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October, 2020 - Matthew Rusk

A Day In The Life of A Start-Up: Day 2

Social Media

There is always a challenge for a business to get the most (or anything!) out of social media. Not only are there so many platforms, but the amount of time that can be wasted by a business trying to maintain social media presents with little or no positive outcome is significant. Of course, if your business is one that can sell directly through social media then it makes so much sense to sell through those platforms – almost as if they are a marketplace.

However, when selling music lessons I know that the team has always struggled to try to develop a strategy that helps to promote our music lessons to the diverse group of interested individuals who take lessons. For many years it has been clear that this was a strategy that didn’t give the results that we were keen to get from it – in other words, the input time compared to the numbers of enquiries coming through social media wasn’t scalable.

With this in mind, a lot of time in 2020 has been spent by the team on developing a social media strategy that would help to develop the business. This moved the focus away from trying to generate more student enquiries through social media and instead of using social media to highlight the open teaching positions that the business had. Essentially, the team refocused from student enquiry generation to using social media to fill vacant roles and almost immediately the results of the time versus success completely changed. The team has been able to use the mgrmusic Facebook page to highlight the job opportunities that teachers could apply to with real success.

They have also grown out the closed teacher community on Facebook, to give teachers a space to seek advice and provide support to other music teachers, this has been a really effective place for music teachers to feel part of an online community during covid-19. At the same time reducing the number of platforms that we use for social media has helped to focus the strategy, closing down the Instagram account and reflecting on whether the Twitter account has a significant impact on business development.

Guitar Lessons Wimbledon

It is always a real compliment when a teacher who is based in one location move to a new location and is keen to continue working together in the new location. Charlie English, an experienced guitar teacher who we have worked with for many years recently relocated to the south-west of London, keen to launch a new Guitar Lessons Wimbledon music hub. He has been a fantastic guitar teacher, helping students of all ages and abilities to develop their playing ability in Southampton and I am sure that he will make the Guitar Lessons Wimbledon music school a real success for the local learners.

Of course at the moment almost all the lessons nationally are taking place online, but it has been positive to see that enquiries have continued to come in with a geo-relevant search pattern – meaning that students in say Reading are interested in taking lessons with a guitar teacher in Reading, even if that is just online for the moment. Many enquiries say that “when this is all over I would like to take in person lessons with you, but for now do you teach online?” – of course, that said there has been an increase in online enquiries, but it has been really reassuring that these are less compared to those that are still geographically relevant to the music teachers. Lets hope this is a theme that continues moving forward, as local music students need local students to teach – as much to keep them enthused about staying in the private music teaching business as it is to form a sustainable income.


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Matthew Rusk on October 30, 2020


A Day In The Life of A Start-Up: Day 1


For a long time now I have been keen to write a daily overview of how a business develops on a day to day basis. This is partly so that entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs could both recognize the common challenges faced with growing a business and see under the hood at what happens in any one particular day to contribute to the success of the business.

Partly inspired by the recent Amazon series “All or Nothing” about professional football teams Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspurs, where fans were brought behind the scenes in professional football to see the day to day workings of the club. Not that I think that there is anything as interesting as that in this case, but who knows!

I was also keen to write on a more frequent basis on a personal level to document overtime what the team at works on and how these projects go. As a student of History at the University of Exeter, documenting is a great source of resource in the future to assess why decisions were taken and reflect on how things could have been done differently. My original plan was to start writing these from 1 January 2021, but I wanted to start by giving it a go over the next month to see if I really could commit to providing daily updates on the work that the team at had done.

Piano Lessons Faversham

The main focus of work by the team on Wednesday 28th October 2020 was conducting interviews for the open piano teacher role for the Piano Lessons Faversham teaching hub. Originally a page focused on generating students for a piano teacher named Jess France, it has been left vacant in recent months as Jess relocated up to Cambridge. With a flow of new piano student enquiries coming through the team was keen to bring onboard a new local teacher to help tutor these piano students. However, the interviews that the team conducted yesterday look likely not to resolve that quite yet, as finding the right candidate to onboard is more important than bringing onboard any teacher that might be able to help.

