Just received a request from Music Teaching Success.com reader Sarah Kahl in Erie, Pennsylvania to ask for help in voting for her organization!
Young People’s Chorus of Erie, has been selected to compete for a chance to win $25,000 in the Pepsi Refresh Project. In order to win, we must be ranked in the top 15 by the end of August. Here’s what you can do to help: 1)text 107988 to 73774 (Pepsi) 2)vote online at www.refresheverything.com/ypcerie 3) enter power votes (yellow caps on Pepsi bottles) worth 5, 10, 25, 50 or even 100 votes.
The 2011 Piano E-competition has started in Minnesota (July 1-8th) and 12 contestants have made it to round two of this virtual competition. The first virtual competition of it’s kind where contestants play locally and their performance is recorded by the Yamaha Disk Clavier and then judged by a group of judges. Through the use of modern technology people from all over the world can participate live in the competition, viewing the competition, and judging. Check out more about the competition here. And watch the competition live!
A great way to get the word out in your community that you teach music lessons is to volunteer your time. Spending a little time each month giving away your music talent is an easy method to meet potential students and parents in your local neighborhood and it helps schools, churches, or youth organizations.
Consider volunteering as the pianist or vocal coach for the elementary school play. Perhaps help an afternoon a week to help the band director with sectional rehearsals or working specifically with children that are learning the instrument. Spend time with your church worship band or choir; all of these organizations need talented musicians such as you to help with their youth.
Before you donate your time make sure that you have carefully thought about how much time you have available to help. Deciding how much time you have to donate in teaching music lessons, assisting with choir rehearsals, orchestra sectionals, or school play is up to you. Being clear on what you want to do will also keep you from over extending yourself and giving away your services, because after all volunteering is important, but you also have to earn a living as a musician and or private music teacher.
Here are some ideas for when you volunteer to maximize your time:
- Volunteer with youth organizations near the location you teach.
- Let the teacher, parents, and adults working and volunteering with know that you teach private music lessons.
- Always have business cards and contact information to give to people.
- Volunteer at a few times a year to keep people familiar with you and your music skills.
There is a good reason that so many companies are obsessed with social networking. As many companies have discovered, social networking is a simply fantastic way to get the word out about a new product or new business. Social networking tools have really changed the landscape of how one can market a good or service. Via social networking there is an opportunity for a more immediate and intimate interaction between the seller and the buyer of goods and services. This also means that social networking tools are the ideal platform for promoting music lessons.
The fact that social networking tools have made it easier than ever to reach a targeted audience means that it is unique time for music teachers as well as other self-employed teachers and tutors. Social networking tools, such as Facebook, have groups and fan pages. The numbers of groups on sites such as Facebook are substantial and quite varied. This means that there is an opportunity to reach all sorts of potential clients for music lessons. You can create your own groups and facebook fan pages to attract these potential clients. You can also reach out to people that you already know and that you don’t know to inform them about your services.
You can join groups that are dedicated to those who love music or parent groups. The fact is that these possibilities are quite significant for your business. Once you are a member of these groups, it is then possible for you to send out information about your services. Why you can potentially even target by area so that you can focus in on those people living in your area.
Twitter is another one of the popular social networking tools that can be used to promote your services as a music teacher. By sending out “Tweets” frequently about your services to your followers, it will really help to get your name out there and let people know you exist. And don’t dismiss the value of having people know that you exist, for in some ways that is half the battle.
Remember to not just promote yourself, but also to offer quality content that will truly be of value to people. That will help get them to feel comfortable with you, and to see you as a reliable and informative source. You can offer suggestions about music and even information about your personal interests.
Just don’t forget that while social networking tools are great for getting the word out about the fact that you are a music teacher, you should still have a quality website. In this era, a good website is a must as this way someone will be able to read more about you, your background and what you offer.
One wonderful way to get the word out about your music lessons is to network. Networking with everyone you meet is probably a good idea, but it makes even more sense to network with other music teachers and music professionals. The good news is that networking has never been easier.
