Have you had many new piano lesson enquiries recently? Do you ever find yourself caught ‘off-guard’ by phone calls? I know I certainly do! When this happens I can end up babbling on and feeling that I am not representing my work and worth to the best of my ability.
The next three months are probably the peak season for receiving phone calls or emails from potential students. Here’s some top tips from some of the highly organised Curious Piano Teachers members.
#1 KNOW WHAT KIND OF TEACHER YOU ARE
Do you know what kind of teacher you are? What is your teaching philosophy and approach? Discussions with potential clients are so much easier if you have made up your own mind about the following:
- What do you teach?
- How do you teach?
- What ages do you teach?
- What standard do you teach up to?
- Is an instrument needed at home and if so what sort?
- What do you charge?
- Do you ever give discounts?
- Are your teaching hours fixed or flexible?
- What support do you expect from parents?
- What availability slots do you have?
Once you have thought through these questions turn them into a one page cheatsheet and keep it close by for future phone calls.
It’s worth spending an hour or so getting this all pinned down. Check out our video below.
#2 HAVE A PHONE CALL — ON YOUR TERMS
As a rule of thumb let any unknown callers to your mobile go to the answer phone. Then, if they leave a message, this gives you the opportunity to listen through and consider your response. You’ll want to phone them back as quickly as you can so rehearse what you will say and aim to call them back within 24 hours.
During the phone call work down your cheatsheet (that’s assuming you have spaces and are actively looking for new students). If the answers correspond with your expectations offer a consultation/interview where both parties will have a chance to meet in person.
At this early stage don’t be too prepared to compromise on your core teaching approaches. For example, if you are only willing to take on younger children with the parents attending to lessons then stick to it!
#3 SAVE TIME WITH EMAIL ENQUIRIES
If you have a studio website or Facebook page you might find that some new piano lesson enquiries come in by email.
Responding to each one individually takes time so a useful approach is to create a standard template response. Set aside 30 minutes or so of your time to do this and once again use the one page cheatsheet as your starting point.
When a new enquiry arrives in your inbox simply copy and paste the main body of the template into your reply, adding whatever personal responses you want to.
#4 CREATE A FAQ PAGE
The fourth tip on how to deal with new piano lesson enquiries is to turn your cheatsheet into a Frequently Asked Questions sheet.
This can be used on your website as well as being a really useful document to send to parents whether you’ve spoken on the phone or corresponded by email.
#5 FIND YOURSELF SOME TIME
Has all this been ringing a bell and you have found yourself caught ‘off-guard’ ? Then you need to find some time to sit down, grab a coffee, watch our video and think through what kind of teacher you are.
I really wish I had done this a long, long time ago as being communicating clearly what you offer prevents misunderstandings and frustration later on.
A big shout-out to all the piano teachers who contributed to this blog post for all their brilliant suggestions.
Dr. Sally Cathcart, Co-Founder and Director of The Curious Piano Teachers, has many years of teaching experience both as a piano teacher and as a classroom music teacher. After her travels as a Winston Churchill Fellow, Sally founded the Oxford Piano Group as a place for pianists and teachers to collaborate and share experiences. She was awarded a PhD from the Institute of Education at University College London in 2013 upon completing the first comprehensive study of UK piano teachers, exploring common practices, expertise, values, attitudes and motivation to teaching. She is a Principal Tutor on the Piano Teachers’ Course (UK), a trained Kodály practitioner and a senior musicianship practitioner of The Voices Foundation. Sally is an examiner for ABRSM and is on the ABRSM Music Education Advisory Committee. She is a Fellow Member of the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM).