First, thanks to Stephane, Betty, James, and Lynda for new comments this week on Playing with Students at Lessons, and thanks to Betty and Jan for comments, some of them pretty detailed, on Collecting the Benjamins (about collecting lesson payments from students). Feel free to comment on any blog articles, however old, in the archive; I will call your attention to new comments made on any article, so they won’t be buried.
About 6 weeks ago, I wrote “Finding Students For You” about one website that helps students find music teachers. This time, I’ve looked at a number of them, and even conducted a little search-engine survey to help you consider which sites to try.
In thinking about these teacher-student matchmaking sites, it occurred to me that teacher needs are quite different from student needs. Students will want to look for teachers at sites that host the most teachers, so as to get the broadest selections. But as a teacher, you will do better with a site that has fewer teachers from your area, so that when a student looks for a teacher in your area, you show up in as short a list as possible.
There are a few other factors, of course. Some sites are free; others are not. Some have additional services you might find useful. Some are easy to use; others are inconsistent in their search results. Some search results are alphabetized, others randomized, others put premium customers at the top or give them first rights to answer inquiries.
Maybe most important, though, is whether students will actually find the website in order to use it and then find you. To address this question, I offer you my little survey, below. As we all know, internet search results can change from week to week, and on different search engines, but here’s a snapshot of how the teacher-finding sites stack up in Google searches.
What I did was to search for a number of possible search terms, combining words like music, piano, violin, voice, guitar, fiddle and others, with words (in both singular and plural) such as lesson, instructor, instruction, teacher, etc.
I assigned point values so we could compare the sites: if a search result was in the top 3 items on p. 1, it got 7 points. Elsewhere on p. 1–6 points. An ad on p. 1–5 points. Then for pages 2 to 5, decreasing points–4,3,2,1. Here are the results:
First place was originally LessonPortal.com, but this was entirely because of ads, and therefore not representative of what the average student might view on a search results page–it has been pointed out that ads are inconsistent from day to day and place to place.Â This site has free teacher listings, andÂ few music teachers listed, since it’s only a few months old. Â Also lists acting and dance instructors.Â $10 Premium membership allows mp3s and videos.
PrivateLessons.com — 39 points, including 4 times when it showed up as one of the first three listings on p. 1. This site is $99 a year, and has a fair number of teachers, especially in urban areas. A members’ calendar of events and a blog are offered.
ClickForLessons.com — 28 points, from listings on pp. 2-5 of various search results. Free listings. The search process is more specific to the age, location, and interests of the student, which might result in more serious inquiries. A moderate number of teachers, weighted more heavily in certain cities. Offers a fair number of dancing and acting teachers as well.
Tied at 18 points: MusicStaff.com and Lessons4you.com — both of these got some of their points from p. 1 listings in search results.
MusicStaff.com showed up near the top of p. 1 when searching for both “music teacher” and “music lesson”. This site offers free listings, and comes up with a pretty good number of teachers in the zipcodes I checked. They say they have over 15,000 teachers in their database. Its “teachers’ lounge” offers articles about music teaching. $25 Premium listing puts you at the top of the search results.
Lessons4you.com has a moderate number of teachers, and lists them in the order in which they signed up for a listing. There is a one-time $10 listing fee for teachers. The site is more or less text-based, and the home page is a little offputting because unless you scroll down, it looks like you need to login in order to use the site.
GetLessonsNow.com — 16 points, with a couple of ads, and a first page listing. Listings are free. This is actually one of the nicer looking sites. Students can post requests for all to see, for 30 days, though requests can only be viewed by registered teachers. Site appears to have few teachers (which may be a plus for teachers, see comments above).
Interesting quirks include the fact that pianoteachers.com came up on p. 1 of the search results when searching for “piano teacher” but did not appear when searching for “piano teachers”, “piano lesson”, “piano instructor”…you get the idea.
This seems to be a fast-growing service, and with all the free listings, it probably doesn’t hurt to be listed in a number of these sites. It would be great to hear from anyone who has actually used them successfully (or not–either way would be interesting to hear about!)