Re
Issue of acquiring more students (private teaching studi

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Connie Sunday said: Jan 17, 2010
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

Dear Private Music Teachers:

I’m wondering how other teachers acquire more students and build their studios. I find that I get caught up in other activities and get a little lazy in terms of attracting students; I let my ads slip down to the bottom of the list and may not always be creative in writing the ads.

I do have three pages online which have to do with my studio:

Studio Policies: http://beststudentviolins.com/Studio.html
Résumé: http://beststudentviolins.com/vita.html
Music Lesson FAQ: http://beststudentviolins.com/LessonFAQ.html

I run ads in craigslist, the local free online ads, Thrifty Nickel and several teacher directories, which run anywhere from $50 to $75 a year. My business has slowed down and I wonder if other teachers are experiencing the same. I live about five blocks from a large state university, so I do get students (non-music majors) taking violin and piano from me. I also have a number of homeschool students and a lot of adults students.

I have mixed feelings about running ads. I know that it is preferable to get students by word of mouth, but my population is very fluid and I don’t feel comfortable relying just on that. I’m hoping that my ads in the papers do not cheapen my studio, but I cannot tell how people feel about that.

Your thoughts?

Thanks,
Connie

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:
http://beststudentviolins.com/library.html#handouts

Barb said: Jan 18, 2010
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

I don’t think ads cheapen a studio. There are some ideas on promoting music studios at Philip Johnston’s http://www.insidemusicteaching.com and his older site http://www.practicespot.com/infopedia.phtml?page=onpromotion He also sells a complete book on the subject (I haven’t read it).

I am in my second year of teaching. I am in a unique situation where there are no other cello teachers in our small town. But I found that my best advertising was on a poster at a music store where lessons are taught. Every week there is an ad in the papers for their store with “Music Lessons” in big letters across it. Of course they have no cello teacher or they might have an issue. :)

I put up posters in the malls my first year, too.

I also advertise my recitals under free events in the paper.

One of our malls has “Sign up week” where they have music studios, sports groups, dance teachers, scouts, etc. set up tables twice a year, once in early September and once in June. You do not have to man your table, but it’s a good idea to during higher traffic times. I have done that twice. Once I took a little cello and stool with me to give free mini-lessons on the spot. The mall does not charge for this—it’s an event they advertise which brings people in. You could approach a marketing director of a mall near you with the idea. The September event has more traffic.

Are you performing? I have one adult student who was in a choir I was accompanying—almost had two, but one moved away.

Do the school music/orchestra teachers know you? I played with a school orchestra here for a few years and now the director knows me and knows I teach, and has recommended me to a few people.

Do your students perform in any music festivals? I watched piano teachers and their students at ours when looking for a piano teacher. (I would have gone to their recitals—but they never advertised them!!!)

I also let the homeschool community know via their email group I am teaching—of which I was a part before I began teaching cello.

I won’t say my ads are creative, btw. One has a faded photo of me playing behind the words “Cello Lessons” in a nice script. At the bottom my name, number, website, and “ask about free trial lessons”. I also have flyers with the same info, but a drawing of a woman teaching a child cello.

Both of these used to say, “Now accepting students”, but I plan to put some up soon with something like, “Accepting wait list registrations.” (I am only teaching 10 students right now, it is enough. But it was sure nice to have two people on my wait list when one quit unexpectedly before Christmas!) Anyway, the poster/flyer have basic contact info with a picture and a few bold words to grab the eye, and the webpage has all the details they could want and an email link or they can phone me.

Oh, and I always ask where someone heard about me if they don’t volunteer it first.

Hope I may have sparked some ideas for you and others here.

Barb
Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
Studio Helper—for entire music studios or schools

Sara said: Jan 25, 2010
 Violin
191 posts

Wow—thank you! I am not the OP, but gained a lot of great ideas from this—Thank you!

“What is man’s ultimate direction in life? It is to look for love, truth, virtue, and beauty.” Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

Cynthia Faisst said: Feb 18, 2010
Cynthia Faisst
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Irvine, CA
127 posts

If you think teaching in Texas or the Midwest has been difficult try keeping enough students in some parts of California.

I believe the main thing that has kept me afloat is that I started a non-profit activity just before things got really, really bad. Other teacher in my area have suffered far more than I have.

I believe that volunteering my expertise as a music teacher for a nonprofit has set an example for my students as well as made more of presence of our studio and the Suzuki Method as they have become involved in helping me.

The urban Suzuki String program for children at risk has grown to equal the size of my current studio. I have faith that when families with small children can move back to California suburbs again my suburban studio will also soon follow in growth. I have every intention of continuing both as both communities are enriched by one another.

I desire to attract Suzuki families who are as generous as I can be generous. I am sure that this is part of Suzuki Sensei’s vision. In order to do your best teaching in a community you need to keep doing things that inspire both you and your students.

In the best interest of my non-profit activities it is not lost on me that I need to learn everything I can about using modern PR activities to attract interest in both programs.

Ms. Cynthia
Studio:
Talent Education Center: Suzuki Violin
Director of Santa Ana Suzuki Strings located at the
Orange County Children’s Therapeutic Arts Center
Volunteer, bring music to under-served communities around the world. Create Sound Investments and Futures.

Carey Rasmussen said: Mar 28, 2010
Carey Rasmussen
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Hanahan, SC
4 posts

I realize this is an older post but I have recently seen my studio go from a few kids to having to turn people away. I tried filling my studio in Dallas and Denver with no luck but have now moved to Charleston, SC. I think part of the difference is the people here but I have also tried a few advertising strategies. One is that I have started teaching an “Intro to Suzuki Class” at local Community Center. I teach a Pre-Twinkle Class and a Twinkle Class and after that, if they are still interested in the Method, I invite them to join me at my Home Studio for regular private lessons. I have also gotten a great response from putting vinyl lettering on my car. I just put the name of my studio, phone number, and my website. After that, word of mouth spread like wild fire. I hope this helps.

Barb said: Mar 29, 2010
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

Great ideas, Margretta!

Barb
Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
Studio Helper—for entire music studios or schools

Cynthia Faisst said: Mar 30, 2010
Cynthia Faisst
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Irvine, CA
127 posts

I am surrounded by 3 freeways and actually try not to use my car if I can ovoid it. Most of my students have found me easily on the internet as they are often quite web savy.
The problem is that families with young children are living farther and farther away from the metropolitan hub if they could stay in CA. The realistate people out here in CA have really made a mess of our communities. You will see this when you go on Google maps and press the realistate button.

It would sure be nice if Bank of American would put some homes in our nieghborhoods back on the market so we could have neighborhoods with families again.

Until then there is no amount of advertizing that will do us any good out here.

Ms. Cynthia
Studio:
Talent Education Center: Suzuki Violin
Director of Santa Ana Suzuki Strings located at the
Orange County Children’s Therapeutic Arts Center
Volunteer, bring music to under-served communities around the world. Create Sound Investments and Futures.

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