If you currently teach piano online and haven’t considered teaching online group piano, then you need to read this post all the way to the end.
We recently interviewed a young, energetic teacher who is teaching online group piano using the Piano Express method.
In this interview, Carly shares her journey to becoming an online teacher and gives practical instructions for how to have success with multiple students in the online environment.
She talks about her setup and shares some of the challenges that she’s overcome (and how she did it!)
Here’s what we cover in the interview:
- 0:00 – How to teach online group piano with Carly Rawlings
- 2:41 – Tips for transitioning from in-person to online teaching
- 6:08 – Addressing concerns about teaching group piano online
- 8:23 – A typical day of lessons when teaching online group piano
- 11:49 – Using break-out rooms to teach multiple levels at once
- 13:34 – Problems (and solutions) when teaching online group piano
- 19:00 – Carly’s best practices for teaching online group piano
- 25:38 – Conclusion: How to help kids be successful with online group piano!
Click here to watch the full interview!
Here’s what’s in the video
- How to get parents to accept your group piano program
- 5 mistakes that every studio owner makes when switching to group lessons
- 2 things parents want for their child more than anything (and how to use them in your group marketing)
- The hardest problem you’ll face when you’re switching to group, and how to solve it
- 5 steps to converting your studio to group (in chronological order)
- How to sell without being “salesy” (for studio owners who hate selling)
After you finish watching, let us know what you learned or thought about the video!
If you’d like a consultation or free virtual demo of Piano Express… just click here to sign up for a free demo.
Episode Full Transcript
0:00 – How to Get Parents to Accept Your Group Program
Hey, welcome back. I’m Daniel from GrowYourMusicStudio.com. This is Greg from GroupLessons.com. And in this video, we’re talking about how to get parents on board your group lesson program.
Without a doubt, this is the #1 question I get from studios, with four kids in them (just enough for one group) all the way up to an academy with 1000 kids in it. Within the last year, I’ve received that question from studios that are that diverse in size – single teacher studio versus a multi-teacher studio.
How do you get parents on board a group program? Parents don’t want a group program like that… I’ve heard this so many times. So in this video, what we’re going to do is look at why parents don’t necessarily want a group program, look at how studios are shooting themselves in the foot by the natural strategy by which they go to try to convince parents of joining a group program, and then how to actually get people to join a group program.
So if that sounds good, Greg, we’ll jump into it.
Okay, so I’m going to start by telling a little story here. And then I’d be interested to see what your experience is, Greg – and there’s some value in the story because I think people are going to be able to relate to this quite well. And I’m going to be very brief on this… and that is that I got the great idea, in 2008, to start a group program in my studio, and I very excitedly announced this to everyone in the studio, and was just sure that people were going to jump in droves into this program because I assured them that it was going to be great. And you know, they say batting 1000, well I batted zero, or just above a zero… out of a pretty large studio that I had at the time, my working hours were pretty intense
I think I got four people to volunteer for it. And I invited the entire studio, which at the time, I was teaching 1-on-1. 60 people roughly. And I got four. And thus began the journey.
And what I’m going to teach in this video and what we’re going to teach in this video, Greg as well, is how do you actually get people to say yes? Because I will tell you, I made every mistake in the book in trying to get parents on board a group program. And that’s it. We’re going to jump into that. I think the thing that’s interesting about your story, Greg, is that the challenges you had were different than mine. And maybe you could tell us a little bit about what your experience has been in getting parents to agree to a group program.
Okay. So, you know that the Piano Express began as a summer camp. And so from the very beginning, kids were coming together and learning in a group. And so from day one, parents saw the results from our summer camp. They were like… “On Monday I dropped this kid off and they never played the piano. And now they can read music and they can play 50 songs. And they learned this in a group.”
They wanted the experience to continue and so people were asking me for group lessons. And so we naturally were able to grow without a whole lot of pushback at the beginning with group lessons.
Once we became established and decided to become a year-round program, of course, we have people that come in, still to this day, 15 years later, who have a picture in their head of what learning piano was like when they were a kid… and they want that picture for their child.
At the Piano Express, we’re using online technology. We’re in small groups, we’re learning in a classroom, the picture is so different from what they had as a child. A lot of parents will say, “Oh, no, this isn’t what I want.” But yeah, I never had a big conversion from 1-on-1 to group like you did. So you probably had a harder road to go than I did.
