When we recently asked our community of piano teachers on Facebook where they found their newest piano student, we were thrilled and amazed that over half responded with “word of mouth referrals”.
From our experience, word of mouth referrals result in more dedicated and easier-to-manage new piano families… meaning piano teachers should go out of your way to generate word of mouth referrals whenever possible.
And one of the best ways to get people talking about your studio is a referral-generating piano summer camp… which is a little different than a regular summer piano camp… but we’ll get to that!
I put referral-generating piano camps into the “Gold Standard” category of tools for finding new piano students.
Why? Because they generate word-of-mouth referrals without you having to ask for referrals. Not that anything is wrong with asking for referrals… but the absolute best referrals are unsolicited.
In today’s post I’m going to give you four helpful tips to turn any regular summer piano camp into a referral-generating summer piano camp!
But First… What’s The Difference Between The Two Camps?
For many teachers, a regular summer piano camp is held to create a little extra piano teaching income in those lean summer months.
A referral-generating summer piano camp can do that as well, but it has the added benefit of generating word of mouth for your studio. The result? Extra summertime income, PLUS extra income all year long as you are inundated with a flood of new piano students!
How To Turn Your Summer Camp Into A Referral Generation Machine
The wonderful news is that turning a regular summer camp into a referral-generating summer camp just takes four simple tweaks…
One: Create A “Share-Worthy” Musical Item
Every summer camp should result in an impressive musical product that will be shared or talked about by parents of your piano students. The most obvious musical products to be created and shared are video and sound recordings of student performances or compositions.
Personally, we love summer composing camps. In addition to students having a blast through personal expression, summer composing camps generally result in recorded performances that can be burned onto CD and sent to friends and relatives, or emailed to parents where it will no doubt be shared on Facebook (quickly becoming word of mouth gold).
Two: Create A Share Worthy Musical Experience
The best camps are themed camps…. there’s just something about a themed experience that excites kids about learning music. And when kids are extra excited about your summer camp, their parents are extra happy… and happy parents are chatty parents! 🙂
When planning your summer camp, tie it all together with one great big creative theme. You’ll be amazed at how much easier summer camp planning becomes when you can coordinate your games, your snacks, your compositions, and your performances with a clear theme.
Three: Create Shared Experiences
Summer piano camps do not have to be just for your piano students. A great way to generate word of mouth for your piano studio is to dedicate one whole day of your piano camp as a “Bring a Friend” Day.
I can tell you… as a parent with young kids at home all summer… if a local piano teacher wanted to entertain my kids for a day, they would be looked upon very favourably in my eyes! 🙂 Kids who have not had the chance to experience the fun that piano can bring will leave pumped about music and their parents will be the first to hear about their excitement.
If you’re holding a week-long summer piano camp, put your “Bring a Friend” Day right smack in the middle. This will break up the week nicely and maintain excitement for your camp during that time when enthusiasm can start to wane.
Four: Create a Communal Gathering
Every summer camp should end with a communal experience involving the students and invited guests. You want your summer camp to end with a bang… you don’t want it to finish with a fizzle.
Having an end-of-camp goal, like a “Recital In The Park”, gives your students something to stay excited about… and this generates word of mouth on two fronts. The first: if parents see their children pumped about a summer piano camp for five days straight, they won’t be able to stop talking about you. And second: if you’re throwing a fun end-of-camp recital, you have an easy opportunity to spread your web in the community through invitations to friends and family.
What Does Your Summer Piano Camp Look Like?
We really don’t want any members of the Teach Piano Today community to miss out on the referral-generating power of a great summer camp… so if you want to help a fellow teacher out, share in the comments below one thing from a past summer camp that has worked wonders in your studio.