Marie's Secret Sauce for Getting New Students


NEWSFLASH! Marie Lee (good friend and featured here at is writing a happy-music-camp-01group teaching resource for the Piano Teacher Planning Center! I, along with many others, can't wait to learn from this long-time expert in group teaching. In this post, Marie gives us a taste of what's to come.

Even if you are not interested in teaching piano in groups, you will want to read Marie's article for great tips on how to grow your studio during the summer. She shares her "secret sauce" --a brilliant way of getting more students in the door during the summer months. Also, keep reading so you learn how to market this "secret sauce."

Take it away, Marie...

Blast Off with Piano

The #1 way of getting new students through the doors of our studio is using Blast Off with Piano, a Mayron Cole group piano method course. The book provides a great way for students to see if they would like to take classes at your studio.  

I typically sell the course to the parents as a way for them to get to know my teaching style and see if their student is ready for piano lessons and the daily practice that comes with it.

Parents love the idea of experimenting with a "taste" of piano lessons before they invest in an instrument and weekly lessons/classes.

  • Four-day course, 45 minutes per day, Monday-Thursday
  • Our typical charge is $70-$80 which includes
    • four days of classes
    • the student book
    • a tote bag from our studio.

What’s the “Secret Sauce?”

You MUST maries-kidsoffer a parent recital on the last day and the student pieces MUST be played with teacher duets or backing tracks.

On the last day of class when you bring the parents in for the recital, talk about the many things the students have learned in just 3 short days.

Each student performs a solo, if they wish, and then your class performs 2-3 class ensembles with teacher duets.

Even the simplest of songs (lesson one has only rhythmic pieces written for the C key) sound wonderful with the addition of a teacher duet. Parents will be amazed that their child is playing such lovely music in such a short time.

Get your registration materials prepared prior to offering the course because most parents will sign up on the spot!

Variation #1

Mayron Cole suggests holding this course in five days, but a lot of our families travel on Fridays so we prefer to shorten ours to four days: Monday-Thursday. Course work during Days 1-3, quick recital prep and parent recital on Day 4.

We don’t teach the full book, but encourage students to try the last few songs at home on their own, which gives them something to do over the rest of the summer until fall classes begin.

Variation #2

During the school year when I have potential student inquiries, but don’t have a four-day window to run a full workshop, I offer one free trial class.

We teach the first lesson in the Blast Off book, invite the parents in at the end of class for a performance of one piece (always with a teacher duet) and finish up by inviting the parents on the keyboards with their kids and playing one of Piano Maestro’s middle C songs. (We’re not reading pitches, only rhythms.)

This gives me a chance to show the parents how much fun piano classes are, and demonstrate the technology we offer in our studio. (I have my iPad hooked up to a large screen TV at the front of the classroom.)

If you can get them in the studio, 99% of the time they’ll sign up!

Variation #3

Don’t want to teach group classes full-time? Use these group classes to get potential students in the door and then transfer them to a private lesson slot. You’ll already know a lot about their personality and abilities after spending four days together and can jump right into a private lesson plan, personalized just for them.

NO, you don’t need a decked out piano lab!

YES, you can teach this on one piano!

Because this is a rhythm and keyboard-geography based course and not a staff note-reading, middle C approach, you can fit 2-3 students on one keyboard. Teacher duets are super-important to play so the teacher should be able to fit on the piano as well, or consider purchasing the backing tracks from Mayron Cole. I prefer the teacher duets because I can match the tempo of my students.

You may want to consider purchasing an inexpensive keyboard on which to play the teacher duets. It also gives you some fun variations for different sounds to spice things up – a guitar for the Western Skies piece, or trumpet for Victory March.

Blast Off Piano Resources

Student book $6.95

Blast Off Jr., for younger students is also available. I’ve usually been fine using the regular Blast Off book for all ages and slowing the pace down for younger ones or speeding up for older students.

Teacher manual $29.95

This includes lesson plans, teaching aids and sheet music accompaniments.

How to Market and Teach Blast Off webinar $19.95

The video recording of a live, one-hour webinar hosted by Colleen Cole teaches how to use Blast Off with Piano as an effective marketing tool for your piano studio. Topics include ways to market Blast Off, how to manage class time, and how to schedule and price Blast Off classes.

Connect with Marieif-your-dream-only-includes-you-2

Thank you, Marie! Make sure to check out Marie's website and Facebook pages. This gal is on fire and building a fast-growing music school just outside of Las Vegas. And to think, she never wanted to be a piano teacher! Read all about it here.

Extra Secret: How to market your summer plans

Once you get your summer programs determined, you'll need some hot graphics to build popsicle-piano-camp-01excitement in your studio. Learn how to use these graphics and design a brochure to market your summer plans from graphic designer and fellow piano teacher, Andrea West.

Check out all of Andrea's sizzling designs and a free template for a brochure here.

Arm your sales team (your excited piano students!) with irresistible marketing tools so their parents just can't say no.

Learn how in the excellent tutorial provided by Andrea in the video below!