Introducing The PRESTO Framework

The PRESTO Framework guides music teachers through all the steps they need to follow to build and run a successful music studio.

Introducing The PRESTO Framework

Over the last few years, we’ve been working on an exciting undertaking at TopMusic- developing our very own Certification Program. More information about this coming very soon!

But how does it fit together with what we do at TopMusic?

Table of Contents:

  1. The Challenge We Face At TopMusic
  2. Introducing The PRESTO Framework
  3. What is PRESTO?
  4. Who Will The PRESTO Framework Help?
  5. What Will I Get Out Of the PRESTO Framework?
  6. So…What Does PRESTO Stand For?
    6.1 P is for Pedagogy
    6.2 R is for Repertoire
    6.3 E is for Educational Journey
    6.4 S is for Studio Setup
    6.5 T is for Technique
    6.6 O is for Outreach
  7. Where Can I Find PRESTO?

The Challenge We Face At TopMusic

As we get closer to welcoming our first teachers into the TopMusic Certification program in July 2023 (members only at the moment!) we’ve been putting a lot of thought into a model that underpins all we do for teachers at TopMusic.

A challenge we’ve always experienced is that teachers join us with…

  • All levels of experience, from pre-teaching to 30+ years of experience
  • Varying sizes of studios, from just 3-5 students to 300 or more
  • Wide-ranging goals for their studios, from “happy to keep it small” to “want to hire loads of teachers and reach 1000 students a week”
  • A number of different instruments being taught
  • Varied teaching practices, from purely classical to jazz and contemporary masters

While creating the certification, I knew we needed a framework summarizing all we’ve learned over the 12 years at TopMusic.

Everything we’ve learned about what makes great teachers and studios and how we can best help anyone joining us at any stage of their teaching.

The PRESTO Framework is everything

Introducing The PRESTO Framework

So, we developed a brand new framework called PRESTO.

The PRESTO system teaches the six pillars which will cement and underpin your studio and student success path, no matter the size of your studio goals.
(Psst! And, when you’re ready, you can get certified in the PRESTO System through our innovative TopMusic Certification, launching to the public 2024)

Get comfy, grab a cup of coffee, and discover what PRESTO is and how it can help you.


The PRESTO framework answers the question, “What do independent studio teachers need to know/do to be successful in running a teaching studio in 2023 and beyond?”

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when trying to build and run a thriving studio. There’s a LOT to think about, plan, carry out, remember to do, factor in… It’s just a LOT.

We wanted to provide music teachers (like you!) with a checklist. A playbook, if you will. Something to work through and tick off at each stage of your growth.

A logical way to go from “run-of-the-mill” instrumental teacher to stand-out success (rather than just winging it and hoping for the best!)

PRESTO is everything independent studio teachers need

Who Will The PRESTO Framework Help?

So many music teachers in so many ways!

Experienced teachers

Teachers who know how to teach, who are confident in their methods, and are running a successful studio. BUT they have bigger dreams. They want to build a respected course/brand behind their name. They have expertise they want to share with the world, but they don’t know how to.

Brand new teachers

Teachers who feel like imposters. Like they shouldn’t be in the profession. They lack confidence because they feel they lack the necessary skills. They’re told by friends and family, “Your teaching job is just a hobby. You need to get a real job.”

Unknown teachers

They’re great at their job. Their lessons are amazing. But they have no clue how to market and expand. Their low number of students makes it seem like it’s just a hobby. But they know that they have what it takes to share their passion for music with everyone, from pre-schoolers to adults. But HOW do they grow?

Too nice” teachers

They love teaching. And they’re really good at it. But they’re not making much money from it. That’s because they’re charging peanuts. They have all the musical know-how, but when it comes to business sense, there’s a gap. A BIG gap. They find it hard to say ‘no,’ and don’t even mention “studio policies” to them (what are they?!)

Related: 303: Integrated Music Teaching in Action

Teachers who are stuck in the past

There was nothing wrong with the way they were taught (hey, it got them to where they are now!) so that’s how they teach their students. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. BUT a lot of things have changed since then. Students expect more. Teachers need to be innovative. Creative. Flexible. We need to put students first. But how?

