suggestions of getting new students? : LUSENET : Everything About Teaching and Learning the Piano : One Thread

I'm a very frustrated new piano teacher (9 months). I live in an area where there are an abundance of piano teachers and all have full studios with students referred by their own students. In the meantime, I've put ads in the papers, taken hundreds of flyers into the neighborhoods, posted on bookstore bulletin boards. In my city schools aren't allowed to take your name for lessons, or post your flyer (liability reasons). I've gotten three students who are wonderful and Im so thankful to have, but I do need to make an income. I feel I have to make a decision whether I can afford to continue like this after the school year...I truly don't want to give up as I love sharing piano with these kids so much. Any other suggestions. I belong to the local music teachers assoc.and they just give me their sympathies...Thanks! Rose

-- rose (, January 19, 2005


Hang in there . It sounds like you love to teach. For the first 2 years I had 4 students.This is my 4th year teaching. Now I have 9 private students & I teach during lunchtime in one of the schools in my area. Word of mouth is the best way to get students. My friend who has a dance school told me it takes 10 years to build up your student base. There are going to be those that keep coming back, those who say they'll call but never do but as long as you love what you are doing & can afford to, wait it out.

-- Carla (, January 20, 2005.

It can take a while to succeed. My first year I had 7 students, my second year 10 students. Now in my ninth year, I have 26 students.

The only newspaper advertising that helped was a fairly conservative paper which most people get for free, and which lists services such as lawn care etc.. You could also try putting an ad in your community flyer, which saves you having to run around. The other forms of advertising haven't worked for me at all.

You could speak to some of the teachers and ask for tips on advertising, or you could ask if they have any extra pupils lying about. One teacher came to our area and got 50 students her first year because she belonged to some sort of evangelical church, and because the music teacher's association gave her some leads too. (Join a church to get students? hmmm).

If you know anything about pianos, you could advise people on their piano choices, which I have done, and they often end up becoming your students.

Good luck. Anita

-- Anita (, January 20, 2005.

Hi Rose,

Acquiring students can be completely nerve racking, as every one knows. During my 28 years of teaching, I have been in a number if situations where I needed to build up my student load. I'm just going to rattle of a few things that I have tried, and things that might well work for you. I have recently set up a studio from scratch in a great suite of other piano teachers.

First of all, the woman I work with, Cecelia Prinkey, has established a successful piano learning center. Knowing her, and having her faith in me, allowed me to pick up some students right away from her waiting list.

We do not advertise collectively, so it is by word of mouth and referrals that we get new students. Well, I don't have time wait for students to trickle in. So, I started exploring ways to generate calls.

Newpapers (large and small) have not been a good source of calls. However, looking at the big picture, you might want to choose one or two appropriate newspapers to put in a small block ad in their "instructions" colummn. Leaving it there for a number of months will establish your studio in the eyes of others.

I was putting flyers putting all over town, too, when a friend of mine, who has two elementary school aged children, said he would try to find how I could get my flyers distribututed. It turns out there there is a woman who heads a special office just for this type of thing. I had to submit my flyer for approval, it was approved, and then contact schools that I wanted the flyers to go to. Well, that did the trick! In four months, I now have 31 students and growing.It's pretty tough organizing and fielding a lot of calls from all kinds of people. BTW, You can distribute flyers anytime of the year. Even through the holidays, I continued to get responses fron a December distribution.

A technique that I used was to target one school district at a time, sending out two batches. Next, I went to two more schools, whom were recommended to me (such a magnet schools)

I, also, had the impression that I could do nothing with the schools. Thanks to my friend I found that it wasn't true.

As a result of disributing in an area that is outside the highly developed city, People began asking about who their teacher is, and this kept spreading to the point that I receive many referrals from the folks in that area.

Once my ad was seen in a well-known magazine, I received several calls from local churches asking if I would like advertise in their bulletin. Another caller offered space in the local New Home Buyers magazine.

Is there any way you could team up with another teacher? You might be able to share referrals, a place for recitals, contacts. Find ways to communicate with other teachers in the area. Even look for music stores that might sell elecrric intsruments, and talk to a drum teacher, or a guitar teacher who might take some of your cards. Call piano stores and ask them to refer you to new customers. You, in kind, might suggest them to callers who haven't gotten a piano yet.

Lastly, you may have local music stores that hire teachers. They do work at keepng your roster full.

I sincerely hope you can gleen something from this answer.

Let me know how you are doing.

-- Lea Johnson (, January 22, 2005.


I've had the same problem. My best source of income aside from word of mouth is putting up flyers at the local library, and an ad in a parent magazine called Mother & Child Reunion. This publication is a franchise all over the country. They might be located in your community. Check out their website. Search under Mother & Child Reunion. This works well for me because the surrounding school districts send a copy home with every elementary student each month. I have tried to get into the school newsletters, etc. It was a total dead end. However, school districts have a district newsletter where employees of the school district can put an add in for free. I teach a teacher at one of the elementary schools and she puts it in for me. I had to supply three letters of reference from parents of students I teach that live in the district. Try contacting the central office of the local school district, and ask them how to get into the district newsletter. I have been in your shoes and it is rough. Don't give up putting up flyers. One students' parent kept my tear-off for a whole year before calling me. That wasn't helpful to me at the time, but it made me realize that people do notice flyers and make use of them, so don't discount that means of advertisement.


-- Diana (, January 22, 2005.

There was a thread on this subject not too long ago, I think.

What I posted there if I recall was try to be a "business sponsor" (slightly higher fee) in your school's PTA group and Friends of the Library group. Several PTA newsletters get sent home with the children over the course of the year. Church bulletins too. You need to get your name out there, and as others have mentioned, studies have shown that people need to see your name around 12 times before they even think of calling. Also, and this is a little more difficut with piano, as opposed to say a martial arts school offering a free week of a basic self-defense class), but if you wanted to offer a "pro piano" (chord method) short course for a week as a prize at a PTA or Library or church raffle that will also get your name out there. This is not to say you give up your regular piano lessons, but if a person takes that chord class and enjoys it, feeling they got enough out of it to play some of their favorite songs, they will tell other people, and you can get business that way.

Trouble with flyers is that a lot of people (myself included), see them as 1) a tresspass issue; 2) a litter issue, wherever they are placed; and 3) a potential mail theft/tampering issue when stuffed in a mailbox without postage (that's also stealing from the post office, and they will go after people for the postage, just an FYI).

Find other "teaching" businesses that cater to children (martial arts, tutoring centers, etc.) and see if you can refer business to each other. Although, instead of just placing cards, see if you can teach the owner or owner's children (and you get some lessons in exchange), not so much as a barter situation (though that is also another area you can look into, legally of course, lol), but as a way that you and they can feel confident in recommending each other to customers. Wouldn't you rather hear, "yes, this person has taught my children and I like them because...." over, "No, I don't know them, but they're local?"

Hope this helps.

-- GT (, January 24, 2005.

I went door to door in different neighborhoods, leaving flyers at the doors of those who weren't home. I got a lot of phone calls from this. I offered a free introductory lessson, so that those parents who hadn't met me yet felt more comfortable trying it out. This worked really well!

-- Amelia Pearce (, March 08, 2005.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