New school years and new calendar years tend to bring with them a flurry of email inquiries from prospective students. Most of these emails ask the same basic questions (Are you taking new students? What are your rates? When are you available?). Unfortunately, most students don’t ask the questions that would actually help them learn about me as a teacher and my expectations for them as a student…which would be a far better indicator of whether or not I’d be a good teacher for them!
A Better Email Response Template
So, rather than just firing off an email that only answers their questions, I like to take this opportunity to share a bit about myself and also get to know the student and their goals.
My email response goes something like this:
1. Friendly Greeting and Thanks
I try to set the tone of my studio right from the beginning with a friendly, relaxed greeting and expression of gratitude for the email they sent me.
Hi, Susan! Thanks for the email! As it turns out, I do have a few openings for new students this year.
2. Getting to Know You Questions
The next few sentences acknowledge the unique situation of this particular student and ask questions to help me get to know him better. I personalize this paragraph in every email response.
I’m excited to hear about your son’s enthusiasm for learning piano. Has he studied music before? Is there a particular genre or style of music that he enjoys listening to? What are his other hobbies?
3. A Bit About Me
Next, I briefly describe my background and qualifications. Don’t worry if you’re just starting out and your resume is on the shorter side. You can cinch the deal with a quick anecdote, relevant to this student, about why you love teaching.
I studied Piano Performance at <fabulous university> with <rock star teacher> and have been teaching students of my own since high school. Nothing beats seeing the expression on a student’s face when he proudly performs a song he’s heard in his favorite movie.
4. Studio Expectations
In this section, I describe what a student can expect when they study with me in terms of practice, recital and competition participation, and expenses. I also like to explain what the tuition covers so students realize there’s more to it than the time we’re sitting together at the piano. Finally, I slip in a word about how grateful I am that I can make a living as a music teacher. This communicates to prospective students that teaching is not just a hobby for me, but my livelihood and I depend on the income.
(Note: Some teachers don’t like to share their rates in the initial email, but if a student is using that information as the primary guiding factor in their teacher choice, I’m probably not the best fit anyway and I’d rather figure that out before I invest time in a sample lesson.)
Typical participation in my studio consists of weekly 30-minute lessons, occasional group lessons, and two optional-but-very-highly-recommended recitals each year. 🙂 My most successful beginning students practice 30 minutes a day 5-6 days a week.
Tuition is $xxx/mo and covers your reserved lesson time, my prep time, continued education and professional development, studio maintenance, etc. I feel so fortunate to be able to make my living by teaching music!
I follow that with testimonials and references. You can ask current students to share some kind words and make a place for them on your website. If you don’t have any students yet, ask a few colleagues, professors, or long-time family friends to serve as character references. If you are marketing your studio to parents and children, be sure to have some parents in your list of references.
You can find testimonials from current and former students on my website and some have graciously volunteered to let me share their phone numbers if you would like to talk to another parent directly.
6. Next Steps & Sign Off
I wrap up the email response by explaining the next step in the process. For my studio, the next step is to have an in-studio interview, so I suggest a few dates/times to make that happen.
The next step towards getting started is to set up a sample lesson. If you’re interested, I have open appointment slots Tuesday at 3:30pm, Thursday at 7pm, and Friday at 4pm.
Thank you again for the email, I am looking forward to meeting you and your son!
That’s it! I keep this email response in my library of canned email responses so it’s always handy when I need it and just customize those few sections to make it relevant to each student.