I recently asked members of the Vibrant Music Studio Teachers community how they measure success in their studios. One of the top answers was student retention.
This is a fantastic measure of success for a piano teacher to have. I hadn’t thought of this answer when I wrote the question, but I was delighted that it came up.
You see, student retention rates can tell us so much.
If students are sticking around then they’re probably having fun, learning a lot, and making good progress. It also means that the teacher’s income is steady and that their business is running smoothly.
Some of the biggest factors for student retention are progress, practice regularity, and students being able to see the path in front of them.
Top Tips for Keeping Practice Going
I recorded this video on Facebook Live last week. In it, I shared four things you can do to keep students practicing during the summer.
Thing is, all four of these things would also have a big impact on student retention. Practice consistency and student retention are very closely linked.
Just in case you don’t have time to watch that video right now, let me break down the four tips that I shared:
- Fun and intrigue: Don’t let summer lessons be the same old, same old. Include composing, pop music, improvisation or something else novel.
- Setting goals: Have your student set big goals for next year before they leave for the summer, that way they can see where they’re headed and should be better motivated to practice.
- Creative incentives: Use creative incentives such as those on Music Educator Resources (Jennifer Foxx) or the summer quest that I shared last week here on Colourful Keys.
- Emphasise the investment: When you’re talking to your piano parents about their role in summer practice, come at it from the perspective of the investment they have put in during the year. Talk about the time that they’ve taken to help their child practice, and how they need to protect this investment and not let piano fall by the wayside during the summer break.
Since my focus has been drawn to student retention I wanted to dive a little bit deeper on one of these points in particular.
Piano Student Goal Setting
Many teachers have their students set goals at the start of each year. This is wonderful as it gets students involved and empowered to choose their own pathway for their music studies.
This year however, I’m trying something new. My students and I will be filling out evaluations during the last week of the spring semester (that’s this week here in Ireland).
The idea is to get them thinking about next year – and all the fun stuff they want to achieve – before summer break and all its distractions kicks off.
This is also a chance for personal growth for my students. Thinking carefully about practice habits, practice quality, attitude and concentration is going to be a great way for us to round off another wonderful year at the Colourful Keys Piano Studio.
With that in mind, I put together a simple self-evaluation form to help them think about what went well for the last year, what they want to achieve next year, and what resolutions they need to make to achieve their goals.
Download the Self-evaluation Form
Enter your details in this box to get the free printable evaluation form.
Piano Student SELF-EVALUATION
Get the printable and start your students thinking about:
- How this year went and what they could improve
- The top piano goals they have for next year
Do your students set their own goals?
When do you do your goal setting? Have you tried moving it around?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on piano student goal setting, evaluations, and student retention in the Vibrant Music Studio Teachers community on Facebook.