I have been teaching singing lessons for what seems like forever. A private voice teacher is typically a coach of some sort. We build a solid relationship with our students that can last from the age of ten to when they leave for university. Some students stay forever. Our relationship is built on trust. I know all about what is going on in their lives, how they feel on a particular topic, who their crush is, who isn’t being super nice at school, performance anxieties etc. Most of the time, long after lessons have ended we continue to stay in touch via social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram. These relationships are important for both of us. They need and should know I truly care about them and it isn’t about the dollar. My business has been built from word of mouth, former or current students recommend my services to friends, family and colleagues.
Moms are household managers. I love dads but in my business, moms are typically the chauffeur, in charge of payment, the ones who book accompanist times, organize the schedule, email about updates and deal with all of the little things their child needs for success. It’s just the way it has been. Most of my students have been girls or women. I have taught many boys but there is still a stigma around boys and singing (ugh!). I am a member of a few local Facebook mom groups. I have yet to post my services but have commented on posts where moms have been asking about voice lessons. Without plugging myself, I typically inform them, the importance of finding a coach with experience, one who is registered and has a degree. Vocal health is my number one priority. You wouldn’t go to a doctor who had zero training, you wouldn’t even go to a yoga instructor who had never learned what it takes to be one. Singing seems to be different, many uninformed parents send their children to people without any training what so ever. Often, once I have mentioned the importance of choosing a registered teacher I am asked questions and this has led to new students. When moms become empty nesters, they are so used to having been a chauffeur, a cook, a cleaner, a support person and they find themselves a little lost. I’m pleased to say some of my very best students have been moms of former students. How much fun is it to watch someone grow as a musician and find a passion later on in life?
I would have to say my target audience are girls aged ten to eighteen. Singing lessons are not cheap. It is crucial to let parents know about the potential costs up front. Exams, rehearsals with accompanists and competitions add to those costs. Typically the parents of my students are educated and studied music as a child themselves. They understand the importance of music study. They are middle to upper class. On that note, I think it is sad that only a specific demographic can afford to enjoy high end music lessons or competitive sport. (A topic for another post but I have included an interesting article here on the subject.)
As teaching lessons typically take place in the evening, I have reduced my studio in order to work around my son’s busy swim and homework schedule. I am looking forward to building it back up as he gets older. Here are some of the tools I will be using to do so. Creating a Facebook business profile page, offering Skype lessons (enabling me to teach outside of my time zone), building a website and distributing business cards. That is my summer project, once I complete this program.
What about you? What do you look for when looking for a private music teacher? What amount of time do you think is appropriate for your child to commit to weekly study? What is your experience with music lessons?
I have attached some links to help you find the perfect teacher for your child (in case you’re interested)!
ORMTA Ontario Registered Music Teachers’ Association
CFMTA Canadian Federation of Music Teachers’ Association