Summary of Q&A Session with Katie Glumac, founder of String Expert
Omnis Insight 02.16.18
Last week I had the opportunity to meet up with Katie Glumac, a violin instructor based out of Colorado, at the TMEA 2018 Convention. Katie is the founder and owner of stringexpert.com, an online music education platform for string students. It started in 2015 with Katie and has been growing ever since, providing lessons over violin, fiddle, cello, guitar, bass, piano, banjo, and mandolin, plus music theory and music composition. She now has over over 20 additional instructors who help her teach across the globe.
Our discussion was based around Katie’s approach to teaching music lessons online and how other instructors can begin building an online presence for their lesson studio.
Here’s a few key points she left me thinking about:
Subscribing to the Strategy of Preeminence-
Katie believes in providing quality customer service that is geared towards mentoring, not just instructing. Her teaching philosophy is more than just handing useful information out online, but more so approached in way of being a student’s long-term mentor throughout their learning process. It’s her goal to help students achieve their goals by making herself and her teachings available and easily accessible online. With this approach, she’s able to make sure students have quality instruments, the right music, the right teacher, the right learning environment, the right budget, and everything else in between.
The Future of Online Teaching
Education as a whole is moving towards the digital world. We are seeing students getting their information from YouTube and other online platforms. It’s only going to continue to be like this as technology improves and advances. It’s now easier than ever for teachers and students to connect, grow, and learn.
The Essentials for Online Teaching
It’s really a no-brainer of what an instructor may need to begin teaching online lessons. Katie mentioned that the bare necessities to getting started is having a great internet connection, some kind of video conferencing tool, like Skype or FaceTime, and a really good teacher and student. That’s it. No top-notch technology. No high-tech audio engineering skills. Just a secure and reliable internet connection, a phone with a good camera attached, and YOU. Keep it simple and try not to overcomplicate the process.
Biggest Struggle with Online Teaching
For Katie, the biggest hurdle she’s had to overcome is having her students feel disconnected when taking online lessons. To bridge the gap from student to instructor, she’s had to find ways to make more of an emotional connection through video in order to keep students engaged and comfortable.
Marketing and Promoting your Online Teaching Studio
String Expert, Katie’s online music teaching business, has multiple outlets in marketing. She has twenty-five active networking systems in place, reaching out to music businesses and organizations to help promote her studio. She’s VERY active on social media and can be found on EVERY platform like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and YouTube. Outside of social media, she uses CEO Google Adwords and traditional print marketing by mailing out information to potential students.
The Importance of Social Media
One major point Katie made was that instructors have the opportunity to change the world, in terms of music education, through social media. With a lot of not so great quality education out there, instructors have a chance to reach larger audiences and provide a source for students to really learn and understand things they wouldn’t normally. In addition to opportunity, most of these social platforms provide a sense of community. Katie’s students are able to reach out to through comments, emails, and letters, asking for tutorials on specific songs or techniques. It allows everyone to have a real interactive experience and understand what people are doing all around the world.
Personal Identity is Powerful
Katie stressed the importance of being proactive in your teaching approach and really focus on what you’re good at. It’s the idea of staying true to your identity as an educator and not putting up a facade or show when teaching online. She gave the example of a teacher who is a creative artsy person, with a little side of geekiness, should be that same person online. She left me with this last piece of thought: “Overall, there’s a space and a market for everything on digital. It allows you to just be who you are and find other people who are exactly who you are as well.”