How One Epic Piano Teachers’ Conference Will Change Your Teaching Forever – Part 2

Find out what makes our piano teachers’ conference different. Part 2

How One Epic Piano Teachers’ Conference Will Change Your Teaching Forever – Part 2

A Piano Teachers’ Conference Designed for Connection & Real Change

In last week’s article, I explained the reasoning behind the creation of Piano Pivot Live. Additionally, I talked about the funny name and explained how we’re working on setting this piano teachers’ conference apart from all others in the industry. 

The response from around the world has been tremendous, with many teachers telling me they scored 5 out of 5 on the “Have you ever…” questions and that they can’t wait to join us. (Click here to read last week’s post if you’d like to check your score.)

In summary, here’s why I decided to create this event for teachers:

  1. Firstly, I felt there was a need for a conference that’s less theoretical, more practical.
  2. Secondly, I wanted an event that focused equally on the business side of running a studio as well as the pedagogy. There are currently no other events that share this important focus.
  3. Well, having been to lots of music education conferences as both speaker and delegate over the last ten years, I felt I had a good handle on what’s been working, where teachers need more help and where I could improve the experience.
  4. More and more teachers were telling me that they’d love to experience a Tim Topham-style conference focused on creativity, improvisation, technology and business.
  5. In addition, I want to repay the hospitality, friendship and fun that I’ve enjoyed traveling interstate and overseas to other conferences by welcoming teachers to my hometown, Melbourne, at one of the best times of the year. 

Finally, I realise that attending any conference, particularly when it’s not in your home town, is a significant investment in both time and money. 

So in today’s article, I want to explain how I’m planning to help all attendees to ensure they get a return on their investment (ROI) for coming along in January.

A Different Kind of Music Education Conference

I don’t want this to be just another piano teachers’ conference.

Realistically, I know that teachers have limited funds and MUST ensure they receive value for money for their participation

In addition, I know that very few teachers are trained in business. It’s a huge missing piece in the skillset of most studio owners.

And I also know that without fresh ideas and inspiration, we can quickly become tired and burnt-out.

Rydges piano teachers' conference venue

Light and airy meeting room at the Rydges Hotel, Melbourne

For this reason, I’ve chosen to run things a little differently at Piano Pivot Live 2020.
So, here are 8 ways PPL will be a refreshing change.

    1. Single stream event – no need to choose from five different workshops and always feel like you’re missing out on something important.
    2. Full catering provided – no need to buy your own coffee, tea or lunch – it’s all included in your ticket price.
    3. Personally curated speakers – the only speakers appearing at PPL are ones that I’ve hand-picked. This ensures only the highest-quality, engaging presentations. 
    4. Shorter sessions – no 1.5-hour sleepy keynotes here! Our sessions vary from quick 15-minute panels and “fireside chats” to 45-minute keynotes and workshops, keeping things moving and interesting. 
    5. Roundtable seating – forget the classroom/lecture layout. It’s much more fun to be seated like you’re at a function or wedding and able to connect with people around you. These are also perfect for our mastermind sessions.
    6. Mastermind sessions – get a chance to have deeper connections with your favourite speakers in our round-table masterminds. You can ask any questions and get feedback on your teaching/plans.
    7. Modern, light-filled hotel venue (click here for a walk-through with me!) with high-quality food and exciting user experience. We’ll have unexpected events, practical and fun games, music and activities
    8. Trade Hall – we’ve got many exhibitors and sponsors supporting this event. The best thing is that our Trade Hall is also the same place that we’ll be enjoying our catering. You can eat, drink and browse all at the same time!
      Bobby McGee food service area for piano teachers' conference

      Bobby McGee’s at Rydges — a hidden gem of the venue

      Why Not Just Run an Online Summit?

      I LOVE the world of online training, courses, and forums (which is why I created the Inner Circle, after all.) However, there is nothing quite like the energy and buzz that comes from meeting like-minded, creative, inspirational teachers in person. 

      I’ve had some of my biggest breakthroughs from watching teachers in action. And, by connecting with them personally, I’ve improved my teaching moreso than from watching videos or reading blog posts.

      There’s something about the personal connection and seeing people in action live that makes all the difference.  

      It’s those connections that can not only change your teaching forever but build friendships that last a lifetime.

      Best of all, we’re not leaving these connections to chance at Piano Pivot Live.

