Apr 6, 2017
By Doug Hanvey. In our crazy world, it’s more important than ever for private teachers to maximize the time they spend teaching (and not marketing or bookkeeping). You know, the time you spend on the work that you’re actually paid for! Here are seven ways to maximize your teaching time, and as a result, your income.
To maximize your teaching time, you first need to fill up your studio with enthusiastic students. Too many teachers remain ignorant of basic marketing skills. Yet marketing is not nearly as difficult as learning to play an instrument! Commit to learning what you need to in order to fill your studio quickly. Check out several articles on my blog that explain how music teachers can effectively market their studios.
While it may be advantageous to offer in-home lessons when you’re starting up your teaching business, the travel time will eventually take its toll. Every minute spent in traffic is precious time that you could be teaching. Granted, you can charge a fee for your travel time, but it will be difficult to justify charging your standard teaching rate for twiddling your thumbs at a stoplight.
If you only teach public school students, you’re limiting your teaching hours to after school times. Market your studio to home-schoolers, whose schedules are much more flexible. If you’re comfortable teaching them, market to adult students too. You’ll find that many adults, even working adults, can make a daytime lesson, and many even prefer it.
While they may be difficult to schedule, group lessons (by definition) maximize your teaching time and income. Yet, they also offer additional advantages — students may have more fun studying with their peers and therefore study longer, and you can do fun and educational ensemble work.
While it may be a truism, that’s because it’s true — a student policy that discourages no-shows will maximize lesson attendance and your income.
If you spend too many hours each month taking care of your books, sorting checks and cash, or making numerous trips to the bank, consider getting a bookkeeper. In conjunction with a bookkeeper, also consider utilizing studio management software that automates tasks such as scheduling, student payments, etc.
The busiest music teachers may benefit by hiring a virtual assistant (VA) — someone who can take care of mundane, repetitive tasks that will free up additional time for teaching. Many VAs are generalists, while others are specialists in marketing, website design and development, or writing. You may even find VAs with high-level knowledge of music. Businesses of all kinds use virtual assistants these days — why shouldn’t music teachers?
Doug Hanvey is a piano teacher in Portland, Oregon. His Piano Lab Blog offers cutting-edge tips and ideas for piano teachers and piano students.