Episode 032 – Jake Estner on Using Group Lessons to Build a Sustainable Private Studio
Read the full transcript for this episode here.
Today’s interview digs into the group lesson studio model. My guest, Jake Estner, shares the logistics of how he runs his guitar studio, how he schedules groups, how he thought about pricing, and more. He also answers an important question I hear all the time: “How do you switch a studio from private lessons to group classes?”
Jake talks about how he thought through what was important, pedagogically, before suggesting group lessons and did some beta tests with a few students before making group lessons the default in his music studio. Jake even explained exactly how he communicated to students that group lessons are not “less than” or somehow inferior to private lessons, they’re different in some ways that also make them awesome.
- When Jake ran the numbers on his private teaching studio, he realized that if he wanted to keep teaching, he needed to find a more sustainable model.
- In addition to a teaching studio model that was financially sustainable, Jake wanted to set up his studio so it was emotionally sustainable. He wanted to be just as enthusiastic for the last lesson of the day as he was for the first.
- Rather than just doing what he had always done, Jake started with the question “what do people want from music lessons?” And then reinvented his guitar teaching studio to deliver that kind of experience.
- Jake tested group lessons with a few students to work out any kinks before rolling it out to the entire studio.
- The respect Jake has for his relationship with each student shows in the way he forms groups and the way he communicated the switch to group lessons.
- Jake did not force group lessons on any students. Instead, he made group lessons the default in his studio, while maintaining the option for private 1:1 lessons.
- Because it was important that Jake create a financially-viable music studio, he took a risk on pricing his group lessons boldly. At the same time, he made the decision that if the group lessons didn’t provide the value he wanted them to deliver then he would do anything he possibly could to make them deliver that value, rather than lower his rates.
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