I love the holidays and the opportunities it presents for me as a studio owner. Last month, I shared some of the ways that I use Halloween in all its glory to generate some performance and marketing opportunities at my studio. With Christmas fast approaching, I’ve switched out my pumpkin and witch practicing stickers for the likes of Santa and his elves.
Pretty much any piano method book has a supplementary book for the holidays, making a holiday recital a pretty easy thing to throw together. But rather than a typical performance at a typical recital venue, I like to use the holidays to teach my students that they can use their musical gifts to serve others. Each year, we select a local nursing home and have students perform their holiday pieces for a get-together there. The residents love it, and often students will go beyond just playing a piece and bake cookies or color cards for the residents and interact with them after the performance. Students also enjoy the casual, laid-back atmosphere as opposed to a more formal venue — it’s not unusal for a student to perform in a Santa hat or even sing along to others’ playing. Since I also teach 2-3 year old music classes, they will accompany my piano playing on bells or another percussion instrument to a Christmas carol.
Do you have a unique and interesting venue where you could showcase your studio over the holidays? Perhaps your local mall sets up an area for dancers, singers, or musicians to perform for the holidays? Perhaps your local coffee shop has space for a few students to set up and play some carols on their violins? Might your advanced students be able to play for a local company’s holiday party?
Holiday music is easy to find and kids enjoy having something different than the typical rigmarole of the school year. Changing things up with some fun holiday duets and carols definitely helps maintain interest and re-energize students who sometimes feel like they are lagging. Since we study a different composer each month, I also like to use the month of December to study Tchaikovsky or Handel and watch exerpts from The Nutcracker or The Messiah. In my youngest music classes, we sing and play along to well-known carols and do crafts with a holiday theme. Everyone — myself included — loves the change in routine.
While all of this adds a bit of zeal to current students at my studio, it also helps me market myself a bit in the community. My studio contact info is in our recital programs, and last year I had children and grandchildren of nursing home residents call to inquire about lessons following our recital. Perhaps your local paper will do a free press release about your holiday events, or you might keep a stack of business cards out for customers passing by who stop to watch and listen to your studio performers.