Marketing for Summer Music Camps and Classes

With the summer quickly approaching and Covid guidelines continuing to relax for in-person instruction, parents returning to work are going to be looking for opportunities for their children while school is out. Although the official first day of Summer is not until June 20th, children’s music studio owners and teachers can get the jump on filling their summer camp and class rosters early with some simple, yet effective marketing approaches they can start on right away:   

Marketing for Summer Music Camp and Class Registration

  • The Low Hanging Fruit of Existing Customers – While the old adage that “it takes five times the expense to gain a new customer than to retain an old one” varies from business to business, the effort and expense that it requires to find a new customer is considerable compared to one you currently retain. The key to taking advantage of the “low hanging fruit” that current students and families present is through consistent and frequent communication.
  • Customer Communication is the Key – Because you have provided services to existing customers in the past, you most likely have their preferred method for being reached. Furthermore, because customers voluntarily purchased from you in the past, they have in effect granted you permission to contact them again. Often called permission marketing, this concept is valuable in how your communication is recognized. It is familiar, and therefore cuts through the bombardment of marketing messages we all receive on a daily basis. Whether its by email, snail mail, text, or phone call, your communication has a much better chance of reaching a customer who recognizes you. 
  • Categorize Your Audience to Customize Messaging – The more a marketing message or offer can be customized to its particular audience, the more likely that audience is going to respond. This is most easily applied to current customers. Your correspondence with them should have a much different, more familiar feel than if you were reaching out to new prospects. Using information that you know about that audience provides a more personalized message. For example, using the name of the music student or their last completed music class lets recipients feel special. A message to a new potential customer may be more about educating them on your music studio or the benefits of early childhood music education. The more you can categorize your target audience into segments, the more you can customize the message or offer.
Musikgarten Summer Marketing
  • Offer Incentives for Music Camp Registrations – With so much already on their plates, and so many program options for parents during the summer, offering an attractive incentive is often what gets them over the finish line to make the purchase. Early bird registration is a good way to increase response early in the process, even if you don’t want to discount your price. Simply using language to show urgency such as “availability is limited and on a first come, first serve basis’” or “registration is beginning to fill up,” increases action. FOMO, or fear of missing out, is a powerful motivation. Incentives can also be used to get new music students through tactics such as referral or buddy programs. Value provided to existing customers for referring a new student, whether it’s through discounted pricing or a free camp T-shirt, will help to gain new registrations. Children love to enjoy music camp along with a friend!  
  • Reach Out in Different Ways – If there was a single, silver bullet that marketers could use to get loads of new customers, the cat would have been out of the bag a long time ago. The key with most marketing campaigns is to “rinse and repeat.” This means presenting the offer to a target audience multiple times so that they recognize and/or remember it. Frequency, or number of times a marketing message is presented to the same audience, is important for retention of the message and offer. In addition to repeating a message through the same marketing channels, another good way to gain more frequency is through cross-marketing, where the same message is presented to the same audience, but through different ways. For example, you may post a referral program on social media, and also send it out through an email blast. In addition to providing more frequency, one method may be more effective in reaching a particular prospect than another.  

Summertime presents great opportunities for children’s music studios to provide kids with a highly enjoyable and entertaining activity while giving parents a much-deserved break. Savvy studio owners and teachers know to start early by offering opportunities to register. Current or past customers are the low hanging fruit to reach out to first, because they are already familiar with your business. Social circles of those audiences can then be expanded through targeted incentives through messaging frequency within the same and across different marketing channels.

Earth Day Helps Teach Music to Children

Thursday, April 22 marks the 51st year that Earth Day has been celebrated around the globe to demonstrate support for environmental protection. As Spring brings warmer temperatures, Earth Day creates a good opportunity to use nature as a backdrop for teaching children’s music classes.

From Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee to Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World, throughout time humans have been celebrating nature with music. Some of the earliest recorded songs  are a tribute to seasons and weather, not to mention traditional folk and tribal songs that have been sung since the earliest languages. Today, humans continue to celebrate nature through music, and Earth Day presents a good opportunity for teachers of children’s music programs to weave nature into their curriculum:

Ideas for Using Nature to Teach Children Music

  • Teach Music Classes Outdoors – As we receive guidelines for safely returning to the classroom, there are many outdoor options for resuming in-person music instruction. Children, just as the rest of us, are looking for excuses to get outside and play!
  • Listen to the Music of Nature – Whether using actual sounds outdoors or recordings, getting children to quietly listen to sounds of nature will not only give them an appreciation for the environment, but also teach them how to be still and pay better attention. It may be birdsongs, the wind through the leaves, or a babbling brook that will help train them to concentrate on an isolated sound.
  • Imitate Nature, in Both Movement and Music – Children love to imitate things in nature, especially animals. They will get great enjoyment out of hopping and croaking like a frog, or flapping and clucking like a chicken. Teach rhythm and time through a fun activity by asking them to do this while music plays.
Exploring the Meadow in Music Makers: at Home in the World class.
Exploring the Meadow in Music Makers: at Home in the World class.

 What Earth Day Can Teach Children About Music

Everyone can agree that being good stewards of our environment is important for the long-term health and well-being of humankind. With all these fun activities that teach children about how nature and music go hand in hand, consider mentioning that nature is not something that should be taken for granted. Empower music students with simple suggestions on how they may help make a difference in taking care of our environment, such as recycling and throwing trash away properly.

Considering Resuming Childrens In-Person Music Classes?

March 20th marked the first day of Spring, as the sun officially crossed the equator. Figuratively, this has been a long winter for most of us. But with Covid vaccinations accelerating and the CDC releasing new guidelines for operating schools, there are more and more options for children’s music teachers to resume in-person classes. But, some music studio owners may not have the room to safely resume classes within CDC guidelines. However, with warmer weather approaching, there are some alternative places to consider for resuming classes which can also offer a good environment for teaching music:

Virtual Children’s Music Classes

It’s important to first mention that online classes are still an option. Many teachers have been successfully conducting virtual music classes throughout the pandemic, although it comes with its challenges. Although most teachers will agree this is not an ideal environment, some parents and studio owners will decide that they would prefer to wait a bit longer to return to the classroom.

Teach Children Music Outdoors

With warmer, sunnier days ahead, children’s music studio owners may choose to resume in-person classes outdoors as an alternative. As we know, nature teaches us about music in many ways, and in turn, music helps connect children with nature. Nature has inspired many great artist and composers over the years, and Spring is especially vigorous with new life and an orchestra for the senses. However, finding an outdoor space with enough room and quiet can be the tricky part. Here are some ideas for outdoor venues for conducting safe in-person music classes for children.

  • Parks and/or Public Spaces – Public parks and spaces are designed to accommodate many people while providing open space to all. Whether it’s a center city park that has a green lawn, or a covered picnic area in a municipal park, the open air and distance these provide can present a good opportunity for a fun and exciting return to music class. While most will allow, its always a good idea to check your local parks and recreation department to see if any permits are required.
  • Churches or Community Centers – Many local churches will have covered areas for outdoor worship, and are happy to grant permission to conduct a music class. You may even find an opportunity to offer faith-based children’s music classes to their congregation. While community centers are often operated by the same municipality as parks, some have independent management that administers schedules for picnic areas and other spaces. You can usually find out online, or by asking someone who is working at the facility.
  • Backyards – Some studios owners may have their own beautiful backyard space with plenty of room to conduct classes outdoors. Teachers also may consider reaching out to parents to see who would be willing to offer their yards or natural space. Or, it might be fun to rotate classes between different backyards, offering a new environment to explore for each class.

Teaching a Hybrid Children’s Music Class

One challenge for studio owners is that while they may have decided to once again conduct in-person classes, some parents who are engaged with online music classes will remain uncomfortable with the idea. There are many educators who are currently conducting in-person classes along with an online option, which poses its own set of challenges. It’s hard to provide the best advice on whether to offer this option or not, so communicating well with parents is key to understanding what is suitable in a specific situation.

