5 Teaching Experts Share Their Piano Summer Income Tips - Creative Music Education

5 Teaching Experts Share Their Piano Summer Income Tips

By Sean Wales | New Teachers

Jun 11

Piano Summer Income Blues

So it's summer and your piano students aren't going to school and maybe might not be that interested in piano lessons. What do you do about your piano summer income?

Does that mean your income just stops for those months? Surely we can't live like that. 

Summer can bring challenges for piano teaches, but it doesn't mean your income needs to stop entirely. 

We have gone to the experts to see what ideas they have on how to maintain income during summer. Your piano summer income certainly doesn't have to be a scary thought!

If you like what you see, why not check out our previous expert roundups? 

Also, if you're after more piano income related articles, don't forget to read this when you're done here: How to Change to Monthly Billing in Your Studio

Megan Desmarais

What are some of the things you do in your studio to maintain a steady income over summer?

My academic calendar and tuition ends in May, so I use June and July as supplemental months that bring in extra income.

I don't assume that summer will look the same as the rest of the school year, so I try to offer a variety of different camps, lessons and classes.

  • Summer is the time of the year when many people want to try something new, so I try to reach a lot of new students in the summer. I start more new students in the summer than any other time of the year. It works well that these students have a head start for when the school year gets going again.
  • Piano camps are my favorite summer activity. They can bring in significant extra income in a short amount of time. I try to have at least 2 piano camp options in the summer. One is always geared towards beginning students and another option for experienced students.
  • I always keep a movement-based preschool music class going in the summer because there are always new families looking for a summer activity to do together. -I try to offer a few classes that don't fit into my regular school-year schedule. This summer, I'll have a ukulele jam session for adults, piano playdates for 4-6 year olds and weekly piano hang outs for my students who are looking for a slower pace in the summer. 
What is one of the biggest mistakes teachers make when it comes to income during the summer break?

The biggest mistake that I notice piano teachers making is they only offer one product all year long: weekly piano lessons.

With families travelling, children going to camp and the lack of a school routine, it's unrealistic to expect that things will operate as normal.

Instead, studios need to cater to who their clients are in the summer, whether they are new clients who want to try something new or their current clients who need a change of routine.

What's one of the most unusual/quirky/funny ideas you've heard of (or tried) for building summer income?

This is not super unusual, but it's out of the ordinary for me:

For the past two summers I have been offering ukulele classes in addition to my summer piano camps and lessons. Ukulele is a really fun and accessible way to reach more people and it always attracts a slightly different crowd that I wouldn't ordinarily get to work with. 

Jennifer Foxx

What are some of the things you do in your studio to maintain a steady income over summer?

I like to hold summer camps or workshops for my students. I always like to look for the win-win in my studio and camps have definitely become my win-win.

Where I live, in Arizona, families want to get away from the heat as soon as possible and stay away as long as they can. Then there are swimming lessons and other activities to try to stay cool.

Coming to piano every week over the summer is the last thing that they want to do. Through time, I've learned that many of my families prefer to have camp sessions available even before school gets out. So I always have at least one after school session. 

What is one of the biggest mistakes teachers make when it comes to income during the summer break?

Teachers sometimes assume there isn't a win-win solution just waiting for them if they try.

Don't let worries of what may or may not happen keep you from trying something new. You don't know if something will work unless you give it a try. 

What's one of the most unusual/quirky/funny ideas you've heard of (or tried) for building summer income?

Last year I started offering summer practice packets as an option they can either replace a summer camp workshop with or add onto a summer camp workshop.

A summer practice packet includes video lessons, the music (I always use studio licensed music), and usually a practice printable that I have made thrown in. This has become an extra win-win as a good chunk of my students either chose this as one of their options and some added it as an additional - this meant additional summer income coming in. 

You can read more details on the summer practice packets here.

Daniel Patterson

What are some of the things you do in your studio to maintain a steady income over summer?

I increase my advertising budgets months in advance. I plan to overfill my schedule prior to the summer months. This begins in late February/early March each year.

