Summer – an Attractive, Fun Studio for Students

I will take my cue from cseifert, who wrote an excellent article entitled “Maintaining Income During the Summer” to expand on the topic I would like to address… “Ideas on Maintaining Interest During a Normally Slow Summer of Lessons and Creating Interest During a Time When Potential Students May Be Interested in Starting Music Lessons”.

How can these ideas help you bring in new students? I’d love to hear from you! Already, a few have come this studio’s way… I hope, if you use some of these ideas, the same will happen for you.

Summer Sun

Yes, absolutely the longest title I’ve probably ever written, but covers the idea of this article rather thoroughly.

Many in the audience of this blog are teachers, while others are purely the business minded who manage said studios. Still others do both – and others may be those students & parents already immersed in private or group lessons. Hopefully this article will hold tips and ideas many of you will enjoy, be able to use, and inspire studios around the world. If not, maybe I am simply enjoying the writing experience. :)

Summer is a difficult time for most studios, and while everyone handles it differently, I’ve come across a solution in my studio that seems to work for all the families involved…

We take off three weeks at the beginning of the summer, and about two weeks off at the end of the summer – students then pick anywhere from four to ten hours of lessons during any of the days offered throughout the available summer weeks (Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays – every week).

Offering options to the families provides flexibility, opportunities for spontaneous weekend vacations with the family. How does your studio handle the summer months when many students would rather spend their time doing anything except daily practice?

Summer 2011A few special plans for my studio…
I use a great website, TonicTutor.com, to keep my students motivated. The music and piano games are fun, educational, and can be fine-tuned by the teacher for maximum skill benefit.

Recitals to benefit and entertain the community. Twice this summer, we are performing highlight pieces from the year of music lessons at retirement centers locally. The residents love the music and smiling faces, while the kids have an opportunity to bless others and experience yet another rewarding recital experience.

Studio BBQ… the details are still fuzzy here, but the entire idea of a potluck BBQ, complete with music games (in the actual studio & outside in the beautiful sunshine), fellowship, and fun performances prepared by my students – makes a splendid finale to a wonderful year. I plan to include awards (everyone will be included in some way), and an opportunity to be excited for the coming year of lessons. The kids love it!

Composer Challenge = throughout the school year, kids are swamped with homework, schedules, hurried lives – and the pressure to focus on technique, theory, accuracy, musicality… all while missing the fascinating history behind the music they learn. During the summer, however, we have the opportunity to relax and enjoy studying about the composers. I have many files, documents, and books designed to build interest in this area… from crosswords, listening activities, and games to “build your own test” and “be a composer” challenges. Students then earn points and can use them to request special music for me to purchase for the studio library throughout the coming year. By listening to the beautiful, intricate music from the four main periods of music, students become curious… and I find there is an increased interest in Baroque, Classical, Romantic, & 20th Century era pieces almost immediately!

Another idea… google concerts in the area. Many classical concerts are offered in local parks, local concert halls, and local schools for free or discounted prices for students. As a group, seven of my students once went to a professional classical concert held at a local church for only $5.00/student. It was a great experience, and every one of those students then had the opportunity to study the piano transcriptions of many of the same pieces. Try it! :) You’ll have fun, and your students will learn – parents will appreciate the exposure to solid, beautiful music… and the tremendous opportunity you brought to their attention.

In Closing:
And, to attract new students for the school year, thus increasing your income and building the studio, invite your students to bring their friends to the activities mentioned above… whether they’d like to try TonicTutor, or enjoy the beautifully prepared music at the retirement center recitals, or enjoy the fellowship, games, and food at the BBQ, or learn something special about a composer, or visit a local concert as a group… your studio will be the talk of the town, as parents look for ways for kids to enjoy, learn, and keep busy. You can guarantee… you’ll enjoy all the fun too!

So, how do you maintain and build interest, even during the summer months of lessons? Does your studio do anything special? Do you take the summer off? Do you continue through the summer without any changes? And, students & parents reading this article, what is your ideal summer lesson approach?  Write and tell us about it! :) Enjoy the beautiful weather.

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