5 Creative Ways to Boost Summer Income

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It’s 7°F on the farm right now. And if I’m totally honest… I have to admit that I haven’t stepped foot out of the house yet today. (Can you blame me?) I’m perfectly content to wait until it’s time to go down to the studio this afternoon, when it should be a balmy 15°F.

Why am I telling you this? Because I have summer weather on the brain. Last week some of my students started asking about this year’s Summer Workshops and Camps. It might only be the end of January, but this is prime-time for music teachers to start thinking about their summer income.

Here are a few tips I’ve learned over the years about how to keep a steady income throughout the summer months:

  1. Offer Lessons in Flexible Packages – Students are likely to take vacations during the summer months. If you can offer them more flexibility in scheduling, then you can easily work around vacations and other activities! My parents and students purchase lessons in packages (6, 8, 10, 12 – prices breaks for more lessons), and they schedule them using an online service called YouCanBook.Me. I’ve used this system for 2 years, and it’s been a life-changer. I saved SO much time by allowing the client to be in charge of their own scheduling… and we all remember the adage about time = money, right? You can read more about how I use this system here.
  2. Summer Camps and Workshops – This is my favorite thing about summer! Every year I offer 3 different week-long workshops/camps for my students. It’s a fun way to shake things up for students, flex your creative muscles, and boost your summer income. If you want to learn more about how I design summer camps, check out my Designing Summer Workshop blog posts, or register to watch my webinar about Marketing Strategies, Group Lessons, and Summer Workshops.
  3. Teach a Group Class – There are all KINDS of ways to teach group classes. Group classes are great for students who just want to “try out” lessons… and they aren’t just for kids. Group classes work REALLY well for adults too! Piano Teachers… Maybe you don’t have a studio with lots of keyboards, but if you can find a workable space (check local schools, churches, universities) and get creative (know a few people with keyboards that you can borrow?), you can teach a group class. Just pick your favorite beginner method book, plan 4-5 hour long group lessons, and you’ve got a month long class! Voice Teachers… What about a group class for adults who want to brush up on their audition skills? Or a weekly class that works on song interpretation and character development? The possibilities are truly endless.
  4. Registration Fees for Fall Lessons – This isn’t something that I do in my studio, but I know that this works really well for teachers who don’t necessarily teach during the summer. When your students take off in May, it’s really important to get a solid commitment from those who plan on returning. This registration fee reserves their fall spot, and pays for studio expenses such as paper, ink, game materials, studio memberships, liability taxes, etc. Once you know how many students have registered for fall, then you can turn to advertising or start calling your waiting list to fill remaining spots.
  5. Wedding Season, Anyone? – Now this is something we can do *outside* of studio time. Don’t forget… wedding season hits in May, and there are lots of couples out there looking for talented musicians to make their day special. Be sure to have a solid wedding contract before you try to enter this field! Require  50% down-payment upon scheduling, and payment in full at least 2 weeks before the wedding date.

Want to learn more about teaching groups and summer camps? Check out my free interview from Group Lessons 101. In it, I’ll show you how to create graphics that will WOW your parents and students, how to think about your marketing time line, and strategies for marketing on Facebook. 

How do YOU keep your income steady during summer months? Comment below!

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11 Comments

  • by Susan Posted February 7, 2016 9:37 am

    Sara, I just discovered your website and I love it! Thank you for sharing all of this valuable information! I’m curious about the wedding contract that you mentioned. Do u have one that you would be willing to share? Also, can u suggest what you think would be a fair amount to charge? Thanks so much!

    • by Sara @ Sara’s Music Studio Posted February 7, 2016 2:29 pm

      Hi Susan! Thanks for your comments. I’ll send you the wedding contract that I made via email!

      • by Barb Posted March 27, 2017 4:46 pm

        I would be interested to seeing your wedding contract and what fee amount you suggest. Also, how do you get your name at there to play for weddings?

        • by Sara @ Sara’s Music Studio Posted March 27, 2017 4:48 pm

          Hi Barb – email me at info@sarasmusicstudio.com and I’ll be glad to give you the info!

  • by Www.MusicSchoolMarketingTips.com Posted February 24, 2016 9:56 pm

    Great points here @Sara. Summer can be a great time if teachers planned for it ahead of time.

    • by Sara @ Sara’s Music Studio Posted February 25, 2016 8:12 pm

      Yes! It just takes a bit of planning 🙂 No more poor piano teachers in the summer time!

  • Trackback: 5 Creative Tips to Boost Your Income with Groups & Camp | Maria Candelaria Rosales
  • by Roma Posted March 10, 2018 10:21 pm

    My summer schedule is simple. Parents pay for 11 months. Summer lessons for June and July consist of 2 – 45 min. lessons each month. The month of August I receive lab fees which is equivalent to 1/2 of monthly tuition. I can live with this format. Students are required to take in order to continue in the Fall.

    • by Sara Campbell Posted March 14, 2018 8:36 pm

      Hey there Roma! 🙂 This sounds like a good setup! Thanks for sharing.

  • by Erica Ogden Posted March 22, 2018 9:33 pm

    Hi Sara! Love all the great info you give all of us! I would be interested to know how you would go about figuring pricing for summer lesson packages. I currently have a 10 month school year tuition (materials/everything is all rolled into that price), divided into a flat rate every month, then summer is a nightmare. I would like to require my students who wish to take summer off, but continue in the Fall to purchase at least 2 summer lessons in order to reserve their spot in the Fall. It’s hurting my brain trying to figure out what the lessons are even worth, how to go about promoting this, etc. Any tips would be GREATLY appreciated! My thoughts are, if you’ve already found a system that works, perhaps I don’t need to reinvent the wheel, so to speak…thanks so much in advance!

    • by Sara Campbell Posted March 29, 2018 1:30 pm

      So many options here! Some ideas for you:

      – Yearly tuition that is divided into 10 payments and includes X number of summer lessons.
      – School year tuition as regular, then required summer tuition to reserve the fall spot. (This works really well if you have a waiting list!)

      I’d encourage you to go for 4 lessons in the summer instead of 2. As for figuring out what they’re worth? Subtract your materials from your yearly price, divide by the # of lessons in a year. I’ve got some other thoughts on this if you want to schedule a consultation sometime! I’d be happy to help you work everything out.

      Hope this helps!

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