As many of you know, I started out as a “Piano Teacher On Wheels”. I held lessons in my students’ homes every Saturday and drove back and forth all over the valley where I live. In rain, snow and sleet my rusty (not trusty!) Toyota puttered around (actually, in the sleet Dad would ferry me through the blizzards!). It was a great way to get started, but it wasn’t a long-term solution for me as my waiting list grew.
Moving From Traveling To Studio-Based Lessons
We’ve had several readers write to ask a) whether they should move from in-home lessons to in-studio lessons and b) how they should go about making this transition without losing their student base. If you too are in this position, read on to find out how to make this change work smoothly.
1. Just make one change at a time – If you are announcing your change to in-studio lessons then just make this one announcement; don’t raise rates, change the months that you teach etc. Let your clients digest one thing at a time.
2. Keep your explanations positive and to-the-point – In your announcement be sure to highlight the benefits to your students in terms of what you will now be able to offer (your studio piano, recording set-up, more choice in games, a computer lab, better choices in time-slots… whatever you can do now that you couldn’t do before). Avoid justifying your decision with your own personal reasons for making the change.
3. Be sure to offer convenient sibling arrangements – The biggest benefit to in-home lessons is the convenience factor for parents. If this is now changing, be sure to keep as much simplicity for your families as you can.
4. Give lots of notice – If you are making this change, be sure to let your clients know with plenty of time for them to make arrangements in other areas of their life to accommodate this shift.
5. Host a studio-warming party – A great way to put a positive spin on this change is by hosting an open-house where your students and their parents can come check out their new lesson location. Make your space welcoming, serve small refreshments, have your most exciting resources on display, dedicate a wall of your studio to highlighting your students in some way… welcome them to your professional place of business in a festive way.
Dealing With The Inevitable
Even if you follow these 5 steps it’s inevitable that not everyone will be happy with the change (or able to make the change). Any time change happens in a studio it’s likely that not every client is going to be on board. However, if you are making this change for the betterment of your own professional life then know that the long-term benefits will outweigh the short-term inconveniences. Lost clients can be replaced, displeased clients will settle in and get used to the change.
We want to know… Did you hang up your “traveling piano teacher keys” at some point in your career? Are you considering doing so? Share your pointers and experience in the comment section below.