If you haven’t already read your way through our “How to Teach Piano” series and have missed posts such as “How to Teach Piano to Anthony Ants-in-his-pants” or “How to Teach Piano to Einstein” you can click here to check it out.
It’s that time of year when Newbie Natalies are heading into your piano studio for their very first lesson. This post is all about making that first piano lesson experience one that your little Newbie Natalies will never forget! Read on to be come the most talked-about piano teacher in your town…
Roll Out the Red Carpet
Treat your new students like celebrities and set up your studio to welcome them in style. You want your piano studio to be as welcoming as possible for both your new and your returning clientelle. Make your front entrance an extension of your fantastically fun piano studio! Create garden markers like these (feel free to simplify!) with your students’ names on them and place them along your pathway. You’ll banish any nerves they may feel as they happily find their name amongst the rest of your students. They can take these home with them after their first lesson of the year.
Create a Welcome Wall
Dedicate a wall of your waiting area to your new students. As they register, create their very own individual welcome poster for the wall. Post these on your waiting area wall under a sign that says “Our New Piano Friends!“. You create an immediate sense of belonging by doing this… and you also showcase just how many new students are starting with you! Remember marketing to your current clientelle is so important.
First Lesson Fun Pack
Instead of teaching their first lesson directly out of their method book (those first pages always look so darn “wordy” and boring), create a “First Lesson Fun Pack” in a duotang that guides your student through learning proper posture, finger numbers, high and low sounds, groups of 2 and 3 black notes etc… everything they need to learn in this overwhelming first lesson in the form of games and fun-off-the-bench activities. Find ways to bring this learning home with them other than simply by reading the pages of their book.
Piano Lesson Goodie Bag
Always send your Newbie Natalies home with a Piano Lesson Goodie Bag. You can decide what you’d like to include. My studio goodie bags look like this:
1. A “magic glove” winter glove (from your local dollar store or wal-mart) with their finger numbers in glitter glue on each finger. They use this during the week to play their finger number games from my First Lesson Fun Pack.
2. My studio magnet (contact information and my logo) for their fridge.
3. A small candy treat, or if you aren’t into food rewards a small container of bubbles.
4. A piano-themed pencil.
5. A kazoo (also for activities from my First Lesson Fun Pack… you can learn lots from a kazoo!)
Follow up In Style
Pre-make follow up cards for your new students and pop them in the mail the day after their first lesson with you. Make them colorful and fun, and hand-write a message letting your new student know that you enjoyed meeting them. Tell them one specific thing that they did particularly well, and express your excitement for seeing them the following week. Kids never get mail; they’ll be thrilled. I include a little pack of stickers for good measure.
Newbie Natalies Are Like Walking Wallets
🙂 All kidding aside, your Newbie Natalies do hold a lot of power. Piano lessons are something new in her life… people will ask them how her lesson went. Do you want a blahsee answer from her in return, or do you want her family to rave endlessly about your personal touch? The word-of-mouth machine is your most valuable marketing tool. With a bit of ingenuity and effort, that first lesson can be the springboard to a stellar reputation in your community, and a fast-track to all of the benefits this brings.