Creating an Empire – Building (or Expanding) a Flute Studio

Welcome to another edition of Flute Friday!

This week’s post addresses a topic that I am facing in my own career and hopefully those of you in similar situations can benefit from my research. Roughly a month ago I moved from California to Houston with the intent of setting up my flute studio in a new location at the beginning of the 15-16 school year. I am finding, however, that advertising my practice and recruiting students is just as difficult in Houston as it was at my previous home in Davis. A few years ago I came across a wonderful e-book from Lloyd Steiner entitled Make a Fortune Teaching Private Music Lessons and, although I was initially skeptical of the overly optimistic title, found the following simple suggestions quite helpful and in some cases extremely eye opening. This book helped me develop my blog and expand my twitter following. Although we may not “make a fortune” as the book promises, these tips will hopefully help all of us develop our practice and bring the gift of flute playing to more students far and wide.

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Develop a blog. I did it – and you can too! A blog is a great platform for sharing your pedagogical ideas, tips and tricks for your students, research pursuits and studio expectations and policies. It is also a good place to share articles and link to other blogs within our flute community.

Offer a free masterclass at a local school. This is a great opportunity for students to try before they buy and really helps you bring group exercises to a larger audience. Watching light bulbs go on all around you using a simple phrase or exercise is absolutely priceless.

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Create an instructional video and upload to YouTube. Yeah, okay, I’ve only made one of these (“Practicing Improvisation”) and probably should make a few more (*adding to my list of projects) but instructional videos not only help you to develop a web presence but also give your current students an opportunity to participate in videos. This is a great way to confront the onset stage fright by removing the stage and performing in a safe space.

Perform a free recital at a local church or school. This is another really good, direct way to advertise who you are as a performer and what strengths you bring to the table for future students. In my notes I placed a big, red “DUH” next to this tip. A performance of any type is by far the best recruitment technique under the sun.

Create some old school flyers. There are numerous flyer templates in standard word processing programs such as Microsoft Word and, with a few personal touches like photos and quotes, you can create some stunningly beautiful advertisements. Post these on bulletin boards at community centers, cafes, churches, Starbucks and hotel lobbies. These can also be sent as PDF files to local schools and music centers.

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Ask Former Students for Testimonials. Testimonials can easily be added to your website or other promotional materials and provide validation to potential parents and students that your methods are effective. These also outline exactly what new students can expect from you as a teacher.

Promotional Swag. Pencils, key chains, cleaning cloths, tote bags and other such freebies with your studio’s logo will help new and current students advertise your studio to their friends and colleagues. Corporate companies use branding in the same way to spread their company name far and wide and musicians can also use this simple marketing technique on items that students need anyways to become successful musicians.

Join Local Teaching Societies and Flute Clubs. Organizations often have teacher directories that you can add your name to and other teachers with whom you can share contact information for referrals. Here you will meet musicians who may also give you some great advice regarding where to advertise or which band and orchestra directors to contact who may be searching for private teachers for their students.

Teach Skype Lessons. Teaching Skype lessons is not only easy but also allows you to stay connected to former students all over the globe. These are also great for students that may find a post on your blog that they like and want some further instruction or development on the techniques mentioned on your page.

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Do you have other recruitment techniques that have been successful in your practice? Have any of these techniques helped you recruit students? Please comment below!

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