Is your lesson schedule jam-packed? Have you maxed out your income because you’ve run out of teaching days and times? Are you nervous about making ends meet during the summer months? As private music teachers, sometimes we have to be when it comes to drumming up more income. Here are a handful of creative tips that will help you boost your income with group lessons and summer camps. Don’t get nervous… you don’t have to be a group expert to make these ideas work!
1) Keep it fun. Sure, summer camps are great for reinforcing basic music concepts, but they’re also an opportunity for you to foster comradery and imagination in your studio. One of the biggest complaints I’ve seen from other teachers about summer camps is about low enrollment: students and parents are reluctant to sign up because from their perspective, the camp just doesn’t sound very fun. That’s why it’s so important to make your camps fun and creative – students are more likely to sign up for something that’s unique and exciting than for something that comes across as an “educational experience.” This summer I’m holding a Hogwarts themed summer camp, and I know my students will be interested in something like that! Check out the video below for a montage of the fun camp we did last year: Music Blast Summer Camp.
2) Engage in the now. Summer camps are perfect for younger students, but older students will be more attracted to something called a “workshop.” Trust me, I’ve used both terms over the years and have noticed a difference in interest and enrollment! Teens and tweens are especially attracted to workshops that incorporate their generation’s cultural experience. Try a fusion workshop that combines music with writing, art, or video & photography. Not only will your students be attracted to these ideas, but fusion workshops can also be a great way for you to stretch your own artistic and technological abilities (and we really need those in this day and age!).
3) Teach less for more. “It took too much time and I didn’t make enough money,” is another common complaint from first-time group and camp teachers. Although multi-student events initially involve more preparation, ultimately they give private teachers the opportunity to make more money in a shorter period of time. Keep this in mind: once you get into the routine of group teaching, instead of teaching the same concept 5x, you’ll be teaching it 1x and getting paid 5x as much! The extra time it takes to prep a group class is well worth it.
4) Tap into “non-prime-time” hours and “non-traditional” students. Let’s face it – the majority of private music teachers are limited by the number of after-school hours we have each day. If you’re teaching until 7 or 8pm, you probably aren’t very keen on adding a lot of lessons before the school crowd gets out. Think small groups. Homeschooled students and retired adults are two perfect target audiences for a 1pm once-a-week class. A weekly group lesson targeted to a specific audience can be the perfect option to increase your income without adding a ton of hours to your schedule.
5) Stop letting your waiting list wait around. How many times have you called a student on your waiting list only to discover that they’ve moved on to another private teacher? When your studio is in high demand, sometimes prospective students can end up on a waiting list for years! If you have a bunch of beginners at a similar age on your waiting list, try a weekly group class. Not only are you teaching less for more, but this will help you keep your waiting list engaged. When private lesson times open up, you won’t have to scramble through a list of students who have already signed on with another teacher. You’ll already have them hooked, and they’ll be ready to start right away!
If you’re looking for more ideas about how to teach groups and camps, check out the upcoming from Upbeat Piano Teachers. Tracy Selle and I have teamed up with 6 amazing guest experts who are ready to share their knowledge and experiences with you. (Guess where I got all the wonderful inspiration for this blog post?)
About the Author:
Sara Campbell is a piano and voice teacher living in Western Pennsylvania. A full-time teacher since 2005, Sara now owns and operates a private studio with 40 students. Every summer she offers creative music workshops for music students from all over the Shenango Valley. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Performance from Westminster College and a Master of Music in Musicology from Youngstown State University.
Outside of the studio, Sara also serves as an adjunct lecturer and guest speaker at universities and music conferences. She has a passion for helping other teachers realize their goals, and is an active moderator and community member of many private Facebook groups. Find out more about her resources on her blog at .