What would you say would be the best way for a new piano teacher to go about advertising for getting students? This isn’t in the hypothetical, I am thinking about beginning piano teaching. I’ve never done taught piano before so am a little intimidated by the whole idea. I realize that just because I can play doesn’t necessarily mean that I can teach…
This is an excellent question and observation! The fact that you are asking it before jumping in is a mark that you are on the right track. Here are some things I would suggest as far as starting a new studio:
1. Engage in some vigorous self-education. Check pedagogy books out from your local library or university; spend some time at a music store exploring and learning about the different methods; browse the Internet for tons of pedagogy-related sites, forums, and blogs. You’ll probably feel somewhat overwhelmed, but just try to pull tips here and there that you think will be helpful as you get started.
2. Set up a free website with Music Teacher’s Helper. Take the time to think through your policies and any other information that you want to make available to prospective students. (Here’s a studio policy website with lots of examples to help with this process.) I would highly recommend purchasing your own domain name. The cost is nominal, and it will look more professional – not to mention shorter!
3. Design and print some professional business cards (Please no perforated edge cards that you print and tear apart yourself…you can get great deals on hundreds of business cards through VistaPrint and similar on0line printers. Just stay away from the free ones that have the VistaPrint logo on the back – also highly unprofessional, in my opinion.). Include your website on your business card.
4. In all conversations, make a point to share that you are opening a piano studio. Almost everyone has some connection to someone who is looking for a teacher, wants to take lessons, etc. Give them your business card, or two or three! Word-of-mouth is still the best advertising!
5. Join a local music teachers association. (Run a search on the Internet like: Wichita Kansas local music teacher association.) Most local associations offer referral programs to help new teachers build up their studios. Plus, you can learn from the experience of other teachers, attend workshops, enroll students in events, etc.
These are a few starter ideas. You may also be interested in reading another post I wrote on Advertising for New Students. Just remember to take one step at a time, with a mind to learn from the varied people and opportunities that cross your path.
Also, you will notice that I emphasize professionalism a great deal. Whether you view your teaching as a ministry, a side business, a hobby, or a full-fledged business, both you and your studio families will benefit from clear communication of expectations and policies. I learned this the hard way! Just remember that you will tend to attract the kind of students that reflect your philosophies and policies. If you are flaky, distracted, and putting in minimal time and effort, don’t be surprised if your students and their parents are the same. Conversely, if you are committed, focused, and clearly investing your time and energy to provide the best music education possible for your students, they will appreciate that and reflect it in their side of the relationship as well.
If you have other ideas or important pointers for a new teacher, please chime in!
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 sometime this week with Monday Mailbag in the subject line!