22 ways you can find more music students with minimal cost!

Here are a few ideas on how you can gain extra students and  fill your music studio quickly and easily without too much out of pocket expense to you.

A couple of months ago, I sent out an email to our funmusicco members and I received an email back from one of our music teaching friends which prompted me to write a whole article.The email asked:

“Thanks for the email. There is, however, something more I need to make your ideas even more effective….I NEED MORE STUDENTS! Can you please give me some ideas as to how I might obtain them with little or no out-of-pocket expense, and without having to invest a ton of time and energy on something that may or may not work? I don’t mind investing some time into something but I want results. It’s really frustrating to spend a lot of time and energy only to yield nothing because it’s a complete waste of time!”

it also goes on to say:

“Do you have any advice on how I can go about getting these folks(music stores) to notice me without having to take a 20 student loud base with me into their teaching studio, How can I go about contacting these people in such a way that they’ll feel like they’re missing out if they don’t hire me? .

Firstly, I want to thank our friend for this question. I am so passionate about helping music school teachers and owners get thriving music studios working to help benefit all the children out there.  I feel that like anything it is a learned skill that both Kevin (my wonderful husband) and myself had the privilege of learning while we started our own music school from scratch just a few years ago. I also believe that if we learned it then anyone can and I’m excited to share some ideas with everyone out there wanting more from their business and perspective employers.

I remember this stage of my music teaching business very well. We made the plans to move away from our full time teaching jobs knowing that we were both very confident teachers who could handle any student, but when we first opened the doors nobody seemed that interested. Now years down the track, I know that anyone who starts a music teaching studio from scratch goes through this because as well as a teacher, you also need to become a salesperson and marketer-  totally different skills that require loads of self improvement and new ideas.

After thinking this question through thoroughly and using my own past experiences and learning as a reference point, I came up with a brainstorm of “22 ways you can find more students with minimal cost”.

Some of these ideas require some money, but if you think about how valuable a long term student is to you and you add up that over the 5 years they might spend with you the fees which they pay, then the small initial cost to attract them is minimal.

I hope it helps all those music teachers out there who are starting their own studios or need to appear more valuable to perspective employers. They are not in any order so feel free to use them gradually in the order that suits you best – and remember you don’t need to use them all at the same time. Even if you use one strategy over a month it will still bring increased numbers of students through your doors. If one doesn’t work for you also feel free to leave it for a while and try another one. I understand that everyone has different needs and feels comfortable with different strategies, but anyway it should be a starting point and I know that these things work – because I used them at a time where I thought it was impossible to get anyone interested.

1. Knock on doors – just like any other sales person would, music teachers are no different. This strategy will be challenging to some because they will fear being rejected, but why not try it? Sure some people won’t want to listen to you, won’t open their door and may say something back to you that you won’t want to hear, but by talking face to face to people as a long term strategy for getting new clients works. If you told your neighbors that your looking to set up a brand new music studio and just popped by to introduce yourself, just by listening you could pick up valuable information. Ask them questions such as where they would send their own children?, do they know children who do music lessons?, Do they think music lessons are important? and invite them to your opening or the next seminar in your school or studio. Many neighbors won’t come directly straight into your doors, but they will know of you and will talk. If someone ever asks them about someone to teach their children, your name might just pop into their head first. This strategy costs nothing but a little time and really gets people talking.

2. Put a small advertisement in a school newsletter – many schools run a newsletter on a monthly basis and are given to all the families of the school. If you placed a small ad in one and ran an offer of a free lesson or something to prompt them to call, it would cost a lot less than putting it in a bigger newspaper publication and you could easily target the clients you really want.

3. Offer a free trial lesson – offering a sample of your work is great for getting parents and children inspired in playing. They get to know you, you get to talk about what you do and how you do it and you can start a strong relationship right from the beginning while hand selecting the students most suited to your style of teaching.

4. Offer a free workshop or performance to a local school or music shop – just playing in front of people inspires them to play. Be seen and heard.

5. Drop some pamphlets into letter boxes around the studio area – in quiet times this is a great way to get out in the local community and talk as you walk. Pamphlets require a little set up money, but they let people know where you are and what you do. It’s amazing how long they can be kept on a fridge especially if they have a free offer in them somewhere.

6. Organize a “come and try session” during the holidays- Give people something to do in the holidays and offer a free group or single lessons during the holidays to wet their appetite for music.

7. Have an opening of your music school. Get a speaker who talks about the benefits of learning music and invite local interested neighbors, other music teachers and even the local member of parliament.

8. Implement a referral program – if someone in your school tells a friend to come and have a lesson with you and they sign up, give them a present and/ or a percentage discount to show them that you value their business

9. Make your studio comfortable for students and parents to wait in – parents spend a lot of time in your music studio, so make it comfortable and they’ll want to be there more and will want to tell their friends about you. You could include a coffee machine, magazines or things for children to do while they are waiting. It’s amazing the value this adds to your business.

10. Offer the local music shop something valuable to help their business. You could tell them how you can instantly bring 25% more revenue in their shop for them and have evidence to support this “big fat claim”

11. Place a small ad offering a free music lesson in the local newspaper

12. Offer your services to a local club, church, school or other organization on a voluntary basis as a player or accompanist. If you are a piano teacher and put yourself on a roster to play the piano in a local organization once a month, after a while people start asking you about how you learned and will ask you what you do.

13. Help your existing students with buying instruments and with giving an unbiased opinion of which instrument would be best for each student. Meet you student in the shop when they are purchasing and meet with the shop assistants so you can get to know them by name.

14. Write an article for a local school, organization or shop to use in their promotional materials. If you know that local businesses run a monthly or weekly newsletter for their clients and you can write something to a) save the business work and b) be of interest to their clients- then they will help you and you can help them.

