Bring a Buddy
I encourage students to bring friends to recitals. I always put my full contact information on the recital program, usually on the back at the bottom. Often I will receive a call after the recital, from a parent who enjoyed the recital and their child would like to start lessons.
Think Like a Realtor
Put a sign on your front yard saying “Piano Lessons” and your phone number. Even better is to get one of those tubes and attach it with flyers rolled up inside of it, giving more information about your studio – so people can grab one and take it home with them.
In my area, a Google search for “piano lessons” brings up a website called Thumbtack. People can submit a request for quotes from piano teachers with a description of their needs (student age, skill level, interests, etc.). Then I, a piano teacher, can submit a quote if I think I would be a good match for them. The only downside is I have to pay each time I submit a quote, but it’s gotten me several students in the few months I’ve used it, so it’s been worth the investment for me.
Music Teachers Unite
I sent letters to all the area music teachers, both choir and band. I let them know who I was, what my background is, and where my studio is located. I included several business cards to hand out to students. When parents are looking for a teacher, they often ask the school’s music teacher to teach private lessons or recommend some one if they are full.
Adwords and Videos
I find that having a detailed website with videos of your teaching, and playing seems to work well. It doesn’t hurt to also utilize Adwords to make sure your website pops up when people search for teachers or lessons.
One of my best campaigns was when I submitted an add to our subdivision’s newsletter. It contained a coupon for a free trial lesson. I made sure that the lesson was fun and exciting. It resulted in many good, long term students.
I am looking to expand my studio by teaching during school hours. In my state, there is a Homeschooling convention every summer. I signed up to advertise in the goody bags that are given to the convention participants. I have to provide 1900 flyers, which is a ton, but I am hoping for a TON of exposure as well.
Big Yellow Sign
Each August I have rented a big yellow sign to put on my front lawn and it has always given me a few new students. But this year, I left it up all year, and, not only does it help people find my house, but people who drive by think about music lessons every time they pass by and this often spurs them on to do something that they have wanted to do for years. It has definitely paid off to keep it up all year round.
Door to Door
I staple a rubber band to the corner of flyers and hang them on doors in the neighborhoods around me. I try to stay in higher end neighborhoods. I also stay within about 5 miles of my studio.
Turn your name card into a promotion. It can be anything promotional from a short introduction about your studio offer or your studio’s achievement printed at the back of your card, or it can also be a 10 percent discount coupon off the first lesson. This way when someone receives the business card, he or she is more likely to help promoting your piano studio by passing it to a friend.
It’s All In The Name
My best ally has been having my own domain name. Easily recognizable & memorable! I’ve had 23 families complete the form asking for more info (I live in a small town).
Show Your Stuff
I am still working on this idea, the primary purpose of it is not advertising, but I think it will be beneficial as a proof of proficiency of a teacher and thus attract more students. Many tutor books that we use here don’t have an accompanying CD thus the students forget how the pieces are supposed to sound, so I am working on playing all the pieces, and posting them on my youtube channel, along with all the set exam pieces for the abrsm, thus it can help student know how the piece should sound. And in the long run, it is a way to prove how much you care for your students!
I wish I had something divine to share and out of the box but the big thing I cannot stress enough is to make sure you have a website. There are two ways families here about me. Word of mouth and my website. (I have a full studio with a waiting list.)
When I’m interested in acquiring new students, I print postcards on cardstock, 4 per sheet. I then ride through the neighborhoods that I want to receive my advertising. I have my daughter write down the street house numbers. Then I address the postcards, mail them, and wait for my phone to begin ringing. It usually brings me new students within two days of having mailed the postcards. And the good thing is that one new students’ tuition for the first month, more than pays for the advertising postage!
Get Out and Play
Participate at concerts (church, community concerts, fundraising events) and invite everyone you know via e-mail, fb, etc. Ask them to forward/re-post your message. People get inspired. They want to learn your instrument from you! They also want their children and grandchildren to learn your instrument.
An Offer They Can’t Refuse
This is one that almost all teachers use but it works. FREE lessons – I’ve found that just 1 free lesson is enough if your lesson is fun. If it’s a referral from one of my parents I always give them a free lesson as well. Your studio will be filled with students. I promise!
