Do you wish you could teach during the daytime so that you could have a better work-life balance? Preschool music lessons could do that and much more. Find out about the benefits of teaching preschoolers in this episode.
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VMT Ep 44_3 Benefits of teaching preschoolers in your music studio.mp3 | Convert audio-to-text with Sonix
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This is episode 44 of the vibrant music teaching podcast. I’m Nicola accountant and today we’re talking about why you would want to add pre-school lessons to your music studio
Welcome beautiful teachers to another episode of the vibrant music teaching podcast. Today I want to talk to you about preschool lessons and many will of you will know that I specialize in preschool piano teaching and that it’s something that I love to do. But I want to talk to you about why you might consider it for yourself. Because I know many of you out there may have dipped the toe into preschool music lessons or you may have tried it and decided that’s not for me or you may have been too scared to try it or not even considered it. But today I want to talk to you about the benefits really of teaching students that are this young and why you would want to do it. Because I know many teachers think that basically if you start a seven year old and start a four year old at the pace the four year old goes out will mean that they end up in almost the same place when they’re nine to what’s even the point or they just are scared or intimidated by the amount of training and research that they would need to do in order to teach these young students and perhaps the tools they would need to invest in or programs they would need to invest in or maybe just the tiring nature of teaching students this young because especially for your first while teaching them it will be an exhausting experience.
I’m not going to lie. It is not as easy to teach a preschooler as it is to teach an adult. In many ways of course there are other ways which make teaching adults more challenging but it’s definitely less tiring. OK so for preschool students you need a lot of energy. You may need some training. You may need to invest in tools or programs. So what is even the point why would you take this on. Well there are several key reasons that have prompted many teachers to look into preschool lessons and the same reasons that I got started teaching preschoolers in the first place. The first one is that it means you can branch out into some daytime hours and this is the huge one. This is the one that most people gravitate towards first because freeing up some daytime hours for teaching meaning that you can actually teach during the day while most kids are in school is a huge benefit for many music teachers. It may mean that you get to finish earlier and therefore actually see your own children when they get home from school before they’re exhausted and going to bed.
It may mean that you can boost your income because you just need more hours to teach and there aren’t enough available in the day.
Although I would caution you a little bit on burnout there if you’re just trying to cram in as many students as possible or it may suit you better because all of your friends are in normal people jobs all of them are working during the day then they finish at 5:00 and they want to hang out. Good to see a film go out go to dinner and you’re working until 8:00. You can’t see anyone or do anything and it’s killing your social life. So if you can take on some preschoolers and just move those hours or starting hours back just a little bit it will make a massive difference even in areas where students start school quite young. So in Ireland for instance we start school actually at 4:00. So when I talk about preschoolers I’m usually talking about three to five year old students which doesn’t actually make a lot of sense because most of those students are in school here. But we use the term preschoolers to refer to this young age. And in large parts of the world children don’t start school until six here they start earlier but they do finish earlier in the day for those first couple of years of school. And that’s true almost everywhere that they do start that young. So even if they finish at 12 thirty that still means they might be available for a lesson at one vs. only starting at three. It gives you an extra two hours potentially to move your teaching day back earlier or add extra students by starting earlier in your part of the world.
Preschoolers may not have anything going on. Maybe they have a little bit of kindergarten in the morning and they finish at 11 and you can start even earlier than that. Wherever you are though there’s probably some possibility of them starting a little bit earlier or having a more different hours than your school students which is fantastic for your income for your free time and for your work life balance. Another benefit of teaching preschoolers is that they can be your customers and their parents can for years and years and years. And if you know one thing about marketing you might know that the cost of acquiring a new customer in any industry is always higher than keeping an existing one. You don’t want students to be just falling out of the bottom of your sieve of a studio. You want to keep them happy and returning year after year as much as possible. And it’s actually easier to do this with preschool students. It may seem like there would be a bigger burnout rate of these students where parents realize that it’s not the right fit for them or something like that or just other things start happening in the child’s interest change. But from my experience actually these students stay with me for a very long time. And if you set it up right and you lay down the expectations before they begin correctly often they can be your students for years. And consider this if you have a student who starts with you at age three or four even if they quit at age 12 when they move to middle or high school or a secondary school they have stayed with you for nine years eight or nine years.
Now consider your student who started an average age or say nine. They stay for nine years that’s the whole way to the end of high school. What do you think their retention rate comparison would be. I think you’re way more likely to keep that three or four year old until they’re 12 when their routine is extremely steady and everything’s predictable then you are to keep their nine year old as they fluctuate between different schools and become a teenager we all know how fickle teenagers are at sticking with lessons no matter how great you are with them. So it’s more likely that you’ll actually keep the preschooler for longer. As I say as long as you set up the expectations correctly before they even begin and you are on the same page with what’s happening with lessons with the parents generally you’ll be able to keep them through most of their primary school years. And that’s a fantastic retention rate for most studios. So consider that and if they are going to stay with you all the way to the end of high school at 14 years 14 or 15 years in your studio which may almost end intimidating to some of us right. But how fantastic would that be if they stayed the entire time. They would learn so much. They would develop such a great relationship with you and you would have a customer for a much longer time than you normally would.
