Raise Your Rates OR Take On More Students?

Which Is Better…For The Students?

“Business Growth” is something that all businesses aim for. As business owners, music teachers with private studios absolutely want and deserve the increased revenue that comes about with business growth. 

However, we are not selling products, we are selling blocks of time during which the student has access to our expertise. We have a finite amount of time that we can teach in a single day or a single week. So does this mean that our business growth is limited? 

A lament that we hear regularly from our peers is, 

I want to bring music to these brilliant, amazing young people…but currently I am doing that at the expense of my own financial comfort and self-care.

Solution 1: Group Sessions 

One suggestion that is often made by, for example, flute or violin teachers, is to run group classes in addition to private lessons, or even exclusively. That way, instead of receiving one payment from one student, you have several students paying for that same hour. 

However, this is not an ideal solution for piano teachers. Do you know a piano teacher who has 5 pianos in their home-based studio? 

Solution 2: Raise Your Rates

If you have been running your music studio for several years, word of mouth will spread and chances are that you have a waiting list of prospective students. The law of supply and demand suggests that if your demand is high, you can increase your rates and those who cannot afford to pay will drop off your student roster. Spaces will then open up for higher-paying clients. 

How do you think that would feel? If you had to look a parent in the eye and tell them you are making a significant price hike, knowing that they are stretched and struggling, possibly going in debt so they can send one and perhaps two of their children to you for lessons, would you be able to do it? For most teachers, they feel a strong bond with the young minds they are nurturing, and the idea of cutting off a budding career just because they come from a middle- to low-income family is absolutely unthinkable. 

Solution 3: More Students!

What many music teachers come to realize, often very early in their practice, is that in order to increase their revenue they need to add more students to their week. Burnout, of course, becomes a major concern. 

We turn to one music teacher for her response to this dilemma. Sarah is a piano teacher who had to increase her student load from 35 students a week to 50 in the space of one year, or she risked losing her studio altogether. 

“I had to look deeply into my working processes. I had to make time out of nowhere. I had been giving myself periodic breaks throughout the day just to get my head around the upcoming students, and to make notes about the students who had just left. Some of these tasks in between sessions had to go. They were just eating up too much of my day. It was hard to find time to just get a drink of water or use the bathroom!”

Sarah started organizing all of her students and their lesson information using our online tool, Cadenza. Instead of flipping through a notebook, she realized she could open up each student’s digital account, look at what the student has been working on, and even see if that student had been practicing throughout the week. 

“Not only has Cadenza saved me tons of prep time, I am able to set up tasks with my students. I’m not sitting in front of the student (and parent) writing out long notes or instructions. I can open up my tablet as the student is playing for me, type in a comment, then ask the student for feedback and if they want to keep working on the piece next week or how they feel about it. It’s so much more efficient and also acknowledges that the student can and should have a voice in their own education. 

Best of all, my prep time becomes a fluid part of each lesson. I know exactly where each student is at when they walk in the room. No more book flipping, and no more note-taking in between students, no more time used up by writing in dictation books!”

Today, Sarah has 40 students and is looking at ways to increase her student by another 30%, as she is using Cadenza with more and more of her students. She is noticing that her students are progressing further and faster, even though she has increased her student load.

“I was so worried that the quality of my time with each and every student would suffer if I added to my roster of students. I could not have done this without the discovery of Cadenza!”

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