Ack! It’s summer! 4 Options for Piano Teachers

Summer can be a bit of a sticky wicket for piano teachers. Families are travelling and kids are out of their normal routine – so what’s the best way to run a music school during the summer months?

This blog post was originally published on May 12, 2019 and updated on May 16, 2021.

There are a handful of options which can work for piano teachers in the summer months. Unfortunately, there’s no one right answer for everyone.

The best fit for your studio is going to depend on your goals and your community, so keep these things in mind as we run through the options:

  • Will this work for my studio families, or will it be an uphill battle?
  • Would I be able to do this with my current students, or would I need to do a lot of marketing for new students? And if so, is it worth it?
  • Does this fit with my lifestyle goals for how I want to spend my summer?

With that all laid out, let’s talk through the most common options.

Need more help managing your income or establishing policies? You’ll find the latest and greatest info on my Piano Studio Business page.

1. Keep up the regular lessons

For some, the best option is just to keep up the same routine. This is what many music teachers want to do as they need to keep their income steady during the summer and they don’t feel they need 2 or 3 months off every year.

If this is your goal – but it’s just not flying with your studio families – you may need to rethink.

In many communities, standard weekly lessons just aren’t gonna cut it during the summer. Families may be too busy, travelling too much and/or just want a break from the usual routine.

Don’t swim upstream. Don’t keep trying to make this work if it does not suit the families that you serve. Move on to other options.

2. Ad-hoc Lessons

A more flexible lesson schedule can be a great fit for the summer months – for both you and your students.

Try setting up an online scheduling system through My Music Staff or Calendly and let your students or parents schedule their own lessons. You can choose which days you open up to suit your schedule too and give yourself some beach days. 🏖️

If you want to still guarantee your income, you can have parents/students buy blocks of lessons which they use during this time. They can use them all in one week or spread them out across the whole summer – either way, you still get the predictable income that you need.

3. Summer Camps and Workshops

Camps and workshops can be a great alternative to regular weekly lessons during the summer. Parents are looking for things for their kiddos to do while they’re off from school, and they might jump at the chance to add a musical summer camp.

By scheduling a camp at the start or the end of the summer break (or both) you can free up your own time and potentially make as much in 1-2 weeks as you would have made in 2 months of regular lessons. That’s a win all-round!

4. Take a break!

I know what you’re going to say. You can’t afford to take a break, right? 

But if you structure your year and build up your business to serve you, you might be able to afford to take the whole summer off. Spend some time with the numbers and see if this is possible for you.

Music teacher taking a break

Having the opportunity to do this and travel or spend time with your family and friends is one huge benefit of our business and a great way to stave off burnout. Chances are nobody will bat an eyelid if you close the studio for a couple of months and you could get some much-needed battery juice to recharge for a new academic year.

If you decide to take some time off, make sure your students don’t completely forget about the piano. Download my Colourful Quest scratch-off practice charts to keep them going throughout the summer.

scratch-off music practice chart

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Which is the best summer option for your music studio?

What do you currently do? Do you like the sound of one of these ideas better? Tell me about your experiences in the comments below.

5 thoughts on “Ack! It’s summer! 4 Options for Piano Teachers”

  1. Thank you for these ideas!

    In addition to one week of “camp,” which I’ve labeled “Summer Intensives,” I operate as close to normal as possible during the summer time. The students who choose to continue weekly do so, with a week or two off for their personal vacations; others take the entire summer off, which frees me up during their slots. Sometimes, I’ll try to wiggle some students around if I have too many short gaps between lessons, but usually, I just keep folks where they are and try to stay productive if I have a bit of downtime here and there. I take my vacations in the spring and fall, so summer vacation isn’t an issue for me personally.

    I do love the idea of having students purchase blocks of lessons. I will have to try this with a few of my students who prefer more unstructured summer months.

  2. I do a themed based 4 day music camp. This year it is a Music Boot Camp. Themes in the past have been, Harry Potter, Under the Sea, Carnival. I do ensemble based rhythm chants, body rhythms and keyboard ensembles. Also we play outdoor theory games that include water, relays, team competition. We also do a listening excercise called charting and they earn incentives to purchase items at a “store” at the end of each session, I do 3 sessions per day for three age groups. It is a big hit with my students and great to do for summer income, yet still gives me and them most of the summer off.

  3. I have found that the benefit of taking the summer off far outweighs any loss in income. I need the break! I am able to plan the coming year better, rest, and reset. That said, I’ve been working toward the goal of earning enough during the other ten months of the year to take two months off in the summer and still keep my income steady. Also very worth it!


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