For example, it is quite common at the moment for teachers who are not geographically located near the locational where the enquiries are coming in, to get in touch and offer their services in an online capacity. While they are correct that the majority of music lessons will take place online for the foreseeable future, it is not a long term solution to local students who would be keen to return to in-person lessons in 2021 when the wider situation allows it. Ultimately, a long term resolution has always benefited the business more than short term fixes – so that logic again will need to apply here.

Sitar Lessons London

For the first time in a long time, the business opened up a new teaching hub for an instrument that we had previously never offered lessons upon – the sitar. I know the team was delighted to have the opportunity to start working with Tommy Khosla, Winner of UK Awards for Young Musicians in Indian Classical Music, who has a deep passion for sitar music and helping to teach the sitar to new learners.

His enthusiasm for the sitar was infectious and I know that the team were delighted to work with him to launch Sitar Lessons London – the business’s first attempt at developing a dedicated sitar school in the UK. One of the most interesting aspects of instruments like the sitar is that as students recognise it is a more unusual instrument they are more like to travel, or be willing to take lessons online, as clearly the number of local sitar teachers is lower than say guitar or singing tutors. With this in mind, opening a London wide Sitar school made a lot of sense for the team – rather than focusing on a smaller area of London.

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Matthew Rusk on October 29, 2020

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Teaching in Rolling Lockdowns

Currently, the teaching world is facing a few potential bumps in the road, as are many other sectors in the arts and beyond.

Since the initial UK wide lockdown started to ease over the summer and schools returned to normal, many music teachers were able to resume their duties providing their environments were safe to do so.

For many teachers this means working in more controlled spaces with additional measures put in place to ensure safety. This could be wearing PPE, using hand sanitizers, and introducing social distancing measures to teaching areas where possible.

As we start to fast approach the tail end of 2020, the normality we’d hoped to have seen by now seems to be moving further away as various regions of the UK move in and our of more localised lockdowns. Currently called circuit breakers or fire break lockdowns.

What does this mean for many teachers?

Many teachers will be unable to operate during these rolling lockdowns. This means both teachers home studios or business premises will be closing temporarily as they are considered non-essential services.

Now is a better time than ever to have a backup plan.

The easiest way to try to maintain your workload through this constantly changing time is to speak to students early and bring up the idea of temporary online lessons.

Many teachers around the country have found much success in taking their lessons online during this testing time so as things continue to evolve, it’s certainly worth bringing that topic up with students.

Check with your students and see if they’d be interested in Zoom or Skype sessions for the duration of any periods of “lockdown” to ensure their learning is not disrupted.

Online lessons are a different dynamic to face to face lessons, but in our industry, we currently have to do what we can to survive.

Guitar Lessons London

I’m thrilled to announce that we have begun work with Lucas Polo who will be heading up our Guitar Lessons London page.

Lucas is a seasoned touring musician and I look forward to him bringing all this experience and knowledge to our base of students. He is based in the centre of London and will be servicing his local area of future guitar stars.

I welcome Lucas onboard and look forward to many years of continued success.

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Matthew Rusk on October 27, 2020

Planning for a Rainy Day

In the business world, and the working world, we’ve all heard the saying “for a rainy day”. This typically means being prepared for when things are bad.

A rainy day is usually considered by be a period of unemployment, low workloads or a period of poor health, but is anyone ever prepared for a global pandemic?

As we move out of one of the toughest years many small businesses have, and probably will ever, face, we must consider how we can prevent hardship in future days.

Many small business owners simply cannot go a year without working. It’s the lifeblood of their existence. By this point you’ve already put everything on the line to pursue your passion. You’ve turned your dream into your career. Now we’re all fighting just to stop it slipping away.

Let’s explore three main talking points that could potential help you the next time we see a little rain in the world.

