Have you ever gone out of your way to contact a studio parent because of something amazing their child did? What was their reaction? Sometimes you’ll get a smile big enough that you can even hear it over the phone. Sometimes a look of surprise as they only hear about the frustrating moments from the student’s other teachers. Sometimes the sound of accomplishment because – just maybe – they feel they’re doing something right as a parent.
Communicating with your studio families OUTSIDE of the lesson is the backbone of making sure things run as smoothly as possible DURING lessons. Difficult life circumstances, big changes, and even practice habits will be more accurately communicated to the teacher if we work to build relationships that provide safe places to talk.
There are many different ways to accomplish the communication side of your business …
- talking to the parent at the beginning or end of the lesson
- weekly, monthly, or quarterly all-studio communication
- writing an encouraging note, text, or email when a student does something exceptional
- end of the semester or end of year evaluations
All of these are great options and I hope you use them often! But today I’m going to pose yet another way to communicate that is planned in a way to save you time 🙂
Have you considered scheduling individual updates to be sent out each month of your studio families? This will look different based on the size of your studio, but involves picking just a few students each month and writing a quick note of praise to their parents.
But why? You might be thinking. “I always keep up with my studio families and let them know how things are going.” Or “We have a good relationship, and I don’t have the time for more on my plate right now.”
I get it. Sometimes when we are doing well, it seems unnecessary to go out of our way to do more. But that is precisely why this is April’s organization tip. It doesn’t have to take longer than 10 minutes a month, and you build an even better relationship with your families, AND (perhaps most importantly), you ensure that you do not miss anyone when it comes to praise.
I find this especially important when a student is going through a rough stretch, when things feel rocky, or when it’s just plain hard to compliment a particular person. But this does NOT mean you give false praise. Telling a student they’re rockin’ their rhythm does no good if it’s not true. You know it’s not true, the student knows your struggling, and it will break down trust in the long run.
So what are some genuine things you can say to encourage your student’s and their parents in their music learning process?
Hi Jackie, I wanted to reach out and say how impressed I am with the hard work Alyssa has been putting in lately. She has completed ____________, _____________, and ______________, which is cause to celebrate! Thank you for your continued support in Alyssa’s learning. She is a joy to teach, and I am looking forward to seeing what she will accomplish in the future!
Hi Jackie, I reaching out to let you know that Alyssa has been putting in some really hard work recently. We have hit a tricky spot in _____________, but she is showing true dedication in making sure she masters this skill 🙂 Thank you for continuing to support her music education and allowing me the privilege of working with her! I’m excited to see what she accomplishes in the coming months 🙂
Hi Jackie, I know things have been tough for you and your family lately. I wanted to reach out and say thank you for continuing to support Alyssa in her piano lessons! She has been working hard and progressing despite the challenges. Music can be a great tool to focus her mind on something that can relax her. Please feel free to reach out if there’s anything I else I can offer her right now. All my best!
These of course are simply examples of 4 sentences that can have a big impact. Feel free to copy, paste, or modify to find what will work best for your students. My messages tend to be filled with smiley faces and exclamation points… so I’m learning how to back off a bit on that 😉 It’s always a good idea to add details specific to the student and situation.
Take some time today to type out a couple of different 4-sentence messages that you can grab at the beginning of the month and quickly – in under 10 minutes – modify for 3 or 4 of your students. Make a chart of which students will be assigned which month, and don’t overthink it. The idea is simply to create another touch point with each family.
The final objection I hear is that scheduling communication somehow makes your praise less authentic. If done sincerely and with a willingness to encourage each student and family, your scheduling will simply be a means of making sure you don’t forget anyone. Your studio families don’t need to know that it was “their month” to get the email or phone call. Scheduling your communication does mean you are sure to look for the best in each and every student, and no one gets left on the sidelines when it comes to teacher/parent involvement and support.
Do you schedule your studio communication? What are ways you have found to streamline the things you want to communicate? Have you found that extra communication leads to a healthier studio environment?