Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Do You Have A Studio Inventory?

The other day I was at the music store and purchased a piece of music only to find out when I returned to my studio that I already had a copy!  Ever happen to you?  Or do you realize that you had the perfect game or activity to help a student learn a concept, but didn't remember it until after your lesson planning and the student's lesson?  As music teachers, we accumulate a LOT of stuff - really great stuff, some of which we have worked hard to put together, but then we have the challenge to remember it all and remember where we put it!

I'm definitely an "out of sight, out of mind" kind of girl and since I don't like a lot of clutter out in the open, I forget what I have!  Besides wanting to be able to recall all the resources I have, I also recognized that as a business owner, I need to have a clear value of what my business is worth.  We all have loads of music, games, instruments, etc. and it adds up quicker than you think!  Filing our taxes is now upon us and some of the information we need can take lots of time to put together. Having an inventory, especially one with monetary value included can be a HUGE help.

Well...I decided to "get my act together" and about a month ago started to put together a studio inventory.  Simply, I made a spreadsheet to record every piece of music, resource book, game, instrument, camp supply, piece of office equipment, etc. that I had.  It was also a great exercise in purging!  I'm about 3/4 of the way through everything and can say that it's been very eye-opening - not only to the amount of stuff that I have, but to the amount of monetary value I am storing.  (Incidently, this is also great information to put together for insurance purposes.)

To give you an idea as to what I did, the spreadsheet I put together has a tab for sheet music, resource material, instruments and accessories, office equipment, athletic equipment (for camps & group lessons), and audio equipment.  To give you an example of some of the information I wanted to include, under the music tab I included:  Title, Level, Composer/Arranger, Publisher, Style (such as method book, jazz, pop, technique, etc.), number of copies I have, instrument piece is intended for (while most of what I have is for piano, I also teach guitar and ukulele and have music for several other instruments), and the purchase price. 

As you may know, when you set up a spreadsheet, there are numerous ways to sort the information which alone makes putting together an inventory extremely valuable.  Once it's all done, my job will be so much easier when doing planning.  I'm also working on a way to have the information readily available on my iphone as well so that when I visit the music store next time, I can make sure I'm not re-purchasing something I already have! 

Do any of you have an inventory?  I would love for you to share your ideas of ways that you keep track of what you have and suggestions that may have worked for you.


Jennifer said...

I soooo needed to read this post. I have the same problem. While it may seem like a daunting task, I think having a studio inventory is something I really need to do.

Heidi said...

I'm adding this to my to do list! I started making a master list of games and activities by concept several months ago so I can actually remember to utilize them all.. but I need to finish.

Anonymous said...

A spreadsheet ... I've started "the list" several times, and tried to figure out different ways of making it "work" --- now, I've got it! Will start in on this - soon! Thanks!

Betsy said...

I wish one of the sheet music retailers would come up with an App that would allow us to scan the barcode and create a library (and of course automatically add newly purchased books to the app that can then be marked as sold to a student, loaned out, or added to library). Oh, and that same app would import all the books details INCLUDING a complete, searchable listing of the pieces in a collection. This doesn't seem too far-fetched to me and I believe most piano teachers would be more than happy to pay for this!

Melody Payne said...

I did this a few months ago, in almost exactly the same way you did it. It has been a tremendous help with efficiency and organization! Great post!

Kara Bailey said...

I used the "lending library" portion of the Music Teacher's Helper website to inventory my music this past summer. It was definitely as time consuming as making a spreadsheet, but it's fabulous! You can "check out" books to students as well. It's such a great way to keep track of who has what and what I have in my studio. I highly recommend it!

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