4:17 – Mistake #1 – Chasing parents
Yes. And we’ll get to that too. Let me ask you a question here. What is a mistake you feel you’ve made historically at getting parents on board a group program? Something that you did that ended up being counterproductive or just wasn’t very effective? Curious?
Yeah. I think that anytime I try to put something into a parent’s head or heart that is not already there, it’s like force feeding. It’s just like, “Oh, but you didn’t grow up with technology but look, now there’s technology that we didn’t have as kids.”
And so… look how we use it. Look how great it is here. Eat this, swallow this. I don’t think those things work because parents, if it wasn’t what they came into first contact with, if that’s not what drove them, then I can’t turn a corner and say, “But now start thinking about this.”
I think that that’s the thing. When I start trying to talk about how good my program is, or that we’re different. But here’s why. And here’s why the difference is better. That doesn’t work.
Let’s just call that mistake #1. I would define that as just being in the chasing position. It’s like when your dog gets, you know, you open the door to go get the paper and… wait, does anyone get a paper anymore? You open the door to get the mail, okay, and your dog runs out and is teasing you. If you go to chase the dog, the dog runs. You have to pretend you don’t want the dog, and then the dog comes to you naturally. Anytime you’re trying to convince anyone of anything, you are fundamentally in the weaker position. And I think you did such a good job of kind of describing that there, Greg.
6:15 – Mistake #2 – Using your words versus showing
I would say that mistake #2, and you alluded to this, but I’m going to develop it a little bit more – is using your words versus showing.
You did an interview on my podcast about… almost 25 episodes ago now – as for when we’re recording this, I think it was episode 51 of my podcast? Anyway, about your open house. Yeah. You open the doors to your studio, you bring kids in, and you actually give them the full experience of the first lesson in the group environment.
And, you know, it may not be a great fit for everyone, but it is for most, and I would say that, you know, stick around til late in this video, because we’re actually going to talk about how to stack some very effective techniques for getting people to not only say yes to this, but to actually really desire it. We’re going to show you how to stack a couple techniques, give you some concrete steps to take, no matter what studio size you are, to get people excited.
What I would say is that in my own studio, I did something similar. I would bring people in and the one piece of feedback that I kept getting consistently from parents over and over again was that they couldn’t believe how quickly the student learned in front of them. A child that had never played before was laughing, was having fun, I was making a point of showing the parent that they could get the next song on their own. So I set the child up for success by teaching the process, not the song. And then we would get to the fourth or fifth song in the trial lesson, I’d say, “Okay, I’m not going to help you at all, show me this, show me that.” And then the student would play a song they’d never seen before, pretty well, which is impressive considering they’d also never played an instrument before that day. It’s hard to say no to that when you use demonstrations so effectively.
So mistake #1, trying to convince. Mistake #2, not giving them a taste of the quality, not giving them a taste of the…
Yeah, of the experience. Yeah, not giving them a taste of the experience. I love that. Thanks, Greg. Any other mistakes you feel like you’ve made?
8:46 – Mistake #3 – Saying yes to everybody’s needs
One of the mistakes I used to make – and I don’t do this anymore, because I’ve learned – is to try to say yes to everybody. It’s like, “Oh, well, they’re not a good fit for the group program. But I think I have time in my schedule to squeeze you into this room in this corner of my week…”
And just trying to be the “Yes” to everybody’s needs. I learned years ago that I just have to do what I do best. It’s like I’ve figured out how to be me and how to bring my best to my community. And really, that’s where I feel like I’m the best at the service that I provide. And so knowing where my boundaries are, it’s like, “Yes, I’m going to be the solution for these students and these families and it’s okay if I’m not the solution for this family over here. I can help them find the solution, even if it’s somewhere down the street.”
9:43 – Mistake #4 – Lack of confidence in your execution
And I would say that would lead to mistake #4 that I’ve observed – and maybe the most important one, because I’m even thinking of a few people right now in the last six months that I’ve had a conversation with because they’re having trouble getting their group program going… and that is confidence. The confidence to make it work.
And here’s why I think it’s related to the mistake you just mentioned. If it is one size fits most, and I would say personally, I agree with that, too… I wouldn’t take very young kids if I didn’t think a student had the attention span to be able to be independent and somewhat self directed for an hour. I wouldn’t torture that kid.
