isn’t polished, this is a great example of what it might be like for our students starting something like this)

So have you thought about putting an iPad band together in your studio?

Tech Tuesdays: Free music certificates

Tech Tuesday is now going bi-monthly… (I mentioned May madness right?)


This Saturday is my recital so I thought I would share some of my favorite websites I use to print free music certificates.  Enjoy!  (I like these especially because they don’t put their website logo on them. You do need to sign up to download but they are free)