Growing Your Studio…

By Rachel Velarde

Trying something new…

I’ve been working on promoting and building my studio for the past month.  I got MANY great ideas at the Classical Singer Convention in Chicago at the end of May, thanks to Cynthia Vaughn at Magnolia Music Studio in Fort Collins, CO.  Cynthia has SO many amazing ideas and she worked with several other voice teachers to try to get as many as possible so that we could benefit from all this experience.

Several points were made:

  • Attract & Retain students
    • Show progress with
    • Quantifiable advances
    • Awards/competitions
    • Roles/solos – community based|
    • Technical goals achieved
    • Have a Student Achievement Page on the studio website

* Relevance – non-quantifiable advances in:

* enjoyment

* validation

* feedback/applause – studio class BEFORE a recital!

* Added Value:

* Options in scheduling and payment (check/credit card)

* bonuses – register early, get 10% off, register for summer & get free lesson

* performance opportunities – find out who has space you can use!

* Gain New Students
o Word of mouth through different circles
o teach styles OTHER than Classical/Musical Theater
* Marketing:
o Bold, creative, SELECTIVE (no mass emails!)
o Distinctive logo (see my new logo here!) & business cards



* Online Business Links

* Facebook, LinkedIn

* ($49/yr)

* (free listing)

* GOOGLE yourself & find out where you are listed – you might be surprised at what’s there AND what’s not! (I have an OLD listing that I’m trying to modify – the web address leads nowhere)

o   Advertising??

* Facebook Advertising – can limit yourself to a small daily $$ & focus the market

* Facebook Fan Page

* I’ve tried Craigslist & gotten several spam emails and one VERY rude call from a potential student (she decided I was too far away – but by the 3rdword I’d decided I didn’t want to teach her)

o   EASY website address

o   Ask friends from around the country to come in & do special classes.  Just ask, “What would it take to get you here?”

o   Sight-reading workshops, songwriters, ticketed events => benefits? (get tickets at

o   Making Music Magazine – they’ll send a free subscription for you to hand out to your students

o   Logo products and merchandise – it’s free marketing!! $15/ea or $25/2, tote bags & t-shirts

o   advertise in an opera/community/young people’s theater program (maybe not as expensive as you might think)

“Voice Lessons may be your students’ hobby, but you can never treat it like a hobby.  It’s a BUSINESS and maybe, even a calling.”                                                                — Cynthia Vaughn

You must let your students know:

* I am reliable, I almost never cancel lessons
* I attend my students’ concerts & other performances
* I appreciate the personality that makes them unique

You are the CEO of your own business.

Show you are a community asset.

* support/join other arts organizations
* collaborate with other teachers
* join the local business organizations – often musicians are “foreign” to them!! J
* Chamber of Commerce?
* Get a state sales tax license for selling the logo merchandise (even if it’s just for pennies)
* MTNA (Music Teachers National Association)
* Federation of Music Clubs

Other ideas I’ve gotten from friends who’ve responded to the Facebook postings I’ve done are:

Get the book by Philip Johnston Promoting your Teaching Studio.
In late summer connect with music teachers in the local schools. Offer to do a fall workshop to kick start the choral programs. Advertise in the programs of any events your students are performing in (concerts, musicals, etc.)
Advertise in Christmas & year-end concerts at local schools

Discount summer rates/gift certificate if current students refer a new student who signs up for a minimum number of lessons (6 or so)
Attend as many performances as possible and congratulate students & the director in person. Directors and parents will consider you highly when asked for a referral if you support their program. If need to reschedule students, offer to take those students with you to see other studio mates in action!
WHAT I’VE DONE to promote my own studio:

  • New Studio Logo
  • Easy website name.  My studio website hosted & designed by  My website adress with them, which is extremely long & awkward when telling a prospective student your website over the phone.  You can purchase a short domain name for about $10/yr which will then FORWARD to your chosen site.  I’ve now chosen, which I got fromGoDaddy.  It also came with one free email, so my studio email is now  Consistency is the name of the game (plus, I have all of my email addresses dumped into where I have the option of replying using the address the email was sent to – no one knows that I’m really using one email client to manage my mail, but I have everything in one place).
  • Advertising on Facebook (I’ve set a $1.50/day limit, but I’ve gotten interest & I can track how many clicks people use on the ad)
  • Advertising in the Family Market programs in the Phoenix Area – turns out most of the bigger Children’s Theater companies (there are 4 major ones here) use the same company to produce their programs. The programs are paid for solely from advertising & then are provided free to the community. So, I’m supporting the arts & advertising at the same time. Those will begin running in October. (Thanks, Dad, for that small business loan!)
  • Signing up for websites:,Facebook Fan page for the studio,
  • Going to my social media websites every day to click on the links – the more “cross-linking” you have the higher up in the search engines they’ll show. This takes about 10 minutes daily, but I think it’s worth it!  Put links for your teaching site on your solo site, and vice versa.  I also have a “button” for my Facebook Fan Page on the front of my studio Home Page.   It’s not that hard to do.
  • Consistent branding with my logo – I have business cards, a promotional flyer, car door magnets & a downloaded logo to use on anything I do (including throughout my web presence) thanks for (if you even MIGHT be in the market for any of these things, go to Vistaprint & sign up for the promotional emails – they give GREAT deals & then when you check out they always offer you more, so under order!)
  • Free Google local business listing – choose your keywords wisely
  • I’m looking into forming an LLC that will cover my voice studio, my solo performing & anything else I do that is music – that will most likely have to wait until fall, but I think it’s a good idea to create that kind of umbrella.

Good luck with your own studio promotions!  People ARE looking to get lessons, they just need to know where to go & how to go about it.  Let me know what you end up doing by commenting here on the blog.  I’m posting this AND at blogs.  This is good information for everyone.

Any more ideas???

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