A lot of music teachers are apprehensive about choosing a niche because they worry it will make them less marketable. Not true, my friends! In fact, when you’re teaching in a competitive area, I believe focusing on a niche makes you more marketable. Here’s why:
1. You’ll be a better teacher
When you narrow your focus to a particular musical genre, student age group, learning style, methodology, etc. you have the opportunity to dig deep and become a master of that area. This doesn’t mean you can’t learn other things, but your primary goal is to learn everything you possibly can so you can be the most effective teacher in your niche and the obvious choice for students.
2. Teach more of what you love
I love exploring the physics and mathematical patterns in music. As a teacher, I connect best with inquisitive kids who like to know how things work and enjoy thinking about and discussing complicated theory concepts. In other words, I like teaching little nerds. 🙂
When I talk about the unique focus of my studio, the message naturally resonates with parents and students who would be a good fit. With more little nerds in my studio, I get to teach more of what I most enjoy, which makes lessons super fun!
3. More effective communication
When we know who we’re trying (and not trying) to reach, it’s easier to find our people and speak their language. When I know who I best serve, I can craft a message specifically for them by talking about things that are important to them. They engage with my message because it is clearly meant for them and they’ll respond accordingly. Keep this in mind when writing website content and marketing messages!
4. People are willing to pay a premium for expertise
When you advertise the same skills as every other teacher, students expect to pay you as they would any other teacher. However, if your teaching style is such a perfect fit for their goals and personality that they can’t imagine taking lessons from anyone else, they’ll be willing to pay more for your services because you will be a more effective teacher for them.
5. Opportunity to build career and contribute professionally
This point is an extension of the first point (“You’ll be a better teacher”). If you are just getting started as a music teacher (and especially if you are at the beginning of your professional career), you probably aren’t an expert in much. It’s nothing personal, just a fact of being young and new. At this stage, you are probably reading a lot of blogs and listening to podcasts of teachers who have been at it for a while and soaking up all the knowledge they are so generously sharing.
You might not feel like you have a lot to offer professionally just yet, but as you get to know your niche more, you’ll begin to generate your own new ideas and resources for teaching more effectively. Don’t be afraid to share your ideas with other teachers in your field. Your helpful contributions will establish your reputation as an authority in your niche and open all sorts of opportunities for your career in the future. Who knows, a blog you start now on creative uses for rhythm sticks could one day become a published book, curriculum, or pedagogical movement.
6. Sanity (Knowing when to say “no”)
This last point is a simple one, but possibly the most important reason for choosing a niche. When you are a self-employed musician, a lot of opportunities come along and there’s no boss telling you which to pursue. This is awesome, but can also be overwhelming.
Some opportunities may be great and help move your career forward, others will be more of a distraction. When you know your niche, it’s easier to weed out the distractions and keep yourself from going crazy trying to take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way.