There are different modalities musicians can generate profit. That could be playing through weddings, writing a book, or educating. In this episode, Glory St. Germain, the Founder of Ultimate Music Theory, shares how she makes a six-figure business teaching music with Music Business Mastery. Glory also tackles the four mistakes most people make which hold them back in playing the different modalities to build their business. Tune in and discover how you can enrich the lives of others through music education.
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Music Business Mastery: How To Make A Six-Figure Business Teaching Music With Glory St. Germain
I am excited to be with you on the show. I have my guest and friend, Glory St. Germain, from Ultimate Music Theory. We are going to talk about music teachers teaching online and offline, and how we can make money doing that. Before we jump into that, Glory, I would love to have you share your background with our readers. How did you get involved in music? How did you develop over the years to start the company that you have now?
Bree, thank you so much. I’m honored to be here on your show. I’m Glory St. Germain. I grew up in a musical family. Funny story, Bree. My mom always said, “It was before the dishwashers.” She would say, “Glory, you can go play the piano or you can do the dishes.” Never in my life did I do the dishes. I always played the piano. At the age of sixteen, I started teaching. As my friends were making a couple of bucks babysitting, I was making five times more money being a teacher. I also became an entrepreneur and never looked back.
It was about making money and growing the business. We come up with these obstacles that were faced. For me, one of them was music theory. I didn’t like or understand music theory, but as musicians know, everyone has to learn music theory, whether you do a book or learn two notes that are an interval apart. I started studying about how I could become an effective educator and wound up creating the Ultimate Music Theory Program.
I love that you were an entrepreneur when you were in your teens. Once you experienced that little taste of success like you did, you’re like, “I’m making a lot more money doing this than babysitting or mowing lawns or whatever I could do. How much further can I go with this?”
It’s so interesting that you said that because as I realized that I was making a lot more money doing that, it put me on my path to explore other things. I was an educator and from being an educator, I became an author. I wrote over 60 books on music theory education.
Let me stop you there. Sixty books? That makes my head crazy after writing one book. I can’t even imagine.
I’m glad you mentioned that, Bree, because here’s the funny thing. I wrote my first three books, and I went and looked for a publisher and everyone said, “Go away, little girl. Come see me when you’ve sold some books.” I said, “Don’t believe me? Just watch,” in the words of Bruno Mars. He’s one of my go-to guys, the Uptown Funk. I became my publisher. We’ve sold over $1 million of books, so I must be doing something right.
You don’t hit the million-dollar mark unless you are helping people. I realized that as I traveled across North America presenting workshops, the teachers looked at me and said, “We love your books, but we also need help in how to teach music theory.” That’s what led me to create the Ultimate Music Theory Certification Course for teachers.
We are now in 38 countries around the world and music educators are saying, “Thank goodness there’s finally somewhere to learn how to teach music theory and implement that into any discipline, whether you teach voice or whatever instruments you’re teaching.” I’m a proud mama coach of all of these musical entrepreneurs that are now making a lot of money in their businesses as well.
You teach them to teach music theory, but you also teach them to run a successful business. How did that develop from music theory to what it is now?
The world is changing and certainly, in 2020, it took a drastic turn for you are either going to be teaching online, learn how to do that, whether you go back to in-person or not or you’re going to be out of business. I realized that I could not only help teachers and teach music theory, but I could help them grow to become a six-figure business. If I can be a six-figure business as a music educator, I can teach others how to do it as well. It’s also about diversifying. How can you make more money and teach less?
That’s by teaching Music Theory Club classes. I’ve done a lot of research in writing my books, and one of the things I have discovered is that you learn faster when you learn in small groups. This is called the Cooperative Learning Theory, and helps you connect with others. As musicians, it’s not an isolated job. We want to play, jam and hang out with our musician friends. In teaching music theory club classes, you’re going to make five times more money per hour than what you’re making now as a teacher, which is very appealing to me, first of all.
Also, the camaraderie as I was teaching music theory. Here’s a great tip for your readers. If you are a music teacher and say you’re teaching piano, you can branch out and teach music theory group classes to all disciplines. For example, I went across a local high school and talked to the band teacher and said, “I’m Glory St. Germaine and I’m teaching music theory club classes if you have any students.”
He went, “Thank goodness for you.” I had all these students coming that were string students, horn students. None of them were piano lesson students. I taught them theory and the band went on to win triple gold in their competitions because now they had the skillset to read music faster and they were proud of themselves.
