For years we would have students ask us who we would recommend for them to take voice lessons from. There were several teachers we knew in our area, but after serious consideration we decided to add voice to our curriculum. It is easier than you think to add a music program to your school. The first year we had vocal only, then added piano, guitar, drums and violin. This program has grown fast and with little effort. Think about how easy it would be to advertise this new program. Our first 40 sign-ups for lessons were our current students! All of the ads for our studio now include a blurb about our music program. We are selling two programs in one ad! Now, instead of getting people just interested in dance, we also are getting people interested in music. More bang for your buck! One excellent benefit that you can promote is the convenience for parentsthey wont have to run from one location to another. If they have two children, one interested in dance and one in music, they only have to drive to one place. Save people time and they will love your program and spend more money with you! Here is how we did it!
After reviewing our space we decided to take our big, non-income producing office and turn it into a music studio, two to be exact. Next, we took off some lobby space and made two more. With four music studios we now had the space needed. There was a cost to make these studios. We added sound proofing material in between the walls, plus we bought 3 Kawai teaching pianos, a used (in great condition) drum set and 3 voice recorders. Even if you teach only voice you will need a piano and voice recorder with music playback in it. The cost was about $30,000, though that is not excessive for 4 music studios. It may be that you have space that can be easily converted into music studios at minimal cost. We paid off what we spent on the program in about six months.
We knew as our season ended that we were going to implement this program at the start of the new season in September. So we started to advertise before the semester ended. We made announcements at our year end showcase shows, sent e-mail blasts and in general whipped up some excitement before the studios were even built. We sent a floorplan to our clients to show them where the studios would be. During the spring we started to interview music teachers. Most, if not all, music lessons are private one-on-one classes. So it is important to get the right people in place. On the day we opened up registration, 25 of our current clients signed up. By weeks end we were up to 40. By the start of the season we were up to 90! The price you charge will depend largely on when you live. The best way is to research it by calling around to see what others are charging. Then make your lessons near the top end, if not at the top end. When we started we were the most expensive music lesson, up to $7 more per lesson! Now most of the music schools are charging what we are charging. I do not recommend being the least expensive program. If you are just starting out and your classes are the cheapest, people may not think the program is very good.
Running a music program can and will be tricky. A system must be in place to book the lesson and you will need to have a policy in place in regard to missed lessons. Because these are one-on-one lessons, you are relying on each student showing up and, of course, the teacher as well. We require 24-hour notice if the student is going to miss a lesson or they will be charged. Having a staff of instructors that are reliable will be the heartbeat of your program. No-shows or late-to-show will kill your program before it gets stared. Make sure that you put in your contract that you have zero tolerance for either. Once you build your program you can add all kinds of exciting additions. We now have a vocal performance group that performs at competitions, events, benefits and more. We also have the ability to do musical theater numbers with live vocals. It is great exposure for the school and for the program. And, of course, we build summer programs into the music schedule. One of our most popular is Fast Start Guitar, a one-week learn to play guitar camp, with participants receiving a FREE guitar. We have a source where we buy guitars for about $40 and build it into the price of the camp. We also have Start a Band camp and Idol vocal camp. The sky is the limit and all of these programs have grown each and every year. Consider adding music to your dance program and watch your profits and opportunities grow!