1. Broaden Your Reach – Embrace the Internet

If you’re a local store that offers products to your local community, perhaps an eCommerce option would help add a little safety to your future plans. If you rely on selling locally that’s perfectly fine. However, in the event of current events happing again in another form, your local community may not be able to sustain your business. Get yourself online and make your product available to the wider world.

2. Conduct Business Virtually

If you’re a service provider such as a music teacher, therapist, nutritionist, trainer or anyone else who guides people and helps them realise their potential, then you’ll know that being in a room with someone is essential to conduct business… or is it? These days with services like Zoom and Skype, your clients can be anywhere in the world at anytime and you can still deliver the same level of service you would face to face.

3. Put a Little Aside

This is easier said than done, but if this year has taught us anything, it’s the need to be ready. Try to put a little extra money aside each month just in case you ever find yourself in this unfortunate situation again. It doesn’t have to be huge amounts, but a small amount on a regular basis adds up. This can really help keep you going in tough times.

Singing Lessons Oxford

It brings me great pleasure to welcome Zoe Mace onboard as the person heading up our Singing Lessons Oxford page.

Zoe has done a huge amount of charity work as a singer, including recording three classical charity albums which raised in excess of £200,000 for various children’s charities.

I know Zoe is going to be a fantastic teacher and our base of students are going to love lessons with her. I want to welcome her onboard and I look forward to seeing her career grow.

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Matthew Rusk on October 25, 2020


Socially Distanced Performance

As the UK prepares to enter another wave of potential lock downs, the hospitality industry is once again dealt a blow.

Venues are still not able to host regular performances by musicians, comedians and performers. Theatres still face closures and bars are unable to host their weekly singers.

Let’s talk about socially distanced gigs. Can these be a viable way of reviving the live music industry or are they too far removed from what we expect from a live music experience.

The pros of a socially distanced gig are:

Performers can Perform: This is a big one. Over the last 6 months many performers who depend on their gig based income will be able to take the stage again and perform their music. This includes artists who write their own music and working bands who perform at weddings, functions and bars.

Smaller audience sizes mean more intimate performances: Imagine getting to see your favourite band of all time, but only 50 other people can attend. That makes it a very intimate and personal experience. You could be up close and personal with an artist that you might normally see with a crowd of 1000 plus.

Venues, staff and technical crew get to keep on working: We’ve all seen the massive knock on effect Covid-19 has had on the behind the scenes staff. It’s easy to remember that musicians and performers have lost work, but don’t forget about the sound guys, the lighting guys, the riggers, the stand hands. Socially distanced gigs allow them to get back to doing what they love too.

Now let’s look at some potential cons:

Reduced audience numbers means less ticket sales: If you rely on your income from performing, then it may not be a reliable income stream with these measures. You’d have to perform to smaller numbers which means less ticket sales. The only way to keep your earnings up would be to raise ticket prices, but the major risk there is in alienating fans. You don’t want to price yourself out.

Venues may struggle to cover costs: Venues have overheads. Staff costs, security costs, running costs. Many grassroots venues work with local talent to work out payment deals where the venue get their costs covered from the bar/door and a little of the profit goes to the performers. Can venues still earn this additional income with smaller numbers in attendance?

The feel just won’t be the same: Many musicians live for that feeling of stepping out onto a stage and feeling the packed rooms energy. Will this energy still be present with a socially distanced crowd?

This topic is going to be a big talking point over the next 6 months as musicians and performers all around the country try to find a way to keep their show on the road. Do you think it’s possible to successfully put on a socially distanced gig and is this potentially the future of the arts industry?

Bass Lessons Greenwich

Here is a quick business update from

We’ve just teamed up with the fantastic bass teacher Flo Moore who will be heading up the Bass Lessons Greenwich page.

Flo is a graduate of the Royal Academy and has performed at the Royal Albert Hall, The Barbican, the Queen Elizabeth Hall and other prestigious venues.

