Top 5:
Top 5 Tech Hacks for the Modern Studio

Ryan Greene

MTNA Business Digest

Volume 3, Issue 2

January 2024

Who doesn’t appreciate creative solutions to common studio challenges? The following hacks aim to enhance aspects of studio organization, management and lesson planning.

  1. Search Engine Hacks
    1. Looking for digital sheet music PDFs? Add this modifier to the end of your Google search query to limit your search to PDF files: filetype:pdf
    2. Seek out online communities and groups on Facebook and Reddit where you might find helpful information not seen in Google search results.
    3. Refine your search query with tools like these:
      1. “Surround in quotes to search the entire phrase”
      2. “Use a plus sign between phrases” + “to locate results that include both”

  2. Digital Sheet Music Hacks
    1. iPads & Android tablets each offer dedicated apps like ForScore, SuperScore (iOS) and MobileSheets (Android) for cataloging your digital sheet music library, including adding annotations like fingering and colored highlighting.
    2. Explore mobile apps like CamScanner (iOS or Android) that scan directly to PDF.
    3. Find yourself in a PDF pickle? is a free program that allows you to convert and manipulate files if you don’t have access to Adobe Acrobat.
    4. Save on sheet music purchases using MTNA member discounts to SheetMusicPlus (10%), MusicNotes (15%) and SheetMusicNow (20%).
    5. Saving on printing with the MTNA Office Depot/OfficeMax Discount Program.

  3. Free Audio/Video Recording Toolslogos
    1. Audacity is a free audio recording and editing program that works on Mac or PC. It provides a convenient way to make recordings using connected USB microphones or recording interfaces.
    2. OBS Studio is a free screen casting and streaming program that works on Mac or PC. Among its many valuable features, one can combine several webcams into a single stream for online teaching with multiple camera angles.

  4. Communication Hackslogos
    1. For a business phone number for texting and calling, explore web-connected services like Google Voice (free) or GrassHopper.
    2. For teachers using a custom domain name, Google Workspace offers an affordable service that includes the cost of your domain, allows you to use Gmail with your custom email address, provides 30 GB cloud storage per account and more!
    3. Scheduling emails in advance is now possible with most email services, and it’s now even possible to schedule text messages in advance! In Android, touch and hold Send to schedule a text message. On iPhone there is a workaround using the Shortcuts app.

  5. Smart Home Technologysecurity photo
    1. Video doorbells and cameras like the Wyze V3 camera, provide a way to know when students arrive.
    2. Smart thermostats are invaluable for those with a separate teaching location, allowing remote control and monitoring of temperature/humidity.
    3. Smart plugs like the TP-Link Kasa series allows existing lights and devices like fans or scent diffusers to become smart devices.

    If you’d like to take a deeper dive into these hacks (plus five more), visit the 2023 MTNA Webinar Archives to view my August 2023 MTNA webinar, “10 Tech Hacks for the Modern Studio.”


    Ryan Greene


    Ryan Greene is Director of Membership Development and Affiliate Relations for Music Teachers National Association. He is owner/teacher at the Music Academy of Centerville.



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