In a recent music teachers workshop, a professor from our local university’s music department gave an excellent presentation on the topic of motivating your students. I imagine this is something every studio owner struggles with, and since students who aren’t motivated have a tendency not to progress and not to enjoy what they’re doing, this can also affect student turnover.
In this workshop, the professor discussed the importance of the teacher as a performer. When a teacher continues to study and perform, he provides opportunities to demonstrate excellence for his students, to motivate them by allowing them to see what they are working towards while also bettering his own abilities along the way.
This doesn’t mean you need to go planning a solo recital (though kudos to you if you do), but it does mean that you need to show your students your capabilities. Demonstrate for them the skills you would like them to learn. Put on your own dance uniform and show them the technique and routine before you teach it to them. Demonstrate a difficult passage in a piece for your student so that they know how it looks and sounds before they tackle it themselves.
But don’t just hide your talents and abilities behind the walls of your studio. Are you a violinist who sometimes plays with a band at a local coffee shop? Are you a pianist who plays for church? Invite your students to come see and hear you play! Or, choreograph a “teacher’s number” to perform at your students dance recital or play for the finale of your end-of-the-year piano recital. Not only will this serve as a motivational tool for your students, but it reminds parents of your qualifications as a studio owner and teacher, and encourages them to continue on in their business relationship with you.