Maybe you just moved to a new city and want to start a private studio or maybe you have a few private music students and want to learn how to grow your existing studio. My studio started out with a handful of students and over time, grew to more than 50 regular students each week, and now I cap it at around 30. Follow the steps below and you too can begin to learn how to get music students and begin grow and develop a music studio that lasts!
Have a plan
Sit down and sketch out a business plan for your private studio. Ask yourself:
- What kind of students do I want to teach?
- Where will I teach?
- How long will the lessons be?
- How much am I going to charge?
Get some business cards
Resumes are cumbersome and take up precious space on a teacher’s desk but a business card is small and can easily be thrown in a drawer on pinned to a bulletin board for future reference. Young students also love getting business cards. Having a business card, something their parents usually get, makes them feel grown up and they will remember you so be sure to hand them out during any masterclasses or sectionals you teach.
Send out emails
Start emailing band directors, choir teachers, music stores, university teachers, and basically anyone who might be able to help you. Introduce yourself, let them know you are in the area, a little bit about yourself, and that you are looking for students. A couple of weeks later send out a second round to confirm that they received your first email.
Reach out to the competition
Do you know who else in the area is teaching private lessons? If not, try to find out. Contact local private teachers. Let them know who you are and that you are looking for private students. My studio is currently full but I am constantly receiving emails from other band directors looking for teachers and I am happy to pass along the names of other local teachers.
Volunteer your time
Offer to teach a sectional or help a band director test beginners on new instruments. This is a great way to network and start to build a potential client base. Often the teacher will ask what your rate is and you can then negotiate a fee (aka actually GET PAID to recruit). If the teacher says they don’t have it in their budget, you could offer your services pro bono if you think you could get several new students out of it. Do what feels most comfortable for you.
After volunteering with a program, be sure to send a follow-up email thanking them for the opportunity and letting them know you would be happy for them to give your contact information to students who may be interested in private lessons.
Reach out to community boards
Does your neighborhood have Nextdoor or a similar community site? What about a local community Facebook group If so, pop onto the site and mention that you are new to the area and that you teach music lessons. Make it a short but sweet note because many of these boards discourage advertising. People who are interested can contact you with questions either through the app or a private message.
Contact local music shops and after-school care centers
Music shops often contract out teachers to come into their stores and teach lessons. You most likely won’t make as much money per lesson as you would privately, but these jobs have their perks. You don’t have to deal with scheduling or collecting money and many stores offer you a small percentage of sales to your students.
After-school care centers may be willing to allow you to come in and teach music lessons if you offer them a percentage of the lesson fee. These centers often market themselves as offering student enrichment…make sure they know what enrichment opportunities music lessons offer.
Start to build
Once you have a few students, start to build from there. Let any music teachers you are working with know that you have room for more students (music teachers often look to each other for recommendations). Offer a referral program for any students who bring in a new client, and be sure to let any other private teachers you meet know that if they have any overflow, you will be happy to help them out.
Don’t give up
Building a private studio is hard work. Lessons won’t just come to you (no matter how good you are) you have to go out there and find them, but with hard work, and a little perseverance, you too can build a successful private studio.
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