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#1988300 - 11/18/12 08:54 PM Marketing 2 lessons a week (or increased lesson time)
Beth_Frances Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/14/12
Posts: 189
Loc: Brisbane, Australia
So far I haven't been very good at getting students to have longer than a 30 minute lesson, but I want to do something about this with my pricing and marketing this summer to encourage more people to increase their lesson times for next year.

At the moment I have 4 kids having 45 minute lessons per week, 2 having 2 x 20 minute lessons per week (not something I officially offer but I decided with these two cases it would work better than half hour lessons), and 2 kids having two 30 minute lessons per week.

I find progress with the children who have 2 lessons per week to be infinitely smoother and faster than 1 lesson per week. They don't have enough time between lessons to ingrain mistakes that are hard to reverse, and any problems that arise can be quickly squashed well before getting to a point of defeatest frustration. Also I figure there are probably 2 days per week where they go "oh no, lesson tomorrow, better practice!" - meaning they have at least 2 solid practice sessions and 2 lessons per week even if they're too "busy" to touch it at any other time.

I'm just wondering how to approach this. My thoughts so far are to increase the 30 minute lesson fee by $3, but keep fees for 45 minute lessons & 2 lessons per week the same. I'm also considering offering 2 x 20 minute lessons officially, but I don't know how productive that will be. Perhaps it needs an age limit (only offered to children 8 and under, for example).

As far as approaching parents, would you suggest sending a blanket email out to everyone suggesting increased lesson times with reasoning for this, or just to the parents of children I specifically think would be interested and would benefit most? I hate to make people feel pressured into a higher financial and time commitment, which makes me feel more inclined towards the former, although I know I'll probably get better results out of the latter.

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#1988419 - 11/19/12 08:15 AM Re: Marketing 2 lessons a week (or increased lesson time) [Re: Beth_Frances]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11903
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Offering lessons twice a week is definitely better, but there is a trade off. If you plan to keep your studio to a few students, then it's not a problem. But if you want to have more students, you will have to be very careful of your fees, and you'll have to realize that you will always have fewer students. You also may have to be more flexible in scheduling. With some students, just finding one time that works is tough.

If you want to make your twice-a-week lessons official, why not call it something like "Fast Track Lessons" or something like that? Kids who are more enthusiastic about piano study may gravitate toward that.

Whatever you do, establish what your time is worth hourly, and then be sure you don't discount students who come twice a week. If you want to encourage students to come twice a week, then you can make your rate for single lessons higher, but be sure to keep the hourly rate for twice a week at your base rate. Otherwise, you'll eventually start to realize you're shooting yourself in the foot by not just taking on a new student vs. signing someone up for twice a week.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1988427 - 11/19/12 08:40 AM Re: Marketing 2 lessons a week (or increased lesson time) [Re: Beth_Frances]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11675
Loc: Canada
I like Morodiene's idea of giving it a special name to attract the right students and parents with the right attitude. I don't like the name "fast track" because it may attract just the opposite. Here is what I mean. This type of teaching offers depth and is ideal. If I were serious about music as parent or student, I would want to work with someone who gives skills solidly for the reasons Beth says. When I read "fast track" I think that it caters to those who want to be done in a hurry and I would have the wrong impression.

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#1988430 - 11/19/12 08:45 AM Re: Marketing 2 lessons a week (or increased lesson time) [Re: keystring]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11903
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: keystring
I like Morodiene's idea of giving it a special name to attract the right students and parents with the right attitude. I don't like the name "fast track" because it may attract just the opposite. Here is what I mean. This type of teaching offers depth and is ideal. If I were serious about music as parent or student, I would want to work with someone who gives skills solidly for the reasons Beth says. When I read "fast track" I think that it caters to those who want to be done in a hurry and I would have the wrong impression.


Well, it admittedly wasn't something I spent hours thinking upon, but just posted to spur on the idea for the OP to think about.

In my area, something like that would get a lot of attention from potential students, and whether or not they are an "ideal" student for this, the fact that they would commit to twice a week would mean they would progress faster than if they came only one.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1988434 - 11/19/12 08:52 AM Re: Marketing 2 lessons a week (or increased lesson time) [Re: Beth_Frances]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11675
Loc: Canada
Morodiene, I was agreeing with you and trying to get a brainstorming of names going. I think that giving it a name and highlighting that it's special is a fantastic idea, and spot on.

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#1988439 - 11/19/12 09:00 AM Re: Marketing 2 lessons a week (or increased lesson time) [Re: keystring]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11903
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: keystring
Morodiene, I was agreeing with you and trying to get a brainstorming of names going. I think that giving it a name and highlighting that it's special is a fantastic idea, and spot on.


I think the name really just depends upon the clientele though. I would never think of such a name in central WI, but in Boca with all the "Stage Moms" it could be ideal.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1988440 - 11/19/12 09:00 AM Re: Marketing 2 lessons a week (or increased lesson time) [Re: keystring]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2537
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
What if you mention to the parents of 30 minute students that the kids are ready for longer lessons and could benefit from 45 or 60 minutes? The pieces are longer; you want to have more time for whatever--sight reading, scales, technique.

It is an honorable statement of progress.
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#1988445 - 11/19/12 09:05 AM Re: Marketing 2 lessons a week (or increased lesson time) [Re: malkin]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11903
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: malkin
What if you mention to the parents of 30 minute students that the kids are ready for longer lessons and could benefit from 45 or 60 minutes? The pieces are longer; you want to have more time for whatever--sight reading, scales, technique.

It is an honorable statement of progress.


This is my approach too, and I only sign up students for 30 minute lessons when they are young. I have a family of 2 siblings that I teach, and I approached the subject of increasing to 45 minutes for both of them. The mother talked about how tight they are financially, but that she's consider it in the future for the older boy. This semester they have really stepped up their practice, and so I think once next semester approaches I will breach the subject again with her about the boy. I also have been giving them extra "free" time which they need and I can refer to so that she understands that I'm not making things up.

At one point, I did institute a mandatory increase of everyone to 45 minute lessons. I lost one student in the process, but that was expected and perhaps not unwelcome considering the effort the student wasn't putting in. It GREATLY increased the seriousness and effort of the students who stayed, however. I could accomplish so much more in that time.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1988659 - 11/19/12 07:14 PM Re: Marketing 2 lessons a week (or increased lesson time) [Re: Beth_Frances]
Beth_Frances Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/14/12
Posts: 189
Loc: Brisbane, Australia
I hadn't thought about the scheduling side of things but you're right, I would need to be more flexible. At the moment I have a "no makeup policy" that I implement with varying degrees of success. I'm thinking I might offer 2 makeup lessons a term to students who are having 2 lessons a week, provided they give me 12 hours notice. That might also be added incentive.

I don't mind charging a bit less because it's also less work (one lot of parents to keep in the loop, one invoice to send out, one student to create lesson plans for etc). Also I get a lot more satisfaction from what I'm doing if there's significant progress happening which is a worthwhile payoff for me.

I like the idea of a name for it too. Now to come up with something that sounds enticing...

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