Not having enough students can be a horrible feeling. Not only can it make paying your own bills difficult, but it puts tremendous pressure on you to keep every student you have – if a couple of pupils suddenly leave, it can feel like you have been punched in the stomach.
But the real cost has nothing to do with finances. When students aren’t coming through the door, it can be easy to start to feel as though you are a lousy teacher.
That’s not fair. There are some brilliant teachers who don’t have as many students as they should. Not because their teaching is bad. It’s because they don’t know how to promote their studio.
Unfortunately, none of the specialist music training we have prepares us for this. We’ve all done Harmony and Counterpoint, but very few have sat through Basics of Marketing. Perhaps we should, like on the sites where you can buy research paper. So how do you do it? Major corporations can do it with epic halftime commercials during the SuperBowl. Unless you have some very, very wealthy relatives, you’re going to have got a little more creative…but as ever.
When music teachers drift off to sleep at night, we can leave behind the daily grind of quarter notes and repertoire selection, and dream of the perfect studio. State of the art facilities, with instruments that are always in tune. Understanding neighbors and dogs that don’t bark. Plenty of space. And the students? They’re all talented of course. Every single one of them. Which means that they’ll move faster, be easier to motivate, and make you prouder sooner. Well, wake up. You’ll never have perfect facilities or instruments that are always in tune. You also cannot guarantee neighbors will be understanding. And if that animal next door is not barking, it must be a cat. But a studio filled with nothing but talented students? That’s easy. You don’t need to dream to make that happen. But you do need to think outside the square a little.
As well while you are reading this article, hundreds of enterprises, institutions, and sporting organizations are giving out awards to thousands of people. Right now. The planet is alive with the post-Babel babble of acceptance speeches. “I couldn’t have done this without the support of my family…It’s not as though music students are left out of all of this. There are plenty of competitions, eisteddfods and exams they can take part in. They can collect certificates and signatures, trophies and medals…but there’s something missing. An award that would probably mean more to them than any other. Yours.
So polish up your Oscars, and take the mothballs out of the red carpet. We’re going to take a look at the notion of Studio Awards – why you would create them, what they should be for, and how to make the presentations an Occasion to Remember.