Sustainable Practices for Guitar Teachers
or, finding students close to home
Great, just what the world needs: more guitarists! Why would you want to breed more of these things?
Oh well, if you must, here's some ways to attract more young students into your guitar teaching studio.
1) Take guitar lessons yourself. This is not a joke. If you continue your own learning and are excited about what you are doing in your own musical life, this will show and naturally attract more students to you. It will also give you a constant stream of fresh ideas to share with students. Are you the best around? Then study with a master of a different instrument (pianists and conductors have tons of tricks and insights that work well for guitar.) This is often called “coaching”, and is one of the best paths you can be on.
2) Have a clean, welcoming and accessible teaching studio. Create a place where parents genuinely want to bring their kids. It also helps to have a nice place for parents to sit and have a cup of tea and read a magazine. If you create an experience that the parents can look forward to, they will probably keep bringing their kids there. Even if it’s your home, make it nice.
3) Be clean and well dressed. Remember that you are a role model to these younger kids. Be someone that parents are happy to have their kids hanging out with.
4) Volunteer to visit local schools and music classes with a guitar demonstration or interactive concert program. The more visible in your community you are, the more likely people will seek you out. It helps out the community, and is great publicity.
5) Perform at churches. Churches often times have large communities. Being known in these communities is great for business. Even if the messages that the churches propose do not appeal to you, you can still have a great time and meet many prospective students.
6) Give public recitals and concerts in your community. These are a good opportunity to hang the posters and put flyers around and community places. It's great if you can make the concert early enough so that kids can be welcome. If you are going to have kids there (and even if not) it's great to do a fair amount of talking from the stage so that your audience can get to know you. Be personable!
7) Always have business cards or flyers available in your teaching studio so that current students can take them and pass them out if they want to.
8) Ask your current guitar students for referrals. I would not be pushy about this, but you can casually mention that you have some spots open, and are building your business.
9) Connect with teachers of other instruments and ask for referrals. Give them some cards and take a few of theirs. Music teachers at schools often have a referral list, and it pays to be on it as a guitar teacher.
Notice how much I mentioned advertising in this list. Not very much. Experts agree that word-of--mouth is by far the best source of new students. I am not saying that you shouldn’t advertise, just that if you do, make it just one part of a larger plan to connect with your community. As they say, “Ask not what your community can do for you, …”
How many other ways can you think of?