There are a few ways you can handle networking with music teachers and music professionals. Social networking has made some forms of meeting other professionals pretty easy, especially when contrasted against just twenty years ago. Finding other music teachers around the world is easy. For example, you can find a Facebook group dedicated to music teachers. Or maybe you can even start a group of your own and actively seek out other music teachers. Before long, you could easily have a virtual network around the world of music teachers and music professionals who are interacting with one another, trading tips and maybe even trading referrals. In a sense, this is part of the new business landscape.
Yet as great as virtual networking is, there are other options, such as meeting with people in person. However, this is where your virtual network can come in handy as well. Why not meet with other music teachers and music professionals in person? This can work extremely well if you live in a densely populated area such as New York or Los Angeles, for example. Forming an organization or group with for the purpose of music teacher and music professional interacting and networking with one another will probably be a big hit. A couple of decades ago forming such a group would have meant lots of posting flyers and handing out business cards. While these are still viable ways to attract group members, now there is the added advantage of recruiting your group members online as well.
Don’t forget to recruit specifically at schools, high schools, community colleges and colleges. Posting on bulletin boards in educational facilities is a great way to get more members for your group. Due to the fact that you are not trying to sell anyone anything, most educational institutions will likely allow you to post as professional courtesy. Your group has an educational theme, after all.
If you are having trouble getting your group off the ground and you have some extra funds, there is always the party. Throw a party at a festive location and start inviting music teachers and music professionals you have met virtually. People will often show up for free drinks and free food. Moreover, as the group organizer, you will score extra points for initiating it. Happy networking.
All children can learn, and most of the time learning is more likely when learning is fun. Children must feel that they are involved in the process. As you probably know by now, children are most definitely full of energy. Any activities that involve children sitting down and listening can, after a time, leave children anxious. However, where learning a musical instrument is concerned, children have little choice but to focus intensely on the material at hand. Thus, constructing a music lesson plan that does not recognize a child’s natural tendency to want to be kinetic and free flowing is often at odds with a child’s natural desire to want to move.
Keeping in mind the perspective and needs of a young music student is the foundation of building a successful music lesson plan. One way of circumventing a child’s natural tendency to get bored and lose attention is to incorporate aspects of something they are intensely interested in into your music lesson plan. This will require you to find out more about what kind of music a child likes, for example, and see if there is a way to incorporate some element of that music into the overall music lesson plan. Clearly this idea is more useful with intermediate and advanced students than beginners, but with some thought it can work for beginners as well.
A music lesson plans may not only need to be skill specific, but may be age specific as well. Of course, this is true for many subjects, but with music there is the issue of physically manipulating the instrument. As kids age, they develop more manual dexterity. No matter what instrument a student is attempting to learn, one must always keep age in mind when designing a music lesson plan.
Asking for student suggestions are a great way to handle a music lesson plan. By incorporating even a small suggestion from a student into a lesson plan, the student knows that you are listening to their feedback and not just pushing them through some pre-designed plan. Most students will appreciate this level of interactivity as it shows effort.
With more experienced students, a good deal of enthusiasm can be garnered for allowing students to pick their own music. Obviously, if a student has a passion about a given piece, an entire music lesson plan can be built around different aspects of that piece.
Finding that you have students that are not practicing music between lessons can be a bit of a downer. Obviously, it is going to be far more difficult to make forward progress with a student if he or she just won’t practice. But not to worry, there are definitely ways that this problem can be addressed.
Of course, students often will not practice between lessons even if you have told them it is important a million times. As a music teacher, it is important to keep in mind why. Children and teens, more than any time before, are saturated with distractions almost too numerous to count. In short, it’s important to remember that children and teens are being pulled in a lot of directions.
It is also important to evaluate each student as an individual. For example, is the student in question over committed? This is a very key question that must be answered in order to know how best to proceed. For example, if your non-practicing student is also playing a sport, taking advanced placement classes, and is one of the leads in the school play, you might have your answer as to why they are not practicing music. It is important to address this issue with parents before a lack of practice creates a student that is too far behind to meet your set goals.