You know, I felt very similarly, I didn’t want them to have that experience of music. And there was a point in time where I’d take that. But if I know that, oh, 80% of the people coming into the studio for a trial or open house are a good fit, then I need to really act like that. Like I need to believe in this program because I’ve seen the power of it, and I need to talk confidently. I shouldn’t be waffling. I shouldn’t be giving parents any sort of indication that I’m going to take their feedback seriously.
I need to speak about this in the strongest possible terms that I can and not let any kind of self doubt show up in the way that I’m talking.
Now. That’s easier said than done. In the early days of my studio, I wasn’t the best at that because I was actually still exploring how good the quality was. I maybe had some self doubts about the quality of my own groups. But as I got deeper into it, and saw the quality and saw the better results out of the kids who were coming to that program versus all the kids I was still teaching 1-on-1 who were beginners, then I became a believer over time.
And the thing that I tell studio owners who are working with me on switching to group is: borrow my confidence. No matter what kind of group program you’re running, if you know that it’s got a track record of success in other studios, then I think it’s more than fair for you to borrow on the success of those other studios and know that you’re 100% dedicated to making this thing work.
So look at the success of other professionals just like you and know that you can have that success too. And that if you know in your heart, “I want the best for these students and I’ve got this awesome curriculum here…” then I think you can speak with confidence to parents.
12:11 – 2 things parents want for their child more than anything
Yep. Yep. You could stop me if I’m turning the corner too quickly… But I want to talk about my open houses and what I want to show them, okay?
Yes, I love that.
I believe, fundamentally, regardless of what parents think they want, I believe that they want two things.
They want their child to be happy. And they want their child to make progress. Period.
Parents might come in with a picture and they might say, “I want the picture to match. I want my children to have the same thing that I had when I was a kid. And now I want it to look the same. I want it to feel the same. I want to have nostalgia when I show up to the piano lesson because it reminds me of when I was a kid.”
That’s what they think they want. But what they want is for their child to be happy and for their child to make progress.
If you go back and watch the open house episode – and we actually included some footage of an actual open house that I did – but I wasn’t hoping the parents would be impressed with the software. What I was hoping is that they would see the smile on their face and the light in the eyes of their children. And I was hoping that their children would be able to have some success and learn some things right off the bat that exceeded the parents’ expectations.
It’s like, “Okay, well, we showed up. And we thought we were going to talk about billing and scheduling. But our kids just learned how to play three songs.”
You know, that’s what I’m hoping for. And so yes, we have tools. But I don’t care about the tools in my first meeting, I care about the results.
I think results are so much more important than tools. And so we use the tools, but what I really want to drive home are the results. And that’s what parents want. And if you can put that on display in your studio, if you have a group lesson program that can produce joy, and produce results, then figure out how to put that on a platter for parents to see the first time you meet them. And you’re gonna convert.
In your open houses, Greg, do you actually point out that obvious joy on the child’s face? Do you mention that and draw that out for the parent?
No. I mean, I just, you know, the parent is sitting right there. They can see I’m excited. I’ll celebrate little wins with the students.
And I put the parents in close proximity. I will sit the child in front of the piano and I put the parents one row back facing the child. And parents know their kids. They know the subtle, little, nonverbal body language things that children do, like even the little wiggle in the seat. The parents are like, “I know what that wiggle means.”
So I let the results speak for themselves. I don’t have to force feed it.
So the answer is yes, but you’re doing it in really subtle ways, which can be better.
But I will tell you just even as a technique – and again, we’re going to be getting into even more practical applications here in just a minute. But we’re already kind of getting into it – I would let parents know the significance of some of the things that kids were doing. Like I would point out things that parents couldn’t possibly know because they hadn’t been teaching piano for 15 years, like I had been.
Like, “Hey, let me just tell you what they just did. So right now they’ve gotten to the first four books on the song. And I will tell you that when I was teaching, the way that I was teaching before, before I was doing this accelerated program, or this Piano Express program, that most kids would take about 6-9 months to get through this book. Most of my students are getting through this book in four months. And the reason why they’re getting through it so fast is what you saw right there. Did you see how Sarah, did you see how Taylor, did this particular thing? She was actually figuring out how to read that. And I didn’t have to tell her. So she’s already picking up…”
Like, I would go into excruciating detail on what was happening for the learning of the child. And yeah, the parents can see those nonverbal things too, which I think is huge. It’s very important. But the more of these things that you can layer on where you’re imbuing the action that the parent is seeing – if you can imbue that with significance, and help them recontextualize it, that can be really powerful.
