Written by: Carly Seifert
Having been a piano teacher for nine years now, I have learned how very important it is to maintain contact with my clients. I believe that keeping the lines of communication open with my customers results in a better lesson experience for all involved, and I’ve also learned that it helps my students and their families to feel as though they are important and not becoming “lost in the shuffle”. Regular contact with students makes them feel that I am accessible and they, in turn, are very open to coming to me with questions, concerns, and positive feedback. Below are a few simple ideas to encourage interaction between you and your studio’s customers:
The Internet has made communicating simple and effective. When I think of how my own piano teacher growing up had to make phone calls whenever there was a schedule change or send letters home with students about upcoming events (and rely on us actually giving them to our parents…), I realize how lucky I am to be running a studio in the age of the Internet. I use e-mail to communicate nearly everything that happens in my studio–upcoming recitals, workshops, lesson reminders, etc. Not only does this simple and efficent way of communicating make life easier for me, but busy parents appreciate the quick, non-intrusive updates. I also use e-mail to tell students about events in the community. For example, if there is an upcoming symphony performance or a great sale at our local piano store, I will send a brief e-mail to my piano families to let them know.
I have found newsletters to be a great way to not only get studio information into my clients hands, but also to provide motivational and educational tips and articles to my families. This has also been a wonderful tool to promote the benefits of music education.
Once every quarter, I send a three or four page newsletter home with each student. The newsletter includes upcoming studio event reminders and a welcome to new students, so that parents can see that there are new and exciting things happening in the studio. I will also either write or reprint an article from another professional that covers a topic of interest. The article might be general tips for encouraging home practicing, or it might be a study that tells about the academic gains made in students who take music lessons. I also include a resource section where I provide parents with information such as recommendations for local piano tuners or websites that have fun music reading games for young children.
Annual Studio Report
At the end of each school year, I provide my families with an annual studio report. I e-mail a copy to each family and also make the report available on my website, so that prospective families can learn more about what is offered at my studio. In the report, I summarize the performances and workshops that students have participated in during the course of the year. I include a section that lists the new equipment I have purchased for use in the studio (digital pianos, recording equipment, etc.). I also provide a professional update and information about events that families can look forward to in the year ahead. When some parents are perhaps feeling burned out after a year of negotiating practice times with their child, this studio report can be a great little boost. It reminds parents of all the things their child has accomplished over the course of the school year, and gives them some new things to anticipate.