The Private Music Teacher’s Website Checklist
Emily Ann Peterson
Apr 26, 2017
A Definitive List of Things Your Website Will Probably Need
First, Do You Need a Website?
It’s extremely rare that a music teacher won’t need a website. However, it’s not unheard of. Take, for instance, my very own mother who is a Wyoming piano teacher with a long waiting list of future students. She has no website. I was chatting with her the other day about this website subject and her response was: “Well, I asked all my students and their parents if my having a website would enhance their experience, they all seemed really ambivalent about it. So, I don’t think I’ll ever need one.”
The culture in her local economy doesn’t rely heavily on technology. For this reason, she gets most of her students like every other local Wyoming business gets their customers: through word-of-mouth.
So, before you build up your anxiety over whether your website has everything it needs, do yourself a favor and triple check that a website is absolutely necessary.
If You’re Like Most Businesses These Days, You Will Need a Website
Even if your website is a one-page, online business card. That’s fine! Having something is often a lot better than nothing. (In fact, I’ll probably build my mom one of these next time I’m at home for Thanksgiving.)
There are plenty of tutorials out there for how to build a website. I highly recommend Google for this pursuit because every teacher is a bit different with their technology needs and abilities. However, my favorite and by far the easiest place to get your website going is Squarespace. I use them for my own site and encourage all of my creative marketing clients to do the same.
Yes, I know there are a lot of free options out there. (Wix, Weebly, Wordpress) But my reasoning for sticking with Squarespace is simple:
I’d rather spend my time teaching my students, not fussing over my website.
This conveniently brings me to the reason you’re reading this article…
The Checklist: Things You’ll Need On Your Website if You’re a Private Music Teacher
- Name — You’d be surprised how many “Strings n Things” teachers totally forget to use their own name on their website. This is crucial especially if you want to teach students who care that they’re taking lessons from a human.
- Welcome Message or Personable About Me Blurb — More important than a resumé or super official bio, is a personable “welcome mat”. I’ve seen really effective websites without any photos or fancy graphics. Those sites are effective because the copywriting (marketing lingo for words) speaks directly to the reader in a clear and personable way.
- Instrument(s)—Even if you think it’s obvious that SuzysPianoBench.com is for a piano teacher, make sure you mention your instrument inside your welcome message too. Also, just because you specialize in French horn doesn’t mean you shouldn’t list your experience with recorder, ukulele, and beginner piano on your site. Even if only folks interested in the French horn are visiting your website, the fact that you list all your instruments might only enhance their opinion of your skills. But that’s up to you. Some teachers will want to communicate a high level of expertise. In which case, a French horn professor might not need/want to list a recorder… you get my point.
- Location — Some folks are hesitant to list their home studio’s address online. That’s understandable, but it’s still worthwhile to list a general area or neighborhood that you teach in. This will prevent you from repeating yourself when every new student asks that same question.
- Contact Method — Be it a contact form, or simply listing your email address. Provide your preferred method of communication. For instance, I don’t list my phone number because my voicemail inbox is known for being the place where voicemails go to die without being heard. This is why I only provide email as a communication option (it’s also why I leave my voicemail box full) it ensures that a new student inquiry will get a response via a method I know will have a timely response.
- Studio Application Form — All my new student inquiries go through a pretty extensive application form. It’s filled with questions like “What are you looking for in a teacher?” and “How many years do you see yourself playing this new instrument?” The answers I get usually give me a spot-on picture of whether that new inquiry is the right fit for my studio.
- Rates/Tuition — It’s surprisingly unnecessary to list your rates publicly. This is especially true for teachers whose students simply get a big kick out of having a super awesome, talented, friendly, engaging teacher. Yes, money is a big factor of any business, but for a lot of music teachers that subject is brought up in the meet and greet/trial lesson, this makes it not always necessary to list it on your website.
- Photos of Previous/Current Students — If you’ve got pictures from previous recitals AND if you’ve received permission to use those photos from all relevant parties involved (privacy is important!) then go ahead and put those on your site! A picture is worth a thousand words, so they can be a powerful tool in communicating happy, successful, satisfied students.
- Mission Statement — Are you trying to change the world one student at a time? Say so! Your future students (and current ones too) will really appreciate knowing what fuels every lesson that you teach.
- Description of Your Ideal Student — This is a particularly good thing to list for those teachers who really don’t teach three year olds or 93 year olds. It’s okay to have a list of “Students in My Studio are…” list professions, ages, hobbies, anything that will help folks visiting your site know whether they might fit in your teaching studio or not.
- _Studio Calendar _— At one point in my own teaching studio we had a ton of community events. That was the season I posted a public Google Calendar on a page in my website (via an embed code) for all my students to see the community events like symphony field-trip concerts, nursing home performances, coffee shop jams, group lessons, guest lecturers, workshops, and recitals. My current students knew they could always go to that particular page on my site and know what was going on in the studio that month.
Every music teacher is different with different local economies, and different kind of demand for information. Take a gander at a bunch of other music teacher sites out there (even if they’re from other cities). I promise you’ll learn a lot.
Oh! and feel free to reach out to me anytime. Leave a comment below if you’ve got a question or need any further guidance. I’m happy to help!
Emily Ann Peterson is a singer-songwriter, teaching artist, consultant, and creative entrepreneur who spent 17 years with her cello. It was her second voice until she was diagnosed with a degenerative neurological hand tremor. Refusing to resign to fate and genetics, she expanded her skills to include the piano and solo songwriting. This act of neurological defiance broke through her creative glass ceiling and then swept her up in the expansive limits.
Her podcast, Bare Naked Bravery, features conversations with everyday heroes about the quiet successes and loud failures required to do the brave things for which we know and love them.
Peterson’s mission is inspire a global resonance and magnanimous community through the marriage of art and whole-person development.
She is available here: www.emilyannpeterson.com
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