As society continues to incrementally loosen its restrictions and Spring brings more opportunities for warm weather and outdoor music instruction, children’s music education teachers and studio owners have greater options for how to resume to in-person classes for their students. Working within recommended guidelines and close communication with parents is important to ensuring a smooth and safe transition back into the classroom.

The Pathway to Music Literacy in Children

From whatever country they were born, or environment they were born into, all children are born with a natural ability and inclination to sing and dance. Famed children’s music researcher, teacher, author and lecturer Dr. Edwin E. Gordon concluded that until age 9, children are in the developmental stage of their music aptitude and disposition. Throughout this time, parents and teachers have a great impact on how musical a child will be for life.

In this series on the Pathway to Music Literacy, we have explored the various foundations and methodology that make children’s music curriculum successful, touching last on the connection between music and movement. In this final installment, we’ll sum up how nurturing all these basic music skills prepares children for a pathway to independent musicianship and enduring music-making capabilities.

Aural Preparation is Key to Music Development

Just as language begins in children with aural preparation, music also starts as an aural reality for the child. Only after this reality exists is the child able to then read and write language, or understand the written form of music in notation. Just as words are the building blocks of language, tonal and rhythm patterns comprise the vocabulary of musical language. Once children become familiar with these patterns, they love playing aural games that apply both a neutral, chanted syllable, or in the context of a familiar song.

Children singing melodic patterns in a Musikgarten class.
Children singing melodic patterns in a Musikgarten class.

Teaching Children to Write and Read Music

Once children are able to understand and play aural games, they are ready to see those familiar patterns in symbols. Active, participatory notation games show these symbols to the children on a sensory motor level. With repetition comes understanding, and as they begin to be able to discriminate between several familiar patterns, they can be further challenged to find the same patterns in unfamiliar songs. Instead of simply decoding, they are actually reading with comprehension. Notation games of listening and responding to a series of patterns also teach children to take dictation and write out songs they know so well.

Assessing the Pathway to Music for Children

In early childhood music education, accurate assessment is crucial in knowing how to lead children on their pathway to music literacy. Through a series of steps, music teachers can determine specific pre-requisites to determine a child’s readiness. Once those steps have been mastered, children will be able to look at an unfamiliar piece of music and do the following:

  • Identify the familiar patterns within the song
  • By making inferences, they will figure out the unfamiliar patterns
  • Hear the music in their heads

This approach prompts children to begin to think in the language of music, and play it on the keyboard.

Instilling Music Improvisation and Composition in Children

As children learn to manipulate words, phrases, speak, and write complete sentences, they gain a better understanding and eventually become conversant. The same is true in the pathway to music literacy. By first understanding rhythmic and tonal patterns, recognizing these in the form of notation symbols, and then learning to write these patterns, children obtain the ability to start to manipulate and improvise. Once they begin to improvise patterns, they can begin to improvise phrases and eventually parts of a composition.

Through this improvisation, children become musically fluent and can contribute a musical

thought in the appropriate tonality, meter, and style. It is when they gain this intuition of musical patterns that children can truly improvise and compose through Music Literacy.

Much of the content for this post was based on the introduction to Music Makers: at The Keyboard, childhood music curriculum developed by Musikgarten.

The Listening and Movement Connection

Our series on how early childhood music programs influence Music Literacy at the Keyboard continues with the importance of body movement with music and listening. We have explored how singing a repertoire of familiar songs, as well as setting a good foundation of keyboard posture, are vital to instrumental education. Now the close relationship between music and movement complements these footings toward success in music literacy.

The Connection Between Music and Movement

Cultures all across the globe have used movement as the body’s expression of rhythm, which shapes the way we use and understand language. Children naturally desire and enjoy movement because it is exhilarating and energizing. A good foundation of understanding body manipulation helps them to play an instrument expressively.

Listening is vital to nearly all learning, not the least music education. And just as controlling body movement is more challenging for children today, so is learning to listen well. Developing a “listening ear” must compete with the increased amount of noise/sound and visual stimulation in a child’s environment.

Listening and movement are closely aligned through the ears two major functions. The first is vestibular, which controls balance, and thus nearly all movement. The second is the auditory, which directs hearing and voluntary listening. Therefore, it is vital to establish the important link between those two functions in early childhood music education.