Recitals, Facebook and Newspapers
I encourage piano students to bring friends to our recitals (3 per year) that are always followed by a reception. Many do and it is not just the kids friends that the word spreads to– sometimes the fact that the kids came ALERTS the family to a good program and THEY spread the word for me. I also always advertise recitals on Facebook weeks in advance, invite community members, and inform our local newspaper. One time they featured some of my students on the front page of the paper– just because I invited them.
I recently visited my local piano store to purchase piano books. Each salesperson I interacted with suggested I leave them a stack of my business cards. Turns out they are often asked for recommendations.
Bring a Friend
I am thinking about making November ” bring a friend to lessons” month. My students would receive a prize for bringing their friend. I would make the lessons so much fun that their friends would go home begging their parents for lessons just in time for Christmas. Keyboards make great presents and even one or two new students would cover the cost of the prizes!
Make use of Facebook
Advertising online is great, but it’s hard to target specific audiences. So, I use Facebook advertising (it lets you target the exact audience you want, i.e. people who are married and have kids). Also, there are lots of sites these days that cater to people wanting to learn a new skill. The site will be full of cooking classes, martial arts, etc., and there’s always a category for music, too. Parents and adult students are using the Internet more and more to find the classes they want, and these sites generate high traffic.
Bright and Bold
I’ve recently moved to a new neighborhood. So I’m preparing a flyer – printed on neon paper! – to attach to a postcard with my music studio name and info [I had it made through VistaPrint online]. The flyer says:’NEW! A Music Teacher has moved into your neighborhood! PIANO and GUITAR Lessons – Call NOW for your 1st lesson FREE!’ I plan to go door-to-door and hand them out, introducing myself and making contact with each household.
I thought of a great idea today. I live in a neighborhood with an elementary school down the street, and this morning around 8:30 I went out for a walk and saw all the parents bringing their kids to school! Tomorrow I’ll go out with cards, meet them and tell them that I teach piano just around the corner and would love for them to hold on to my card. As long as I catch the early comers and don’t stop anyone who is going to be late,it should be fine!
I was one of the first in my community to put my music studio on yelp.com. You can post pictures, offer deals or promotions to attract students. It is free and it works. I have at least three current students from it and I didn’t pay anything for it.
I created an easy-to-navigate studio website with information for prospective students and news for current students and parents. I also advertise on Craigslist.
Targeted Advertising Is Where It’s At
Any ad I put out (flyer, postcard, website, Google Place, craigslist, etc.) is always very specifically targeted to one of three demographics (the ones I prefer to teach) – adults, teens, or musicians. Doing this seems to generate not only a lot of response, but, more importantly, response from the groups of people I want to teach.
Billing Statement Bonus
On my billing statements I have in large print at the bottom that each student will receive a $20.00 discount on their next billing cycle if they refer someone to me and they enroll. No limit on how many. I always have calls during the holidays for piano lesson gift certificates, and although I haven’t worked out the details and the copy, why limit it to just Christmas?… Valentines, birthdays, etc. all super saving introductory fees.
Try making recordings of your students’ playing, put them on a CD, and then make copies for them to give away to family and friends for Christmas. Not only will it display your students’ hard work (maybe motivate them to practice), it will show prospective students they type of music they could learn at your studio.
Invite a Friend Day
A unique idea which benefits both students and teachers is hosting an “invite a friend day” once a year for students. Students get to invite a friend to their music lesson, and I have the student help me teach basic concepts (i.e. note values) to the friend (which is excellent review for the student!) They also perform one of their favourite pieces for their friend, and then I have some special music games and exercises prepared for the student and friend. This has been very successful with my beginner and elementary level students. Even if I do not gain any new students, it is still time and energy well invested, because it means so much to the students I already have.
Calls From Craigslist
I spent an afternoon writing and re-writing an ad for Craigslist. I tried to make it sound less like a classified ad and more like I love teaching (which I do!) I have had more calls from that than any other thing I have tried (newspaper, tear-off ads at the library, door-to-door flyers.) Next up: getting my website up and running, and running some more music camps for prospective students.
Doing free programs in the community, including music at library storytimes, music times for the childcare center at a local gym, working with elementary schools…People with young children begin seeing you over and over again and grow to trust you and call you first.