So having these long term customers is a huge benefit of starting students at this young age even if they’re five years old even if you don’t go quite as young as three. Right. Teaching preschool students can also be a huge point of difference in your marketing. And even if you don’t want to attract only preschool students having something specific to say about your studio can be a huge benefit. Perhaps you’ll be the only one teaching students at age three or four in your area or one a few. It definitely will make you stand out more than just being a standard piano teacher who take students at a normal age of seven or eight years old right. It’s definitely going to be a little bit more different something people aren’t used to. That gives you something to talk about on your marketing materials on your posters on your Web site. It gives you something special to say but it also gives people a reason to talk about you. No one mentions average lessons from an average teacher in general conversation. Right. It’s very interesting you might say that their kiddos started piano this week to their friend when they meet for their weekly coffee but they’re not really going to chat about you. They would recommend you maybe if the other parent actually asks but they’re not going to bring it up in conversation. However if they’re three or four year old starts lessons that’s something to actually talk about. That’s something to say to another parent. Guess what. Villanova has started she’s actually learning piano.
The teacher is amazing she’s able to teach these students at such a young age and this really fun way using all these games. Annabel loves it. And she’s learning so much. I never thought I would start her in piano lessons this young. Right. That’s something different. That’s something they might actually chat about. So those are the three main reasons that many teachers consider starting pre-school lessons and why you might want to consider it too or might consider investing in this more if you’ve started already. So you’ve got the daytime hours possibility which is huge for teachers. You have the possibility of keeping customers for far longer than you normally do. Great retention rates. And it’s a point of difference for your marketing. It’s something that makes you stand out from the crowd. I do want to throw in a oh nice little reason here. Which is entirely in my biased opinion. But another reason why I want you to consider teaching these young students very little fingers to play instruments is that it’s so rewarding. I mentioned that it’s tiring it is it is so tiring. They are the most tiring lessons that you will teach and especially as I say in the first few months that you teach preschoolers you’re going to think oh my gosh I need a coffee every time you finish one of those lessons or I need a nap or want my chocolate or whatever but it is so rewarding and I would venture to say it is even more rewarding than many older student lessons.
One of the reasons that’s true is that the parents glow in a different way with a pre-school student. It’s because and I’m not saying parents of older students are jaded but they have seen their child do a lot of stuff right. So their 9 year old they know they’re capable of stuff and they’re going to be supportive and lovely I’m sure about it and they’re going to give lots of compliments. I’d be very proud. But when their 3 year old plays a little piece. Oh my gosh that’s special. That’s extra special shall I say. That extra special smile that you get from a parent when they’re little tiny little fingers performing a concert or something is pretty amazing. The other thing that makes it so rewarding for me is that I get time and what I mean by that is when students get older and they start older. There’s a lot of pressure to do various things to get them up to certain levels to get them on the right tracks to do this to do that. And while I don’t buy into all of that and I don’t push them through exams or anything else and I resist that that still is there. There is an expectation of a certain amount of progress and this happening before that age and such and such going on. But when you start a three or four year old you have this sort of space you have this time to do stuff you can improvise for the entire first year and no one will really bat an eyelid.
As long as you explain what’s going on you can’t really do that with a 9 year old they will be expected to read music and there’s an element of sort of a ticking clock. Oh they didn’t start yet. They need to get up to this stage. They need to be reading. Why aren’t they doing this why aren’t they doing that. No one’s going to ask why a four year old isn’t reading pieces two hands together or at least I hope they won’t at least talk about that with the parents at the first meeting and I promise they’ll get on board with you so you could do tons of improvisation you can spend time working on rhythm skills that you don’t otherwise get the chance to develop in this third way you can teach students to sing in Sulphur you can you can just teach so many more skills because you have this luxury of time they start at four and you consider that you potentially have up until they’re 18 to teach them or at least their parents think about it that way then you have the luxury of time. There’s so much more time to spend with them and to explore things and it just feels like there’s less pressure. And I think that’s one of the reasons I find it so rewarding and I think you will too. So I hope you’ll consider starting preschool lessons or expanding them in your studio.
I’ve actually just released a entire preschool group curriculum which is up in the vibrant music teaching site so members can find that right now in the video library just click on the video library tab there in the menu and you’ll see it up the top. It’s called many musicians and it’s a group preschool program that brings together improvisation pre reading skills rhythm activities theory and technique work in an age appropriate developmentally appropriate way. And it brings it all together through fun and games of course in true vibrant music teaching style. So this entire course is available to members right now with all of the principals you would need and videos to walk you through each lesson every step of the way. You might know that if you’ve looked into group preschool music programs you might have come across ones with licensing fees and all sorts of charges and huge setup costs. This isn’t like that. This is all inside vibrant music teaching. It’s just a standard part of membership. That’s the magic of the vibrant music teaching membership site. Is it just keeps getting more valuable every month. So this is an entire year long program later in this year I’m gonna be adding a second year to that. Many musicians too. And it’s all included in the membership fee. So you just go to VMT dot ninja. Sign up if you’re not a member and if you’re a member as I say you can check out the many musicians program and start prepping perhaps to include it in your September plans for your studio or maybe over the summer to get going on it by going to the video library now. That’s it for this week. I hope you’ll consider adding pre-school music lessons into your studio whether it’s group or solo lessons and reaping the many benefits that they have to offer.
Bye for now. Remember you can get access to the full many musicians program for the low monthly cost of vibrant music teaching membership. Just go to VMT Dutton inject the sign up today get instant access to that as well as every other course and every game and resource in the library.
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