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Improve student retention by changing your culture

For a typical music school, 80 percent of students are youths. This means families are involved. Families are invested (in their child's growth but also... financially). They are the ones who pick up, drop off, sit through lessons, figure out the assignments and make sure their kids practice during the week. What I'm saying is: when a child takes lessons, it's really the family you're taking on and creating a relationship with. So ask yourself this: while you have a family-oriented business, do you have a family-oriented culture? Do your families feel warm and welcome and do they know the other families there?

Unless you do online lessons, music lessons are generally a local business. Some families may already know each other. With a family-oriented culture, your music school becomes this hub that connects lesson-taking families together. It's like a center where they get to see familiar faces and feel at home. This also makes it easier and natural to bring other families through referrals.

I bring my daughter to many different after school extracurricular activities. She enjoys mostly all of these activities, but speaking as a parent, I personally enjoy some of them more than others. I know that these activities are not specifically for me, but with that said, I also appreciate when the place that we are attending for these activities creates a family-oriented culture.

There are a couple main differences when it comes to a regular business and a family oriented one.

Indicators of being a business with a family-oriented culture:

  • Students interact with each other at recitals.
  • Families get to know each other. The parents become friends, and they enjoy watching their children grow together.
  • Eventually, it can lead to families interacting with each other outside of lessons.

I believe this type of interaction is most often seen in children's sporting activities. For my daughter’s soccer team, our families see each other every week, so my wife and I have developed relationships with the other parents. Since we have been involved with this particular soccer team for a couple of years now, we have seen the other children grow as well. We have attended pizza parties, birthday parties, and many other functions with the soccer team families off the field as well.

I have always wondered if music lessons could ever be this way? And I’m happy to say that our current piano lesson teacher has actually been able to build this type of culture into their music studio.

From my experience, here are some Tips for creating a family-oriented culture:

  • Group lessons or activities
  • Events that brings family together
  • Sharing news of students and their progress even outside of their school
  • A platform that also brings families closer together

I think one of the primary reasons this family-oriented culture is possible at her music lesson is a music app she uses called Better Practice. Better Practice is an easy to use music app that tracks assignments, lets me know when my child starts practicing, what she is practicing, and for how long. I can even listen to how her practice went. It has improved her practice habits, and since she enjoys using all of the features in the app, she is also enjoying his time practicing. And because I’m more involved with her practice, it has also brought our family a little closer together.

The social aspect of Better Practice is equally great. Through the app, she has made friends with the other students at the studio, and because of this we have also made friends with the parents.The joy this platform has given us has been wonderful.

This new family oriented culture at our daughter’s piano lessons has been enjoyable for our whole family and the other families as well. I have a feeling that we will be attending more pizza parties and birthday parties through these music lessons because of this.