They could start to play other instruments too because they could read. It’s taking the musician to the next level. I see behind you. You got a guitar and keys. People want to explore different instruments, but if you have the skillset to understand music theory, you’re going to get there so much faster.People want to explore different instruments, but if you have the skill set to understand music theory, you will get there much faster. Click To Tweet
I’m sure band teachers would be so thankful for something like that. Are you going into how to read the full band score or the orchestral score? That is very different from the piano score, and every instrument looks different on the staff and stuff.
Yeah, because when you are doing those disciplines, one of the things if you’re starting the beginner ABC workbooks, the keyboard is a visual aid in helping students understand distance. Many of our elite educators play and are teaching everything from strings to saxophone. Thulane is in Zimbabwe. He’s a saxophone educator. Mark teaches strings. When we look at them, we talk about those conversations. He said, “What’s great about the Ultimate Music Theory program is that you are using the keyboard as a visual representation, but it’s not a piano book. It is a music theory book.” We’re also introducing the alt alto clef, the tenor clef, treble and bass clef.
They’re also learning about key numbers. It is the foundation that musicians need. We’ve also created the Ultimate Music Theory App that correlates to the workbooks. For example, if you’re doing the basic rudiments workbook, you’re in lesson 5 and you can use the music theory app deck 5, which is identical to the lesson you’ve learned. It’s another reinforcement tool. Kids love to play on their phones or their computer. It’s another way of connecting the brain to the music and making you smarter. I have a little tip, though, and Bree knows this. Learning music makes you smarter, but teaching music makes you better looking.
I was thinking about what you said about the phone. Kids like to play on their phones. It reminded me of when you said, “You can either play piano or do the dishes.” You say to your kid, “You can only play on your phone if you’re playing on your music theory app.”
The great thing is we’ve partnered with Brainscape. As students are going through the Ultimate Music Theory app, they’re competing as they go up the leaderboard to see how many decks they’ve gone through and what their scores have been. It’s an effective and powerful tool for learning.
Gamification. That’s going to hook them for sure. That brings up a question that I had. We all went through the pandemic and we did a lot of teaching online. I’ve had my entire teaching business be online because I’m teaching courses, workshops and things like that. Is it more effective to teach in person or online? Is it using a different modality, but it can be just as effective for either?
It’s 100% effective either way. I had the opportunity to interview Sal Spinelli. He is the vocal coach for Kodi Lee, who’s on America’s Got Talent. He’s in the finals for AGT. He shared with me that even with this high-level of coaching, he’s doing it on Zoom because you can’t always be in person. I have many people who have gone through our Ultimate Music Theory Certification Course, the Elite Educator Program, and Leanna, for example, is teaching in three different countries.
She teaches in Germany, Singapore and the US, but not even in her own state. She lives a free lifestyle. She travels, goes to Hawaii and California, flips open her laptop, teaches music theory classes, and goes off to the beach. It has given us a massive opportunity to also be reaching out to homeschool communities and opportunities to be teaching during the day. If you’ve still got young kids at home, you maybe don’t want to be teaching through the supper hour, so this is going to open up a whole box of crayons for you to explore different ways of teaching and in different countries as well.
I love that too because we all go through seasons in our life. I did the homeschooling thing for a while with my kids. I worked from home only during school hours. It changes all the time depending on your family situation, having that flexibility, maybe during this season we go online, but maybe later I missed that personal contact. You can open it up to in-person classes.
Many teachers now, and one of our elite educators, Joanne Barker, teaches hybrid. She has many students that come in person into her class because she is teaching theory club classes. Sometimes there are a few that maybe are sick or not feeling well, or parents can’t get to class or rather than missing, they come in through Zoom.
Now, she’s teaching hybrid classes, which are effective. They still are all learning. Even as you and I are hanging out, we might not have met in person yet, we chat and we become friends. There’s a wonderful community with opening up classes and having the opportunity to connect musically in person or online either way.
I’ve had some people that I’ve worked with since 2015, and we had never met in person. Eventually, we’ll meet somewhere, like at a tax conference. It’s like we’re meeting off of a screen in person, but it’s the same person and experience. It’s not a big deal that we’ve met in person like I thought it would be because I feel like I know them.
I have 14 people on the Ultimate Music Theory team, and we’re in 5 different countries. We have people that are working with us in Pakistan, the UK, New Zealand, the US, and Canada. Many of them I have never met. I might never meet them in person, although we are planning to have an actual Ultimate Music Theory team meeting in Las Vegas, so we’ll see which will be great. We know each other well because we’ve been working together for years, even though we haven’t met in person. You get to know somebody pretty well and get your little inside jokes.
A lot of people that I work with, maybe they’re an artist and a teacher, they’re doing both. They’re maybe teaching on the side. They’re teaching a few voice lessons out of their home or whatever and they’re thinking to themselves, “How could I possibly make a six-figure business teaching music?” Can you give them a little lay of the land or a bit of a blueprint of how they could make that happen?
