Keeping Your Studio Full in the Summer

Weekly Teaching Tip – May 22, 2017
by MaryAnnKehler

In talking with other teachers, I sometimes hear that it’s challenging to keep summer teaching schedules full. Here are some strategies that work for my studio.

1. Let students know that you have spots open and would love to fill them. Successful students are the best advertising! They often assume, because we are good at what we do, that our schedules are completely full. I keep a stack of business cards next to my piano and give the kids who have the leads in their school shows a few cards. If you are a freshman and the senior who played Marius in Les Mis gives you their voice teacher’s card, you’re going to want to have a lesson with that teacher!

2. We return lesson request calls and emails the same day. Especially if you work mostly with children and younger teens, you’ll find that parents keep searching on-line until someone returns their call. They’re eager to get their child’s summer schedule set, so they can set their own work (or play!) schedules.

3. Consider whether you might want to offer a small in-studio workshop in a specialty area: music theory, sight singing, ensemble singing, auditioning, general vocal technique. The idea is to provide a new service to existing students and also to offer a low-cost introduction to your studio without reducing your usual hourly rate. If you typically charge $100/hour, you could offer a one-hour auditioning class for $25, with a cap of 4 students. If they are all new to your studio, that’s four more students who may schedule private lessons with you in the fall!

4. Summer can be a great time to workshop community or church choirs. You can do that free of charge or charge a small fee, with the idea that at least a few of those singers may want to take private lessons with you.

5. Contact summer music or theatre programs to ask if they would be willing to put you on their sub list. I once got a music directing job doing that! The camp was already fully staffed for the summer, but one of their regulars needed to bow out.

6. Because I teach a lot of adults, I don’t change my business hours during the summer. If your regular lesson is at 2 p.m. on Tuesdays, it will still be at that time during the summer. That doesn’t work for every teacher, but adults really appreciate that consistency if you can do it.

7. My schedule for the entire summer was published last week and my “away” dates are marked very clearly, so there’s no excuse for confusion about whether weekly and bi-weekly students have a lesson that week.

Good luck, and have a great summer!

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