I look forward  to hearing from students who get to share the experience and knowledge of Flo in her lessons and I’m excited to see her success grow.

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Matthew Rusk on October 20, 2020


Is Social Media Important for Music Teachers?

A question many teachers struggle with is “Is social media important?”.

Social media is a fantastic way to connect people. For teachers it is potential to reach out direct to your audience. It allows you to promote your business directly to potential students.

With so many people living their lives and making important decisions through social platforms, it’s no surprise that the way businesses are marketing themselves has changed.

The three big social media networks are Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Each of these platforms offers a unique way to connect with students and potential students alike.


On Facebook you can set up a page specifically for your business. On this page you can list all your business details and you can also share content such as text, videos and images. This content can be educational based, but you can also use it to share information such as changes to your business, or articles you think will be of value to your students.

Facebook also has a fantastic Ad Manager program that allows you to create paid-for advertisements for your business. Using this platform you can create adverts that tailor them to specific demographic within a specific radius of your business.


Instagram is more image and video based. You can post images and 60 second videos. For music teachers, this is especially useful if you want to communicate short educational messages or show people what you’re doing. Instagram is a very personal social media and creates a sense of community with the followers and the business.

Videos are useful to show your ability at a musician. This can really help attract potential students.

If you run a Facebook ad, it will also be run on Instagram as the services are both owned by Facebook.


Twitter is great as a customer service platform. It allows you to exchange short messages with followers. You may not have much luck with longer educational content here, but if you want to reach out to someone quickly and efficiently, Twitter is a great place to start.

Twitter is also a great platform for you as a teacher to connect with other entities in the business world. It allows you to reach out to companies or organizations you might want to built rapport with.

So as you can see, social media can be useful for music teachers. It allows you to create a presence online and a place to engage with and connect with your existing students and potential future students.

The advertising capabilities of social media are growing from strength to strength on an almost daily basis and right now, they’re some of the cheapest ads you can purchase.

If you are a music teacher but you’re not on the social media train, you should consider jumping onboard and connecting with an audience that’s out there just waiting for you to come along and inspire them.

Trumpet Lessons Swansea

I’m very excited to bring Neil Southgate onboard with as the teacher for our Trumpet Lessons Swansea page. We haven’t featured many trumpet players but as we grow into this area, it’s very exciting to work with someone of Neil’s calibre.

Neil is a very active musician who plays with a popular Soul group and he holds a Masters in Musicology from Cardiff University.

He has been teaching for over 6 years and I am thrilled that Neil will be sharing this knowledge and expertise with students.

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Matthew Rusk on October 20, 2020


Make Your Teaching Space Safe

If you’re a music teacher and you’re able to resume teaching, either from your own music studio or from a school premises, you have to consider how you’re going to make this as safe as possible.

There is plenty of advice out there from the UK Government on what measures need to be in place. You can use this information to start to form an idea of how to ensure the lessons you offer are as safe as possible.

Let’s look at a few safety measures and discuss how they could benefit or hinder a music lesson:

Face Coverings: The main advice from the Government is around the wearing of face coverings. It is possible to conduct music lessons while wearing a face covering. This reduces the transmission risk of the virus and keeps you both safe. Many students will probably be more than happy to comply with wearing a face covering, especially if you work from a home studio or a professionally owned studio. The potential negatives are around communication. Some students may find it harder to hear things you say while wearing a face covering, so you may need to reinforce some points.

Hand Sanitizer: Hand sanitizer is a great way to reduce risk and it should be essential in any teaching area, especially where instruments are shared. The downside is that for people who play stringed instruments such as guitars, hand sanitizer can tenderise the fingertips.

Social Distancing: This is the easiest one to implement if you have the space to do so. If your teaching space allows it, you can simply set up slightly further apart than you usually would. There are not really any potential negatives to this, other than minor inconveniences such as sharing sheet music would be made more difficult due to sitting further away from the music stand.

