improving as a teacher, Motivation, Studio Business

9 Ideas for Motivating Piano Students

I’m sure we have all had students who are low on motivation at one point or another.  It’s not always easy to keep students practicing week after week.  To make matters complicated, every student is different: something that motivates one student might not work for the next.

Here are some ideas for increasing motivation among your piano students:

  1. Take lessons yourself. Put yourself in their shoes – literally.  Remember what it’s like to have a busy week and have a hard time finding time for practice?  Remember what it’s like to when your pieces don’t play as well in the lesson as they did at home?  You can be more genuinely understanding and make better suggestions for solutions if you are taking lessons yourself and going through the same situations that they are.  Think you don’t have time for lessons?  Try to find someone who’s willing to take you on every other week or even once a month.  Continuing your own piano lessons will probably benefit you in more ways that you think!
  2. Be sure to give them a good variety of repertoire. Make sure there is plenty of variety in the music they are working on.  Find out what types of music they like.  Supplement their method book(s) with new age piano (think Jim Brickman), hymn arrangements, jazz/blues, pop music, soundtrack/music theater music (think Disney, High School Musical, or Twilight – whatever is currently popular!).  No matter the student, however, I always make sure they are working on something classical too.  There are so many different types of great music within classical music – I truly believe there is something for everyone! Continue reading “9 Ideas for Motivating Piano Students”
Studio Business

Building Your Studio: What to Say on the Phone

When potential students’ parents call, do you struggle with figuring out what to say on the phone?  What information are they looking for, anyway?  This post offers some ideas and suggestions.

First, offer basic information about your studio.

The idea is to give them some details about how you run your studio, without overwhelming them.  Some ideas:

  • How often and how long are lessons.
  • About other studio events: i.e., group lessons, the Spring Recital, the Christmas Party, the Summer Music Camp, etc.
  • About other perks of your studio: i.e., lending library, SAT testing, lab time, incentive programs, etc.
  • A little about yourself: how much you enjoy teaching, how long you’ve been teaching, what your teaching philosophy is (in a nutshell), or what your goals for your students are.
  • Cost of tuition (save for last whenever possible), and what forms of payment are acceptable.  Specify whether or not the cost of books and materials is included.

Offer Sources for Further Information

Once you’ve given them general information about your studio, you can then:

  • Direct them to your studio website.  There, they can perhaps find more studio information, your bio, pictures, audio files or videos, and forms/handouts such as your Studio Policies.
  • Offer references.  Talking to happy parents of current students is a great way to learn more about the studio.
  • Offer a free trial lesson/interview with no obligation.  This not only allows the parents/student the chance to meet you personally before making an obligation, but also allows you the chance to meet the student before officially accepting them into your studio.

Before hanging up, be sure to ask if they have any other questions.  And always thank them for calling, whether or not they sound interested in taking lessons with you or not.

Tip: If you are like me and get a little shy/nervous on the phone, try making yourself a little list to keep by the phone. =)

What kinds of things do you make a note of telling potential students/parents?

Photo Credit: tylerdurden1 | CC 2.0

improving as a teacher, Studio Business

Building Your Studio: Offer Free Trial Lesson, and Have References Ready!

A few months ago, I received a call from a parent who was looking for lessons for her two daughters.  She was a little reluctant to commit to lessons because of a past experience with another teacher: the teacher was an excellent performer, but unfortunately not as great of a teacher.  I chatted with her for a few minutes and I told her about my studio and my teaching experience.  Then I offered to give her a trial lesson for free, so she could see for herself what my teaching style is like.  She agreed to this, and afterwards, was happy to commit to lessons.  We’ve been continuing ever since.

At her daughter’s lesson this week, the same parent kindly offered (with no request on my part) to be a reference or write a letter of recommendation should I ever need one.  When she said this, I realized that having a reference or two (from other happy parents) ready to give her would have been a another great way for her to learn about my teaching style and personality — and it would have been much more convincing than hearing it from me!

Lessons learned: DO offer a free interview/first lesson, and DO have references ready to give out!  =)

Click here to read ideas for activities to do with the student at the first free trial lesson and click here for some free printables for use during the first trial lesson.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stephenliveshere/ / CC BY-SA 2.0