Attracting Older Adult Students to Your Studio
My youngest student ever was 3 years old.
My most "seasoned" student ever was 79 years old. I have had the privilege of teaching dozens of senior adults over the last twenty years.
How on earth does a piano teacher attract adult piano students? Especially the older, more mature students?
There are no tricks to reaching this demographic. But there are some key things to remember when you are attracting the older adult student. Keep these in mind:
1. They are taking lessons because they want to.
As opposed to your eight year old student who is reluctantly dragged to lessons by their parent, your senior adult student actually wants to be there. They are "finally" getting a chance to pursue a hobby. There is no forcing them to learn, no forcing them to practice, no forcing them to do this. They want to -- so capitalize on that enthusiasm and encourage it!
2. They see additional benefits from their lessons beyond personal enjoyment.
Senior adults know full well that there are multiple benefits beyond personal enjoyment that they can receive from lessons. Mental sharpness and physical dexterity are just a few of the things my clients have mentioned to me over the years.
Just as I go do strength training twice a week to build up my bone density as a 42 year old woman, my senior adults are coming to their lessons looking for more than just fun songs to play. Remember that, and gear a part of your lessons, or at least part of your focus to these types of benefits. Talk about them, encourage them.
3. They expect to get their money's (and their time's) worth.
Senior adults have spent a lifetime earning money and paying bills. They know how fleeting time is and the value of a dollar. So, make sure you are capitalizing on every single minute of the lesson.
If you are running slightly behind in your lessons, and start a few minutes late, make sure you still give them the full time that they have paid for. Build rapport and make a personal connection, but don't spend significant time in chit chat. No matter their financial situation, they have budgeted for this lesson and expect it to be worth their time and money.
4. They want (and deserve) to be respected.
Never, ever, ever, and I mean EVER patronize your senior adult. No "old people" jokes, no poking fun at hearing loss. They are probably more sharp than several of your other students combined, so be sure to treat them with the respect that they deserve.
Along those lines, make sure your lesson space reflects a welcoming atmosphere for both the littles and the seniors. Lots of cutesy posters everywhere, stuffed animals falling off the shelf, and little kid piano games everywhere doesn't exactly send the message that seniors are welcome. You don't have to ditch all the kiddie stuff, but make sure you environment is professional and senior friendly as well.
5. They will recommend you to their friends IF you are a good fit. Conversely, they won't stay with you if you are not.
Your greatest lead for other senior adults? The seniors you have right now. They will absolutely tell their friends if they like you.
Why? Because they are giving time to a hobby. They are giving time to something that interests them, so they will want to share it. If you are a good fit for them, they will spread the word.
But, if you're not? They won't last long with you. They will not find it necessary to spend their hard earned money and valuable time taking lessons from you if they aren't finding it valuable. You don't have to worry about whether they like lessons with you or not -- your senior adults will always show their vote with their time and money.
I can guarantee that your senior adult students will be some of your most treasured students. So, make sure you treat them well.
Trust me, you'll be glad you did.