I’m always on the look-out for ways to strengthen the sense of community at my piano teaching studio – doing so is a sure-fire way to increase retention and word-of-mouth advertising. Starting next month at my studio I’ve created a new program – Piano Buddies – and I have high hopes for what it will accomplish.
What are Piano Buddies?
Piano Buddies are a pairing of a beginning and an intermediate student within your piano teaching studio. The older students gain valuable experience sharing their skills with a beginning student, and the younger students benefit from the motivation of spending time on the piano with a peer they look up to.
How to Make it Work At Your Studio
Start with just a few pairings. Organize your pairs into same-sex, same-personality-type groupings. Keep the age-span about 4 years apart. Big Buddies should be at least 11 years old. Twice a month meet with the “Big Buddies” for 45 minutes. During this time, teach them to play a piece (choose one for the whole group) that is at their Little Buddy’s level. Brainstorm with them for ways they could approach the piece, possible “tricky spots” and how to solve any problems, ways they can reinforce learning away from the piano, how to create a piano teaching game that compliments the piece and off-the-bench theory teaching that can happen.
Here’s the fun part… and the part that will get you noticed!
Invite the little buddies for a *free* 20 minute piano lesson with their big buddy on a weekend afternoon. Schedule your 20 minute sessions back-to-back as you would your regular lessons… only difference is you are not the teacher! Have your big buddies great their little buddy at the door. They’re in charge and direct and teach the mini-lesson.
This is a fantastic way to build a sense of community in your piano studio… to churn up some word-of-mouth on the playgrounds of your local schools and to give your intermediate piano students some invaluable hands-on teaching experience. You can offer this as often as you like… or simply as an occasional treat at your studio. I’m looking forward to watching and learning the process of teaching piano from a child’s perspective. Give it a try!
Another great way to build community in your piano studio is to use innovative teaching materials that your studio can become known for. A great resource to start with is our newest book, Shhhh… Your Piano Teacher Thinks This is Practice. To learn more, click the link above, or click here, then scroll to the bottom of the post to read a ton of awesome reviews.