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Three Ways to Get Yourself Students

Teaching is a great source of income for professional musicians, and it can be an extremely rewarding form of employment. Marketing yourself, however, sucks. Unless you get a gig at studio or local music shop, you’ll have to do all the leg work yourself. Here’s three simple things to help.

  1. List yourself on Google Maps. Why? Search results on Google are tailored to the searcher’s location. Which is why Adsense shows ads for local business in your searches. This also means that a search for “guitar lessons” in your area will pop up results listed on Google maps near the top of the list. You need to get in on that action. This assumes, of course, that you have a website which people can go to check you out. If you don’t, there are some great cheap website options.
  2. Play gigs around town. You need to get noticed as a musician. Most gigs are played for adults, and some of them will be interested in lessons or have kids interested in lessons. Playing gigs for charity organizations is also a good way to get some local press with out paying for an advertisement. Talk to local libraries or charities and offer to set up a benefit concert. You won’t make any more, but the exposure could easily be worth it (just don’t hesitate to call the local newspaper about the gig).
  3. Have promotional materials on hand. This is basic common sense: have business cards to hand out, and give them to everyone. Give your current students two or three–when their friends ask them where they take guitar lessons they can give one of them away. There’s also the option of setting up advertising promotions around your town, which would require some leg work. The idea is to be the first person that comes to mind when someone says, “guitar lessons,” and you should use any tools available to spread your name around. Business cards are a good start, but anything is possible. Guitar picks with “Guitar lessons” combined with your name and phone number could be a great promotional tool. There’s no end to the possibilities.
2 Responses leave one →
  1. 2011 May 9

    Another easy and important way to get and find students is by volunteering to help with the local High school guitar classes and clubs. When I do this, I am usually in the back helping them tune and running through the pieces while the regular instructor is on stage. This gives them a chance to see and meet you, and more importantly, gets you known in the community.

    • 2013 October 14
      bill gifford permalink

      Good advice there Dennis.

      However I’d like to add a rider to this from my own practical experience. I’ve spent more personal time, effort and motivation than I care to think about trying to instigate even the faintest interest in opportunities which should flow from the provision of volunteer support for this within schools. Yes, I’ve done the legwork, met with specialist music teachers of every persuasion and offered them exactly what they thought they needed all at no cost to them.
      The reality though, is so very different. Schools here ( Oz specifically) have become almost ‘stonewalled’ against any form of outside influence, due largely to the ever increasing admin requirements for child protection. This has been necessary in some circumstances however, its also spread through out all campuses now and makes for even getting any form of ‘hearing’ for volunteer support almost impossible. If you are lucky enough to get a resident music teacher interested, and they are largely the first to claim they can’t play themselves so its deemed very helpful for them, they then have to ‘drive’ that through the upper levels of administration for consideration and approval first and that creates a Whitehall Lunchtime Effect ( its much easier to decline any form of approval than to make the necessary adjustments and oversight that may be needed). That’s my personal experience unfortunately, and its seems to be getting much more difficult to enter this arena. I’ve run a number of community workshops
      with a view to encouraging music teachers to gain a greater interest in promoting Classical Guitar and its huge depth of history and music in their schools but haven’t yet been able to attract one teacher ! So keep trying by all means, its well worth the effort. My problem is, by the time rationality intervenes I’m going to be too old to respond.

      Cheers

      Bill

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