Transitioning Traditional Students
Crystal H., Canada
For those of you who transitioned your previous students from traditional lessons to Simply Music, do these families attend the same FIS as new families? I will be giving my previous students a price break for the first year since I had already posted their costs before I started training for SM. When would be a good time to inform them of that? I’m thinking it would not be something that I’d announce to the whole group.
Susan F., California
I just finished switching all of my traditional students over (they are now half way through Level 1). All of my families agreed to make the switch with just a simply conversation. I didn’t need to do an FIS at all. I think you may find that if your traditional students like you and have had you as a teacher, most will automatically trust you and follow your decision to switch to the new method, (at least that was my experience).
Only one mother was difficult, but I told her to hang in there for 90 days before making a decision, and sure enough, by the end of the first month she started to see the light! In retrospect, the FIS might have been helpful with the reluctant parent.
As far as price, I agree with the comment Lynn made that the time to do it is now. I had just raised rates on my students before starting Simply Music, so I was reluctant to raise them again. However, if the family only had one child, I chose to raise their rate again (it was only $10 more a month), so I could put them in a Shared Lesson. No one made a comment at all!
If the family had more than one child, then I did not raise their rates again, however I did explain to those parents that instead of paying for an hour (two 1/2 hour traditional lessons), they were going to be paying the same rate for one 30-minute Shared Lesson. This was a delicate conversation. At first they looked at me a little dumb-founded. To explain this new policy I informed them that the Simply Music program functions similar to that of a music school, in that lessons are billed by the student and not by the length of the lesson. I also told them that even though it appeared that they were paying for less time, they were actually saving money, because the rate of progression that the students make in 3 months is superior to the typical one-year of traditional lessons. I then asked them what made more sense – to pay their current rate to achieve certain results over a 12-month period, or achieve more in only three months? (Neil talks about this at length on the Setting Fees audio).
I also told them about the increased rate that I now charge new incoming students, to show them that they were actually getting a discount.
I found that when I communicated these concepts clearly, the parents had no problem with it. In fact, many of the parents didn’t even need the explanation. They were so excited by the idea of the program and trusted me enough, that they were happy to sign on!
There will be some definite bumps along the way It is a bit of a tight rope to walk (as one of the other teachers pointed out). In the beginning you may have to manage your traditional students a bit more closely than new students, because the home practice routine (with the video, checking off the Playlist, etc.), is so different than what they are used to with traditional lessons, but it’s well worth the effort. When you see how the traditional students blossom and excel, when you see the reactions from the parents after just a few lessons, it makes your heart happy! It’s been an astonishing and thrilling experience.