Music and movement during a Musikgarten group music class.
Music and movement during a Musikgarten group music class.

How Movement Benefits Early Childhood Music Education

Rhythm and beat competency are emphasized in movement activities in early childhood music classes, particularly through tapping and drumming. Clapping, tapping one’s body, or using instruments such as rattles, sticks, bells or drums while singing helps to develop a child’s rhythm and beat. These, along with other group activities such as passing a beanbag in a song circle, brings children joy and social fulfillment. Drumming, in particular, has been a unique attraction for young and old alike in cultures all across the world. The tactile use of hands provides muscular memory while reinforcing the idea that the sound produced is directly related to the quality of the touch.

Dancing to recorded music as a group also provides a good opportunity for children to experience the flow of music while connecting to the larger community of their peers and teachers. In the most successful children’s music curriculum, teachers repeat these movement activities early and often so that the child in time feels free to express themselves through movement.

Early Listening Skills Make Children Better Musicians

Listening is defined as giving attention with the ear with the purpose of hearing. With the constant assault of noise and sound in our environment today, active listening is extremely important in order for children to concentrate. The very best training for listening employs the use of singing, chanting, and body movement to make the aforementioned connection between the auditory and balance/movement functions in the ear. Therefore, children’s music curriculum and teachers will continually engage in listening activities such as singing, reciting, and listening to music. The music teacher also instructs children to develop a listening posture that allows them to hear the music in their heads. This is particularly helpful at the piano, where body posture and hand position and technique are important for learning the keyboard. Through modeling and encouragement, the successful teacher is demonstrating attentive listening both through movement and posture.

Establishing and reinforcing the important connection between movement and listening helps prepare young children for playing any instrument. The union they feel between singing, drumming, and dancing will support the transfer of their understanding to piano. By introducing the keyboard as an extension of the body in this way, children learn to play the instrument musically – feeling the total experience of the instrument.

In our final installment of this series about Music Literacy at the Keyboard, we will see how all of these different foundational music teaching tools set children on the deliberate Pathway to Literacy

Much of the content for this post was based on the introduction to Music Makers: at the Keyboard, childhood music curriculum developed by Musikgarten.

In Memory of Hermann Heyge

Hermann Karl Friedrich Heyge

November 26, 1935, Ilmenau – February 4, 2021, Weimar

“The hour of departure has arrived and we go our ways; I to die, and you to live.” (Socrates)

The Musikgarten family wishes to extend its deepest sympathy to Lorna Heyge on the passing of her beloved husband Hermann Heyge at their home in Weimar, Germany.

Hermann was a precious soul with a funny, quick wit. All who were fortunate to meet Hermann knew him as someone who was always open to a good conversation and willing to go out of his way to make you comfortable.  An engineer by trade, he loved music, was an avid cyclist and always supported Lorna’s work.

Hermann and Lorna riding their tandem bike in June 2020 at Ludwigslust Castle

For the past 10 years, Hermann faced his illness of dementia with dignity and grace. At every stage he participated in as many ways and in everything possible.

If you have a memory of Hermann you would like to share with Lorna, please email to info@musikgarten.org and write Hermann Heyge in the subject line.

We will all fondly remember the “gentle man with the twinkle in his eye”.

Sincerely,

Jeff, Denise, Billy, Felicia, and Leah

Musikgarten

Learning Piano Starts with a Good Foundation

In this third installment from our series on Music Literacy at the Keyboard and children’s music programs, we will explore how setting a good foundation of posture, arm and hand position, and finger technique are vital to instrumental education. Proper posture with any instrument has various benefits for the musician, while improper technique can even compromise the ability to perform. Establishing good habits from the very beginning and reinforced by both children’s music teachers and parents/caretakers alike, helps to prevent the necessity later to correct ingrained habits.  

Start by Teaching Piano Away from the Keyboard

Start by preparing the body to establish good posture and hand and arm position. This helps piano students to concentrate on their bodies instead of the temptation of sounding the keyboard. In our last installment, we established how a foundation of singing familiar songs first helps the child better understand the keyboard once it is introduced afterward. Initiating these things away from the piano ensures the grounding of good posture and positioning, as well as establishing songs and patterns in the body.

