Difficult economic times - What can the teacher do?

Talk with other teachers, exchange tips, participate in polls regarding a teaching studio business

Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Wed Oct 15, 2008 7:05 am

One would have to be pretty disconnected from the world not to see the evidence of the economic dislocation that is plaguing the entire world right now. Since piano lessons are usually a "desire", rather than a "necessity", teachers often experience a decrease in student numbers during such times. There isn't much the teacher can do about the economy, per se, but do you make any special provisions during such times to attract or keep students? Do you lower rates, offer discounts or just work harder to recruit new students? Does the state of the economy impact your studio at all?
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
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Postby Tranquillo » Wed Oct 15, 2008 11:58 pm

The recession has just hit Australia, I am partly in fear of having to quit for that reason. Taking up two instruments simultaneously scares me more that it might mean that I have to quit one, or worse, both! I would imagine that teachers would feel stress to find work.
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Postby celia » Thu Oct 16, 2008 10:33 pm

I am working very hard to attract new students right now because I am just starting up my "studio" and I have dropped a day of my regular job to take on more students working from home (after school). I am finding it hard, although I am probably the cheapest option in the area, people have still said they will "think about it" and then not been in touch. My main method of advertising (other than in shops that will display a leaflet) is dropping leaflets in letterboxes (even those that say "NO JUNK MAIL") :D I also do tuition for dyslexic children but I drop those leaflet on a different day, probably best not to draw attention to the fact I am doing both. To date, I have spent about 5 hours dropping leaflets and gained 5 new students (all living within a mile from my home).. I hope this trend continues though I realise the further they live from me the less attractive it will be. I like leaflet dropping, it is a peaceful way to end the day when I have the time. My partner prints them at work so it is free. I have considered advertising in the paper but this is expensive especially if you listen to the advice that you have to advertise at least 10 times or whatever before anyone responds. If anyone has any advice for me I would be most grateful! Celia.
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Postby Tranquillo » Fri Oct 17, 2008 2:39 am

My friend has said that handing out leaflets is the most effective way of advertising. A teacher I once had liked to advertise over the internet ... you can try the local paper perhaps? But I guess this is turning into a marketing topic.
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Postby jenscott90 » Mon Oct 20, 2008 4:51 pm

I have recently been considering upping my rates. They have been the same since 2000, and I was figuring I deserved a small "raise". But, with the economy as it is, I don't want to do that unless I'm ready to lose a few students. I'm not expensive in this area at all, because I do not have a music degree. However, the economy also affects my expenses, so a little extra per lesson can amount to a better profit for me for the same amount of work.

I haven't decided what to do yet. I'm envisioning losing students and referrals if I raise my rates because everyone is having a harder time making ends meet.
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Mon Oct 20, 2008 5:22 pm

jenscott90 wrote:I have recently been considering upping my rates. They have been the same since 2000, and I was figuring I deserved a small "raise". But, with the economy as it is, I don't want to do that unless I'm ready to lose a few students.

I have written at length on setting lesson rates. Unfortunately, this is part of the content of the site that I moved to the PEP CD. If you think it would be helpful, PM me with an e-mail address and I'll send the full text of that article to you.




Edited By Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor on 1224544976
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
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Postby Cynthia Marie VanLandingh » Thu Oct 23, 2008 10:11 am

Yes, the economic downturn indicates the need for teachers to create multiple streams of value with a diversity of programs for their students to become as competitive as possible. At my piano studio I offer additional activities such as piano parties, publishing my students' music to their personal on-line musical memory books that allow students and parents to download these from iTunes to share with family and friends. There is so much teachers can do to make their studio a veritable musical creativity factory. When parents see their kids having so much fun in piano, lessons look more like a necessity than an option. Private lessons, group lessons, theory classes, special piano activities and events, summer camps, and a willingness to be flexible with scheduling and empathize with parents adds value to piano lessons. Sending out monthly on-line newsletters that include photos, resources, and information keeps parents and frends in the loop to grow your studio as musical community of people who work togeher and care deeply about children and music.

In addition to these services, I became an author of Piano Bears Musical Storybooks. These are wonderful stories that feature the Piano Bear Characters, Mrs. Treble Beary and her new piano student, Little Bear. My students love these books, which I give new students at just slightly above my cost. If teachers have enough going on to create interest and enthusiasm in piano, they will generate additional value to piano lessons and keep their students. A mindset of 'service first' is the key to overcoming the challenge of the economic downturn and growing a piano studio in difficult times. Give and you will recieve. Scarcity breeds fear and offers the challenge not to give in to it.

Best wishes to all the piano teachers out there!

With Kindest Regards,

Cynthia Marie VanLandingham




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Postby jenscott90 » Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:09 am

Thank you very much, Dr. Zeigler. I will send you a PM shortly..I'm sure your article has a lot of good information in it that will be helpful!

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Postby Anne Klytta » Wed Jan 07, 2009 6:06 pm

I opened a piano studio in my home six years ago, and have seen a considerable drop in the number of lessons some of my students are taking each month since September. Only one parent has admitted to requesting a two-week break for the holidays because of the economy. Three others simply cancel, often at the last minute. I have tried to avoid having a policy about having to pay for lessons if the cancellation is not 24 hours in advance, but I think now I will have to add that to our studio policy. I would be interested in knowing how others have worded this in their written policy, as well as how to discuss with parents the importance of consistency in lessons. My e-mail is genmusic@sbcglobal.net.
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Wed Mar 04, 2009 9:08 am

Dismal news of the deepening worldwide recession is inescapable. Piano teachers are particularly vulnerable to the effects of economic downturns because they are inherently in a non-essential service "industry" - the sector most sensitive to economic conditions. We have already heard several times from teachers who are seeing decreasing enrollments and difficulty in filling studio spots.

Although piano teaching has many unique aspects, it shares one characteristic with all businesses: the need to increase net profit by decreasing costs and increasing income. I have discussed many aspects of this problem in articles in The Teaching Studio. I would recommend that a teacher looking for ideas consult it.

There are also many threads here on the Forums which deal with the economic aspects of a teaching studio. For reference, let me list a few here:

Marketing your studio
Bartering lessons
Saving money in the teaching studio
Making your studio inviting
"Selling" quality
Improving your net
Poll: How much do you charge for lessons per hour?
What makes a piano teacher "successful"?

I could have listed many more threads here but I hope these will provide an introduction to what's available. If there is interest, I can add some more tips on this topic that haven't appeared in previous threads.
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
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