Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Summer Piano Lessons

Summer is always a difficult time for the piano teacher. Lessons become difficult to schedule because of family vacations and other conflicts. Practicing becomes a chore as the heat rises and nature beckons children outside. Who can resist lazy days next to the pool or spending fun times exploring the neighborhood with friends?

This summer, I have opted to give my regular students the summer vacation off. I have several recitals planned that demand my attention in addition to commitments at the church and the junior college. While some pedagogues are appalled by my decision, the parents of my students are thrilled because they don't have to juggle their schedules all summer long. Happy parents ultimately lead to happy students and a happy teacher!

I do not want to neglect my piano studio this summer, so I've devised a plan. I'm not sure how it will work, but it is certainly worth a try. Tomorrow I will post several flyers around my small town announcing that I will be teaching a limited number of lessons in my home during the summer months. This is a change from the norm for me as I use a small studio space during the school year for my lessons. I am presenting the summer lessons as a shortened term that does not have any long term commitment. I am available for lessons later this week and will continue through the end of August.

Here's my thought process. If a parent is unsure about their child's interest in piano lessons, summer is the perfect time to give it a shot without feeling the necessity of making a long-term commitment. This point is re-enforced by the fact that I'm teaching in my home instead of the studio space. At the end of the summer session, any student that wants to continue with lessons will have that opportunity. I still have plenty of space in my studio.

Since I'm dealing with the summer time, I'll constantly be looking for ways to make the lesson as exciting as possible for all of the students. We may not progress musically as quickly as I might like, but there is a greater goal in sight. If the student enjoys the lessons this summer, they will tell their parents and I will have a good opportunity to add that student to my fall roster. How can it go wrong?

As I thought through this idea, I decided that it was actually a win-win situation. Worse case scenario--I don't get any students, but I get some publicity in a community that knows me well and that I have not targeted for potential students. Best case--I spend a few afternoons a week teaching in my home and pick up a few additional students for the long-term. Together, we will get to have fun while learning how to make music. The fact that I can make a little additional cash doesn't hurt either!