Allen Lieb gives a violin lesson at Montana Suzuki String Institute.
Build a Strong Community within your Parent Group
- Have “group” parties once a month. Kids play in group and play solos. Parents have the opportunity to chat. Everyone takes a turn bringing snacks.
- Stress the importance of regular attendance at group class for making new friends.
- Encourage parents to make play dates for kids to practice together.
- Use high school students as practice “buddies.”
- Host chamber music parties.
- Organize informal parent chats where experienced parents “mentor” the newer parents.
- Word of mouth is often the best way.
- To get them in the door, offer a free first lesson.
- Arrange small group performances in the community.
- Approach local schools about doing assembles.
- Play in pre-schools.
- Set up Google Ads, using key words to take them to your website.
- Offer Living Social and Groupon deals.
- Play in local churches, synagogues and libraries.
- Pre-Twinkle camps: Two hours on a weekend where the kids have an opportunity to try out an instrument and do an Orff-like class, and parents can obtain information on the program.
- Play at community fairs where young families will be present. Have a booth where young children are playing. Have a “petting zoo” with instruments to try out.
- Open houses incorporating videos, live performances and an informational meeting.
- Offer or require parent education classes before signing up and while that is happening require observations and group Pre-Twinkle classes.
Other Management Tips
- Tuition should be paid in larger clumps so that the parents make a long term commitment.
- Be professional in all aspects.
- In scheduling lessons, remember to be flexible for the parents but sensitive to your own needs.
- Websites are available to help organize your studio: Music Teachers’ Helper, Doodle, Google Docs, and Sign Up Genius are examples.
- Network with other musicians.
- Ongoing teacher development is essential to the growth of the individual teacher and the studio.
- Observe other teachers in the area.
- Develop good communication with parents, fostering the atmosphere of honesty, trust and respect.
- Remember Every Child Can and Every Parent Can.
- Make sure that the parent knows what is expected of them.
- Lay out expectations with new students/parents from the beginning.
What are your best studio management tips?