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How Do You Attract New Students?

Does your studio have more students than you can handle, or do you wonder if anyone even takes music lessons any more? Why do some people seem to attract more students than they need and others struggle to fill their time blocks?

This is a complicated question, with many variables.

First and foremost people are attracted to what is attractive, valuable, and somewhat hard to get. Even when you need students, you can’t appear needy. So the first thing you must consider when attracting new students is what you have to offer. What makes you unique and valuable? Get busy being the kind of teacher, with the kind of studio, that people would stand in line to get in to.

With that in mind, there is one source of new students that will out perform every other source. However, before I discuss that source, here are some general advertising ideas to get your studio on the radar. Remember to project a confident, positive attitude as you introduce yourself. Stay a little bit hard to get.

  • Leave business cards on local bulletin boards, with your hair dresser, the mail carrier, and anyone you do business with in your community.
  • Drop off business cards and fliers with local real estate agents.
  • Put fliers out in local neighborhoods, door to door when allowed. Go on a Saturday morning so you have a chance to actually meet some people.
  • Call the music teachers at your local schools and introduce yourself. Ask how you can be of help to them. Offer to accompany for some of their programs.
  • Join one of the online teacher referral websites, such as LessonRating.com.
  • Put up a flier at your church or community center.
  • Order a magnetic sign for the side or back of your car, giving your studio name and contact information.
  • If allowed, put up a sign in front of your home studio. I know a teacher who puts up a sandwich-board type sign on a busy corner near his home every Sunday afternoon for a few hours.
  • Join a local music teachers’ association and ask to be put on the list for referrals and to be listed on their website.
  • Pass out fliers or business cards at local children’s sporting events, or when parents are picking their children up from school.
  • Create a website and make sure your name comes up when people search for a teacher in your area. (This could be a whole separate article!)
  • Hold a summer camp for students who want to explore the piano.
  • Write a guest editorial on a musical topic for your local newspaper.
  • Set up a booth at a local fair or community-day activity.
  • Have an entry in the town parade and/or pass out fliers along the route.
  • Advertise in the program for a local school play.
  • Offer a free introductory workshop.
  • Give a local recital of your own music.
  • Offer preschool music or Kindermusic classes to get students ready for instrumental lessons.
  • Offer group classes for teens or adults.
  • Teach retired adults during school hours.

Finally, what is the far and away best source for students? Your current students, of course! Your students will naturally recommend you to their friends, but there are things you can do to encourage this. At the end of each school year I give out coupons for students to give to their friends for a free trial piano lesson. If they recommend a student who signs up full time, the current student also gets a free lesson. I also ask current parents to write a short paragraph of recommendation that I can post on my website. Basically, you want to make sure your current students and parents have referrals on their mind.

It can take months for momentum to build from your efforts, so don’t be discouraged and don’t quit advertising. Your efforts now are filling your studio six to twelve months from now. Even if you are currently full, you cannot stop promoting your studio.

Please comment on this article with ways you have found to attract students. I would love to hear your ideas!

About the Author

Sandy Lundberg
Sandy Lundberg teaches piano in her private studio in northern Colorado. Her desire is to enable students to achieve their own personal musical goals, and to assist them in becoming literate, life-long musicians and patrons of the arts. Sandy is known for the wide variety of activities she designs to interest and motivate students to continue learning. She is a past president of the Loveland Area ... [Read more]

10 Comments

  1. Robin Steinweg

    What an excellent list, Sandy! You’re right, present students’ recommendations are probably the best source. I’d love to read a post from you about how you do a summer camp for potential piano students!

  2. Robin Steinweg

    Oops–I forgot to mention–another way to promote your studio is to find ways for your students to perform in public. Whether individually or in a group, their performances will get others asking, “Who do you take lessons from?”

  3. Jean

    Great advice.

  4. Sandy Lundberg

    Thanks, Robin, good suggestion.

  5. George

    Hi Sandy I noticed in your blog you mentioned a site called lessonrating.com? I joined another site at the beginning of this year called getlessonsnow.com and only found one student through it and the student only lasted a couple lessons. Is lesson rating better in your opinion and have you found a lot of students through it?

  6. Sandy Lundberg

    George, I have had fairly good luck with LessonRating.com. I haven’t had as many inquiries from that site recently, but they do have traffic. I have probably gotten 3-5 full time students from them, so it paid for itself.