This week I've been sharing the truth about my first summer camp. Overall it was a big success! But I definitely made some rookie mistakes. This series is all about helping you avoid my mistakes!
(Did you miss the beginning of this series? Find Mistake #1 here and Mistake #2 here.)
MISTAKE #3 - I DIDN'T TAKE PICTURES
If you read my first 2 camp posts, you know that I did do several things right. I was very focused on registrations, daily plans, and activities. I was even smart enough to hire extra help.
But I never once thought about taking pictures.
This left me at a disadvantage on 2 fronts:
When the realization hit me, I was so bummed!
DO THIS INSTEAD
While you could take your own photos, you'll already be pretty busy! A smarter solution is to assign this job to someone else:
You'll love having this burden off your shoulders during camp week. Best of all, the photos will be invaluable to you when you're promoting your next camp. (Just make sure that your parents sign a waiver saying you have permission to use their child's photo.)
If you're planning your first summer camp, I hope this series has helped!
Sara Campbell and I have also created a FREE summer camp checklist to help you have a successful summer camp. Just print it out and you'll have peace of mind that you're not forgetting something important. Phew!
DID YOU HEAR THE NEWS?
This month there's a Free Group Coaching Bonus that comes with Group Lessons 101. (For those who register by 3/31/18.) Another great resource included with Group 101 is Sara Campbell's Music Blast Plan. You get daily schedules, a supply list, resources - it's all been done for you!
But you better hurry! The Coaching Bonus goes away soon!
OTHER CAMP POSTS YOU MIGHT ENJOY
Yesterday's post was all about me going overboard with the size of my first summer camp. Today I'm sharing another mistake that a lot of rookies make.
MISTAKE #2 - I CREATED MY OWN CAMP PLAN
I thought organizing a camp would be easy. Plan a few activities. Do some crafts. Simple, right? Wrong!
For that first camp, I really should have researched what was working for other teachers. Instead, I simply brainstormed what things "might" work.
My big activity mistakes:
DO THIS INSTEAD
My camp would have been much better if I had:
In the end, I think it's important that your first camp be stress-free. You'll already be a little nervous because you're a rookie. There's no need to make it tougher by doing it all yourself.
A SNEAK PEEK AT MISTAKE #3
Make sure you come back tomorrow! I'll share the big thing I forgot all about. I'll also share how it impacted my marketing afterward.
If you're worried you might forget something - this free checklist has you covered!
And don't forget about the Free Group Coaching Bonus that comes with Group Lessons 101. (For those who register by 3/31/18.) Another great resource included with Group 101 is Sara Campbell's Music Blast Plan. You get daily schedules, a supply list, resources - it's all been done for you!
OTHER CAMP POSTS YOU MIGHT ENJOY
A teacher recently posted on Facebook:
I am starting to plan my first week-long (5 days) Music Summer Camp ever and I'm a little (ok...a lot!) nervous about it! I'm looking for some insight and advice on how to run a wonderful, fun music camp.
It made me think back to my first summer camp. Between you and me, I was pretty nervous:
Fortunately I got over my fears and overall my camp was a huge success:
But it was far from perfect.
This week I'm writing a series about my 3 BIG rookie mistakes. Today's post covers Mistake #1 AND how you can set yourself up for success!
MISTAKE #1 - MY CAMP WAS TOO BIG
For that first summer camp, I went all out. I packed 12 kids into my 2-room studio. Not only did I have a huge group, they stayed a long time - 5 HOURS a day for a FULL WEEK!
Yep - I went a little....overboard.
I'll give myself credit for being organized.
But at the end of the day - it was too many students for my first camp. And definitely too long.
DO THIS INSTEAD
I would have saved myself a lot of stress if I had:
In the end, I think I could have earned the same income, but with a LOT less stress!
A SNEAK PEEK AT MISTAKE #2
Make sure you come back tomorrow. I'll share with you the big mistake I made with planning camp activities and what you should to do differently.
(And don't forget about the Free Group Coaching Bonus that comes with Group Lessons 101. Valid only if you register by 3/31/18.)
OTHER CAMP POSTS YOU MIGHT ENJOY
At some point - we all need more income.
Just a few years ago, I was in this situation. Within a very short span of time, our dog had expensive (!) medical problems, my husband took a significant pay cut, and my son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. It was completely overwhelming.
While I was grateful that our dog made it through, my husband didn't lose his job, and our son was still alive, it was absolutely one of the hardest times in my life. Both emotionally and financially.
I remember one day, finishing up a piano lesson, and feeling good that something was going right. My students were doing fantastic and it felt like I was making a difference in their lives. Plus - I was having fun!
At that very moment that I decided I needed to transition from "hobby to career." Seriously - I remember actually making a decision. I just "decided" and then I got to work.
You can do it too!
I know it's only January, but NOW is the time to start crafting a plan if you want to earn more money this summer.
Here are 4 things you can do to UP your income:
1. Start a referral policy
When I needed to get more money, the first thing I did was enlist the help of my current families by offering a referral credit.
But there was a twist.
Parents are busy. They won't hurry to pass your name around unless you give them a really, REALLY great incentive.
This blog post details exactly how I made a referral policy work for me. Try it. You have nothing to lose.
2. Offer summer Camps
Parents want their kids to do fun activities during the summer. Why not offer a piano camp? It's fun AND educational.