15. Place cards and fliers on local community bulletin boards

16. Give your students bits and pieces as gifts- why not get printed music pencils, erasers, magnets and other bits and pieces that identify you and what you do. You’ll be amazed at where these things end up and who they are given to!

17. Keep a database of the students that you already have so that you can easily tell a perspective employer how many students you already have and what system you use. Names on a database are very important for a mailing list opportunity for a local music shop or business. They may bring you on board and have you work there, just for the chance to get access to writing to your students and getting them to come into the store.

18. Make a diary or journal for your students to keep their practice log in and include you name and contact details inside

19. Keep communication with the parents of your students via email – it costs you nothing and you can really help them by giving them information on how the lesson went, special offers you might know about or upcoming concert events

20. Host a concert or recital for your students and let them invite friends and family members. Book a hall and let your students be the stars of the show, you can also use it as a chance to put a flyer or pamphlet on each chair and put an offer on it such as a free lesson or asking them to come and see you at the studio for some free information or something else that may be of value.

21. Host a parent night – Parents love to come into your studio or school and see picture of their children, ask about their child, talk to other parents, and hear about the benefits of music for their child. Wrap up the evening in loads of fun and games and you could even have a lucky door prize and a supper after wards. Parents will talk about your philosophies, will talk to other parents and will become raving fans of what you do.

22. Make your music lessons FUN – because students who are having fun will tell other students, and students that are having fun will have happy parents that will tell other parents and their kids.

15 Comments

  • By brenda Reply

    Janice,I thought this was an excellent,practical article for all music teachers to be able to use to expand their studio numbers.I have taught instrumental music privately for many years here in Australia and it certainly takes some time to build numbers and a fine reputation.This information is so useful for new teachers and more experienced.

  • By Cynthia McCaffety Reply

    Re: getting new students: CRAIGSLIST! I just started back teaching after 20 years doing other things. In two months I have 17 students and calls come in nearly every day, 99% from craigslist.com.

    BTW, I also signed up for two different “find a music teacher” type websites, one free and one with a subscription. I think I got one student from those. I put an ad (against my better judgment) in a popular local weekly and have had NO response from that. So it’s CRAIGSLIST by a long shot.

    I also set up a simple little website for myself and included a link in my craiglist ad, which gives people a look at my face and my biography. Best of luck!

    • By Timothy Wallender Reply

      Cynthia,
      I have used craigslist for years now but I’ve not had the success your are speaking of. I’ve got to wonder what is the difference between my ad and yours. Or perhaps, what do you put your ad under? Musicians, classes or ? Can you help me with this?

  • By Cynthia McCaffety Reply

    I forgot to emphasize, in case folks don’t know, that ads on craigslist are absolutely free!

  • By music teacher Reply

    Yes, these tips for music teachers can help us to increase the number of our students. We must build a good reputation in our community so as to gain trust of their parents.

    Also, having a personal music teachers website can be beneficial to both you and your students.

  • By Percussion Instruments Reply

    I agree – sites like craiglist which is free provide a valuable way to reach your target market.

    There are also plenty of local sites that you can use that are equally as good.

    And of course, like this site, blogs are free and if you have interesting enough information, people will find you.

  • By Jane Yu Reply

    Thanks for these tips. I always had trouble finding decent students on Craigslist. Signed up for privatelessons.com and I got a lead or two but it wasn’t worth it. A friend told me about classicalmusicteachers.com and says he’s gotten tons of requests but anyone here have an experience with them?

    Thanks!

  • By Joy Paris Reply

    I have a website and also signed up for google adsense and actually make money off that. Also, I am a member of privatelessons.com (and I have gotten a lot of referrals from them) and learningmusician.com which I have gotten some leads from. If you think about it, signing up for privatelessons.com (which is the most expensive $99/year, if you only got one student from it, within 1 month you have earned your money back, so I think its worth it). Good luck everyone!

    Joy

  • By Anonymous Reply

    I use vistaprint.com to get a lot of advertising tools, and then make sure my website is optimized to be at the top of certain keyword phrases.

  • By Ed Reply

    Good article. Craigslist was good at one time but it has dried up to the point where I get maybe one response a month. Used to get several a week.

  • By Jason Reply

    Create a profile on musiclessonsplus.org

    Its free, just make sure you write a decent blurb about yourself and your teaching. ——- Within about 4 weeks your profile will be seen on the 1st page of google if searching for lessons in your town.

  • By shannon Reply

    Most school districts publish a list of private teachers, so contact your school district to get on this list.

    Make friends with other music teachers. Often, when their studios are full or if they move, they will refer students to you.

    Try local television or radio station websites. Sometimes they have classified ads that are cheap or free to list.

    If you have another job, put up posters in the breakroom. You never know when a parent is looking for a teacher for their kid.

    Play/Sing in community ensembles, even if they are volunteer. Getting your name out there and networking with other musicians in this manner will help.

  • By Martyn Reply

    Some great tips here. It can be hard to get a music teaching business off the ground, but there are so many ways to find more students. Providing you have a good strategy, you can build a successful teaching studio surprisingly quickly. Also, don’t be afraid to invest money into promoting your teaching business. For example, paying for a logo and website and using paid advertising to find students. You’ll make your money back in no time and get results quicker. Martyn => http://www.musicteacherinfo.com

  • By Cameron Weckerley Reply

    Hi guys…

    Great article as usual and thanks…! I just wanted to point out that putting things in peoples mailboxes is illegal. I only know this because I tried it myself and was threatened with legal action if I did it again. Just a heads up…

    Thanks again.

    Cameron

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