You’ve decided to change your current lesson structure and now you need a plan to tell your piano families.
The examples today are specifically about converting to group lessons, but you can use these steps for any change you’re making in your studio.
Before I made the decision to convert the majority of my studio to group lessons, I had to make sure it was the right decision for myself and my studio. I took my time researching, talking with other teachers who have been teaching groups for years, and attended multiple training events before I help my first weekly group lesson.
Whatever change you’re making, it’s important for you to fully believe in the benefits of this change for your students so that comes across when communicating with your studio families.
Let’s get started with our plan!
STEP 1: MAKE AN ANNOUNCEMENT
Tell your families something new is coming! Get pumped! You’ve made an awesome decision to take your studio in a new direction and you’re excited about the change. Share your excitement.
There may be a lot of uncertainty as you start this new format, but once you dive in, the details will all work themselves out. Have faith!
Even if you don’t know the exactly what your new format will look like, make the announcement early and get the conversation started.
Here’s what my first announcement looked like to my piano parents:
STEP 2: TALK TO YOUR PARENTS FACE TO FACE
The best way to start the conversation about group lessons with your piano parents in person. They will get to see your excitement and genuine belief in the benefits that group lessons will offer their child.
Do you have parents that you’re especially close with? Ones that trust you and readily follow your lead? Start with those parents!
Practice what you’re going to say.
Choose 2-3 benefits to focus on and be able to explain them in your own words.
Need help choosing some benefits? Pick some phrases from any of these articles:
Show your excitement to your parents. If you’re not sold on the idea, they’re not going to be either.
STEP 3: E-MAIL THE BENEFITS
Put in print several of the benefits of WHY your’e choosing this new format. Lay it out for parents so they can see your “WHY”.
Here’s what mine looked like:
I am excited to tell you about some changes coming to the studio this fall. We will be moving to weekly group lessons starting the last week of August. There are SO many benefits to group lessons. I have included just some of them in the image attached. This decision did not come overnight or without a lot of research, thought, and training.
I am actively involved in online communities of teachers from across the country and even across the globe who have been experiencing A LOT of success with this format.
Some have been doing weekly group lessons for over 10 years. Here’s some things they are seeing:
- Students are more excited about music because they get to play in a Piano Band every week. The sound is fuller and more rewarding.
- Students enjoy the social aspect of lessons and are excited to be a part of a piano team. (I see this now with students who are asking “When is our next group lesson? Is (my friend) going to be at my next lesson?)
- Students are motivated to practice because they know their peers will hear them play every week.
- Students are staying interested in piano longer and aren’t getting the “burn out” typically seen with most students.
- Students are becoming independent learners. They are engaged with peers who are going through the same learning process. They are learning through observation, team work, and problem solving under the guidance of the teacher instead of the teacher holding the student’s hand through each and every note.
- They are learning skills of playing in an ensemble. This is especially valuable for those who wish to go on to play in band, orchestra, choir, or even provide music for church services and/or praise band.
- The nervousness and anxiety that occurs with performing greatly diminishes. Rather than only performing once or twice a year at recitals, students are performing for each other in a relaxed environment every week.
I have been involved in a mentorship program with teachers who have been teaching this way for years. I have enrolled in online webinars, and my training in Baltimore this March and my most recent trip to Texas all helped me be prepared to teach group—it’s still the same knowledge, just a different way of presenting it. I am confident that this is the way I am being led to continue sharing my love of music.
More detailed information will be coming about scheduling and pricing. Current families will receive a discount for the first semester of group lessons this fall.
I am here to answer any questions you may have. I am looking forward to all of the benefits this will bring Fun Key Music students!
I’ve tweaked this e-mail template given to me by Candace Crabtree, who allowed me to share with you. Thank you, Candace! While she no longer teaches piano…Candace can be found at her blog His Mercy Is New.
Here is the graphic I attached with this e-mail. Feel free to make your own or use this one!
In the e-mail I mentioned the training I had done.
Baltimore–I attended the Recreational Music Making (RMM) track which is a part of the Pedagogy Saturday each year at the MTNA National Conference. There is a scholarship from the National Piano Foundation available to attend the RMM track. Learn more about the MTNA National Conference 2019.
Texas--I attended the Way Cool Group Piano Training with Debra Perez. I walked away feeling confident and prepared after learning Debra’s group teaching techniques and seeing them in action. Debra is very caring and wants each of the teachers who attend her trainings to succeed. I feel blessed for the time I got to spend with her and admire her as a teacher and pioneer in group teaching for adults, teens, and kids.
A valuable tool in group teaching that cannot be missed is Marie Lee’s Group Teaching Blueprint. Here’s my review of this resource. In other words….get it TODAY!
The Group Teaching Blueprint is a MUST for any teacher thinking about starting group lessons and even teachers that already teach groups. It is jam-packed with information and wisdom from the years of experience that Marie brings to the table. She’s been through the trenches and has shared her tools and tricks of the trade in the group teaching arena.
The organization is easy to follow and there’s lots of “A-HA!” moments throughout this resource. The most helpful to me was to see exactly how Marie’s lessons are organized and structured throughout the year. There are great examples and references throughout.
Perhaps THE MOST exciting aspect, is that with the purchase of the product, you receive access to a private Facebook group where Marie is constantly sharing new ideas, lesson plans, and is there to support you and answer any questions you have. A community of group teachers with an expert leader. This is well worth the investment in itself!
STEP 4: ACKNOWLEDGE CONCERNS
Let’s be real. some parents are going to be hesitant, some may dig in their heels and not want to change, and some may trust you and believe in you, no matter what changes you make in your studio.
I had parents across the spectrum and heard a variety of concerns. Some were hesitant, some were excited! Some saw the benefits right away and others had to see group lessons in action and attend a performance class (which I scheduled just 2 months after starting group classes) to jump on board.
Let them know you hear them. Don’t try to explain away their concern. You are on their side and you have their child’s best interest at heart.
I think being real and honest with your parents is the best thing you can do. Let them know that you’ll be learning as well. As we embark on anything new, there are a lot of lessons to be learned, and you will do your absolute best in this time of transition.
STEP 5: DIVE IN & BE CONFIDENT
In other words..”YOU GO, GIRL!” (or guy!) You can do this! I have every confidence in you.
Start planning, don’t look back. Reach out to other teachers who have experience teaching in your new lesson format and remember….you’re already a great teacher. The content you’re teaching has not changed, you’re just presenting it in a new way.
YOU CAN DO THIS!