What is one of the biggest mistakes teachers make when it comes to income during the summer break?

There are two:

  1. Thinking that they can threaten or beg their way into families staying for the summer. I learned (the hard way) as a young teacher - it doesn't work.  
  2. 'Trying' to fill up their camps. Filling up camps is not haphazard, It's the result of careful, thoughtful marketing. It's the result of rapport and trust with families. Get those two things right, and everything else happens automatically.
What's one of the most unusual/quirky/funny ideas you've heard of (or tried) for building summer income?

I will use different types of ads to get students right before summer. This is a good time to get Facebook ads going... you can 'buy' students on Facebook for as little as $50 per student. 

LISTEN: How to Grow Your Studio Like a Pro With Daniel Patterson | Podcast Episode 

Nicola Cantan

NicolaCantan_ColourfulKeys
What are some of the things you do in your studio to maintain a steady income over summer?

I allow pay-as-you-go lessons during the summer which my students/parents schedule themselves using calend.ly. 

This is helpful for sure, but the biggest thing I do is plan my whole year around having a much lighter load in the summer.

The mistake I see teachers make is trying to keep their income steady! Sure if you want to go that route, you can do summer camps, workshops and other inventive things to keep up your income. But the real change will come if you sit down and plan out your year as a whole.

Stop thinking of your teaching profits as a monthly salary, and start thinking like a business. All businesses have peaks and troughs throughout the year, and the savvy ones plan for those.

The owner of a Christmas ornament shop doesn't just not pay her mortgage from January – August...she thinks about her off-peak and peak seasons and plans accordingly.

Think about what you want to do in the summer (maybe that's elaborate camps, or maybe it's nothing!) and plan your fees and spending based upon that. It will take so much stress away. 

What is one of the biggest mistakes teachers make when it comes to income during the summer break?

 Trying to keep it steady!

What's one of the most unusual/quirky/funny ideas you've heard of (or tried) for building summer income?

I like to really focus in on something we don't get to cover during the year in our summer lessons. We play even more games, compose and explore their musical passions. 

One idea which I think can work very well if you want to incentivise regular lessons is to have an end of summer concert for only those students who took summer lessons.

I've seen some really fun ones teachers have done in their back garden with barbecues and all! 

Sara Campbell

What are some of the things you do in your studio to maintain a steady income over summer?

I've done a variety of things over the years!

About six years ago I started implementing mandatory summer lessons. Parents sign students up for 6-10 lessons during June, July, and August, and they also have the option of attending my summer camps or workshops. Because I use a flexible scheduling system, parents don't feel stressed out about scheduling around vacations or other activities.

Once I got comfortable running group camps, I started offering them to students outside of the studio. It gave me an excuse to connect with my local teacher friends (always a bonus!) and gave my summer income a nice boost as well. 

What is one of the biggest mistakes teachers make when it comes to income during the summer break?

 We need to stop apologizing for making a living during the summer months.

If we approach parents in a timid or fearful manner, they catch on to that attitude! The second biggest mistake is not valuing your time and services in the summer.

It might sound crazy, but I actually charge more for summer lessons than I do during the regular school year. And my rosters are always full!

What's one of the most unusual/quirky/funny ideas you've heard of (or tried) for building summer income?

This might be just a local thing, but a lot of piano teachers in my area have summer-only jobs.

I've heard of quite a few who become life guards in the summer! Can't say that I've ever had the inclination to go that direction. I'm far too fair skinned! Ha! 

Conclusion 

I hope you enjoyed this expert roundup and feel more confident in planning your summer routine and piano summer income.

As always, if you are after unique resources and exclusive piano teaching courses, the Inner Circle is waiting for you. Click here to find out more

What do you do to make an income during summer?

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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About the Author

Sean is one of Tim's former students and a University of Melbourne graduate. He studied a Bachelor of Arts, majoring Media and Communications and Italian, and is currently working as a cadet journalist for Fairfax Media.

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