If you love teaching adult piano students, you should be proactively working to attract them. Don’t leave it up to fate!
⬆️ Listen to the podcast above or keep on reading, whichever fits your style. ↙️
In piano teacher forums, adult piano students often get bad press. They’re flighty. They don’t practice. They quit too easily.
But there are a lot of good things about working with adult piano students, too.
Adult piano students are there because they choose to be. Yes, that means they might not be as sticky as kiddos. But it also means you (hopefully!) won’t ever have an adult student sulk through an entire lesson.
Adult piano students know what music they like. Many older students will come to you with specific goals for music they want to learn. And it’s super satisfying to help them realise that dream.
You only have one customer. With child students, you have at least 2 people to please: the kid and their parents. Adults don’t come with that extra layer. It’s just them.
No sticky fingers, pedal extenders or fuzzy toys. Personally, I love working with preschoolers and all the silliness that comes with them. But if that’s not your bag, adult students could be a dream come true.
If you’re sold on teaching adults, then let’s get your studio filled up with them. Here are the most impactful changes you can make to attract adult piano students to your studio and help them stick around longer when they get there.
Need more marketing ideas? I have a whole page devoted to that and other key business topics for music studios.
Talk directly to adult piano students
On your website, in your Facebook posts and on your flyers you need to speak specifically to the adult piano students.
This is the biggest mistake everyone makes in marketing (not just piano teachers!). They talk about themselves.
Nobody cares about you. They care about them.
I don’t mean that in a fatalistic, everyone-is-out-for-themselves way. It’s simply that they’re looking for a piano teacher, and learning about your degree doesn’t tell them anything about what the experience will be like for them.
Which plumber would you hire?
If you were looking for a plumber to fix your shower, which one would you go for?
On Plumber A’s website, she lists her credentials and tells you about how she grew up plumbing with her father who has now sadly passed away.
Plumber B’s website says, “We’ll fix your household plumbing annoyances and disasters. No mess. Clear and simple pricing.”
Maybe you find the first plumber’s story endearing…but you have no shower right now, and this second plumber seems like she’ll get the job done.
Put Yourself in Their Shoes
Imagine you’re searching for a piano teacher. You go to someone’s site and on the home page is a big smiling picture of a kiddo playing a music theory game. That looks awesome, sure. But there’s nothing at all about adult piano students.
You decide that’s not for you, and move on.
I couldn’t tell you the number of adult student inquiries I’ve gotten who have specifically mentioned my about page or adult piano lessons page.
If this is something you want to specialise in, you need to stand out from all the kiddy studios in your town. Write specifically to adults and about their goals, and you’ll have adult piano students clamouring to get into your studio.
Slay Their Dragons
Slaying their dragons will take your website copy and marketing materials a step further.
Almost all older students come with some array of these inner demons and dragons:
- They’ve been told they’re not musical or that they’re tone deaf
- They had a really strict or stern piano teacher as a kid (real or metaphorical rulers included)
- They don’t think they’ll be any good
- They’re worried you’ll judge their musical tastes
- They think learning a musical instrument is easy for kids and it’s too late for them
If you describe these feelings, potential adult students will feel seen. If you go on to explain how you ease the issue, they’ll feel assured.
Slay those dragons and clear the path to your studio door.
Create Adult-Friendly Studio Policies
This might be a step too far for you. It depends how much you want to prioritise adult piano students in your studio.
If you want your studio really bursting with older students, tweaking your policies could be the trick.
Adult students don’t always have the fixed schedule that children have. They may find it difficult to stick to a weekly spot.
If you want to be a truly adult-centric studio, embrace the flexible.
Maybe you create blocks of lessons that your students can schedule as they wish. Or perhaps you put flexible rescheduling policies in place.
This is a step too far for me – and it may be for you. But if you want to attract the maximum number of adult piano students to your studio, you might want to take this flexible policy leap.
Do you prefer to teach adult students?
If so, what do you do to target that demographic? Share your ideas in the comments or in the Vibrant Music Studio Teachers Facebook group. 🙂
5 thoughts on “How to Attract More Adult Piano Students”
Nicola, brilliant article! I absolutely love your comparison to the two plumbers; you hit the nail on the head. Thanks for the tips.
Thank you, Janna!
Adult students ARE a complexity, no doubt. I now teach several 5- and 6-year-olds and have learned how to relate to them better, over time. Relating to adults and even teens for that matter has never been a problem. It’s really what you say in your podcast. They are easier in the sense that they know why they’re there, and know what they want to accomplish.
I do have one adult retiree who has no connections to anyone else in my piano studio, as well as an adult organ student who is unaffiliated. Every one of my other adult students, both current and former, were either parents or grandparents of children I teach. In one particular family, I teach 5 people in three generations!
That in particular has been a real blessing because I am building family relationships that have real staying power. That can cut against you as well, especially if you offer adult policies that are seen as too harsh and that could poison the entire family relationship. I haven’t figured it all out yet, but I do think there’s some secret sauce in being willing to teach a wide mix of ages!
Absolutely. I love when I get to teach parents and children because they connect so much over music and support each other really well at home. I’ve never had 3 generations, though, jealous of that experience! 🙂
Fantastic article! Thank you Nicola!
I have 2 adult students. Neither of which is interested in playing at recitals. All other students are ages 5-13, so overall, my studio is filled with young people.
Both my adult daughter and I perform at recitals. Many many family and friends attend. I keep recitals welcoming to all.
Thoughts on adult students performing at recitals? I don’t push it, but I would love to have them there.