Music Lessons Up For Auctions
Our church has a mission outreach auction each spring and I make two or three intro-to-piano lessons to auction. Several sets of grandparents have given an intro-to-piano lesson as a birthday gift. With the first book, it is an quality, inexpensive and lasting gift. I plan to include a free intro to-piano lesson with my next music camp.
A Little Bit of Everything
I get most of my students from the church I attend. The advertising hasn’t been needed much. I have advertised on the local homeschool website. It is nice to get the students who can come before four and keeps my schedule more ideal. I also go to our Christian school and teach on Wednesdays. The parents love the fact that they don’t have to add one more thing to the weekly schedule and I can teach several students during the day. I put a business card at our local music store and they know who I am because of my frequent visits to buy music. Usually word spreads and your students refer you to friends and family.
Put On a Concert
Have a mini-recital with a few of your top students in a public place such as a mall. Have a drawing for a chance to win a free lesson, requiring that people submit their e-mail or phone number and mailing address along with their name in the drawing. Hand out programs for the recital, which would include studio contact information and a brief summary of your teaching background and experience. Have business cards, magnets and brochures available to hand out as well.
Forget Business Cards
Business cards are a waste of time – I use printed postcards which don’t get lost, and are easy to see in shop windows, on people’s fridges etc. Having a reasonable website is the main way I get students though.
Your One and Only
My strategy has always been word-of-mouth. I teach every student as if they were my only one, to the best of my ability. I care about their families and visit with Moms in the driveway or in my living room. I ask them how they’re doing before we play a single note on the piano. I always have a wait list and haven’t tried any other form of advertising, although I look forward to seeing the other responses and getting ideas!
Bach To Rock
I did a Bach 2 Rock Fall Festival this year. Each student got to bring one friend. Parents brought cookies and drinks so I was only out the prizes. I had 21 students show up with a friend and got two new students.
Hit Up the Schools
The best advertising in my new area has been flyers distributed at the elementary school just down the street. I made up a flyer listing my class times and fees and little about me as a teacher and took it to a printer who made 400 copies, bundled them in groups of 25 and they delivered them to the school secretary for me…all for $40. The secretary then put the bundles in the teachers’ mailboxes and left a bundle on the office table for parents who might walk into the office. It was an immediate success.
The Charter School Community
I have chosen to target the charter school community. I have been approved as a vendor and I am able to charge the students my going rate (not everyone may be able to charge their going rate, mine is a bit on the low side due to where we live) and include their books in the cost. Parents LOVE it. Most would not be able to afford lessons and I can fill my early in the day slots!
Connect with Parents
I talk to schools and advertise in their school newsletter. I also stand outside of schools during after school hours, do surveys with parents asking them questions regarding of their perspective of music education, and introduce myself to them and my background and qualification.
Bulletin Board Advertising
I advertise at my local community centers and grocery stores. I post an ad on any bulletin boards in my community. However I have found that word of mouth is the best form of advertising.
Put up flyers at schools and the local music stores. Advertise “specials” during November & December. And of course, I live for referrals… so do parents and students because they get a “bonus”.
Volunteering Pays Off
I volunteer to do a music event at my church or local community center. It could be a piano ensemble or a talent show that would require me to conduct. If it is a piano ensemble, I usually pick the music and talk to the parents. This allows me to have exposure and show the parents what their kids can participate in. Also, the younger kids get really excited and start asking their parents for lessons.
I go to craft shows and bazaars to promote piano lessons and usually have some homemade peanut butter/cups to sell (gets people over to the table as well).
Take Time To Donate
Donate 3-4 lessons to a local auction raising money for charity. It is a win-win! Meet a new family in the community and support a local charity. Even if they do not sign up for regular lessons, they will likely pass along your name.
BYOB Piano Parties (Not For Minors)
For adult group lessons-piano classes with a “twist”-BYOB piano parties once a week. I advertise in my Junior League’s e-newsletter. I got the idea from the art classes people bring wine to.
Piano Flash Mob
This idea is called Piano Flash Mob. Invite your students and parents to a local store where there are pianos or keyboards on display for sale and arm the parents with your business cards. Kids will almost automatically go to the piano and start playing. Often people will compliment them and even ask who the teacher is. That’s when the parents will happily pull out your card and give it to them.