A successful private music teacher possesses two essential features:
1) The ability to communicate and teach effectively
2) The ability to understand marketing and business.
You can be a good teacher, and pick up referrals over time, but if you want to earn a full-time income and find students more quickly, you need to understand the business aspects of music teaching.
This article contains five offline methods for promoting your music teaching business:
1. Word of mouthThis is the best place to start. Tell everyone you know that you're a private music teacher and hopefully they'll spread the word. Tell family members, friends and acquaintances. You can offer a "finder's fee" and pay the person who refers you 100% of the first lesson fee.
2. Business CardsGet hold of some business cards with your name, address, phone number, e-mail address and website address. You can contact your local print shop or do it online. It doesn't need to be too fancy, but shop around as you get some great deals, especially online. Keep the design fairly simple, but you might want to consider a music theme background linked to your instrument.
Leave a few business cards in your local music shops, libraries, sports centres and start giving them to musicians, guys working in rehearsal rooms and people you meet at events. Don't be pushy, but when people ask what you do, tell them and offer them your card.
3. Posters and FlyersCreate some flyers, posters and put them here, there and everywhere - local shops, libraries, sports centres, rehearsal rooms (this is a good one), schools, music colleges and universities.
You should always know your exact demographic in business, and while many private music teachers target younger people, college kids, school pupils etc, they often overlook one important age group.
If you can find an area in your town or city with a predominantly older demographic, pop a few flyers through their letter boxes.
Many retired people have time on their hands and would love to learn a musical instrument. I meet so many who wish they'd learnt the piano when they were younger and I simply tell them it's never too late. Also, you might meet some who had lessons years ago and just didn't like their teacher.
Don't forget some "old school" teaching methods would make you wince if you used them in the 21st century!
4. Phone/E-mailI'm not saying go and cold call 1000's of residents in your town, but it might be worth contacting local music teachers in schools, band directors and ask if their students would like lessons. These people are well connected and once they pass you one student, you can quickly gain some referrals. You could also contact your local college or university and see if they're hiring for an adjunct position.
While I was building my teaching business, I remember sending about 100 e-mails to local independent schools, offering my services as a piano teacher, with a link to my website, and I got 2 job offers with two full days of teaching.
5. Contact the competitionIf there is an established private music teacher in your town, give them a call. If they have a full teaching timetable, they might be turning away students, when they could be passing them on to you.
This strategy can work well, and as long as you show it is in their interest, most will go for it. For example, you could offer them gigs or concerts in exchange when you're unavailable.
I often perform at weddings and if I'm busy I have 2-3 pianists who I recommend people to contact. And these guys do the same for me.
These are just some strategies which can help you start and expand your business. Although it might seem tough to get started, it will pay off in the long term, and eventually you should pick up some referrals which will make things easier.
Try to set aside some time each day and ask yourself, "What can I do today to grow my business?"
Hopefully, your private teaching studio will grow to the point that you'll have a waiting list of students!
This article highlights a few offline methods for finding students, but you should also consider online strategies as well.
About the Author:
Martyn Croston helps musicians build successful teaching businesses. He shares more advice on his website and in his FREE guide, "How To Find Students Using Google and Facebook."