If you are ready to grow your studio and deepen your impact in your community then I would like to introduce to you Bree Lewis.
As the wife of a military husband that requires frequent moves, Bree has had incredible success quickly building teaching studios in many parts of the country. She built her studio in Hawaii to over 70 students and recently filled her teaching studio in California in just two weeks. Through her direct experience and belief in the power of music education, Bree created this handbook to share with other music teachers how to streamline the process of building a studio and offer successful strategies for the unique challenges of owning and running a music studio.
I consider this such an incredible feat since it took me years to fill my studio when I moved to Oregon. I know of no other teacher having this amount of consistent success building new studios so frequently and feel very grateful that Bree took the effort to collect her studio building strategies into a handbook titled:
This downloadable book does exactly what the title says. I was surprised at how available some of the strategies she uses are and think you will also find many solutions for how to grow your studio this school year.
Who is The Handbook of Marketing Strategies for Music Teachers for?
THE NEW & YOUNG TEACHER: You have played the violin for 20 years and are so passionate about the power a music education holds to positively change young lives that you enroll in teacher training and are bursting with enthusiasm to offer the world your teaching gifts. Now what? This book will give you a step by step guide to help you make your dreams come true of beginning your own violin studio and having immediate successes without having to learn things the hard way. I wish I had something like this when I was first starting out.
A PROGRAM DIRECTOR: I spent several years directing an established Suzuki Violin program at a prestigious music school in Washington DC and two summers directing a summer institute. In both circumstances, I remember that I always felt like I was re-inventing the wheel when I was asked to think of development and recruitment ideas. Bree’s handbook takes the guesswork out of growing a program and offers a clear strategy for where and how to look for new and ideal students.
THE FULL STUDIO TEACHER: This book is for teachers like myself who are already full. I turn away families on a regular basis but I know from experience that I always need to stay one step ahead and be ready for sudden changes in the economy or other unforeseen events.
THE TEACHER WHO WANTS MORE ONLINE PRESENCE: If you feel overwhelmed or daunted about developing your online presence fear no more. Bree’s book walks you thru all of the resources that are available to music teachers to support our unique line of work. As the title states, she shares with the reader free and low-cost strategies so there is no need to worry about large financial investments with her suggestions.
In conclusion, I have a sincere desire to see my colleagues thrive as professionals who are contributing to vibrant and educated communities. Too often we as music teachers do not receive the same advanced training in running a small business as we do in the art of playing the violin.
Since I am passionate about your success, I have also created a resource in an attempt to help close this gap. In my handbook titled 7 Steps to Attract More Students & Grow Your Violin (What I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Studio 10 Years Ago), I share with you everything I learned the hard way when building a studio so that you can have a more streamlined experience offering your talents to the world. Please click on the image below to learn more.
The content in 7 Steps to Attract More Students & Grow Your Violin (What I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Studio 10 Years Ago) is also available in an accompanying YouTube video playlist.
Do you have an idea to help other teachers attract more students?
Please leave it in the comments below, thanks!
The Practice Experiment
There is ONLY one way to know what your students are doing at home...
I spent 1 week watching my students practice, and it was one of the most profound things I have ever done in my teaching. I believe that if more teachers did this, then we would be able to help more students reach higher levels in their violin playing.
In this video (posted below) and correlating blog post I explain how I organized a week of watching my students practice and why this was such a powerful use of time.
How I organized The Practice Experiment:
The week before watching students practice I had told them to expect something very different at their coming lesson, but I did not say what it was since I wanted to observe them in their "natural practice state" as much as possible. I was hoping to avoid students preparing for this observation since it would not be an honest representation of their work and defeat the purpose.
On the following week, I brought my computer to my teaching studio and reorganized the space so I could sit at my desk. After explaining that I would be observing them practice, I was silent and typed up a personalized report for each student while they showed me how they practiced. We reviewed the report together at the next week of lessons and went over suggested modifications to their practice routine.
It was a heartfelt but shocking and humbling week.
I was touched by the loving interactions between parent and child, but I was genuinely shocked that only about 20% of my students actually followed their practice notes (I create a personalized lesson sheet for each student to help us stay organized). Also, I was humbled that after 20 years of teaching and priding myself on being highly organized that so many of my students were not clear on:
1- What was actually expected of them.
2- How to execute the specific teaching points by themselves even after covering in repetition at their lesson.
I also have always assumed that if something were not accurate, then the student would isolate the issue and create a practice spot out of it. I was WRONG on this because over and over again I heard my students plow over obvious inaccuracies in their interpretation.
((((((Deep Exhale from Me))))
So, the other part of this humbling lesson is that I had first heard about doing this years ago but delayed implementing it. I regret this because had I done this in past years my students would absolutely be having a higher success outcome with their efforts. I will know at the end of April if I am accepted into nursing school. If so then this will be my final nine weeks of violin teaching from a 20+ year career. Better late than never but hopefully by passing this along here you can carry the torch and watch your students practice to serve them best and nurture their gifts.
The following is an extreme statement but I think the sentiment will be heard:
It DOES NOT MATTER how great of a teacher you are and it DOES NOT MATTER how talented your student is.
IT MATTERS how they interpret the lesson information and practice in their own space and time.
The only way to check in on this is to actually watch them practice.
We want to hear from you and know how you help your students reach their highest potential. Please share in the comments below. Thanks!
I love spreading inspiring ideas to violin teachers that help you bring out the best in your students and thrive in the heartfelt work you do. I created a new page here on the Music for Young Violinists project called "Things I Love" as a resource list to share with you things that I have used in my violin teaching over the years and had success with.
Some of the items listed here are things that have stood the test of time and worthy of praise such as my Korg metronome which has been dropped 100 times in 15 years, rarely needs a battery replacement and still works fine. Other resources may be lesser known products worthy of spreading the good word about like the Poly-Pad shoulder sponge. This page will be growing on a regular basis so please check back soon.
Featured on “Things I Love” is Helping Parents Practice (Ideas for Making it Easier) Volume 1 by Edmund Sprunger. This is HANDS DOWN my favorite resource to use in supporting parents practicing with their children. I appreciate this book so much that I have practically underlined every sentence in my copy because it is so clarifying and poignant.
Sprunger combines decades of experience teaching Suzuki violin with his formal training in psychology to offer wise and compassionate perspectives that will elevate a parents understanding of why their child is responding or behaving in a certain way. He also offers solutions that are effective and healthy for addressing these specific situations.
The book is divided into sections by practice topic and then further broken down into 2-5 page solutions for specific scenarios that a parent would encounter while helping their child practice. This concise organization was done with the busy teacher/parent in mind and makes it an especially convenient tool because you can look up your immediate situation without having to read an entire book.
Thank you Ed and please let us know when Volume 2 is available. Learn more about Ed Sprunger and his resources HERE.
To celebrate this new page we are giving away Ed Sprunger’s new book: Building Violin Skills: A Set of Plans Designed to Help Parents and Children Construct Positive Practices.
To enter, just list one “Thing You Love” for your teaching and music making in the comments below. Winner will be chosen at random at the end of the month.
Hi! It's me, Heather. I absolutely love working on the Music for Young Violinists project and all the many facets: blogging, website, music, teaching materials, freebies, videos, newsletter and giveaway contests. The best part is connecting with you so feel free to drop me a line. You can learn more about me on the "ABOUT" page. Thanks!