Wednesday, January 13, 2016

How to Find and Keep Private Music Students [Part 1]

Would you like to start a teaching studio, but you're having a hard time finding and keeping music students? Here are some things that worked for me (part two coming next week).

1. Get Recommendations from Orchestra and Band Directors

This is the single best piece of advice I have for anyone looking to set up a teaching studio. If you have a good relationship with a band or orchestra director, their recommendation will bring you tons of students. It's a win-win for everyone--students get individual attention, directors have help preparing students for solo and ensemble contests and concerts (and better technique in their ensembles), and private teachers have students to teach. I keep these relationships strong by talking to orchestra directors about what they'd like students to work on. Their insights into student's need are extremely valuable, and students benefit when their teachers work as a team. 

2. Communicate with Parents

I like to send monthly updates on students' progress to parents via email. However, if a student is struggling or having problems, I find staying in touch with parents, including having parent conferences, a huge help. After all, a student may only be in a lesson thirty minutes a week, but they see their parents every day. Parents can help students build a good practice routine, and they can give me helpful information on how their child learns best. With this kind of support, students are more likely to stay in lessons. What's more, happy parents will recommend me to their friends, which brings in more students.

3. Keep Business Cards on Hand

I've often had surprise encounters with people where having a music-oriented business card is very useful. One of the orchestra directors I work with even hands out my card to students interested in lessons. It's a simple way to give your contact information to people who are interested in you, and I find that a physical card gets more responses than an email (I think this is because we associate email with spam, so people ignore email more than a physical card). Besides, face to face interactions are very powerful--parents feel more comfortable sending their children to a teacher they've met in person than one they haven't.

Continue to Part 2...

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