Help a piano teacher target high-paying students?

by Benjamin Farthing 10 replies
My friend undersells herself as a piano teacher.

Charges something like $15 for a lesson... which she drives to!

I convinced her she should brand herself and raise her rates.

She's not a concert pianist, and doesn't have musical degrees or anything like that, so we can't brand her as the most distinguished teacher.

She's the director of a city-wide choir, has years of volunteer experience with youth programs, and has a master's in and job as a vocational rehab counselor (helps disabled people find jobs).

Any ideas on branding approaches to hook the wealthy crowd?

I'm thinking something like "best at working with children," or "helps your children learn faster," or "best at helping your children love the piano."

And any ideas on methods to find and contact those willing to spend $75 on piano lessons?
#copywriting #highpaying #piano #students #target #teacher
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    I would expect lessons to be from 15-40 per 30 minutes BASED ON the qualifications/experience of the teacher. But also the lower end would be having students come to her.

    As for brand - the idea that you can reach 'high paying' students isn't a good one. Unless your child is exceptionally talented parents don't look for 'high end' teachers....if a student is talented, the parent will look at teacher qualifications.

    Why does she travel to the students rather than teaching at home?

    That's the problem - a 30 minute $15 lesson makes no sense if you spend 30 minutes or more in your car to go to and from the lesson.

    She should have two fees - one for teaching in her home and one for lessons with travel required. That's common sense. What are the going fees in that area? Music lesson costs vary widely from one location to the next.

    She might also consider offering "special" lessons to 'challenged' children or adults. That would bring her educational creds into the picture and potentially be a higher fee.

    If for some reason she HAS to teach in the student's home - she needs to set prices accordingly. She is saving the parent time and money but that can't be profitable for her.
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    • Profile picture of the author lee goupil
      What approach is she currently taking now?
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      • So far, she's just been using word of mouth. All her students come from her social circle.
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    • Kay King, thanks, a lot of good stuff in your reply.

      I agree working from her home would be best. She's been looking into that.

      "Special" lessons is a great idea.

      I'm not sure I agree about reaching higher paying students. I brand myself in a certain way as a copywriter and only work with the highest paying clients. It's gotta be possible for a piano teacher to do the same. You're right that it'll be difficult since most of that demographic will want more traditional qualifications. But parents also want their children to enjoy lessons. They want fast results. They worry their sensitive little girl needs a kind teacher. Some parents will have tried lessons already and had specific objections to the experience. Branding to offer a benefit that overcomes those objections, or that offers an additional benefit to "piano teacher," I think will let her successfully charge more.
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Originally Posted by Benjamin Farthing View Post

    She's not a concert pianist, and doesn't have musical degrees or anything like that, so we can't brand her as the most distinguished teacher.
    Being a concert pianist or acquiring a MFA has nothing to do with teaching piano. Playing, yes. Teaching, no.

    I'm more familiar with the sports world, but the idea should translate. Some of the very best coaches/teachers in sports were fair to mediocre players who had to count on technique and hard work to make up for gaps in natural talent.

    Originally Posted by Benjamin Farthing View Post

    She's the director of a city-wide choir, has years of volunteer experience with youth programs, and has a master's in and job as a vocational rehab counselor (helps disabled people find jobs).
    This speaks to her ability to teach. As you move outside of her social circle, this is the kind of thing you want to emphasize. This is a very usable USP.

    Originally Posted by Benjamin Farthing View Post

    And any ideas on methods to find and contact those willing to spend $75 on piano lessons?
    Just the fact that she is willing to travel should make the lessons more valuable. How much is it worth to students (or parents of students) to have the teacher come to them, and to learn on their own piano in the comfort of their own home? How much is the time and gas to go back and forth from lessons worth to busy people?
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  • Profile picture of the author DABK
    I think you might want to change your mind about how you end up as distinguished. She might have in her background other things that might allow her to be distinguished.

    High piano-lesson-paying parents in my areas live in certain areas... the areas with the bigger, expensive areas. So, if she were in my area, she'd have to hit those bigger, expensive areas.

    In my areas, a lot of schools (maybe all) have choir and band and orchestra. Many parents don't want to pay $1000 for a clarinet till they know Little Jimmy is serious about clarinet. So, they go to instrument stores that lease out instruments. If Little Jimmy ends up being serious, the buy the instrument, if Little Jimmy decides on another instrument or on raising turtles instead of playing music, they return the instrument and don't need to pay anymore.

    One such place I know about posts notes about musical events in their store and mails out a newsletter to a rather large array of parents of muciscally-inclined kids.

    In my area, the schools that have bands, orchestra, etc., have one or more music teachers. Said music teachers recommend private lessons for some of the kids... recommend private teachers.

    Every now and again, said schools put up a music show. And print a little 'pamphlet' about the event and the list of kids in the show and what instrument and piece they will perform. Which cost money. Which they get by featuring various local businesses.

    Any of that happens in your area?

    How about churches?

    Now, to positioning.

    She has to choose that she's not at the bottom. She has to accept that she is worth more. To do that, she has to make a list of what she has to offer and who she wants to attract.

    Then have her do a survey of how much her competitors charge and their qualifications. Because it will show her she's good enough to charge more.

    Point out to her that, for some people, her low price is an impediment to hiring her: if she were good, she'd charge more kind of thinking. If she wants to help talented kids who can't afford high prices, she can always charge them the high-price and apply a discount.
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  • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
    Even when I was a kid, a couple of generations ago, my parents paid a premium for the teacher to come to our house. On the other hand, we got a slight discount off the premium rate for a second kid having a lesson at our house. (There were four of us but at most three taking lessons in any one year.)

    These days, when we hear so much about parents having so little time and energy to schlep kids around, I believe it would be a huge benefit to certain parents to emphasize that this teacher "comes to you." Also, there is a benefit to the student to have the lesson take place in their familiar surroundings, on the same piano they regularly practice on. Even more so, the piano teacher would be able to tell a clueless parent that there was something wrong with the student's piano, bench, lighting, etc.

    One more point. Even more important than the per-lesson fee is a fee structure that goes by, let's say, a semester, or month, so that the parents don't get away with not paying if they cancel a lesson because Susie or Jimmy has to see the orthodontist or has to go off to Florida.

    I got the best deal of all, by the way: My parents often said the one who stuck with lessons the longest got to have the piano when they got married. I got it at age 28 even though I was not married yet. It has huge sentimental value for me!

    Marcia Yudkin
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
    Which desire of the high-paying parents are you trying to satisfy?

    Figure that out and position her accordingly.

    As an example, parents don't send their kids to martial arts school to become the next Bruce Lee. They're motivated by the desire to have their children become disciplined human beings.

    Alex
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  • Profile picture of the author ctrlaltdelete
    Honestly speaking, it's going to be difficult to reach out to "high-end" folks just because. She'll want to capitalize more on her experience to reel in more students. Set up different rates for lessons at her home/studio and for special private lessons where she has to travel. The latter ought to have a more expensive fee.


    Have you considered making a Facebook page or perhaps even developing a website( websites will cost quite a bit though, more so if you hire someone, but they can be a worthwhile investment) You can put up different courses and let students or their parents choose options on what level of lessons they want more easily.
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  • Profile picture of the author cearionmarie
    You are right when you told her that she should brand herself. That is the first step when you want to add more value in what you do or yourself. To do this, social media can help out, IG especially. Instagram marketing or influencer marketing, these two are great in building a brand.
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