So it’s summer and your piano students aren’t going to school and maybe might not be that interested in piano lessons.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There are two:
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.
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.
Trying to keep it steady!
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!
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.
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!
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!
I hope you enjoyed this expert roundup and feel more confident in planning your summer routine.
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.