Prospect Enrolled in MAC
Joanne D., Australia
Feeling a bit disheartened- I did a free information session yesterday and said to the lady there was more Information at Simply Music website and she emailed today thanking me and has enrolled in the free foundation course 😞 [i.e., the Music & Creativity Program (MAC)]
I guess I’m just a bit shocked as in my 12yrs of teaching SM I’ve not had this happen. I have learnt a big lesson – never refer anyone to the simply music website ever again!
Marilyn S., Australia
That is something I have never really understood – having a free course for students. It is also something that I have had a little concern about too. It may be ok for those who are in areas where the potential students are in large numbers, in largely populated areas and very little competition. I live in a small city (I would call it a town, myself) where people are few who wish to try something different, and where the local con draws a large percentage of the potential musicians (the rest have private lessons with teachers with years of experience or learn at school). On top of that, if the website is discussed in the FIS there is a fear that they may see the free option and go for that. It is hard enough with the options in our local area, trying to gather students so that we can actually make a living from something we would love to share.
Leeanne I., Australia
If she loves it she may come to you to do Foundation 2. I avoid this by not giving people that have been to an FIS a link to the SM home page. I send them a link to the student page with instructions on how to set up their account. I only send this email after the have signed my enrollment form and paid my enrolment fee.
Joanne D., Australia
Leeanne I. yes I’ve learnt a big lesson now! It’s annoying that if she does come back later and she has to start at level 1 she will have to buy the whole level but will already know half the songs 😞
Stephen R., California
Joanne D. There is some overlap between MAC (Music & Creativity) and Foundation 1 of the SM program. I am currently going through the free portion myself as a teacher. It was on my winter break To-Do list so I know what it entails relative to the SM program. Half of the SM level 1 songs are presented but in a slightly different way with added improvisations and new songs!
If students transfer over to SM they would need to start in Foundation 1, but I would incorporate variations/arrangements and accompaniment early. I’ve had one situation where a MAC student started with me. She didn’t get very far though, did not finish the free portion.
After that they would need to purchase Level 2 of the MAC program and I’m not sure what’s included with that.
Don’t forget that by studying with a live teacher (in-person or online) you get all the benefits and experience of a live lesson and real time coaching. You don’t get that with a learn-at-home program and students have to be really disciplined and self-reliant to do well long-term! Some students want to self study, but others really need actual coaching and we bring all that we know to the table. Also, the SM program in entirety is far more extensive. The point of a FIS is to give a full overview to the SM program and what it covers in year 1 and beyond.
Stephen R., California
Leeanne I. Good idea! No materials slip until they enroll and pay to start. New students need to be linked to us too! However, even from the “Student Page” new prospects can still set up an account on the intranet and order the program (the entire program if they choose). It’s available, but requires us teachers to properly teach it to them! 🙂 It’s our job to advise them to only purchase materials as needed…
Rebecca K., Australia
I found the free online so amazing for myself that I have become a teacher because of it. I have a lady who has been slowly doing the online sessions in her own time and loving it. She has come back to me a few times stating that she doesn’t understand something and I take her what she needs to know. She has just purchased a piano and said that she is nearly ready to have lessons to take it a bit further. So it can work in your favour. I would keep in touch with this lady and encourage her as she progresses through the stages, you will more than likely find that she will come back to you for lessons. Best of luck.
Christine W., Kansas
So, everyone’s experience is different, but I’ve never done an FIS, I simply answer questions via email, text, or phone call, and I ALWAYS refer them to the SM website to check out the program. Most all inquiries I get are referrals from current students, who have been told how well I connect with and teach the students, and how fun the program has been for them to learn from. IF I had someone say they’re going to do the free program on their own (which I haven’t, but maybe they just didn’t tell me) I would be happy they’re delving into the SM method and ask them to keep me up to date on their experience. Stay in touch with them if you can, and there’s always a chance they’ll decide they need a teacher after all!
Suzette H., Nebraska
When I talk to people randomly about SM, especially adults who are interested, I always tell them about the MAC program. I think it’s a great introduction and to get a taste for the program. I also incorporate many of the features of MAC into my lessons in the beginning. That lady will be back if she’s serious and it’s not just a fleeting moment that she decided she wanted lessons.
Heidi M., Canada
I understand how you feel, Joanne Davies! I had that happen once too, so I am much more careful about how I share the SM website. However, I recently started to mention in FIS sessions about that free MAC option but then immediately point out its limitations and also the huge advantages of having a live teacher … And when I explain it like that, they have always replied saying ” oh I/we definitely prefer a live teacher to a free program with no live teacher”. I have the impression that people appreciate being told the options with the pros and cons and then they are more in favour of signing up for paid lessons with a live teacher.
Nancy N., New Hampshire
I feel that even though the free MAC program teaches students some of the F1, it is quite different from what I am offering as a teacher. My students get weekly feedback and accountability that is not available with online self-study. I currently have an 8 year old who’s up to 8 songs in 14 lessons. I doubt that’s the usual result with MAC. My adult students who might have done okay with MAC seem to love the attention and interaction they get from me. And my more musically advanced beginning students really enjoy the arrangements and accompaniment, which they get to jump into as early as they’re ready. Let this lady know that she will be playing more music sooner and more confidently if she works with you.
