3/12/10

wanted: piano students

Oh the joys of advertising for students.

Obviously, we all know that this is an important step when setting up your studio. For a young teacher starting out (or any teacher looking to expand their studio, for that matter) it can be a daunting task. I seriously would love to get to the point where students come to me with little to no effort on my part, and to where I actually have a waiting list. That would be the life. Unfortunately I have moved around quite a bit during my years of teaching, so I have never actually gotten to that point yet.

I have had quite a few students in my teaching career, so I obviously had to acquire them somehow. Here are some ways I have found students in the past:

1. teaching unsuspecting younger siblings & cousins as some of my first "guinea pigs"
2. mailing little brochures to people with young children in my neighborhood
3. delivering fliers to every. single. door. within a five mile radius of my house with the help of my [amazing] mom and her minivan (probably got 1, 2 students tops from this method - plus a lot of exercise)
4. putting business cards and fliers in random places, such as a car wash (got one student from the car wash. awesome.)
5. putting fliers in music stores (this method actually works pretty well)
6. advertising on craigslist or some other online classifieds website (this method guarantees you will receive plenty of spam email from folks in other countries who are sending their children to America on holiday and they would like you to teach them for x number of hours per day for x number of months and they would like to know how to wire the money directly to your bank account. score!)

And, the absolute best method, in my opinion:

7. WORD OF MOUTH

So, I guess what I'm getting at is this: feel free to tape fliers to hundreds of doors and advertise online to your heart's content (and you may have to use some of these methods when you're just starting out), but my advice would be to get to know other teachers in your area and let them know you're looking for students. Be the best teacher you know how to be, so your students will refer others to you.

I'd love to hear what others have to say on this topic, as I am currently searching for more students myself. I could use a little inspiration in that department :)

5 comments:

bonnie jack said...

I agree that word of mouth and referrals are the absolute best way to get students. Not only is it free advertising, but a personal recommendation is always more effective than any flyer will ever be. Unfortunately, this method takes TIME. It helps to stay in one place for a while!

Jonathan said...

I'm in Rochester, NY, where there are lots of big homeschool groups. I searched online and found the contact info for some of the groups, and then offered to give a free lecture recital for them. I gave two recitals about 6 months apart, and now have four students from one of the groups!

Homeschoolers are extra nice because you can teach in the mornings, and because they are often more committed than others.

Jenny Bay said...

What a great idea, Jonathan! I never even thought of that. As a mom, I am always happy to find ways of teaching at less-common times of the day.

aprilspianostudio said...

Hi Jenny! I love your post on advertising. You have a great sense of humor- you made me laugh so hard. I have tried some of these things as well (2 months into starting my piano studio and yes it IS painful!). I love the story about craigslist and the children on holiday in the U.S. I've gotten probably 20 of the same story from various e-mails. Ha ha!

Another thing I might mention is advertising in the newspaper. I have a month-long ad going on right now and have received a few calls from it. No student yet from it, but hopefully I will get one. It is more expensive, but at least gets your name out there a little more since people will see it. Just another idea.

Jenny Bay said...

Thanks for the comment April! That is a great idea to try the newspaper - I have never done that myself.

I wanted to also add something that I am now implementing in my studio - when students refer new students to me, the referring student gets a month of free tuition! Pretty sweet deal for them, and I don't lose any money because I have a new student beginning that same month. Just an idea!

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