And again, I think that’s a good example of show don’t tell. Even though you’re telling them what they’re seeing, they’re seeing it as well. So it’s like, it’s kind of multi-dimensional.
Right. There are so many places of business that I go into where I’m not the expert, and it’s just comforting to have an expert talk to me and explain to me and break it down. You know, “Here’s the value in what we’re providing.” And then I’m just saying, “Yeah, I get it. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.”
Oh, yes. Really fancy restaurants tend to do that.
I’m being serious. We went to a more expensive restaurant when we were in New York one time just being tourists. And we had a sommelier at our table, and they were telling us about the vineyard – I’m not kidding – the vineyard that this wine came from.
And the time of year that the grapes were grown. So, “Okay, now I’m having this amazing wine.”
And there’s a significant view with it. They explain the process by which they cook this food… it’s experiential. It’s pretty cool.
17:49 – Mistake #5 – Trying to prove yourself
So Greg. Is there anything else that comes to mind as it pertains to what you were talking about there? Or should we move forward?
I would say that one of the things that I have learned this year, 15 years into meeting parents… I’ll tell you the newest thing that I’ve learned. I have dropped from all of my first encounters with parents, “Take a look at our top performers. Take a look at the list of winners from our competitions.”
I’ve learned that almost all parents who come in want these two things – my child to be happy, and my child to make progress.
Sometimes it’s a little bit overwhelming or even a turn off if I’m just like, “Oh, well if you want your kids to shoot to the moon, look, we can do that.”
I haven’t thought about… does it come off that I’m bragging on my studio? Because that can be a turnoff, too. I used to think that parents coming in would trust me more if I showed them that I have the ability to go all the way up to the top of the ladder.
“And look, here’s the proof. I just met you. But here’s… See? Look at me, look at my track record. Look at my YouTube videos of my students. Look at my name here listed as one of the teachers that has winning students. I’m on the list.”
I used to think that would matter to parents, but I don’t anymore. It does not fit anywhere into these two categories. And I’ve realized that I just don’t have any more or less success bringing it up. And so I’ve just dropped it in my first encounter with students.
I want the students to be happy. I do want the students to learn something, I want them to make some progress. Check, check. There’s both things that the parents want and I’m done. I don’t say anything else.
I could say more things. I think that there’s more things that I could say, but I’ve learned that less is more sometimes. If families start their child at Piano Express and the child gets really serious and starts taking off down the track and climbing up… And the student has the potential to be, you know, that rare student that goes all the way to the top… I would rather have the families learn these things about my studio later than on the first day. I think it means more then.
And so yes, that’s, that’s the newest thing that I’ve learned. And it’s changed the way that I’ve engaged with families on the first day. I won’t talk about, “Here are the possible results five years from now if everything goes well.” I just don’t. I just want parents to see what happens today. And take it from there.
Okay, so let’s review briefly. And then we’ll go into the final part of this video.
So if you’re having trouble converting to group or you can’t imagine a situation in which the people in your studio would convert to group, just understand that the intuitive way that most studio owners go about doing this is dead wrong. And that includes trying to convince people, explaining the features of the program, explaining how good your studio is, how good the program is, the results of students – like you were saying there, Greg – lack of confidence, and not really knowing how to speak confidently about the program.
And I’m almost getting into what I was going to say next. But I’m going to stop just shy of that.
Let’s focus on what you should do at a general level. And then we’re going to get into some specific steps. At the general level, Greg, you said it a few minutes ago. What were those two things? The joy on the child’s face. And what was the second one?
Right. That’s what parents are looking for. They want to see that the child is happy. So in the case of what Greg was saying a minute ago, maybe instead of talking about what the child will be doing five years from now, maybe talk about what they’ll experience five weeks from now, and how much more excited the child will be, and maybe tell a few stories of other kids in the studio. And probably most of the kids that come to your program, Greg, they’re probably just on fire by week. 5. Am I right?
