July 13


The Curse of Industry Standard

Most teachers don't get very excited about working in a traditional community music school. Because the pay is low. Often less than half of what students and families are paying in.

This has become industry standard.

In my previous job, the administration would obsess over how to keep teachers. It was a revolving door, sometimes as many as a dozen teachers quitting at once.

The administration explored every option...except paying the teachers more or offering better raises.

When I would express my concern, the response was absolute. There would be no raise in teacher pay.

"We benchmark to make sure we're paying around what other schools are paying. It's industry standard."

But what happens when the industry...kinda sucks?

Even when school administrators and owners are spending all their time replacing teachers and students, they won't question the status quo. That's the power...and the curse...of industry standard.

In every industry, there are standards and common practices. The key is challenging the ones that suck so you can take the industry to new places.

Otherwise, industry standard leads to average. And average can't make a difference in the world.

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About Jonathan Roberts

I am the founder and director of the South Shore Piano School, and I have been teaching the piano for nearly 20 years. My work centers around bringing music to the lives of kids, parents, and adults in an enriching, meaningful way. At the South Shore Piano School, my incredible colleagues and I accomplish this through skill-based teaching, community, and an innovative, people-first business model. You can read more about me here.


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