When it comes to your scheduling of new projects or studio offerings, do you ever feel behind, like you missed the boat? It’s often said that timing is everything, and that is the case in many circumstances. But what if your timing isn’t the same as everyone else’s?
Voice teachers can feel a lot of pressure to have their offerings coincide with the academic calendar. But timing doesn’t have to be a one-size-fits-all when it comes to the voice studio!
Over the course of my 30-year teaching career I have taught in five states in the US, coast to coast. The school year starts anywhere from early August to after Labor Day in numerous regions around the US. And while the start of a new academic calendar is often a great time to re-establish the private studio routine, I have found that offering group classes can benefit from a slightly different scenario.
Both parents and voice teachers know how overwhelming the start to a new school year can be, especially for younger children. Any change in routine can take several weeks to accommodate, and potentially can be longer for children who are neurodivergent.
Fortunately for voice studios, a group singing class can be a wonderful addition to a child’s activity offerings at different times throughout the year! My teacher clients are often seeking my advice about when the best time is to start up a new singing class. I thought it might be helpful to outline some various scenarios, broken down by season (you can shift to similar times for your own area if not in the US), for those whose timing is different than what aligns with the typical school year, along with some of the benefits for these various options.
In the fall, I like to start a new group class in October because kids are well-established in their new school year routine by then. The weather is starting to change, the sun is setting earlier, and the long summer days of outdoor play are behind them. This is also a time when the late summer/early fall sports and events are wrapping up, so there tend to be fewer conflicts.
Depending on the length of the group class, an October start can also span over several seasonal holidays that are exciting to kids. 10-week semesters are my preferred length, and a mid-to-late October start allows for fall and/or multiple holiday themes while still finishing before the New Year.
After the New Year’s celebration, kids come back refreshed and they already have the mentality of creating a fresh start. They may need some review and new goals, and it’s a wonderful time to start a new class.
Wintertime songs and themes can be lots of fun for kids and anyone looking for ways to keep energized after a fun-filled holiday season. Another reason I like this time of the year is because it can be promoted as a holiday gift from parents or other family members. I like to prepare and promote gift certificates for my group class and private lesson offerings. Giving a gift that helps a child to gain a musical skill and grow as a person is a very meaningful gift!
Spring: After Spring Break
In spring, a great time to introduce a new class is after spring break, whenever that might be in your local school district (if those are the students you wish to have in your class).
This timing gives kids the opportunity to have a class that can still coordinate with wrapping up the school year before families depart for the summer season. I like to host an annual spring studio recital at the end of the academic calendar and if the group class is culminating at the same time as my private studio, I can invite the group singers to participate in a variety of ways.
One of the greatest benefits of group classes is inspiration from their peers. When I invite my group class singers to participate in my studio recital there is a high probability of group singers being motivated by the private students. This motivation drives success and brings in more interest into continuing the singing journey and can inspire singers to take private lessons and devote more time to practice.
Summer: June or August
Parents are oftentimes looking for summer activities for kids, and summertime offers a variety of ways to present group classes. I prefer to keep it at the beginning or end of the summer break.
A summer session could be the typical once a week set up, or it could be designed as a “summer camp” sort of class. Instead of a longer weekly semester schedule, class could meet daily for one week for a longer block of time. This can make it easier to accommodate traveling families as opposed to stretching the class over the entire length of the summer. Offering a variety of weekly sessions can integrate fun weekly themes to make the experience even more engaging. The themes can build upon one another, with a showcase at the end, or they can have end of week culminations. There are lots of opportunities for teachers to be creative here!
I hope this has inspired you to think beyond the one-size-fits-all timing to offering classes. If the new school year arrived too quickly for you and you weren’t ready with new offerings, don’t worry, the boat did not set sail without you – you are the captain! You are on your own journey, and there are many wonderful times for you to set sail.
If you are new to the idea of teaching group classes or feel you would benefit from learning effective strategies for teaching group classes, be sure to check out Creating and Teaching Group Classes for the child singer. In this course, you will learn the ins and outs of creating your ideal group class structure, how to advertise, and how to implement strategies by watching real-time classes being taught from start to finish!