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
22:18 – The hardest problem you’ll face when you’re switching to group, and how to solve it
So yeah, talking at that level. But that’s where I actually want to get into some specific steps.
And Greg, I’m going to give some specific steps here. I made these beforehand. This is really the only part of the video I prepared. If you want to comment on any of these as I go through them, just feel free to jump in.
But I have like four or five specific steps on how to convert to a group program in your studio. And I will say even before I start out, I say this to almost everybody I talk to about group.
And by the way, I’ve helped… Greg, I don’t know if you know this number, but I’ve helped over 500 videos convert to group since 2016. It’s 2023 right now. So in the last seven years, I’ve helped 500 studios convert to group – that’s a lot of studios.
One of the things that I say to people is… you have to understand that you are going to experience turbulence in the short term.
You will experience some pain in the short term for a lot of payoff in the long term, a lot of pleasure in the long term, a lot of satisfaction in the long term. There will be some short term pain. That’s the first thing.
The second thing is that the hardest people to – and I know we’ve been saying that this is a bad word this entire video, but I’m gonna use the word anyway – the hardest people to convince will be the people you’re working with right now.
Because humans don’t like change. And they have learned to experience you in a certain way. And now you’re taking away their toy, so to speak, you’re taking away the thing that they love so much.
“Oh, this is scary. This feels uncomfortable.”
“Won’t my child do better if they’re in a 1-on-1 lesson? You’re trying to put them in a group? What are you talking about?”
There’s an emotional reaction. I can understand why a parent would feel or think that way. But what they don’t understand is they don’t know what they’re talking about. And so you as a studio owner, if you go through some steps, you can turn this from a fundamentally combative process to a collaborative process, a cooperative process.
And here’s how.
24:28 – Step #1: Get serious about understanding what parents in your studio want
The first thing you have to do is get serious about understanding what your clients want – what the parents in your studios want.
Greg already talked about this a little bit when he talked about parents wanting progress. That is one thing. There’s actually a number of other things that parents want as well. And you would do very well for yourself to understand the nuances of that. Not just these high level generalities, but actually to talk to parents and ask them why they enroll their kids for lessons.
And understand that the first answer they give you is going to be a canned answer and of very little value… and that you have to press them.
You have to ask why a couple times.
“Oh, why do you want that? Oh, that’s interesting. Why do you want that?”
And by that time they actually don’t even know what to say. Now, you’re almost being the therapist digging into the deepest, darkest parts of their psyche, and about how they’re living out their own childhood again through their child. And you’re going to get some really crazy answers sometimes if you really stick on this line of inquiry with parents.
This is just what I found.
25:34 – Step #2: Define the outcomes that your studio is going to get
So here’s what you do next. So that’s step one. You have to understand what it is that parents want at a fundamental level.
Here’s the second thing. You also have to… And by the way, all of this is homework you do on your own time. This has nothing to do with the open house, this has nothing to do with what you put in your marketing yet. This has nothing to do with what you say in a trial lesson or on the phone or in person or when you meet someone at the grocery store.
“Oh, aren’t you that piano teacher?”
We’re not there yet.
The second piece of homework that you have to do is you have to really define the outcomes that your program gets.
Yes, you have to understand not at a psychological level, not at an abstract level, not, “Oh, kids have fun,” but actually, in concrete terms, be able to describe the kinds of things that kids will be able to do at four weeks in, eight weeks in, six month in, two years in.
What is the child doing physically?
What are they able to do in the real world?
How will grandma feel when Sarah plays that song for grandma?
I’ll even tell a personal story here. My grandmother SO wanted me to be able to play Turkey in the Straw, which was a song that she heard growing up in the 1930s.
She wanted me to be able to play that. And when I finally was able to play it, every family reunion that we went to after that, if there was a piano in that house, she wanted me to play it for her.
Well, 35 years later, I still remember that. That’s like a core memory that will never leave me, you know what I mean?
If you say that to a parent, it puts a smile on their face, because they can relate to that. They can’t relate to you saying, “Oh, this is fun. Oh, the kids love it when they get a high score.”
If you can tell the story and you can describe the outcome in a way that is emotionally resonant to someone, they’ll be a believer.