I’ve been doing it for years, and the key to being a six-figure entrepreneur as a music educator is having multiple streams of income. First of all, I want to invite them to attend one of our live events, Music Business Mastery LIVE. It’s a three-day live event where I will be giving you the mindset, the strategies, and the tools as to how you can grow a six-figure business. Ultimately, what it is you want to be teaching in Ultimately Music Theory groups. I go through all the steps that you need to get your marketing out there. How do you find the students that are going to come into your groups?
When you’re teaching group lessons, you’re making more money per hour. You can also be teaching students privately because some people want to have a little bit of both. They want to do practicals privately and groups privately. The other important thing is to leave space for your professional development. All of the readers that are connecting with you are here to up-level their skillset as an educator. I want to commend them because professional development is the key.
I work as a music teacher business coach and I have coached more than one in different areas of my business to grow as well. It’s important if you want to take that step and grow your business into a six-figure music teaching business, it’s doable, but you’ve got to connect with a coach or with someone who’s been there, done that so that you don’t have to take twenty years of figuring it out the way that I did. I share everything and say, “Here you go. Business in a box.” Our music educators can attest to their success and I’m proud of them and our grads as well.
I could never have done any of the stuff that I’ve done in my business if I didn’t have my coaches in the background. We always have our blind spots, the places we need to grow and it is important to have that. What is the difference between a teacher and a coach in your opinion?
There is a fine line. Teachers teach. Some educators teach, they are very qualified and they teach but a coach, in my mind, is taking them to the next level. A coach is more of, “I’m listening to learn and not listening to reply.” Even though I mentioned earlier about Sal being a coach for Kodi Lee, in my interview with him, I was asking, “How does that work for you? Kodi is blind, autistic, and savant.” Sal said, “I sometimes get a sense that he’s feeling sad, so perhaps we’re not going to play sad music.” A coach is there to guide you. Where do you want to go? It’s important to also study how to be a coach. You can’t just put that name on yourself and hang out a shingle and say, “I’m a coach.”
I have done a lot of work and attended a lot of events with Tony Robbins with my coach, Sage Lavine from Women Rocking Business. I got to shout out to my coach, Sage, and it is about learning how to be a coach. It’s another step and that’s something that we also deliver inside Music Business Mastery LIVE to our ultimate music teachers, “How do you become a coach?”
You need to be taking on the ownership and the responsibility. If your students are quitting, you need to look at yourself. Not that they’ve got soccer practice, not that their parents say, “We can’t afford that,” not all the excuses that come with it. I take it very personally. If one of my students is quitting, I need to know why.You need to take ownership and responsibility. If your students are quitting, you need to look at yourself. Click To Tweet
What is it that I didn’t fulfill as a music teacher and music coach? There is something missing. We teach a lot of NLP in our program. NLP is Neuro Linguistic Programming. Neuro is how we think, Linguistics is how we communicate, and Programming is how we get the results. You need to understand visual and kinesthetic learners, and teach in all three modalities to be a powerhouse educator so that no matter what your teaching style is, your students will be massively successful.
I know that there are a lot of mistakes that teachers make at first when they’re trying to build their business. One of the things you said was not playing to all the different modalities. Are there any other mistakes you want to mention that could help people not fall into those traps?
There are four mistakes that are often very common and one of them is having a vision of clarity. What clarity is your vision for your business? Often, we start teaching, but we don’t set a business plan or have a vision for what we want. Sometimes that’s a mistake and why people spend a few years or many years scrambling. Do I want to teach little kids? Do I want to teach homeschool? Do I want to teach in high school? Do I like it? What do I want to do? Take the time to have a vision of clarity.
Another mistake is having the plan to execute and this is key. Even as educators, we may put a lesson plan together for teaching, but we need to have a plan to execute our business. I often say, “What is your cash-producing activity? What did you do to generate cashflow for your business? Are you posting on social media for the heck of it?”
A third system that is missed is a system that works for you. We talked about having coaches, and I can tell you I remember having one session with my coach. I paid $500 for a 30-minute coaching session and in my high-level business, it saved me $30,000. I said to her, “Megan, thank you. You saved me $30,000.” She said, “I know.”
That brings me to the fourth thing, and one of the biggest mistakes that teachers and educators often have is not having a coach for confidence. I wouldn’t have hit the stage twice doing my two TEDx Talks if I didn’t have a TEDx coach. He was there with me, guiding me all the way. Now, I’m writing a book, the Ultimate Music Theory Teacher’s Guide, and I have a book coach. I highly recommend that these are something you consider when you’re looking at saying, “I’m serious. I want to make money but also serve at the highest level as a music educator. What are the steps? What do I need to get started with?” There you go. Four mistakes. Don’t make those.