If, as it turns out, your student does have enough time on his or her hands for practicing music, then you first need to address parental involvement. Hopefully, the parents are involved in their child’s life and motivated to make sure that he or she does eventually learn to play the piano or whatever musical instrument they are studying. Once parents realize that your professional opinion is that their child isn’t practicing enough, often the rest takes care of itself.
Talking to a student that isn’t practicing music is often enough to get some increase in overall levels of performance. Of course, how much improvement you will see will vary between students. With students that are motivated and truly want to learn how to play the piano, discussing the issue and the importance of practicing music with them should yield solid results.
Another strategy is to discuss the fact that if students do not practice, they are, to an extent, wasting their time. For some students, this helpful reminder may be enough to see some improvement. But also be willing as the teacher to try and come up with some creative ideas to help the student overcome the obstacle of not practicing. Often if you can get a student to do small consistent amounts of practice each week, they will naturally start to practice more. Remember quality over quantity. We don’t want students wasting their time or yours, but you also don’t want to discourage a student so much that you lose them as a student when you can work together to solve the dilemma of not practicing.
Just as with all education, parental involvement is key. Music lessons are unique in that they fall into a category where parents are paying for an activity that will enrich their child’s overall learning experience outside of the educational system. This means many of your clients will fundamentally be motivated to help their kid’s practice. Try talking to the parents about the problem and see if they have any suggestions about how to get the student to practice more. Perhaps, together with the parents, you can work out an effective strategy. Also remind parents that you are there to discuss problems and questions that arise with practicing and lessons, often you can turn a student around and keep them from stopping music lessons if parents tell you about musical challenges that are happening at home.
I keep an attendance and preparation record for all my students for each month. I found from personal experience that 2-3 weeks of absences and not being prepared can lead to student frustration and potential drop outs. But my attendance record helps me to head off problems by being able to use it as a tool to communicate with parents and students about lessons preparedness.
Now if your clients are adults and they are not practicing music that is a totally different animal. Just gently remind them that if they don’t practice, they will have greater difficulty learning. Sometimes adults even need a little nudge in the right direction with discussing times they could make available to practice, almost like scheduling time to go to the gym. When working with both children and adults, make sure they are enjoying the music you are giving them. Adults often will drag their feet in practicing if they are not “in love” with the music you have given them.
If you are a music teacher and you are not promoting yourself and your music lessons online, then you are missing a substantial opportunity. There are so many good ways to promote yourself in today’s social networking “crazed” era that, it is a true shame not to take advantage of promoting your music lessons online. A good deal of how goods and services are promoted these days is via the Internet. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter are simply fantastic. However, they are not the entire story, and there are some key reasons why.
Facebook and Twitter do a great job about getting the word out on a variety of subjects and for a variety of businesses, but they are by no means the entire “World of the Internet.” Since, as a music teacher you are promoting music lessons online, you need to keep in mind that you are promoting a service that is dedicated to a specific region. The region specific nature of your service means that you should, in addition to social network, look for services that can promote you locally as well. After all, those who hiring will either be exclusively in your geographical area or close to it.
Using websites such as Craigslist are an absolute must. There are both free and paid options for Craigslist, and the paid options are quite inexpensive. This way you will be able to reach people specifically in your area that are looking for your services exactly. Many businesses and people have had tremendous success using Craigslist to promote everything from music lessons online to selling a couch. There is no real reason you couldn’t also share this success.
In the “old days,” you might have taken out a newspaper ad in order to promote your services. Today, the newspapers are still running ads, but they often also have a digital counterpart that operates much like Craigslist. The amount of traffic that goes into sites of this kind varies greatly depending upon the region and the popularity of the newspaper in question. However, in general it is probably a good idea to run an ad or two with these online newspapers and test the results.
Wherever you run your ads, don’t be afraid to change your ad for music lessons online or elsewhere. By that means, you can experiment see if you will get better results with one type or ad or another. Just because you fail in your first couple of attempts, does not mean you should give up. Today, people use the Internet for just about every informational need they have. For this reason, you need to be marketing your music lessons online and taking advantage of all the different ways that you can reach people.
How are you using the internet? What creative ways have you found to market your music teaching, I would love to hear your comments below.