Wednesday, September 1, 2010

New "Beginning" Students

I've added several new students recently and have had several inquiries within the last 2 weeks so I thought I would share what I do when this happens.  I usually get inquiries through e-mail or by phone which is why I always make sure that my advertising includes both my phone number and my e-mail or web address!  I also try and find out how they heard about the studio because this helps me to figure out how to spend future advertising dollars. 

1. During this first contact I always take the time to talk about the studio and what I have to offer.  I have found that running camps adds a HUGE appeal to parents so I explain those as another benefit to taking lessons with my studio. I also talk about the incentive programs that I use and the games and activities I use to teach and reinforce learning.  Since I have added the computer lab, I also now touch on that as well.

2. I then send parents a copy of my studio policy as an e-mail attachment.  Because I also charge an enrollment fee, I have put together a one page information sheet describing what this charge is about.  I always include this sheet as well so parents have a full understanding of what I expect and what they can expect from me.

3.  The other thing I offer is a chance for each parent and their child(ren) to make an appointment to meet with me and see the studio.  During this time I spend time talking with parents and do a few activities with the kids.  Here is a sample of some of the things I do with elementary kids.

- I always introduce the musical alphabet and using flashcards, have them put them in order and then put them in order backwards. I also show them on the piano how the notes repeat themselves up and down the piano. 

- We also discuss the highs and lows and the 2 and 3 sets of black keys. Things I am looking for during this time is their interest level, their ability to follow directions, and their learning style.  I'm also looking for a "connection" between us to make sure that we can work together well.

- I always end with a game or two between me and the student or if it's a sibling group or a couple of friends (like my last interview), I let them play together.  One quick game I use quite a bit is "What's that Note" from The Big Book of Music Games.  I let the student(s) pick a small game piece similar to the "little friends" I showed you in my last post.  This game focuses on the musical alphabet and I haven't found one child who hasn't loved it!

 I usually spend between 1 hour to an hour and a half.  It may seem like a long time, BUT I have found this time is critical and well worth it.  It sets parents and children at ease with me and with the studio.

4.  I ALWAYS add the parent's e-mail address to my contact list.  Because I periodically send out e-mails, anyone who has contacted my studio even just to inquire about lessons gets these periodic updates about the studio and all the happenings!   I want them to be reminded of all the things I am doing and what I can offer  them.

I hope this gives you ideas!            

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