Now I’m gonna get into some of the more concrete things you do after the homework. I’m wondering if there’s any commentary you have on this at all, Greg? If not, that’s cool. We can move on. But is there anything you’d say about this?
I’m just going to push back just a little bit on what I said earlier today in this conversation, that there are only two things that that parents want.
Okay, I said – child should be happy, child should make progress. That is very general. And so I think there is value in maybe putting a survey out to your families and seeing if there is something more specific. Because what parents want, it does have subtle changes when you move from community to community, or culture to culture. And so just getting the words from your families and understanding from their own mouths, what they want, at a fundamental level and really learning to ask the right questions so you get the below the surface answer, you know, that can make you a more powerful marketer. And for you studio owners, you know, there’s a lot of hats you wear: you’re a teacher, you’re a coach, you are a marketer a lot of times and so, yeah, I did want to say that I have those two big generalities, but then there’s more granular detail behind both of them.
Yeah. And by the way, I have absolutely no pushback on your generalities. I think it’s actually important to keep those two categories in your head. And then as you said, and as I said, begin to define the subtleties of both of those general categories. But I do think studio owners really need to remember these so I’m glad you highlighted them.
29:16 – Step #3: Define the desire of the parent right in front of you
Okay, so step three.
Step one was you understand what parents want at a general level.
Step two was define the outcomes that students will get with your program.
Now we get into concrete things that you will do in the moment or in your marketing. So step three.
And Greg, this is a subtlety. You need to define the desire of the parent in front of you right now.
And so Greg, earlier you were saying that you used to, in general, tell everyone in the studio who was coming in for the open house, “Oh, look at all these high scores that we got. Look at all these RCM honors and accolades,” and this sort of thing. I’m going to say that actually isn’t a bad idea, if that’s what the parent is signaling to you is meaningful to them.
Right. If they asked the question.
Exactly, yeah, exactly. So the whole purpose of doing your research and finding out all the different reasons that parents might want to enroll their child in lessons or in your specific program, which is a group program, is so that you come into any individual conversation already aware of the 3-5 major talking points, so that when the parent brings that up, you already know the way that you are going to talk to them.
I’ll just say, I had a phone conversation. And tomorrow, we have a student scheduled to come to our studio for the first time. And I already know the parent wants the child to learn how to sit still. That is the one thing the parent said that she wants the child to learn. And I’m just like, “Okay, game on, let’s, let’s figure it out.”
That’s, that’s unique.
But I heard her talk and I gathered that her child is having trouble in his first year of school, and she wants him in a few activities just so he can acclimate to a classroom.
I’m ready to meet this boy in our class, and I am already ready to answer that question. Yes, it takes a village to raise a child, and we can be part of that village.
31:44 – Step #4: Connect the parent’s desire to the outcomes you already know you’re getting
So that actually leads me to step four.
And we’ll just use that as a case study. I had no idea you were going to say that in this interview. But let’s just do this in the moment.
#4 is to connect the parent’s desire (that you already know because you asked them) with the outcomes that you already know.
So you already know the outcomes for your program.
Now, tomorrow, Greg has the opportunity to talk about Piano Express curriculum and his group lesson program. And everything about this is going to help that child to sit still. Everything about Piano Express is going to help that child acclimate to a classroom. Those are the things that Greg is going to choose to highlight.
So “Oh, you know, this particular thing about the curriculum really engages kids. We’ve noticed that it helps their attention span increase.” And by the way, this isn’t a lie or inauthentic. It’s just that we’re highlighting the thing that they need to hear in the moment.
Right. And I’m not hoping tomorrow that this child miraculously behaves and puts on a great show for the mom. What I’m going to just say is students that have come in the past who have struggled in classroom settings, who have stuck with us over time… they’ve, they’ve improved…
And, and I want more than anything with this family coming in, I want them to understand that I am a patient person. I want them to understand that I’m not going to lose my mind the first time this child falls off the piano bench or, or pushes a button he’s not supposed to push, I want them to see that they’re working.
I just said a minute ago that it takes a village to raise a child. And so they are looking for another person to add to their village. And I want to prove to them that I can be one of those people. And that’s unique. I almost never see a family where that’s their #1 thing, but I’m going to see one tomorrow. And I’m confident that I’m going to be able to make a good connection with this family. I haven’t even met them yet. But I know that I can be genuine, I can show that, you know, I care about their child. It might not happen tomorrow, and it might not happen for the next couple of weeks. But over time, if I’m given a chance, I will do everything I can to help this child improve.
