Summer Music Camps: Part One
As I am writing this, it is March 4, I'm sitting at my desk shivering because my house is so chilly, and I am drugged up on cold medicine because my sweet son decided to share his germs. Not exactly feeling the summer vibe, are you?
But, my dear piano lesson friend, summer is EXACTLY what you should be thinking about. Yep. Summer.
When I mention the summer season to fellow piano teachers I usually get a groan or a disgusted shake of the head . . .
"All my students are travelling, they won't take lessons anyway."
"I can't compete with VBS, lake days, and family trips."
"Everyone wants the summer off, so I don't make any money."
Piano teacher friend, I feel your pain. Summer can be tough on the piano lesson business.
But, what if there was a way to sidestep all of that frustration? Actually, what if there was a way to not only keep your income stable during the summer months, but actually (gasp) make more money than you usually do?
Yes, it's possible. I know it is because I've done it every summer in my studio. In case you ignored the title of this post, let's have a drumroll as I surprise you with the answer as to how:
Dudududududududududududududududu (that's supposed to be a drumroll).
Here's the secret to a spectacular summer: Music Camps.
Yes, you in your home. You in your studio. Summer Music Camps.
There are three steps to launch a summer music camp in your studio this summer. Today, as I have a toilet paper roll sitting next to me (that's called "I-ran-out-of-kleenex" kleenex), I'm going to tell you the first thing you need to have in place.
Craft policies that require students to take summer lessons.
Now, before you go protesting, let me tell you what I mean by this.
Your studio policies, truthfully, make or break your studio. You may not even have written policies, but you do have ways that you do things -- when you teach, how much you charge, what the student is responsible for, etc.
But, when your studio policies are vague about when the studio is open and how lessons are offered, that's where things get a little dicey. Parents decide to take the summer off because of all the travel. And they know they can because you will be right there waiting when their child returns in the fall.
And understandably, families might want a break. I know our family often feels like we were busier during the summer than during the actual school year. So, how do you get those parents to still make their students take lessons?
Because you still need to make money, right? Unless you have the lucky mortgage from lucky mortgage company that lets you not pay June, July, and August? (Don't google that, it doesn't exist.)
So, what do to -- parents know their kids are going to need time off. You need a stable income.
Cue, the summer music camp option.
In my studio, my students know that I give lessons all year long. I currently have a full studio at 38 students (plus, fortunately, a waiting list.) My students have a flat rate tuition due the first of every month. They know that the tuition guarantees them 42 lessons a year. I take off 10 weeks throughout the year for sickness, time off, holidays etc.
So tuition during the summer is the same as the rest of the year. Lessons are the same. But, if the student is going to miss some lessons because of travel or lake days or whatever?
They get to come to a music camp instead.
That's right. The music camp that I run in my studio is the compromise.
You take time off, I still get paid, and your student gets to come to the music camp of their choice in lieu of lessons.
The beauty of this for the teacher is clear: I still get paid with a predictable income every month of the year.
The beauty of this for the student, though, is usually even better: They know there are regular lessons scheduled and if they can't come, they get to do something even more fun!
It is a win-win for everyone.
Well, actually its a double win for you. Guess why? You can advertise these summer music camps to the community. That's right. Kids that aren't your students. Kids that need something to fill up the week between summer camp, their family's trip to visit Aunt Veronica, and VBS.
Boom. Your clients are happy. Your monthly budget is happy. In fact, you will probably make even more money with kids from your community signing up for something fun to do.
It is March 4. I have a cold. But I'm thinking about summer. Are you?
If you are, I have a treat for you . . . there are two more parts to this series on summer camps. Check out the Part Two post (tomorrow) and the Part Three (later this week) where I will outline how to do a summer camp - content, cost, time, scheduling, etc. and how to advertise effectively for it.
Then, March 16, I'm releasing my 2020 Summer Music Camp: ART LOVES MUSIC kit -- it is just what you need to pull off a winning summer camp in your home this summer. From curriculum, to printables, to social media images, to an advertising strategy -- it's a digital, open and go kit to help you have the most profitable summer you've ever had.
This will be available for download on March 16, but you can pre-order today for $10 off your kit. Check it out here . . . 2020 Summer Music Camp Pre-Sale
By the way, setting up policies that streamline your lessons and ensure your clients fully understand how everything works and that you have a business you can count on, is not as hard as it sounds. Anytime is a good time to adjust your studio policies, but after a holiday or a break (ahem, Spring Break and Easter coming up!), is a great time to make some adjustments. For help with your policies, check out this post about my disastrous contract with a popular gym.
Happy piano teaching!