Since the start of the year I have been producing a monthly Studio Newsletter. I initially started the newsletter as a method of communicating with parents of the students that I teach in schools. In contrast to the parents of my home studio students, whom I usually see weekly as they drop off/pick up their children, there are some of the ‘in school’ parents that I only see once or twice a year at recitals. So far I have found that there are three main uses for my newsletter.
The first is the practical ‘house keeping’ – it’s an easy way to inform parents of term/holiday dates, exam/competition entry dates and upcoming recitals. It is also easy to have subtle reminders that lesson fees for this term are now overdue, or to remind parents of your cancellation (I find this often needs reminding around winter, when a large portion of the students catch colds and need to cancel/reschedule lessons).
The second use for the newsletter is to inform and educate parents. I use the newsletter to highlight appropriate articles from the Music Teachers Helper Blog (eg. Practice tips, sight-reading tips, how to accompanying well, etc), or to pass on articles from journals that I believe will be interesting. I always write a short section on a current theme that we are focusing on in the lessons. This month’s theme is a focus on fluency, in the lead up to the end of year competitions and recitals here in Australia. Last month’s theme was breathing with the music. One other use for this section of the newsletter is to inform parents and students of my own professional development. Studying music involves lifelong learning, and I believe it is important for my students to see that learning does not stop once they leave school.
The third and more unexpected benefit of the newsletter is as a publicity tool. I have gained a few new students for my waiting list after the parents of current students have forwarded my email onto other people who are interested in lessons.
So if you are considering writing a newsletter, I strongly encourage you to start. If you are unsure what you can write about to fill a whole newsletter, start slowly (perhaps one newsletter each quarter) and remember that you can draw on articles from many resources, rather than writing the newsletter in its entirety yourself. When distributing the newsletter, I email it to all parents (using the very easy ‘Email Students’ feature of Music Teachers Helper) and also print a few copies for parents to read while they are waiting for their child to finish their lesson in my home studio. I also pin a copy to the noticeboard outside the rooms at the various schools I teach at.
If you do write a newsletter for your students, please leave a comment with additional ideas for content below.