A Multitude of First Impressions

We are piano teachers: we teach the piano. Right?

But are we not also freelance entrepreneurs and 
timetabling magicians? 

We manage schedules, budgets, resources, events and deadlines – not to mention the emotions of students and parents! So surely this is more than enough to think about without having to consider marketing strategies as well?

It is not unknown that musicians often have an aversion to self-promotion, but unless you have a fantastic agent or employer, it is an unavoidable element of pursuing a career in the music industry.

Teaching piano is a job that many teachers fall into without a strong intention of doing so, and they somehow end up with quite a sizeable number of pupils and a modest income. How then, does one go about ‘professionalising’ their teaching business, building and developing it?

The first step is to ensure we leave a good first impression on potential students, and encourage them to book a first, second, and ongoing lessons.

A smile speaks a thousand words

Copyright: Piano with Jo (Joanne Snowden)

Never underestimate the power of a smile – either in a photo or in person. On any advertising you do (website, social media, printed leaflets…) don’t neglect to add a warm, welcoming photo of yourself at your piano. It’s too easy to simply scan past a name if there is no image connected to it. On the other hand, a name with a smiling photo attached will cause the reader to stop, think and make a judgment about whether they want to meet this teacher and part with their money for lessons.

This may be the first of the first impressions, depending on where it is shown – for example, in a teacher listing. If it is on your website, the overall impression here is equally important. Make sure it is kept updated with information and contact details and is modern in appearance. There are now many website-builder sites available which will allow you to create a website for free, or for small monthly payments to remove their own branding. And don’t forget to use photos with lots of smiles!

The First Meeting

Once a student has decided to book a lesson with you,
you have the opportunity to reinforce that great first impression. As you greet your new students, make sure you are wearing your best, most welcoming smile as this will completely set the tone for the lessons to come.

It may seem obvious, but take care not to allow any less-than-welcoming personal feelings to impact on your warm welcome. Maintaining a professional, welcoming persona has a large part to play in the impressions you leave, and even in your overall success as a business owner – which all self-employed teachers are!

Speaking or chatting?

Perhaps, before you meet your new prospective student, you talk to them or their parent on the phone. This is another golden opportunity to leave a good first impression, and reassurance is key: pace your words, be concise, and try to avoid saying things like ‘um’ or ‘I think’ too much – though sometimes easier said than done! Perhaps write down the sort of things you’d like to say beforehand to clarify your words in your own mind.



The same goes for an initial meeting in person; you want to be the teacher that can be relied upon, respected and trusted, and presenting yourself in a confident way will go a long way in achieving this.

Fortunately, these are all transferrable skills, and ones you may already have from experience working as a piano teacher or in a totally different profession. Even if you’re just starting out, it is important to regularly and objectively review your processes and approaches before the student has even sat down at the piano! And for anyone looking to gain and retain students, they are invaluable aspects of running a piano studio.

This is hardly an exhaustive overview, so let us know in the comments below what else you consider essential for creating a good first impression or growing your business!


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    One Comment

    1. Joanne Snowden
      Posted October 4, 2019 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      You make such a great point, Rhiana. One of the first things I did when starting my piano business was get some photos taken on my smiling at my piano. We’ve got to show our love of the instrument if we want to impart that passion to our students.

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