Mike Motley, North Carolina
I offer a FIS and when they come I use portions of the SM website on my TV screens that are wired into the piano station to show the parents or potential students what the site looks like. In real time this is something I can control concerning how much or how little I reveal. Once that’s done I do a MAC song (Eliza) with the student and off they go. I rarely ever mention anything about SM website! Most of the time by the end of the FIS they’ve pretty much made up their mind about signing up or not.
I’m not sure if that is helpful or not but that’s what I do!
Mark M., New York
A resource that can be helpful: Play with Simply Music. This is the online self-study version of the Student Workshop which Robin Keehn and I developed in cooperation with Neil, designed especially as a recruitment tool for SM Teachers. It includes 6 extensive lesson videos by Robin and myself, teaching the 4 songs plus integrating 4 improvisation projects, the Student Introductory Session, the Foundation Session, the Relationship Conversation, the Basics, how to sit at the piano, extra learning strategies for the 4 pieces, and extra discussion of a number of key Simply Music strategies and principles.
The idea is that it serve to help new prospects to really know what SM is all about, in particular exactly what to expect in managing the long-term relationship through ongoing lessons with a teacher. The program does all that so you don’t have to spend time doing it yourself, either for free before they enroll or in the various conversations you’d end up having to do during paid lesson time — it vetts prospective students so they are truly ready to go in long-term ongoing lessons with you when they enroll.
It shares with MAC the benefit of being a short-term “taste” of the method compared to ongoing lessons. Beyond that, it has benefits for you as a teacher recruiting students. Its content is geared directly toward the decision about entering ongoing lessons with a Simply Music Teacher. It’s more limited in scope than MAC so that you’ll end up with more purview over their absorbing Curriculum content. It isn’t free like MAC, but it’s very low cost ($49.00), and that is more than made up for compared to the paid lesson time that would have been needed to cover its content, so it represents a significant savings in that regard. So it’s easy to pitch PWSM directly to prospects as a compelling alternative both to MAC and to diving into ongoing lessons if they feel they need more information.
Two more things to help support teachers’ use of PWSM:
First, a free Teachers Guide to Play with Simply Music that outlines the benefits of using it, how to market with it, enhancing it with your involvement (such as creating bundles that can include coaching/consultation with you as prospective students go through the Workshop), and transitioning students from it into ongoing lessons. Any teacher who would like to see the Teachers Guide can PM me your email address and I’ll send it to you.
Also, all SM Teachers can review the complete PWSM program at no cost — PM Robin about that and she can grant you access. We suggest teachers take a look at the Teacher’s Guide either before or alongside reviewing the program itself.
PWSM is available at Robin’s Quitting Culture website — https://www.quittingculture.com/product/play-with-simply-music/ — and anyone can watch the first complete lesson video (containing the majority of the FIS as well as other preparatory content) right there on the web page without having to purchase or even submit any contact info.
Jacqui G., Canada
I have not been teaching since 2016, when I relocated to another town (and “gave myself a year to get settled” ) so MAC had just come in as I was going out. At first I was upset with the idea, until I remembered how I came to discover Simply Music. I was searching for an at-home piano course, and Simply Music offered one on DVDs, but had just discontinued it. I was disappointed. Then I answered the phone one day and NEIL MOORE was on the other end! We talked for 20 minutes – and at the end of the call I had convinced me that the best way to grow my piano skills was to BECOME A SIMPLY MUSIC TEACHER! So you never know.
But one thing I do know is that I will never again offer the 4-lesson workshop. First, it is “F1 Light”. Four classes is not enough time to develop a relationship with the students, or give them a proper feel for the method. Second, when they do decide to sign up, they feel “cheated” by having to purchase F1 – from their point of view, they have already learned half the songs! And even with variations and duets, they feel like they are going over stuff they have already learned.
I think MAC is not so bad, it allows prospective students to dip their toe in the water, 🦶 ⛲️but they can’t get the full benefit until they are fully immersed. 🏊♀️ At least it is not “F1 light”.
Laurie Richards, Nebraska
Well, it’s a big world out there with lots of different kinds of people who have unique personalities and preferences. I personally appreciate that there are several opportunities to meet those preferences….
MAC provides an option for those who aren’t ready to commit to regular practice; or prefer learning on their own; or can’t afford regular lessons; or want to understand more about the program before committing. It often acts as a springboard for future students and teachers.
MAC also provides additional material that can be used with SM students in regular lessons.
The 4-song workshop is the next ‘step up’ from an online course, providing a “try it before you commit” kind of approach. I gained MANY long-term students from the workshop, some who became teachers (Suzette H. for example). I always offered a discount on FL1 SHM for those who continued. A minimal marketing expense.
I’ve always thought of both of these programs as just another offering to share with potential students. I often share info about MAC and talk about the difference between self-paced learning vs. learning with a teacher.
Robin Keehn, Washington
Yes, our Play with Simply Music program is a wonderful way for someone to get familiar with SM at a fraction of the cost of lessons AND has huge benefits for teachers. If someone goes through it and comes back to you, they have been vetted and are SOLD on SM. As a teacher, you can be confident that student has a solid foundation and it saves you tons of time and energy (we do the FIS and the ‘onboarding’ for you). Mark and I made this a fun and entertaining program complete with animations and bloopers. 😂
Original discussion started January 4, 2023