Angela Marshall is a partner at Lakeside Piano Studios and her specialty is music composition. Innovation Meets Piano Lessons STORY & PHOTOS BY KRISTY STURGILL D avis Dorrough and Angela Marshall decided to partner together and create a truly unique and innovative business model to offer piano lessons to the Edmond community. “There are typically two business models for teaching piano lessons. Either you can be a private teacher on your own or work in a multi-teacher studio where one person is in charge, and everyone else is an employee,” said Dorrough. “We’ve created a model where two separate teachers create a strategic partnership but have equal ownership. We have two sole proprietorships, but we partner on everything.” The two might vary in their prices or policies, but Dorrough said they always agree with big business decisions. Ultimately, their model is financially easier to manage. “It also helps us not feel so isolated without having to join a multi-teacher studio,” he said. “We are also able to share the workload that would otherwise 12 August 2018 | The Business Times traditionally fall on one teacher, so she might organize print programs, and I might find the space for the next event. We really motivate one another and keep each other on track for our goals.” They’ll be teaching the model to other professionals in their field during the Music Teachers National Conference in their presentation “Dynamic Duo.” “We were asked to give a presentation on how we opened our studio in Edmond. We were one of only a handful of studios chosen to speak at the event out of probably 300 submissions. They want to know how we opened our business and made it successful with our approach,” Dorrough said. Marshall and Dorrough met at the University of Oklahoma because both were studying performance and Pedagogy. They each bring different skills to the classroom. For example, Marshalll is a composer and is currently working on a commissioned piece for East Central University in Ada. “We keep a Google doc running for just about every project. Sometimes, I have these huge ideas that are not very practical, but Angela helps me whittle and simplify them and make them easier,” he said. Dorrough started the school, but Marshall quickly joined him by teaching part-time and then eventually joining as a partner in the company. “I really like the independence of this versus being in charge of multiple people,” Marshall said. “We decided to open a studio because we were inspired to try it on our own. It was a sink or swim situation, and when we launched without a single student,” Dorrough said. The two pianists faced new challenges they didn’t prepare for during their studies. “We spent a lot of time trying to learn all the things they don’t teach you in a piano program like how to run a business or open a studio in commercial space,” Dorrough said.