      Make Connections at piano teachers' conference

      What are the Mastermind and Implementation Sessions?

      One of the hardest things to do at a conference is not only to come away inspired and buzzing with new ideas, but to affect real change in your teaching. 

      And that’s where I feel many conferences fail their delegates.

      It’s all very well (and kind of easy with great speakers) to “wow” a crowd, but to create lasting change and set teachers up for ongoing success takes a little more work. 

      So at PPL, we’re going to help you connect directly with our speakers and Inner Circle expert teachers in our afternoon masterminds. Hence, you will come away with actionable studio-ready tactics for change in the year ahead. 


      Piano Pivot Live Speakers

      You will get the opportunity to spend blocks of 30 minutes around a table with a Speaker or Inner Circle Expert Teacher of your choice (preview some of them here). In addition to asking questions, you can dive deeply into topics to help you plan your year. 

      Not only will you have the opportunity to participate in these Mastermind sessions, but we’re also setting aside one hour on Friday for our “Implementation Sessions”. 

      In these guided opportunities, you will combine all your thoughts into a workable plan of action and ensure that you get the maximum benefit from your PPL involvement. 

      You’ll be able to use the worksheets in your delegate program to scaffold your planning, and all the speakers and team will be there to help you plan. 

      These Implementation Sessions are a key factor in my goal of helping ensure you get an ROI when you come to PPL. So what is an ROI?

      Getting a Return on Your Conference Investment

      I understand that for many teachers, finding the income to be able to afford to attend a live event, particularly when you factor in flights and accommodation, can be a struggle and may seem impossible at first. 

      So the first thing to remember is that this is a business investment for your professional development and studio growth. As such it’s a tax deduction. That means that you can offset all costs associated with PPL against your income and so reduce your tax payable. 

      Further, I also want you to think about how you can get a proper ROI (return on investment) for this piano teachers’ conference. 

      Say the total costs to you are $500. 

      Ask yourself: “How could I recoup those costs with the knowledge you learn from the conference?”

      This is precisely what Amy Comparetto did when she decided to join the Inner Circle this year. Here’s what she told us in our Success Forum:

      PianoTeachersConference_quoteYou can listen to the whole story in Podcast Ep 172: Getting value from professional development with Amy Comparetto which aired on Friday 11 October 2019.

      So, how might this ROI arrangement work for PPL? Here are some ideas: 

      • You could take away some of Philip Johnston’s “$100K studio” ideas and implement them into your studio to set you apart from all the others in your area. Attract an extra ten students for the next year and, at $40 a lesson, that’s about $1,400 extra income. Hence, you’ve doubled your investment in PPL2020
      • Take on board some of Carly’s preschool/beginner teaching ideas and open up a whole new income stream for younger children. You could teach during your ‘dead time’ in the middle of the day by setting up a group class of five preschool children paying $20 a week for ½ a year. You’ve just made $1,500. In addition, you’ll have a whole new group of students who will move up to 1-on-1 lessons with you when they’re older! 
      • We can help you implement monthly automated billing software to save you time invoicing and cashing cheques. You’ll easily save 1 hour a week in admin. If you charge yourself out at $70 per hour, over the course of the year, that will be a saving of $3,640!! 

      And that’s just the tip of the iceberg with what’s possible with the speakers we’ve lined up.

      Can you see how this ROI equation could work for you? All you need to do is be creative and take action in a way that has clear return for your business. 

      The best thing is that we’ll be there to help you work out your ROI project AND you’ll have the time to implement your plans. 

      I can’t wait to read the stories of how teachers have doubled or even tripled their investment through astute enterprises like these. 


      In summary, I’ve envisioned a different kind of piano teachers’ conference. One where inspiration is connected to actionable results and real change.

      In the words of author Chris Guillebeau, “Inspiration is good, but inspiration combined with action is so much better.”

      Are you ready to make a pivot in your teaching in 2020?

      Tim Topham

      Tim Topham is the founder and director of TopMusic. Tim hosts the popular Integrated Music Teaching Podcast, blogs regularly at and speaks at local and international conferences on topics such as integrated teaching, creativity, business, marketing and entrepreneurship. Tim has been featured in American Music Teacher, The Piano Teacher Magazine, California Music Teacher and EPTA Piano Professional. Tim holds an MBA in Educational Leadership, BMus, DipEd and AMusA.

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