7 Tips for the Beginner Music Teacher: Setting Up a Private Teaching Studio

Posted by Quaver Staff on 12/5/18 4:13 PM

male ukelele teacher with young female student

Setting up a private music teaching studio for music lessons is one of the best ways of sharing your love of music.

If music education is your passion, then starting your own teaching studio is a great path to follow.

You have already spent thousands of hours mastering your instrument and countless more learning music history, theory and pedagogy, but starting a music teaching business and all that it entails in definitely not something that’s taught in traditional music schools!

If you are comfortable teaching but uncomfortable with the ins-and-outs of running a business, then you’ve come to the right spot.

Let’s get started!

First things first: Marketing your music teaching studio and getting new students!

1. Use online tools to make a stellar first impression

Have you ever heard that you only get one chance to make a good first impression? Well, this is absolutely true! It’s the reason why it is so important to mind your image even before you start looking for students.

Your online presence is key when marketing yourself as a music teacher. Long before meeting your students for the first time, they will have searched for you online in order to familiarize themselves with who you are and what you offer. For this reason, your online presence will be your first chance to show your excellence.

Having social media accounts and a website or webpage are essential if you want to build a successful teaching studio! How you represent yourself online will determine a potential student’s or parent’s impression of you.

So, how do you get noticed when there are so many similar websites of other music studios in your area? For starters, put yourself in the position of a parent who is looking for the best private music lessons for their child.

A common result in a google search of music studios reveals simple websites with rates, policies and locations; in other words, dry and boring information.

Stand out! Let your website and social media accounts tell your story and show your love of music to demonstrate to parents that you are the best choice for their children.

Begin by mapping out for yourself what makes you unique as a teacher and as a musician. From there build out your social media marketing strategy and most of all, be consistent with it!

 

2. Use a survey to understand your audience  

Another way to make your online presence stand out is to discover what exactly your target audience is looking for in a music instructor, and then market yourself in a way that gives them confidence that you would fulfill their needs.

As a music teacher, the only way to be sure is to ask. Build a list of friends, neighbours and acquaintances that are parents who would consider enrolling their children in music lessons. Come up with questions to determine what’s on the mind of your potential customer.

We recommend questions like:

  1. What considerations are most important as you’re choosing a music teacher for music lessons?

  2. How would you prefer to communicate with your music teacher?

  3. What information is most important to you to see on a music teacher’s website?

Form builders like CrowdSignal, Google Forms, SurveyMonkey, and Typeform will be of great help when building a survey to email to your research group.

Gathering information about what music students and parents want in a music teacher and music lessons is a sign of care, and it also shows that student satisfaction is important to you.

Now you can use that information to deliver what the students and parents expect.  

 

3. Building your website: Get rid of clutter

Once you’ve determined what your potential music students are looking for, it’s time to build a website that is optimized to their needs.

The most basic music teaching studio webpages need these six things:

  1. a beautiful image of your studio

  2. a high quality image of yourself

  3. an ‘about you’ section

  4. a section about your lessons, costs, etc.

  5. a contact button

  6. And then a section that really allows you to stand out. A section that answers what students can expect in one of your lessons, and some videos and/or photos of you playing or performing. If your students have received accolades and awards, be sure to include them here as well.

As we mentioned in the beginning about standing out amongst the online crowd, here is where you’ll do that but be careful not to include too much unnecessary information as that could confuse or bore your potential students looking for music lessons.

Remember that your main aim for having a webpage is for converting potential music students into to your actual next music student.

By avoiding clutter and only including relevant information, you will be more successful in attracting new business.


4. How much should you charge?

One common worry of a new music teacher is deciding on music lesson pricing. You don’t want to drive potential students away by being too expensive, but you’ve honed your skills for years and that experience is valuable!

Don’t feel compelled to undercharge for your services for the sake of attracting new students.  Your music lesson price should reflect the high quality of service that you provide.

Undercharging is a common mistake made by new music teachers. Don’t sell yourself short right out of the gate!

The price of your lessons will greatly depend on the instrument(s) you teach, location and experience. We recommend researching other music teachers in your area to determine a reasonable price.

If you have just started your music teaching career, start at a slightly lower price than other more experienced music teachers, but plan financially for the next five years to raise your rates at a reasonable rate to commensurate with your ever-growing experience.

Also, don’t forget to factor in travel costs when setting up your pricing structure. Will you be driving to your students’ homes? If so, consider increasing your rate by 5-10% to cover the time and expense of being on the road. Or consider charging a mileage fee.

We also recommend establishing a rock-solid teaching studio payment policies with your music students and parents from the very beginning.

Make sure they understand all fees including cancellation, service, and material costs and have them sign a form stating that they understand the all costs associated with the music lessons.

Let them see that you are fully committed to your work and they should show the same level of commitment in taking your music lessons seriously.

 

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Ok. So you’ve differentiated yourself online, found out what your students and parents want from a private music teacher, marketed your studio effectively and consistently, and now you’ve got your students all lined up and scheduled in your calendar. What’s next?

5. Setting up your teaching space  

Setting up a comfortable learning environment is critical to the success of your studio. Spacious and tidy surroundings will help your students focus on doing their best work.

We recommend decorating with tasteful decor which could include inspiring posters or interesting books. Don’t forget to set up a comfortable waiting area for students who arrive early.

Finally, it may help to invest in soundproofing for your studio to prevent any sound from leaking in or out.

 

6. Lesson planning

Every good teacher knows that no two students are alike. Each student has his or her own individual needs and ways of learning. You will get to know your students’ needs as you work with them through each and every music lesson.

We recommend planning an outline of what exactly you need to cover each week in order to keep track of your music lessons. Plan your lessons depending on the individual needs of your students.

Most young students need structure and routine in their music lessons, whereas older students generally need some creative flexibility. Plan accordingly and track their progress each lesson.

 

7. Scheduling and payments

The days of paper and pencil lesson planning are falling away and most teachers and students nowadays prefer to keep track of their music lesson calendars online.

Be sure in your online calendar to block off your holidays, vacations, and regular teaching hours right from the beginning so that there is as little confusion as possible when it comes to what hours and days you are available to teach.

Another item you must consider is payment options. As we are living in a increasingly cash-less society, more and more parents and students want to pay for their music lessons with a credit card.

Not only is it easier for them than remembering to bring a cheque, withdraw cash, or sending an e-transfer; they also get the airline/grocery/gas points awarded to them by their credit card.

Consider setting up a secure online payment receiving account which enables your students/parents to be able to pay for their music lessons by credit card.

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There are so many things to consider when setting up your private teaching studio for music lessons.

Our advice: take it one step at a time, and take the time to do it right. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your studio won’t be either! If the process ever starts to feel overwhelming, remind yourself of the reason why you are doing this - inspiring the next generation of music lovers!

You’ve chosen an incredibly rewarding profession through which to live out your life’s passion. Good luck and be sure to share your story with us here at Quaver! We would love to hear your studio's story!

Topics: music teacher, beginner teacher, marketing, studio management