“I have no time” teachers

Teachers who spend every hour of every day thinking about work, talking about work, or actually working. Their families either see a shut door, the back of a laptop, or a note on the counter saying, “Teaching ’til late, dinner’s in the freezer”

Frazzled teachers

Teachers who feel like their whole life is taken up by teaching (and not in a good way). They’re burnt out. And what’s more, there’s no one to talk to about it. Their friends all have 9-5 jobs where they ‘shut down’ when they leave the office. No one understands.

If you fall into one, two, three (or more!) categories, the PRESTO framework is the right fit for you.

Problems faced by music teachers can be solved by the PRESTO framework

What Will I Get Out Of The PRESTO Framework?

Short answer? A LOT.

Longer answer? You will…

  • Become a more confident and happy teacher with successful students and business
  • Grow in confidence teaching any student in any situation (and we mean *any*)
  • Make enough money to be comfortable, without the stress
  • Have more time flexibility (your family will see your face again!)
  • Build a studio full of students you want to teach who are paying you the right wage

Sounds good, right?

PRESTO Framework will help you become more confident

So…What Does PRESTO Stand For?

The PRESTO Framework covers six essential areas of running a successful music studio business.

P is for Pedagogy

Pedagogy is the heart and soul of all music teaching studios, so it’s the fundamental first step in our PRESTO system.

It focuses on the importance of achieving the perfect balance between classical training and creative exploration for any instrument. Otherwise known as Integrated Music Teaching.

There’s not just one way to teach music (as I’m sure you’ve discovered!) We want to help you improve your teaching methods with flexible lesson plans that encourage students to be curious. We can introduce you to practical activities to foster deep connections between musical elements.

R is for Repertoire

Students typically learn an instrument to be able to play pieces. So, getting those pieces right is vital in engaging and inspiring students, no matter their age or level.

If you find yourself spending hours and hours trying to figure out the best methods, sheet music, collections, classical, and pop repertoire for your students, we’ve got you covered!

We’ll help you with a system to choose the right repertoire for the right student, know how to find and connect pedagogical elements and teach them in the right way.

E is for Educational Journey

Every student is different. We embrace their differences and individual learning styles, interests, and goals. But this means there’s never a one-size-fits-all approach. What suits one student will not suit another.

This step will help you design a curriculum tailored to each individual student.

We’ll help you connect the right pieces with the right steps of your students’ learning journeys. Having a long-term plan for each student is vital for student practice, progress, and retention. And we’re here to help you with that.

S is for Studio Setup

When you first dipped your toe into the music-teaching pool chances are you didn’t take a moment to work your way through a business course first, learning the ins and outs of running your own business.

But as you grew in numbers and your studio started blossoming, you realized you’re missing business knowledge (and that’s not your fault!)

This step will help you learn how to structure your business, nail your finances, and create efficient systems that work for you. If you’re just starting out, we’ll help you decide if you’ll be a traveling teacher or studio-based. Will you teach groups, 1-on-1, or a mix? How can you automate your admin to save time?

Finances your downfall? (We’re musicians, not accountants!) This step is perfect for you.

T is for Technique

Remember what we said about every student being different? That’s important for this step too.

No single technique approach will work for every student and every instrument.

We want to help you discover multiple approaches, pick the parts you like and ditch the rest. We’ll help you make informed choices and decisions and give you all the necessary tools.

O is for Outreach

You’re an amazing teacher. We know that. You know that. Your students know that. But how can we shout it to the rest of the world?

We mentioned how musicians aren’t accountants. We’re also not marketing experts. Which is why we want to help you figure out a marketing strategy that brings your ideal students knocking.

From getting your name out there to growing a waitlist. From marketing your studio lessons to marketing studio events. We’ll walk you through all your options.

PRESTO Framework Acronym explained

Where Can I Find PRESTO?

Short answer? Everywhere!

We’ll be restructuring our resources around this framework, so you’ll be able to find everything you need for each step.

We’ll also be creating new resources that will allow you to check off what’s most important in each stage of your growth.

If you’re looking for more guidance through PRESTO and to receive a qualification, you can take TopMusic Certification.

Related: Building the Certificate of Integrated Music Teaching with Kimberly Swanson

The first BETA cohort will be led personally by TopMusic founder, Tim Topham, making it an extra special opportunity. This first BETA round is for TopMusicPro members only – the first public cohort will begin January 2024.

For more information, click here!

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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Introducing the Presto Framework
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