Retaining students : LUSENET : Everything About Teaching and Learning the Piano : One Thread

I just moved to a very small town and am getting started teaching from my home. I had 4 students and now am down to 2. One of the students "quit" for the summer and the other one states her daughter will have no transportation due to her new job. I had never had a problem retaining my 12 students in our previous town. Should I question the parents further to see if they were not happy with the progress of the lessons or just let it go? I know I need to pursue an agressive marketing campaign in order to get more students, but now my confidence is shaken becasue 2 of 4 have quit. I have B.A. degree in Music/Music therapy and taught over the last 15 years. Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated.

-- Marianne Ashton (, August 03, 2004


1. About the students who have quit -- it couldn't hurt to ask the parents, making it clear that you're continually trying to improve your teaching and give your students what they need. It is possible that the one who quit for the summer will come some places it is customary for most teachers and students to take the summer off; the parents may feel that 9-10 months of the year is plenty and that when the child is not in school the family should be free from other obligations.

2. Yes, 2 of 4 have quit...that's 50%, but of a *very* small group! If you had 30 students and 2 quit, I suspect you would not be as upset. Statistically speaking, you are dealing with a tiny sample in which chance will play a much larger part. So, don't let it get you down! Try to fill up your studio, and be sure to discuss your studio policy with them...whether you expect to teach all your students all summer, take all or part of the summer off, etc.

You'll find lots of advice about studio policies and many other things on this website,too:

Good luck and don't give up!

Alice Dearden

-- Alice Dearden (, August 03, 2004.

Marianne-- I agree with Alice! Don't let the departure of 2 students get you down. You say this is a very small town. Are there other piano teachers? It is usually productive to make contacts with other teachers, church musicians, school music teachers, and local stores that sell music or instruments. It always takes a little time to get started in a new location, so hang in there and try all the marketing skills you can . Ruth Farkas (

-- Ruth Farkas (, August 14, 2004.

Is another option for you to go to the house of the student for whom transportation is a problem? If you offer and they say no, then you know that lack of a ride was not the real reason for quitting. On the other hand, if it is a small town, there often is no bus or public transportation, and not everyone is wild about giving people rides--not the way people sue over minor accidents these days.

-- GT (, August 18, 2004.

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