While the pedagogy of teaching rarely changes, the ideas about running a music teaching studio change all of the time. When I started teaching, computers were in their infancy. Cell phones had to be carried in small suitcases and “texting” was not a word. The internet did not exist. (Gee, I am aging myself for all to see!) But now the world of technology has changed everything we know about how to market ourselves and what students are going to expect of you. So rather than fight it, get on board!
You must have a website
The fact of the matter is that there is a lot of competition out there and while certainly you may get a bulk of your students through word of mouth advertising, prospective students and parents want to know about you before they decide to put their money down. A large percentage of people go to the internet to research prospective teachers and if you have a good and informative website, it will entice them to learn more and then possibly pick up the phone.
You should have the following on your website:
- Your studio name, your name and your contact information (phone and email)
- Bio – a bio about you as a teacher and as a performer
- Services – what kind of lessons you teach (private or group), how often they occur, how long they occur and any other information on what happens in the lesson
- Studio policies – include your cancellation policy for all to see
- Student accomplishments – you can list this in your teaching bio or dedicate a whole page to it – prospective students want to see how successful you are as a teacher and one way they can gauge that is through the successes of your students
- A Music Teaching Philosophy Statement
Other things you can include:
- Your prices – this is optional but I think you should post your prices. It puts everything out there upfront so people know what to expect
- An events page – if you do regular studio recitals or other studio events, it might be nice to have a page to give information or post pictures. It shows a prospective student that your studio is busy!
- Helpful links – providing a list of links to resources that your students can utilize is great and linking to a local business might also be a reciprocal business oppportunity
- Resources – you can upload documents (worksheets, practice guides) or mp3s or videos that you want your students to have access to
If you are not tech savvy, there are many ways to have a website without much knowledge of how they are created. We will explore this further in another article but one option is to use Music Teacher’s Helper, which is a total music studio management system that includes a free website! Check out our full review of this system for more information.
Accept credit cards
When I was a young singer, I knew of a very famous voice teacher in New York who accepted credit cards and I thought that was ridiculous! What was she doing, running a fast food restaurant? No, she was running a thriving business! Everyone has a credit card these days and sometimes they lack in cash flow. The convenience for people to use their credit cards makes you more marketable and these days the ability to accept credit cards is extremely affordable. You no longer have to pay astronomical merchant account fees and rent a clunky card swiping machine. You can accept credit cards with your handheld device (smartphone or pad) and just get charged a nominal per-charge fee.
The two companies that I have used are PayPal and Square. You go to their websites, sign up for a free account and they send you a credit card reader that plugs right into your mobile device. You download the app on your device to make it work and hook up to your account. They charge a small fee (2.75% for Square, 2.7% for PayPal) per transaction but the funds get transferred into your bank account (Square) or PayPal account by the next day. You can also accept credit card payments without actually swiping the card. Square allows you to manually enter a credit card number (an extra fee applies) and through PayPal, you can send a money request to the student through email and they can pay you with their checking account or credit card online.
If you use Music Teacher’s Helper, you can also send automatic billing invoices to your students and give them the option to pay you online but that also requires a PayPal account.
Seriously consider teaching lessons online with Skype
You no longer have to be tied to geography to build your studio. Music lessons via Skype (or FaceTime) are the latest thing and they will not go away. Students want the opportunity to study with the best teacher possible and sometimes that teacher does not live anywhere near them. Students who have moved but still want to work with you now have the option to continue to study with you through these services.
The convenience factor is definitely a huge selling point but doing these remote lessons are not without problems. You can read our full article on this topic but there are technological issues to consider (you must have a good computer and fast internet connection on both ends, there are delay issues, etc.) and the fact that you aren’t able to get “hands on” with your student. But it makes you and your studio more accessible and in this day and age, that is key.
Running a music teaching studio is also about marketing a music teaching studio
You have to think of yourself as not just a master teacher but also as a master marketer. Anyone can put a sign out their window that says, “music lessons taught here.” But you have to get out there and showcase your quality and accessibility. These few things can make an impact on your studio to make you more marketable. Start implementing them today!