Does it seem like the other teachers get all the good students? Is your studio filled with poor practicers, wishy-washy whiners, no shows, and parents who forget to pay?
When I was a new teacher, I envied the more established teachers that I knew. It seemed like, somehow, they got all of the awesome students. Their parents didn’t argue and try to push ahead to new songs, and they always paid on time. The students were sweet, respectful and dedicated. I thought to myself, “When I have a good reputation, I will be able to attract those kind of students. And it will be awesome.”
Luckily, we don’t have to wait until we’ve “paid our dues” to have amazing students.
The one thing that determines our success is student engagement. While there are some kids out there who are naturally disciplined, dedicated, and passionate, most will need their teacher and parent’s help to cultivate a passion and love for the instrument.
How can we get our students to engage? How can we turn lackluster practicers into inquisitive practitioners?
- Find ways to let the child take charge and take ownership. Especially with young children, it is important that they know that they are the owners of the instrument. The child should carry the violin case, and get it out for practice, lessons, and performances.
- Switch it up. It’s easy to get into a rut and dogmatically teach everyone the same way. Spend a few minutes preparing mentally for each specific student’s lesson and find ways to connect with them on a personal level.
- Treat your students like real musicians. This sounds obvious, but children will generally meet your expectations, whether high or low. When speaking to the parent, try to include the child in the dialogue. Don’t talk down to or over your student. Use appropriate vocabulary, but don’t dumb things down. They can handle more than you may think.
- Be fun, and show how excited about the instrument you are. This is key. The more you engage, the more they will engage. Take a note from the performers that do catch their interest. Everything needs to be high energy and fast-paced. Organize your lessons in that way, and they will respond.
The more engaged your students are, the more they will enjoy the violin. Cultivating a generation of music-lovers, who have learned that they can do hard things through dedicated and consistent practice is my ultimate goal as a teacher, and all my lessons need to serve that purpose.
Do you struggle to attract the kind of students you want? How do you increase engagement in your studio?
Looking for high-quality students and parents for your music studio? Ensure that you’re attracting your ideal student with this free guide: Fill Your Music Studio with Students You’re Excited to See Each Week