When you’re starting your studio from scratch, one of the first places you should go is the local elementary and high schools. However, it’s not as easy as you think. Schools are very protective of their students (rightly so!) and can be suspicious of adults who are not parents who walk through the door. Here’s 3 tips to remember to smooth things over.
Be nice to the Gatekeeper
The school secretary decides if the school will help your advertising efforts or not, so be nice! Look professional, smile lots, and consider bringing cookies. If you are a mom with a cute baby, bring your baby! Babies are the ultimate ice breakers. If you’re not a mom, don’t try to bring someone else’s baby. You’ll just look weird.
Make a Promo Package for the Music Teacher
Your promo package should include 2 posters to hang up, 5 business cards, and a letter of introduction to the music teacher. Remember that you’re trying to build a relationship with this teacher, so no need to be super sales-y. Tell him or her that you’re new to the area, looking for new students, and a little be about yourself. Thats it. Cookies might not hurt either.
Only Ask for what the Person Can Give
It’s tempting to go into a school and immediately ask for teacher emails, a mention in the newsletter, and to put up your poster. That’s what you want, right? Don’t. You’ll come across as pushy and the gatekeeper’s walls will likely come up.
Start by introducing yourself, saying you’re a new music teacher in the area and you’d like to pass along a package for the school music teacher. Ask if you could get his or her email to follow up. If not, leave it at that and thank the secretary for his or her time. If yes, ask if you could come back in September or January and hang up a poster. Whatever the answer, thank the secretary for his or her time and be on your way. Never ask to be included in the newsletter, but graciously accept if offered!
The exception to this rule is if you are teaching in a very small town and the school has allowed you to teach in their building during class time. In that case, asking for the newsletter in your initial meeting is okay. It’s also nice to bring a tray of treats for the teachers at either the beginning or end of the year, or at Christmas. They are allowing you to interrupt their class every week, so that deserves cookies.
A huge thank you to my piano teacher friend Rebecca VanderKooi for her permission to write about her experience restarting her studio after moving. You can check out her awesome website at www.rebeccav.com
Looking for more ways to promote your studio? Check out 18 Ways to Recruit New Music Students. Let us know how your networking efforts are going in the comments!