A lot of readers asked me this question. I get it, it’s hard to promote yourself. It’s even embarrassing, because we are musicians/pianists, we are artists, we are not for sale. But hey, don’t think about it in that way. If you want people to know you, you have to get out there and literally tell people that YOU EXIST. So here are a few pointers as to how to promote yourself in order to build a successful and thriving music studio of yours:
1. Start a blog
Share with your existing and potential students what you’ve got: what you know about music, piano and teaching. Just write something short and simple at the beginning few lines every day, about what you’ve learnt and taught in lessons or some tips on practice and playing. Eventually you can write more and add more substance in your posts.
2. Record videos
Record videos of your students playing in lessons or even your own playing. Teach people some basic music theories, like how to read or identify chords.
3. Write something about yourself
Write about your educational qualifications, your experience in performance and teaching. Tell people about your teaching philosophy and style: it’s important for your potential students (and especially their parents) to know about your personally.
4. Share your experience
People want to connect with those whom they feel familiar with. If you share your experience with your readers, they already feel like they know you before they’ve even met you-and I know that from my personal experience. Be authentic and genuine.
Learn more from the podcasts below:
Life is about connecting with others, through something deeper and more meaningful, to touch others’ lives.
Music can do just that, and more. Through teaching, learning, playing, listening, performing, we connect with others – teachers, parents, students, fellow students, friends, public – through music learning and piano playing.
Therefore, piano lessons are not just a routine we go in week in and week out. They are many sessions of precious moments for us to share, explore and enjoy via the wonderful tool we call, “piano”.
I believe everyone likes music.
Everyone listens to some kind of music, whether it be pop music (western or local), R&B, rock, electronic, blues, folk, country, band, classical, world, jazz… Or you simply listen to some good music regardless of what genre the music is – the most important element in music is that you like it. That’s it. It is not other people’s choice but YOUR own choice.
The same should go for music learning, or more specifically here, piano playing. You should play the piano only when you want it. And then you would probably practice because you want to get better at the piano.
What is the first thing students usually say when they come in? (I am sure all of you piano teachers have this experience once in a while or too many a times.) They say, “I didn’t practice (much) last week.” or similar version of this line. Now, what is your response and what would you say to them? You might be like this, “no, no again!”, either say in silently inside or voice this out loud to your students. Trust me, I get that “frustration” sometimes, I understand that completely.
I also understand why students don’t practice (enough) sometimes. And it’s not because they are lazy – it can be but I usually give them the benefit of the doubt. I like to treat people innocent before “charged” guilty (ok, it’s not like that serious like a crime, but you get what I mean).
Depending on the situation would I ask them why. They would tell me there has been a lot of “homework/work/test/exam/activities/weddings/social functions/business trips/projects/meetings”. I get it, I really do. But I would also stress to them it is of utmost importance that they keep their regular practice sessions in albeit less frequent or shorter than desirable. Let’s say you want your students to practice 1 hour every day, would you think it’s plausible for the lifestyle they have? Would you rather set a more realistic goal for them to follow and actually keep up with, for example, 30 minutes for 4-5 days a week? Or 20 minutes for 3-4 days a week? Depending on the level and age and time of each student?
I usually negotiate with them, especially when they are adult students who have a very busy work life. I say, “ok, well, I understand that you are pretty busy, but let’s try this, try to log in 15 minutes for 3 days first, use the timer on your phone, set it to 15 minutes and just sit down and go with it. Let me know how that goes in our next lesson.” Usually they would do more that those 3 15-minute sessions if they really want to improve their playing.
Of course, there are times when a student really has no time whatsoever that week to do any practice at all. Then what do you as a teacher do? You just have to be patience sometimes. Sometimes when we push the students too hard on their learning and practice it might get an opposite effect that they might not even want to continue learning! We all want to progress, we all do, whether our role is teacher or parent or student. But there is a life we are making right here right now. I think being considerate – I use the word “compassion” – for the student we truly care for is important. There might a lesson that might not be as productive as we want it to be, and that’s ok. If the student turns around, looks back at his/her own progress and says “oh maybe I should work harder”, then wonderful, let’s do it. Certainly the teacher always has to be there to remind the student of his/her practice and encourage him/her to learn more/better. I believe it’s always two-way street (or even three in case with the parent for younger students): both the teacher and student put in effort and work together. Then the student’s learning will definitely blossom.
I find more than often though, it’s that instead of the students having not done any practice at all, it’s rather they are afraid they didn’t get the practice done as well as the teacher want them to have. So nowadays when I hear the line “sorry I didn’t practice much”, I just smile and gesture them sit down and tell them to start playing right away. “I shall be the judge of it.” Most of them do much better than they thought they would.
Giving students more precise pointers and specific directions as to how to make an effective and efficient practice session is also a great way to guide them to not be afraid of practice and get more done on their own. I shall write more about this which I find a lot of students and teachers are not too familiar with this concept.
You all have a blessed weekend of music teaching and learning,
Do you want to become a successful piano teacher? How do you define success in your teaching career? Let’s talk about the first step to your success!