Better yet - If you offer a MUSIC camp instead of a piano camp, your students could bring a friend and you could really UP your profit. (Some of those kids might have so much fun that they actually register for piano lessons.)
Check out this post and this post for tips on how to have a successful summer camp. (And of course this is a wonderful resource!)
3. Teach online lessons
You probably know that online lessons are great for make-ups, but they're also a fantastic way to build your studio.
With the power of the internet, you can literally teach students across the globe!
One warning - Don't fall into that trap of thinking you should charge less money for online lessons. Why would you? You still have the same qualifications, lessons are the same amount of time, and you're teaching the same material. Don't lower your rate. In fact.....
You might consider charging a higher rate. That's what I'm doing right now. Yep, my Skype-only students actually pay MORE.
Why? When I lived in Dallas, my rates were higher. After we moved to a smaller city, I needed to lower my lesson fees, but I kept my Dallas students at the same rate even though they transitioned to online lessons.
Online lessons could certainly be a game-changer if you need more money. Definitely consider this option if you want to build your business.
(If you're uncomfortable with this, Teaching Online Lessons will get you up and going in no time!)
4. Consider adding Lab time
Piano labs are a win for everyone. YOU earn extra money, while your students get more learning time.
All too often, teachers rule out piano labs because they worry it'll cost too much to implement. That's not the case at all!
The truth is that labs can add extra income - with no extra time or expense on your part. Learn all about here.
BoNUS IDEA - CONSIDER TEACHING PRESCHOOLERS
Adding preschoolers is a great way to UP your income - both now AND in the future. Remember, if you are successful with those young kids, you can move them right into your piano studio. And hopefully keep them for years to come!
If you're serious about making more income in 2019, I hope these ideas help you out. Remember - NOW is the time to start making plans. Summer will be here before you know it!
Catch our Valentine's Day sale now!
If you're looking for a simple way to add fun to your piano lessons, consider surprising your students with a story. It's a great way to engage kids and get a few giggles too!
Here are some of my favorites!
The Bear and the Piano by David Litchfield
One day a bear cub finds a strange object in the forest. He bravely touches it and is suddenly startled by the odd sounds.
But.....he's also intrigued.
And so begins this wonderful story about a bear who discovers a piano and learns to master the instrument.
This book is about much more than the piano. It's a lovely story about friendship and is a must-have for your collection!
Mole Music by David McPhail
Mole lives a simple, quiet life until he hears someone playing a violin. From that moment on, Mole is never the same. He determines that he can learn to play music too!
Through daily patience and practice, he see success! Soon others are enchanted by his music in a way that Mole never realizes.
It's a great way to discuss the importance of practice and the impact that our music can have on others.
Never Play Music Right Next to the Zoo by John Lithgow
If you're looking for giggles from your piano students, this is the book for you!
It's a story is about a little boy who goes to a concert at the zoo. Before long, he falls asleep and dreams that the animals storm the stage - becoming the musicians! They end up playing all sorts of instruments in a concert for the humans.
It's a creative story and the illustrations are delightful! Just what you'd expect from John Lithgow! And of course this one is great too!
The Cardboard Piano by Lynne Ray Perkins
We've all had times when playing the piano made us feel.....different.
If you have students struggling with those feelings, grab this book and start talking about it!
This is a story about a girl named Debbie who takes piano lessons. She creates a cardboard piano for her friend, in the hope that her friend will love playing the piano too.
Unfortunately, things don't go the way Debbie planned and both girls learn a life lesson: just because you're friends with someone, doesn't mean you always have the same interests. And that's okay!
(This is a great book to get discussion going, but I recommend it for your older students, not preschool.)
Other posts you might enjoy....
What are YOUR favorite books? What would you add to my list?
Last year was my first Christmas Camp and it was a huge success. Students registered right away and quite frankly, it was exciting!
What was my secret?
By the time I sent parents information about the camp, they already knew all about it. Yep! I had spent a couple weeks telling students all about camp BEFORE I asked parents to sign up.
Sounds too easy, right? Wrong!
Let's take a look at the entertainment industry.
The latest Smurf movie just hit theaters, but they've been marketing it for weeks - if not months. Everywhere you look there are trailers, commercials, toys - and right now, McDonald's even has them on their website!
You get the point....moviemakers don't release a movie on a Friday night and expect you to show up. No! They get you excited. They tell you how great it's going to be!
They make you feel like you're going to lose out if you miss it.
Piano camps are no different.
Easy Ways to Get Students Excited
Here are some simple ways that you can "play up" your camp before you send out those registration forms!
Timing is Everything
Remember - the key is doing this BEFORE you ask parents to register. It's the most simple, effective, and inexpensive marketing you can do. And best of all - it really works!!
Haven't Started Planning Yet?
There's STILL time to plan a camp even if you haven't started! Here's a blog post to help you get set up in no time!
Registration is Open!
Group Lessons 101 features 7 guests who teach you how to plan, market, and instruct group lessons of all kinds.
If you want to earn extra money this summer, this webinar includes free resources to make camp planning easier than you ever dreamed!
Click here to see why this is our most popular webinar!
Hi there! I'm Tracy Selle. A Christian wife, mom, and author of 101 Piano Practice Tips. I'm also a piano teacher and founder of Upbeat Piano Teachers.