Do you send out any kind of newsletter or communication to your students besides your blog and web site?
For many years I created and sent out a really nice printed newsletter called “Noteworthy News” with info about upcoming events, pictures and recognition of students, a question of the month, trivia tidbits, etc. Once I developed my website, I anticipated that people would just use that for keeping up with what was going on. However, I quickly realized that that wasn’t going to get the job done. So, I also started just printing out a text version of the latest updates to the website.
Now, since all my families have e-mail, I send regular e-mails announcing upcoming events and such. I usually attach registration forms to the e-mail, but also print out additional copies and send them home with the students just to make sure that they are aware of what is going on and can opt to participate if they are interested. I would like to develop a fully-fledged e-newsletter that I send to my families on a regular basis, but haven’t yet done so. Hopefully a project for this summer! Music Teacher’s Helper provides an excellent interface for this, so I plan to utilize that once I get my act together!
One thing that I have learned is the importance of lots of communication using a variety of methods. I used to just depend on people to read whatever I sent and then show up or participate in activities accordingly. As I’m sure you can guess, that was not very successful. I’ve made a concerted effort to become better at verbally communicating with my students and their families. I talk about various events for weeks leading up to them, ask the students and parents if they are interested and want to participate, remind them about deadlines, etc. This helps build enthusiasm, and has resulted in a significant increase in my studio’s participation in various events. Definitely worth it, because there are so many valuable opportunities that I don’t want my students to miss out on just because I didn’t do a very good job of communicating with them!
Natalie’s follow-up question for open discussion: I would be really curious to hear how other teachers communicate with their studio families. Do you send out regular newsletters? Does anyone send a full-fledged e-newsletter (and if so, can I get on your list?!)? What communication methods have you found to be the most effective in your studio?
Remember, if you have a question you’d like to contribute to next week’s Monday Mailbag, leave it in the comments below or send me an e-mail me sometime this week with Monday Mailbag in the subject line!