This article about setting up music clubs was written by Carmen Carpenter. Carmen has taught music in a school setting as well as in her home studio for almost 30 years. Teaching combines two of her favourite things: music and kids! Besides teaching music, Carmen loves spending time with family playing games, working puzzles, and watching movies. She’s also an avid reader and loves taking long walks on her local, woodsy trails.
Do you want to make more money? Of course! Do you have several extra hours a week to earn said money? Uh…no.
But do you have one hour a month you could carve out if it would add an extra $500-$1,000 to your yearly income? Hmm. Now that sounds interesting. 🤔
It is interesting, and it’s entirely possible with music clubs. Music clubs have so many variations and possibilities.
- Love to sing, or have an interest in choral music? Start a singing club.
- Do you play keys in a band? Create a chord club or improvisation club.
- Have a love for the ukulele or guitar? Consider an instrument club.
- Are you keen on a specific composer? Use their music as inspiration for a student composition club.
Whatever your interest may be, just pick one and get busy setting up a music club.
Music clubs are a fantastic way to add income while also giving you an avenue to explore topics you might not get to cover in regular piano lessons. Many parents are looking for ways to engage their children socially without the competitive environment of sports, and music clubs offer the perfect opportunity to make music and learn together.
Here is a step-by-step method you can use to get your first music club started.
Step 1: Brainstorm
Mind-mapping is a great exercise to explore possibilities. An easy way to mind-map is to take a piece of paper and write “Music Club Ideas” in the centre. Then, all around that hub, write all the club ideas which come to mind.
Don’t edit yourself or poo-poo anything you think of – even if it seems outlandish at the time.
As you brainstorm, think about things you’ve heard your students mention:
- “Art class is my favourite.”
- “My brother plays ukulele but he won’t even let me touch it.”
- “I wrote a little song the other day. Want to hear it?”
Many of your students’ passing comments could spark a great idea for a club and give you your first club member.
Step 2: Decide
First decide on the club which appeals to you the most. After all, your club shouldn’t just be something your students want or need; it should also be something you’re interested in teaching or learning more about.
If the ideas sound fun or interesting to you, then they’ll be fun and interesting for your students.
Determine how many meetings you will have. Will you meet every month, or take the summer off? Would you prefer to do four 2-hour meetings sprinkled throughout the year?
Next, decide how often your club will meet and for how long. Even if your weekly schedule is jam-packed, you may be willing to carve out an hour on a Saturday morning or a Sunday afternoon once a month.
Step 3: Charge (Money, that is)
What is your time worth?
How much additional income per year would make this venture worthwhile? $500? $750? $1,000? Having this monetary target will guide how many students you want to include and how much you’ll need to charge for your club membership.
Now that you know how much money you would like to make, come up with a general idea of how many members you’d like to involve or how many you think would actually sign up.
Be reasonable here.
Although having a bigger group would add more income, is having 20 club members worth the headache? For me, that number is no more than eight and no fewer than three.
If your target income is an additional $500 for the year and you are shooting for ten members, you would need to charge $50 per member. If the amount you come up with seems like too little in your market area for the time and effort involved, charge more. If it seems like too much, you may need to adjust your end goal or the number of students you will allow.
These handy calculators for music lesson rates can make this step much easier than trying to do it all yourself.
Step 4: Consider
Who will you invite to join your music club?
- Only your current students?
- Allow students to invite a friend?
- Branch out into the community?
Knowing who you want to include will determine how you market your club, which brings us to…
Step 5: Market
I’ve heard that it takes someone seeing an ad 7 times before they take action. Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself!
- If your focus is on your current studio, talk it up with students, put up posters in the studio and email parents. Wash, rinse, repeat. 🧼
- If you’re wanting to branch out, email your local school music teachers to see if you can put up a poster in their classroom.
- Tell your current students to invite a friend.
- Post regularly on social media about your club.
Need more marketing ideas? There’s an entire section devoted to that on Nicola’s Studio Business hub page.
Step 6: Register
Now that you know who you’re inviting to your club and you’re successfully marketing your club, get those soon-to-be members signed up.
I like to use a Google Form for sign-ups. It gives your parents an easy place to input their information while also collecting it all in a spreadsheet for your records.
Be sure to include on your sign-up form a release for you to post pictures or videos of club members. You’ll want to show everyone all the fun your students are having at the club!
Step 7: Teach
And by “teach,” I mean outline your curriculum. Will you create your own plans, or purchase something ready-made?
I’ve also created my own curriculum for my ukulele club. My rule of thumb when making this decision is to ask myself, “Did someone else do it better?” And if they did, I buy theirs.
If you’re not a VMT member yet, you seriously don’t know what you’re missing…check it out right away!
Step 8: Kick Things Off
Start small or go big! Either way, you won’t go wrong by stetting up a music club.
The small amount of extra work you put in will absolutely be worth it.
Your members will be happy, which makes their parents happy, which means they will spread the word about how much their kid loves your studio which will make you happy. A win-win for all.
Are you looking to start a music club?
What ideas appeal to you? What kind of club are you going to start? Leave a comment below and share your plans with us.