How can I make my music teaching practice busier?
Before the Internet took off, many music teachers simply resorted to the Yellow Pages and the odd ad in the local shop window. Of course, the life of a private music teacher isn't that easy anymore. There are many evolving factors, however two main reasons rise to the surface:
- There are more and more university courses springing up, creating music graduates in a society where there are very few music related jobs available. A high number of these graduates then take to working for themselves, setting up as private music teachers, thereby creating much more competition for the existing teachers. This is a much more prominent issue in Cities where such universities are based, such as Leeds, London, Manchester and Edinburgh.
- The Internet has created a much more open marketplace for potential clients who are seeking to use the services of a private music teacher. Clients can find large lists of teachers at the touch of a button, and the likelihood of them willing to travel has gone up accordingly, as they seek a specific type of teacher, rather than just settling for the closest.
We constantly need to find new ways of getting our name out there in order to win clients over from the increasingly saturated levels of new teachers in the area. In order to succeed, and make enough money to survive, we are finding that no longer are we just teachers, we also have to be marketing specialists, SEO experts & advertising gurus. Below are a few effective ways that you can promote your services locally in order to nudge your client numbers up:
- Keep in touch with local Parents and Teachers Associations. Offer small discounts to children that PTA’s send to you.
- It’s always worth while to pop into the local musical instrument shops and get friendly with the staff there. Maybe even hand in a box of wine at Christmas. They have the power to send a lot of beginners your way!
- Sponsor school summer fetes on the understanding that you can 'exclusively' hand out flyers and speak with the parents and visitors, maybe even put on a performance and do a five minute speech about your services.
- Be old-fashioned and put some nicely designed posters up in shop windows. The website fiverr.com is a great facility of having designs done for next to nothing, then it's just a case of printing them out. Tatty, hand-written notes won’t do you any favours, you need to stand out, look modern, professional, experienced and friendly.
- Word of mouth is always a winner. Ask your existing clients to recommend a friend for a free trial lesson, this can be a great way of getting more customers.
- Organise a music performance for your clients. Print out some free tickets and give ten to each of the clients who are performing. Ask each of the performers to invite their friends and family. This helps fuel word of mouth and encourage other potential clients to get in touch.
These methods don’t bring in clients overnight, however they will work with a bit of perseverance. Remember the number one rule to being busy… retention! Keep hold of the clients you have by offering an amazing learning experience and you won’t have to constantly go looking for new clients. Good luck!
Professor Paul Boyd is the founder and managing director of Morningside School of Music in Edinburgh, which he established in 1999. As one of Scotland’s busiest private music schools for both classical and popular music tuition, the standard at the school is constantly evolving with social, technological and educational needs of clients.
Professor Boyd offers specific music tuition and music school marketing analysis and advice to teachers all over the world in countries such as the UK, USA, Latvia, Norway and Germany. His service looks at boosting client numbers to individual teachers as well as larger music schools.
Professor Paul Boyd
Office: (0131) 447 1117