Online Sessions: Many teachers have taken to the internet to maintain their schedules. If you are in a position to do so with certain students, it might be worth exploring if Skype/Zoom lessons are suitable. You’d need to make sure you both have a stable internet connection. It will change the dynamic of the lesson so it won’t work for everybody.

Plexiglass Screens: If social distancing in your teaching space is tricky or not an option, perhaps looking into a plexiglass screen divider would be beneficial, similar to those you now see in supermarkets and bars. This would allow you to be a little closer to your student but still safely protected by the screen. This, combined with face coverings would really improve the safety levels.

As you can see, there are a lot of options to consider when it comes to teaching in a safe and compliant way. It’s very important to keep checking for the latest advice and keep up to speed on all the latest suggestions for keeping you and your clients safe during this time.

Singing Lessons Wimbledon

I am very excited to announce that we have just started working with the fantastic Melissa Toy who will be taking on our Singing Lessons Wimbledon page.

Melissa is a fantastic singer and teacher. She has over 10 year experience and teachers across all genres. She is a qualified Voice Specialist and holds a first-class BA (Hons) in Creative Musicianship.

I am very excited to see how Melissa career grows and I look forward to hearing from students who benefit from her experience and expertise.

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Matthew Rusk on October 13, 2020


The Importance of Having a Great Website

Having a great website is so important for a business. They are your central hub and a place to reinforce your branding identity. Your website will tell potential clients and customers about you and the services you offer.

Most business rely heavily on social media, which his fantastic for community outreach, however, you can only take the branding so far. A website will give viewers the full story about you and your business from the first click.

This applies to all sectors. For, our website gives potential students and teachers a place to explore what we have to offer. It gives them a list of the teachers in their local area and it allows them to reach out with any questions. It also centralizes everything into one place. Imagine having to create a social media page for each individual location your business operates in.

A website will also allow you to learn about SEO. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. This is the method in which Google looks for and ranks businesses and websites according to a range of factors. If you ensure your website has good SEO, when people search for your service on Google your website will rank higher in the results.

Web design used to be an awfully expensive thing. Now, in 2020, we have so many tools available to us that allow us to build professional websites from our own home. All you need is a few simple things:

1. A Domain Name – This is your websites URL address. There are many domain registrars that you can purchase a domain from. It’s always good practise to aim for, or if you want a more localised website. Domain names, for the most part, are very affordable. You can expect to pay £10-20 a year on average to have your own domain.

2. Web Hosting – Web hosting is a place on the internet where your website is stored. Hosting suppliers are companies that run servers all over the world from data centres. You rent space off them on a monthly/quarterly/yearly basis to place your website on their servers. When people access your URL, they get redirected to the hosts servers and then to your website. Hosting pricing can vary based on the company, web traffic, website size and more.

3. A Web Builder – Ok, I did say you can do this yourself, but some people just aren’t comfortable with this aspect. Tools like WordPress and GoDaddy make web building much easier these days. If you feel up to it, give it a go! You can download so many plugins, themes, add ons and more that will make web building a breeze. If you still don’t feel confident, or you want someone to build you something very specific, you may need to contract a good web developer.

Now that you know what it takes to have a good website, it’s time for you to get building. Stamp your brand authority all over it and get that SEO on point so your website ranks high in Google. Whatever your sector, from guitar teacher to solicitor, having a good website is your authority mark in your field.

Zoom Cello Lessons

Just a quick business update from my side, I’m very excited to announce we’ve just launched our Zoom Cello Lessons website. With the restrictions brought on by Covid-19, we’ve worked hard to get teachers online.

I am so pleased to be working with Viki Steiri who will be heading up the Zoom Cello Lessons page. Viki will be hosting online lessons for cello students from all over. She is bringing her 15 plus years of experience and knowledge to the table to share with students. Her experience and list of accolades speaks for itself.

I look forward to watching Viki’s online lessons grow and flourish.

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Matthew Rusk on October 3, 2020