How to Write a Bio That Parents Will Read
Let’s talk about you.
Have you ever noticed that it can be hard to talk about yourself?
It’s even harder to talk about yourself in a single paragraph that is meant to be an accurate representation of who you are as a music teacher.
It’s easy to say too much, too little, or to simply name your accomplishments in laundry-list format.
A bio is a tricky piece of writing to get right.
In this blog post, I’ll give you:
→ 4 helpful things to keep in mind when crafting your bio
→ A quick formula for crafting a bio that parents will read to the very last sentence
The Average Bio
A bio is one of those things you don’t usually think about until someone asks you to “just email me a short paragraph about yourself before 5pm this evening.”
Your brain suddenly freezes and you think: “I’ve done so much in my career. I’m an interesting person. Why can’t I remember a single fact about myself?”
Then you type out your main accomplishments, your educational background, and throw in a couple of fun facts about your dog and your love of coffee.
You stare at this dry string of words and think, “I am SO much more interesting than this...right?”
Yes, you are a fascinating person - and your story is worth sharing!
Here are 4 tips to help you make sure your bio is engaging everyone who sees it:
1. Consider Your Audience
On your website, your audience is likely parents who have never met you. In fact, these are mostly parents who want to learn more about you before deciding whether they want to meet you.
A parent is forming their first impression of you while reading your bio.
However, your bio is not the first thing they see.
It’s likely that this parent has already seen photos of your students, read about your studio, visited your FAQ page, maybe even read some reviews.
Whether they know it or not, they’re a little tired of reading.
Let’s say they finally click on your bio page and see:
“Sally Smith is the owner of Pittsborough Piano Studio in Pittsborough, North Dakota. She has taught piano for more than fifteen years. Sally attended Oxford University for her B.M. in piano performance and New York University for her master’s degree in piano pedagogy. Sally has performed with the Pittsborough Chamber Orchestra and is the accompanist for the Pittsborough Opera Company. She was featured in the Pittsborough Daily Gazette as Teacher of The Year in 2015. Her students have gone on to play in Carnegie Hall and with the New York Philharmonic. Sally enjoys working with students of all ages, and offers training in classical, jazz, and popular styles of music.
When Sally is not teaching piano, she enjoys gardening and traveling with her husband.”
How far do you think a parent will get through Sally’s bio?
What if that parent has already been on your website for three minutes and has a hungry child tugging at their sleeve?
This brings us to tip number two:
2. Your First Sentence is Your Hook
Don’t waste any time. Make sure that your very first sentence grabs your audience and draws them into your story.
Let’s go back to Sally, who rewritten her bio:
“Sally Smith’s passion for music led her to Oxford, to her future husband, John, and to a life of sharing music with her students at Pittsborough Piano Studio.
Sally began her college education at Oxford University, where she met another passionate musician and married him. Sally and John’s pursuit of music led them to New York City and then to Pittsborough, where Sally built Pittsborough Piano Studio more than fifteen years ago.
Sally helps her students become confident as classical, jazz, and pop musicians. She keeps her own musical skills sharp as the accompanist for the Pittsborough Opera Company.
When they aren’t traveling together, Sally and John can be found at The Coffee Bean on Wednesday nights, playing violin and piano duets to a caffeinated crowd.”
Were you hooked by Sally’s first sentence?
The first sentence is the most important part of your bio to get right. Make your audience curious, and they’ll read what you have to say.
3. Banish The Laundry List
Think back to Sally’s first bio. Yes, you had no doubt by the end that she is a qualified piano teacher, but that’s assuming you made it to the end.
Parents are far less interested in the details of your credentials than they are about whether their child will have a great experience while learning from you.
Now, you put a lot of time, effort, and money into your education and credentials, and they are an important part of what qualifies you to be an excellent music teacher.
By all means, give parents a sense about where you’re coming from so that they can trust you as a professional.
Just remember that their child’s experience is their top priority.
If your bio is focused entirely on you and your credentials, a parent is unlikely to be drawn to you.
If your bio is focused on your unique qualities as a teacher, and how that influences the experience you bring to your students, a parent will want to meet you.
4. Write In Third Person
Writing your bio in first person (“My name is Sally Smith, and I started teaching piano lessons more than fifteen years ago…”) seems more approachable at first.
Writing your bio in third person, however, gives your bio a more professional tone.
Another benefit: it allows you to list the accomplishments you choose to include without sounding like you’re bragging.
The Magic Bio Formula:
Here’s how to make us, your audience, read every single word of your bio:
→ Start with a hook: grab our attention right away.
→ Tell us your story: in a conversational way, tell us how you got from your starting point to where you are now - while writing in third person.
→ What makes your teaching unique? Is it your sense of humor? That your students are eager to perform after their first lesson? Your studio community?
→ Connect with us: let us see a little bit about your personal life. It could be that you play with a jazz band on the weekends, or that your cat is named Mozart. This will make your audience feel immediately connected with you.
Give us the sense that you’re a real, approachable person and we will want to have a conversation with you.
What does an approachable bio look like to you?
If you have a bio on your website, how does it read to you?
Anything you’d like to ask me?
I’d love to hear from you!