Tips for building up my studio
I am looking for some tips on getting more students. I have few great students that I have picked up of the years but I can't seem to gain more students. I have business cards in all the music stores and even post on Craigslist (not the best place, but I have had some luck).
I have my bachelor's in music, play in local groups, and teach elementary school general music so I have a solid background.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Do you have a website? We could look that over for you. Do you have Suzuki teacher training? Lots of parents look for that. Do you ever advertise (or perform) in local churches and other places of worship? So your business card is at the local music store. Presumably that's where you buy your strings too? What comes around goes around. Do you have a way of reaching out to home-school families (in addition to through their churches)? Do you demonstrate your own violin artistry in schools? When I was growing up, a local violin teacher that I knew (not my teacher) did that every once in a while, and it worked very well for him. Since you already teach in a public school, you'd have to take a personal business day to do that, but presumably the other music teachers in your district would be welcoming toward you -- and you could return the invitation to them. Do you play weddings or other gigs in your town? Do your students perform locally public places? Do your young students ever bring a friend along to watch their violin lesson? Do you know the other private music teachers in the area, and can you work with them to help one another in recruiting students? Even group together to form a music school? Do you advertise on violinist.com? Does your profile on violinist.com have useful information, such as your educational background and contact info, or is it blank?
Hey Michael, the most important step I ever did to establish my business was to create a website. Once you make a website, it's still going to take a few years for it to crawl to the top of the google rankings. But even before it's at the top of the list on searches, it'll still act as a great way of making you seem more legitimate.
In addition to the above: How much do you play in public venues, when you're
Giving free recitals at church, and performing music at communion, would be great publicity. If you sound good, many churches would appreciate the variety of having violin music from time to time. And you can stay out in the lobby afterwards with cards.
I'm going to disagree slightly with Jason. My own feeling is that you should be very careful about playing for free. One of the reasons musicians have a hard time making a living is because of the number of people who are willing to play for free "to gain exposure" or because they're "only amateurs" or such. Some
I think it really depends. The number of paid solo opportunities tends to be super limited, and they are likely to go to the most skilled and self-promoting players in a given city.
Could you apply to teach at a local music school? You may have more luck getting students because there's a larger teacher-student network. You could also volunteer to teach some disadvantaged students at low cost if you want to (not the best way to make money), but don't publicize this information on the internet or on business cards etc.
A solo recital is another thing in my opinion. Sorry I didn't mean to divert this thread. I think that if the OP can give a recital that would be great. I thought of a couple of other things. Does his locality have a "Parks and Recreation" unit? When I wanted jazz piano lessons in Evanston, 25 years ago, I looked in the "Parks and Recreation" activities booklet, and sure enough, there was a listing for a guy who taught jazz piano lessons. It basically just said that you call him up and arrange it on your own. Not sure what he paid for that if anything. But the lessons were great! The man's name was Jack Hubble and he turned out to be a terrific jazz teacher who understood what I needed and had lots of his own materials. He played pretty well too, I went to a few of his gigs. Another thing you can do is take a page from the financial industry's (and real estate) playbook. Hold a seminar or workshop on "How do Private Music Lessons Work" and such -- something that would explain different philosophies, general expectations, costs, etc. Mention the other teachers in town. Explain that they may have more experience, but maybe your schedule is more flexible, at least for now while your studio is still growing. There are teachers in my area who will say "I have a spot on Thursdays at 4:15" and you can either take that spot or you get bumped down the waiting list. Not so good if that's exactly when you've got something else like Chinese or a sport. There's a risk because it'll look bad if only two people show up. Are you the faculty PTO rep for your school? Be that. Get to know the active parents! Oh and since you're a public school music teacher here's an idea. My kids' elementary school music teacher would invite kids who play an instrument to perform in the school lobby before school on Fridays. My daughters performed several times. The teacher and a parent would roll the piano down the hallway to the lobby and the music teacher would accompany the kids as needed. (I played the piano accompaniments for my own kids though.) The goal is to be the guy everyone in your community associates with music and music lessons.
I've advertised a couple of times on craigslist. The 2nd time I posted, it had been just long enough for me to forget why I shouldn't have posted the 1st time. I would get responses like this:
Get onto the private teacher lists of any of the groups that you're currently affiliated with. People do call their local orchestras asking if any of their musicians teach lessons.
Scott wrote, "[Home school students] seem to be more mature, have more parental support, practice more, and are better prepared. And often socially better adjusted." I'll agree with that in general -- of course it's a generalization and there are exceptions. But the reason I think it was good for Scott to say that is because often the stereotypes run opposite, particularly in terms of "socialization." Yes there are some who seem terribly cloistered. But in the public schools is where you will see the opposite end of the spectrum -- kids who run amok because their parents -- if even they have any -- are largely absent from their lives. Scott's overall point, that the home school community is a gold mine for private violin teachers, is spot on. If you have a day job you can't really take advantage of their daytime availability though.
Thanks, everyone for the great advice.
Many schools solicit ads for the program booklet of school plays and such. I'd suggest advertising there, if it doesn't present a conflict of interest.
I've been teaching in my area for 20+ years, and no amount of advertising has ever replaced the quality of students that came in because of word-of-mouth recommendations from current and former students. At the beginning, it took me about three years to build up to a size-able group of thirty or so students, but it was time well-invested.
I am a board member at local music school. And in spite we have access to all schools, local newspapers, commune support etc, there is a problem to load our string teachers. No problems and long waiting list for other instruments.
This may be controversial. However, here goes: be a female.
Scott raises a good point. I know of two cases where the families explicitly were seeking female teachers -- in both cases it was the child that wanted that. The parents were okay with either gender.
I wonder whether routine video recordings don't bring too much other headaches to be worth the trouble. Snippets can be taken out of context and posted on social media. Think: "look, this is how this teacher made our snowflake cry!"
There are teachers who do this routinely. The parents can sign a non-disclosure agreement indicating that any clips they want to share need to be approved by the teacher. Already these NDAs are usually in place as a matter of studio policy for many teachers because otherwise you could take a video or picture of someone else's child having an "epic fail" at a recital or other studio-sponsored activity. In fact the videos are good for the child to review midweek. "I forgot what he said about my detache." Well, you can review that.
I just encourage parents to stay for the lessons. They need to be observing, anyways, for the good stuff to be taken home and utilized properly.
I am looking for a teacher right now (tips anyone? Go to "violin teachers near me" discussion. I have looked a little bit of every where, but two of the big places I looked at where the suzuki teacher register, and takelessons.com
I'd be very, very surprised if the best teachers in any area could be found on takelessons.com or any similar site. The good teachers--at least once they've had a few years to become established--typically have students beating down their doors.
My experience with those sites like "takelessons" is that they tend to list the sorts of violin teachers who also give clarinet and trombone lessons.
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