Starting a private music studio can be intimidating and without help can sometimes seem impossible. We hope that we can add our experience and knowledge to those interested in sharing their love of music with others. Before recruiting clients, start by thinking how many you want. Is this to be a full time job or a part time perk. Knowing how many you want to teach will keep you from overloading your studio. Set the hours you want to teach. Will it be morning, afternoon? How late will you teach, will it be everyday? What about weekends? Inevitably people will ask you all these questions and it is best to have an answer quickly. Once you have set your mind on your time table, take our advise and don't make exceptions. This is YOUR business, your time.
Next, decide on your tuition rate. Do you need to survive on this pay, or is it extra income? What are the prices of other teachers or similar activities in your area? Make sure you do this research so you don't cheat yourself or your clients. If you have a degree or are a certified teacher make sure your tuition price reflects your education. In our area tuition prices generally fall between $15-$20/ half-hour lesson and most of us teach3-5 days a week. Our client list greatly varies with some only teaching 10 students and others ranging up to 50 students per week.
Now you have a time table to fill, and prices to offer. We assume you have a studio space, either in your home or at an outside location, and a quality instrument on which to teach. Next you need to decide on your attendance policy, how will you handle cancelled lessons or sick days? What about holidays? Most of BPTA members follow their local school district's schedule for winter break and spring break (after all we need vacation too!) and other federal holidays, but that is ultimately up to you. Whether you teach in the summer is also your decision. Some teachers offer a limited number of days during the summer, or only teach during a certain month, while other teachers require students to study year round. Now that all these decisions have been made, write them down! A studio policy is a necessity in this business or you can easily get taken advantage of.
It's time to recruit students! If you belong to a local organization, such as BPTA, a larger state organization, such as OMTA, or even the national organization of MTNA finding clients will be easier. These organizations keep rosters on their websites, and members get copies so they can easily refer new students to other teachers. BPTA also sends their roster to the local school music teachers so when parents ask they can just pull a few names off the list! If you don't belong to a larger organization (which of course we highly recommend) you may need to advertise in local newspapers, mailers, or music stores. Making your own business cards is quite simple now and makes a professional statement when you run into potential customers. After getting your first few students, make sure you tell them you are still taking on new clients. After all the best advertising if from your own students.