How can you move from having a handful of students to a vibrant music teaching practice?
Sometimes musicians aren’t the best marketers - you may be a fantastic performer or teacher, but unless people know about you, it won’t help you to build a thriving teaching studio. All musicians spend years honing their skills in performance and musicianship, but the skills you need to build what is (in some respects) a business are different; you are required to be savvy in a number of other areas, and confident with things like technology and marketing.
So I’ve compiled a list of tips - they are all things which I have tried out myself, and have found to work. Give them a go and see if they work for you!
1. Online presence: GET A WEBPAGE!
This is crucial, and easy to do. Your webpage is like your online business card, and on it you can have your biography, including qualifications, any information about your teaching philosophy which you feel is relevant, and your contact details. You really don’t need much in the way of contact details (and, for privacy/security, you should leave off details such as your address, particularly if you are working from home) as your potential clients will already have email, if they are looking for a teacher online, which is a perfectly fine way for them to make the initial contact. You can also include pictures and sound on many websites; you can be as creative or as simple as you like. The main thing is that your website gives potential students and their parents the sense of what kind of teacher you are. If you are looking for a simple and quick option, try a provider like Weebly, where you can create a website with ease and minimum of cost. This is one of a number of options which offers easy drag and drop editing; you can look around to find others if you would prefer an alternative.
2. List your details on a teachers’ listing website
Depending on where you live, there are generally a number of webpages providing music teachers’ listings for potential students. Some perform better in search engine rankings than others, and if you do search for music teachers in your home city yourself, you will be able to work out the best sites to place your details on. I have personally found Music Teachers Online to be very good.
3. Get a linkedin profile
Admittedly, this does not seem like an obvious place for a music teacher to go - it’s generally used more heavily by corporate and other professionals. However, not only will a linkedin profile enable you to network with other people in your field, your profile will also show up on a google search for you, and increase your web presence. It’s really worth taking the time to do an in-depth profile, listing all your eduction and career achievements. Once it’s done, go back to your webpage and provide a link to this profile - any of your potential students and their parents can now find out more about your career to date, which will be very helpful for them when deciding whether to get in touch with you about lessons.
4. Letterbox flyer drop
This is a bit more old-school, and may have varying results depending on where you live/ teach, but it is an exercise which can result in a few potential students contacting you. Use whatever skills you have in Word/Pages to produce a half-page flyer with your name, contact details and what kind of lessons you are offering. If you have the time and are at the start of building your teaching studio, it’s worth trying this.
5. Join your local professional association
This is worthwhile for so many reasons. One of these reasons is that most of the music association websites keep listings for teachers, so potential students can find you, (and also know that you are an accredited music professional).
6. Build your profile: through other teaching and musical jobs
Any musical work which you undertake is an opportunity to build your profile as a teacher/musician in the wider community.
7. Increase your offering
Another way in which to build your teaching is to increase what kind of lessons you can offer. Maybe you have a second instrument you can teach, or you would be happy to offer theory lessons - theory teachers are not always easy to come by for students and their parents.
One thing to remember is that, even when following these steps, building a thriving teaching studio can take time, but it is well worth the effort and persistence. Whether you’re just starting out (in which case, don’t forget to check if there any relevant regulations for operating a music teaching business in your city) or whether you have years of experience, hopefully there is a hint here to help you out!
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