Canadian Music Trade - December-January 2022 - Page 27

and going every year , you need to look at why . If teachers aren ’ t sticking around , why not ? I think it ’ s important to give teachers the freedom to teach what they want to teach . At the same time , music teachers need to go through the retail store and look at all the books and products that would be of value to their students . Again , it ’ s a team ; you got to support each other .
CMT : Creating a quality lessons program also means hiring good teachers . So , what ’ s some practical advice you have about hiring teachers ?
St . Germain : I have a team and as I hire my people , one of the questions I always ask is , “ Why ?” So , the first question that they should ask is , “ Why do you want to be a music teacher ? And why do you want to teach here ?” Because for me , and I ’ m speaking deeply from my heart right now , just because the music teacher has a whole bunch of letters after their name does not mean that they ’ re passionate . Surprise ! It really doesn ’ t . I ’ ve seen music teachers that have many more letters after their name than I do , but they ’ re doing it because that ’ s what they were taught , that ’ s what they excelled in , and now they ’ re teaching , but they ’ re not in love with the children and they ’ re not in love with the process of teaching .
The second question that I would ask is , “ What are you doing right now in your professional development ?” If they say they ’ re not doing anything , then the next question would be , “ why ?” Because there ’ s no end . Right now , I ’ m taking three business courses .
Also , as a music lesson department , you can only have teachers that are going to be as good as the leader . And you as the leader also have a responsibility to me as a teacher . If I was going to teach for you , I would have the question , too ; “ Why do you want me to teach here ?” I want to know your why .
I think it comes back to respect and mutual listening in conversation . For me , it gets very exciting when I get into the interview process . I ’ ve had people who I let go for various reasons , and I have a core team that ’ s been with me since day one . Why are they still with me ? Because of our UMT company culture and how we support each other . I ’ m always open ; if you ’ ve got an idea on how we can do something cool in the company , let ’ s hear it ! It ’ s all about that growth mindset and relationships .
The relationship that lesson programs want to have with their teachers , and the relationship that they expect teachers to have not only with the students , but also with the parents - it ’ s multi-layered .
CMT : We talked before about student retention ; what advice do you have for recruiting new students ?
St . Germain : I ’ m glad you asked this question because I ’ m passionate about this .
When you are recruiting new students , one of the most important things in my mind is that you need to know who your customer avatar is . Who is your ideal student ? Let ’ s start with , what are you passionate about ? If you ’ re passionate about teaching young children , then you need to market to parents that have young children . Your marketing isn ’ t to the kids — you ’ re not selling toys to kids ; you are selling lessons to the parents . Number one , you need to show the value of your offer . Within our Ultimate Music Theory Certification course , we provide marketing materials that are specific to different age groups , because parents of different age groups are looking for different lessons . Your client is whoever is paying you the money . That ’ s your customer .
The other thing is , in recruiting students , go to places where the parents of that age group are . I remember doing open houses , and I would have a bunch of little brochures in my purse , and I would go to the school department in my local mall – this is during back-to-school [ season ] – and I would watch the parents engage with their child . If I noticed that it was a little like , “ You can ’ t have that , you can ’ t do this ,” I thought , “ Okay , I don ’ t want that parent at my music studio .” I was really picky [ laughs ]. But if I saw that the parent was saying , “ Oh yeah , you should get the pink one too , those are so cute ,” then I would say to them , “ Isn ’ t it fun getting school supplies ? I ’ m a music teacher getting supplies for my studio . Is your child in music lessons right now ?” They might say ,
“ No , but we were thinking about it ,” and I ’ d say , “ Oh , cool . I ’ m having an open house and I live in the area . Is it okay if I give you the information ?”
I wasn ’ t soliciting , as in putting them on the windshield of all the cars in the parking lot … But I was handpicking who I really wanted to teach and build a relationship with . I ’ m not bragging here , I ’ m just stating a fact , that when my students register with me , I expect that they will stay with me for a lifetime . I ’ m not signing you up just to let you go . And if you leave , then it ’ s my fault . What did I not provide you with ? What did I not look for ? What am I missing ?
So , if jazz is your passion , then make sure that you put that into your marketing materials . Let people know the benefits and the cool stuff that you can offer them . Just saying , “ register for music lessons … book now … limited space available ,” it doesn ’ t really tell me anything about you .
In today ’ s world , we must market exactly to the avatar that we want to attract . If you want to teach young children , then make sure that you ’ re marketing to them . And don ’ t be afraid to do an open house , and reach out , tell students to bring a friend ; there ’ s so many ways to recruit new students . First , decide exactly what age group of students you want to teach . Then , what do you want to teach them ? And finally , connect online or in person — put up posters at the swimming pool , dentist office , or wherever kids might be out with their parents — and go for it . We are enriching lives through music education . Teach with passion !
Michael Raine is the Editor-in-Chief of Canadian Music Trade .