The first time that I met you in the mastermind that we’re in, I was like, “This woman has confidence.” She may not have always had this kind of confidence, but she’s got it in spades. Did you do a lot of coaching in that?
The answer is yes. I remember sitting on my hands. If you watch my TEDx Talk, I had to go through reliving this horrific moment. In the TED Talk, you’ll see me going through this pain point. I recalled going to music teacher’s events. As music educators, we’ve all attended conferences from time to time. I said to my friend sitting beside me, “Please don’t let them ask me a question. I don’t know why they always pick me, and I’m not even going to put my hand up.” They said, “How many of you do music recitals?” Of course, everybody put their hand up. The presenter knew me and said, “Glory, why don’t you come up here and share with the rest of the teachers how you do your recitals and what’s the process?”
I’m terrified. I went up to the front and was nervous but fake it until you make it. I shared my journey and after, many teachers came up and said, “Thank you so much. I struggle with doing recitals and I fake it, and I don’t know what I’m doing and it was helpful.” I realized that it’s okay to be vulnerable and speak your truth and that helps people more than showing off and pretending you’ve got 85 letters after your name, which doesn’t mean anything.
It’s about your heart and spiritual journey in serving others. I started working with a coach who developed my confidence and took me through the multiple steps I’ve taken in my journey to become the entrepreneur I am now. I’m still learning and growing and it’s a fun journey. I’m thrilled to be on this adventure, especially with you, Bree.It's okay to be vulnerable and speak your truth. That helps people more. It's about your heart and spiritual journey in serving others. Click To Tweet
Another thing that struck me is you’re very confident. Another thing that you exemplify that is important for teachers is on one side, confidence, on the other side, humility and gratefulness. You’re always like, “Thank you so much for that information. Thank you so much for having me here and I’m learning a lot from you guys.” How do you balance that as a teacher? You have to be a confident authority, yet you also have to show humility and grace.
I’ll share is a very powerful book, Gratitude and I’ve read the book multiple times. I live my life with gratitude. The universe knows that when you’re grateful and you appreciate things and when you serve others. We have some issues in our family, like my brother is not able to work and he was brilliant in computer. He created programs and then he had a bit of a brain injury and so is not able to work. I’m grateful that I can help him.
It’s much better to be on the side where you can give back to the community. As a company, we give to Charity Water. It’s a donation that we make every single month. Part of our business model is to give back. Everyone is entitled to have a clean glass of water to drink. It’s part of what we do. When you’re purchasing the Ultimate Music Theory books or you’re signing up for one of our online courses, know that you are contributing to the world to make it a better place.
I live in gratitude. I was born on Christmas Day, and my mom said I was always grateful for all of my Christmas presents, but I honestly had more fun giving presents than I did receiving. It’s important to realize how blessed we are with the life that we have and the opportunities that are before us. We need to take a step into that. Sometimes if you have that excuse, “I did my best,” my question is, “Did you or could you do better?” We need to challenge not only ourselves but our students with that. If they come back with, “I did my best.” I say, “Did you or could you do better?” That’s how you grow.
That’s a great way to encourage people while also pushing them a little bit. That’s what we do as teachers, and it’s a hard balance sometimes.
I was working with my coach when I mentioned I’m writing my book, the Ultimate Music Theory Teacher’s Guide. She pushes me. She challenges me to be better as a writer and as a communicator and I love that. I told her, “One of the great things I love is coaches that push me and keep pushing me” because I do that with my coaching as well.
When we’ve got elite educators that go, “I don’t think I can,” I say, “Don’t think that you can’t.” You probably know the saying, “If you think you can or you think you can’t, either way, you’re right. Good for you if you think you can’t.” I’d smile because I remember one of my students sitting at the piano one day and she says, “I can’t do this,” and I pushed my chair away and I said, “You’re right.” She goes, “What do you mean?” I said, “You’re right. You said you think you can’t do it, then you’re right. You can’t. Do you want to try it again and have a different attitude?” She’s like, “I’ll take a different attitude.” I said, “Good for you.”
A lot of people read the blog because they want to find out what streams of income I can tap into as a musician. You covered that a little bit, but I want to make sure that we cover that. What are all the streams of income that you present as possibilities for the teachers that you work with?
Number one, as a music entrepreneur, you’re going to make money in your teaching. When you’re teaching theory club classes, you’re going to make more money as an educator. The second stream of income that you can make is income as a musician. Are you going to be playing at weddings, at church, as an accompanist or in a band? Do you want to play some piano background music on a Friday night at the local restaurant? Being a musician and playing out is an excellent way to be increasing your income.
