Here are the last five ways that piano teachers and voice teachers can help to keep their current students. This is also an excellent way to get the most referrals from students you already have. Teachers who fallow these simple guidelines tend to have very successful studios with a high retention rate.
6. Know your students. A little personal involvement goes a long way with most of you students. They like to know that you care about more than just their musical development or the paycheck they bring in. Try to build personal relationships with each client and learn to ask good questions. When first teaching I had a notebook for each student when I wrote down their birthday, schools, sports, hobbies or anything else to show that I cared about their lives. It may seem silly but I would glance at the notebook before each lesson so I could ask informed questions. This may appear a little like cheating but after a while I discovered I really did get to know my students and no longer needed the notebook. I soon found that my students would open up with me and viewed me as an influence in their lives and not just a musical authority. Those students will prove to be the most loyal clients and often are the best for referrals. Do your best to get to know the parents as well they will be big advocates for you in the home and with other parents.
7. Put students first. Find a few ways in which you can show the students that their progress and their futures are more important to you than getting their weekly check. Maybe you could buy them a new music book for their birthday or waive an occasional fee if they forget to show up to a lesson. Go the extra mile for your students and it will come back tenfold I promise. I am constantly hearing about how important this is from other piano teachers, voice teachers, and my own personal experience. In my own teaching I try my best to do what is the absolute most beneficial thing for my students. I have had a few vocal students that I referred on to other teachers because I knew they had outgrown my skills or the other teacher had a connection to schools they wanted to get into. The students appreciated this so much that they end up being my biggest source of referrals I have ever had. I have also offered parents to drive their students to auditions or competitions in the area I don’t get any financial compensation for this but it shows them that I really care about them and their success and gives me a chance to really get to know my students and build relationships with them. Every teacher will find their own way of achieving this but I guarantee it is absolutely worth it.
8. Be approachable and accessible. Students want a teacher that they can get a hold of and answer questions. Make sure each student has your email and knows that they can contact you if they need to. Respond quickly and thoroughly to any need that they might have. Also be sure that they can talk to you and feel like you are kind, honest, polite and easy to talk to. A little good communication goes a long way.
9. Be clean. Make sure that your teaching space is a clean and friendly environment. If you have children or pets make sure that they are not in the way or a distraction. Many students will not do well if they feel they have an audience or if there are children or pets constantly interrupting you. Also make sure that your space is clean and clutter free. This can be a huge turn off to most students. Take a few minutes each day before teaching to ensure that your space is clean, uncluttered and even….free from offensive smells. I know of one teacher in my area who is absolutely fabulous but he loses a great deal of clients because his house is a mess and there are pets and children running in and out.
10. Remove distractions. Put your cell phone away and do not answer it unless there is an emergency. Nothing shows your student that they are nothing more than a paycheck than a teacher answering their phone during a lesson. If you absolutely must do something during a lesson like using the phone, the restroom, or dealing with a personal issue let the student know that you will not be charging them for the lesson or that you will be making up the time lost at the end of the lesson. Students pay a great deal of money for lesson and you should not be using any of their paid for time for your own personal use