Want to Grow a Group Lesson Program? Use Your Website!
Do you offer group lessons in your studio?
Do you want to move to group lessons but are afraid of losing current students?
Are you worried about how to get new students to fill your group lesson program?
Group lessons are a huge trend in music studios right now, and for good reason. Many teachers find teaching in groups to be deeply rewarding for both themselves and their students.
However, making big changes in your studio can be nerve-wracking, as your studio families aren’t always as eager for group lessons as you are.
This post will show you how to use your website to help achieve your group lesson goals.
You’ll learn how to leverage your website to showcase group lessons and attract new families to your studio. You’ll also learn how to use your website to demonstrate the enormous benefits of group lessons to your current families.
Last spring, I decided to transition my private piano lesson studio to group lessons. My goal was to convert half of my lessons to groups during the 2017-2018 year and convert the other half during the 2018-2019 year.
I began having conversations with parents, and it was not easy. Parents were reluctant to make the switch to group lessons, and I learned a lot about communication during that season.
In the meantime, while thinking carefully about my reasons for moving to group lessons (part of speaking persuasively with parents is being sure of your “why”), I decided to aim for a complete transition to groups for the coming year.
In the subsequent months, I did two things to grow my studio and fill my group lesson program:
First, I updated my website. I changed the focus of my language toward group lessons. I included more photos of students making music together.
I began to receive more inquiries and enrollments. I noticed that new families, particularly those whose students had already had private lessons and were interested in a change, were excited about group lessons.
Second, I held an open house so that families could see what a group piano studio looked like. The kids tried out the pianos while I talked with the parents.
When the school year began, nearly all of my students were in partner or group lessons.
Between June of last year and this January, I lost about 10 students and gained around 40.
My move to a full group lesson studio was completed within an eight-month timeframe.
What I Would Do Differently
While my group program filled at a good pace, it was a lot of very hard work.
Given the chance to do it over again, I would use my website as a more powerful tool for facilitating this change. This would have made things significantly easier for me and filled my groups earlier in the year.
Group lessons are an unknown to parents because they can’t picture how a group works. They can’t imagine how a group lesson could benefit their child as much as a private lesson.
You can show them.
Here are four ways you can leverage your website to grow your group lesson program:
1. Get Excellent Photos
You can paint a magnetic, engaging picture of group lessons using great photos. I recommend working with a parent photographer (or a professional photographer; it will be well worth the money!) to capture a large group class or similar event. Look for photos that:
→ Use as much light as possible
→ Focus on faces (especially smiles and laughter)
→ Use a lot of bright, magnetic color
→ Show a range of age groups. Young students exploring the piano together, middle schoolers composing as a group, teens working from a chord chart to play their favorite pop song.
You can see these tips in action on my studio website (I wish I'd had these in place a year ago!).
Showcase these powerful photos throughout your homepage, your program pages, and perhaps in a slideshow.
Every parent who visits your site will be immediately drawn in by the engaging, affirming experience that your studio offers to each student.
2. Hone Your Language
Use clear, concise language to describe a child’s experience in a group lesson. Try using phrases like:
“Watch your child’s self-confidence grow as they create original music with their peers.”
“Your child will gain critical thinking skills as they play on their own and with other musicians.”
“See your child’s excitement as they become part of a big sound each week with their team.”
“Your child will find strong motivation to practice so they can play well with their group.”
“Watch your teen discover a rewarding new means of self-expression while connecting with friends.”
Keep your language focused on the child’s experience rather than on what you do or offer. A parent’s primary interest is in what their child will gain from music lessons.
3. Answer Common Questions
Think about common questions that parents might have about group lessons, and then use your FAQ page to answer those questions.
This is a particularly effective way to field questions that you would otherwise spend time answering over email or in person, and parents are able to learn the answers to questions they hadn’t yet thought of asking.
4. Make a Timeline
Once you’ve had a chance to inform your current studio families about the coming change toward group lessons,* update your website to reflect those changes.
Next, roll out your website update. Make a big announcement, share it on Facebook, and encourage your studio families to check out the new studio site.
When visiting your updated website, your current families will have another chance to picture their child in group lessons (in a positive, engaging light). They will be able to read answers to some of the questions they’ve already had and perhaps even discussed with you.
Repetition is your friend! Parents will take time to get used to the idea of this change, and it will be helpful for them to see another view of what you’re offering.
And, in the meantime, new families will begin to visit your website and see the unique programs that you offer.
*Nicola Canton has written a brilliant post on communicating big changes to parents. Reading this will put you miles ahead when introducing your move to group lessons.
Investing in your website now will help to keep your studio group program filled with loyal, excited families.
Are you planning a move toward group lessons?
Do you plan to use your website to help grow your group lesson program?
Do you have any questions about showcasing group lessons on your website?
I’d love to hear from you!