That’s what I’m ready to put on display tomorrow.
34:05 – Step #5: Build your mass marketing strategy
And so this is how everyone gets what they want without stress or combat. The student is served, studio owner (in this case, Greg) is served, and the parent gets what they want too.
And I think that kind of leads me to the fifth and final step, which is we’ve talked mostly about the homework. We’ve talked mostly about how to talk to the parent either over email, or the phone, or 1-on-1 in the trial lesson.
What do you do in general for your mass marketing?
Or, if you’re converting a studio over right now to a group lesson program – and this is where I would kind of just point back to something I said maybe five minutes ago – which is, in general, there’s about 3-5 main things that parents want when it comes to the outcomes they’re looking for with their kids and lessons. Whether those are actual, real world musical skill outcomes all the way to emotional outcomes that they want for the child and emotional satisfaction they want for themselves.
And if I want to make this video an hour and a half long, I’d go deep into that. I actually have training around that for studios that are really serious about switching the group, you know, click the demo button or if you’re watching this on YouTube, look in the description section, you’ll find ways to get a free group consult with me. And we can talk about that. So I’m not going to go into like, what those deep psychological things are, because some of those are.
What I will say is that, in the marketing, there are two main things you’ve got to do.
Focus on the outcomes kids get, not the format in which they get it. Say this to yourself 1000 times when you’re writing your marketing. Do not focus on format, focus on results. Focus on the formula. Make it – and I’m not saying disingenuously – talk about the process, the formula you have from taking a kid who’s never made music before, to turning them into something awesome. I could do that in my studio.
I did do that. I did that for 15 years. And I was very efficient at it. Kids were just flying through their books in my studio. And I made certain that parents understood that they could trust the process, that the kids would have fun, and here are the tangible results that you’re going to see. And by the way, it won’t take as long as you think. I focused parents with those outcomes.
And that was what my marketing focused on. And just the other point I would say is that, you know, in some of these trainings that I’ve done, I’ve taught a couple different ways of doing group over the years, the one I’m currently favoring is the Piano Express. I think it’s the best group thing I’ve ever seen for piano. And I would just say that, you know, for studios that are serious about a system like that, where you can see rapid progress with students and have class sizes that are heretofore unheard of, and still getting incredible results… And doing it in a way that allows your group program not to fall apart because of a differentiation between students and the way students can make individual progress, and in the context of a group.
We have templates, we have marketing templates that we give the studios that we work with, to help them convert over. And just even as recently as a few months ago, we had a studio convert 178 piano students over to Piano Express in about six weeks with, with no hiccups. I genuinely mean that. I followed up with the studio owner.
So if you want to reinvent the wheel, you know, we’ve given you some really good high level ways to do that here. If you just want the templates, just reach out to me, there’s… there’s buttons around here, they’ll show you how to do that.
So before we go into the close, Greg, anything else you want to say on this topic?
37:41 – How to sell without being “salesy” (for studio owners who hate selling)
The best salespeople are not salesy.
With sales we have this idea like, “I’m trying to make you buy the thing that I’m trying to sell.”
If you are truly in the place where you’re supposed to be – like your life calling is to be a music teacher and you are fulfilling that, you’re in the center of who you are when you do what you do – then just be yourself. Just be honest. And people will come to you. People will trust the service that you provide. And it’s going to feel really genuine. It’s going to feel really honest. And it can be, and it should be.
And more than anything when people come to me… I teach group lessons to beginners, but I’m not trying to sell group lessons. I want to show you how group lessons are the best.
I figured out how to be me as a teacher and this is what it looks like. People can sense genuineness.
So for anyone watching this, figure out who you are as a teacher. If you’re curious about group lessons, if you haven’t done group lessons before, imagine the possibilities, because group lessons is becoming more and more of a tangible reality for so many teachers because of advancement in technology – things as simple as headphones all the way up to software and computers. The tools are there.
And so you as a teacher, you can always be growing, you can learn new things. The YOU that is here today might not be the YOU six months from now or a year from now. So if you’re curious about group lessons, learn all you can about it. But always stay true to yourself. Because if you can do that, then your sales will just take care of themselves.