Another way to make an income is to write. I mentioned that I’ve written over 60 books. In 2021, we published five international bestselling books in the Power of Why Musician series. The wonderful thing about that is it is an income generator and an opportunity for these in 125 chapters. Out of all these contributing artists, now they have a business card. Something that they can also promote in their business, so perhaps you want to get into writing.
Another thing would be to create backing tracks because backing tracks are very popular among young students and older students. Be creative with that. Another one would be to create an affiliate program where you can generate money. Once you come into the Elite Educator Program, you automatically become a wholesaler, which means as you’re selling books to your students, you are making money.
This is another stream of income into your business so that you can be even more profitable and your students are going to buy books anyway because you’re teaching theory club classes. When you say, “Go buy the Ultimate Music Theory books,” you can place your order for your class and you’re charging your student. What is it if they went to the website anyway? There are lots of ways to be generating revenue. You need to think outside the box if you think you can or you think you can’t, either way, you’re right.
Some teachers thought when the pandemic hit, they would all stop teaching for a week or two. “I’ll be back in a couple of weeks.” You need to always be thinking about what’s next. Even as we created the Ultimate Music Theory app, we’re constantly in development. What’s needed in the marketplace? You might be the idea generator or like yourself, Bree. Maybe you want to start a podcast.
There are lots of different ways to think about how can I generate revenue for my business. You may even consider having another teacher come into your studio and do some teaching for you at the other level and be a mentor, which is what I did as well. Many of my students went on to become teachers and then they came into my studio and started teaching for me. Lots of ways to make money in the business.
Many of those we have on our 39 little-known income streams for musicians. I love especially also love the idea of bringing other teachers into your studio. It’s building your team and building a business. You don’t have to be the only teacher in your studio. People think, “They’re coming to learn from me.” It’s like they are learning from you. You’re able to mentor all these other people and spread yourself much further than you could.
Either you’d have to charge way more for your services because you only have limited time you couldn’t serve as many people and especially certain people couldn’t afford you or you mentor people. you spread yourself out like a spider web and you affect more people. How would you recommend if someone’s thinking, “I want to build my teaching business? I’d love to find out about this theory club. This sounds cool. I went through all the classes and I know my music theory and I could help students with this because it’s important?” How do you recommend they get started?
Go to UltimateMusicTheory.com. It is our main website. There you will see we have a free teacher’s guide. We have a free mini-course for teachers that want to explore and get started. We have multiple free resources for you to find information that you’re looking for as an educator, including our blogs. At UltimateMusicTheory.com, you will also see on the homepage an opportunity to register for our free event, which is MusicBusinessMastery.live. It is our free event, and I would welcome teachers to come to hang out and help you on your journey. I’d be more than happy to.
What about socials? Can they connect with you on socials?
You mentioned you had a YouTube channel as well.
Yes, we do. Thanks for bringing that up, Bree. We do a lot of the interviews that I’ve done with industry leaders around the world. I got to talk to a lot of very cool people. We’ve got interviews and I also have YouTube videos on teaching music theory. Enjoy those. Don’t forget to hit and love and subscribe.
Thank you so much. This has been great. I was looking forward to this interview because I know you personally before we got on here, which always makes it more fun to get all the juicy details that I didn’t know about you. Great to have this conversation with you. Thank you for sharing all of your knowledge with everyone here.
Thank you so much, Bree. I Look forward to seeing you again soon.
- Glory St. Germain
- Ultimate Music Theory Certification Course
- Ultimate Music Theory App
- Music Business Mastery LIVE
- Ultimate Music Theory Teacher’s Guide
- TEDx Talk – Glory St. Germain
- Elite Educator Program
- Ultimate Music Theory – Facebook
- Glory St. Germain – LinkedIn
- YouTube – Ultimate Music Theory
- Ultimate Music Theory – Twitter
About Glory St. Germain
“You create lesson plans for your teaching, but have you created plans for your business?”
Guest 1 Bio: Glory St. Germain is the Founder/CEO of Ultimate Music Theory, an international best-selling author of over 60 Books in the Ultimate Music Theory Series, and 5 Books in The Power of WHY Musicians Series.
Glory is a two-time TEDx Speaker, YouTube Video Host, Producer of the Global Music Teachers Summits, Expert Music Teachers Coach & Creator of the Ultimate Music Theory Certification Elite Educator Program and MusicBusinessMastery.live events.
Passionate about enriching lives through music education – Glory also loves coffee black, dark chocolate, and smiling so people wonder what she’s up to!