Musikgarten Group Piano Class - Notation Games

Tips for Establishing Good Posture at the Piano Keyboard

Hand Position

  • Ask the student to swing their arms back and forth gently while standing.
  • Bend the elbows naturally at the end of the swinging motion.
  • Point out the curved hands and fingers position at the end of the motion.
  • Repeat the motions at a table, ending with the hands positioned to play on the table.
  • Keep in mind that proper hand position is dependent upon good sitting posture and sitting at the right height.

Sitting Posture

  • Sit with an upright back, with shoulders held comfortably back
  • Identify and correctimproper extremes, such as slumping or stiff, raised shoulders, tense back and stomach muscles, or collapsed wrists.

Chair and Keyboard Height

  • Chair height should allow feet to be flat on the floor or on a little stool.
  • Appropriate keyboard height is achieved when the forearm is parallel to the floor and fingers are laying comfortably on the keyboard.
  • Watch for and correct raised elbow or shoulder, and/or wrist bent upwards.

Good posture and positioning is important for beginner piano players. Not only for the ability to approach the keyboard comfortably, but also to prevent potential long-term injuries that would inhibit the ability to play. Parents and teachers should help the student remember that good habits will serve them well for their entire lives.

Approach to Finger Technique for Piano Beginners

Once the body has been prepared with proper posture, children can then move to the keyboard area. Warm up activities, beginning first with one hand and then the next helps to exercise the fingers and thumbs. Following a foundation of Do-mi-sol, three finger pieces followed by five finger pieces (tetra chord) sets the stage for one-note extensions and eventually leads to chords and scale-playing.

Because some children will have a repertoire of familiar songs, they can begin accompanying their own singing right away with open fifths. Since they have a foundation in aural development through singing, they are gradually able to figure out how to play patterns and songs in multiple keys. Melody is learned first on one hand, and then the other. Once children can comfortably play the melody, chordal accompaniments are introduced through the familiar harmony patterns from their song repertoire.

Good posture, hand position, and finger technique are essential to learning piano. By first learning away from the keyboard, children can focus on these elements separately. With a foundation of songs from early childhood music classes, as well as encouragement from teachers and caretakers, the beginning piano player has the best chance of success and lifelong love for the instrument.

Much of the content for this post was based on the introduction to Music Makers: at the Keyboard, childhood music curriculum developed by Musikgarten.

How Singing Helps to Learn Piano

Many of us have memories of piano teachers that used metronomes meticulously, or in some cases beat on the edge of the piano with a ruler as we struggled to play in time. While some of their methods may seem old-fashioned today, there was a very important underlying purpose of teaching time and meter. However, many early childhood music programs today understand that singing and movement not only naturally teaches beat, but also a myriad of other benefits to childhood development. In this second installment on our series about Music Literacy and the keyboard, we explore how for these and other reasons singing prepares children for learning to play keyboard.

Learning Piano Through Familiar Songs

Singing helps children to develop a repertoire of familiar songs. Children enjoy singing, and the more they sing the more they want to sing. As they progress to learning the keyboard, both the love of singing and having a good foundation of songs allows for greater success – because they want to play the song that is so familiar.

Singing Helps with Beat, Meter, Tonality, and Patterns

There is an abundance of research and publications that demonstrate how singing helps children with literacy, and that includes music literacy at the keyboard. There are several ways in which singing helps children be more successful learning the piano:

  • From the very earliest stages of childhood babies listen and often echo their caregivers’ song patterns, providing initial steps to music literacy.
  • Just as your old piano teacher may have done, tapping the beat while singing helps foster beat confidence.
  • Simple body movements, such as rocking from side to side helps establish a basis for understanding meter – like a human metronome!
  • Inviting children to sing the resting tone at the end of songs help to create an understanding of tonality.
Children enjoying a drumming and singing activity during a Musikgarten group piano class.
Children enjoying a drumming and singing activity during a Musikgarten group piano class.

Teaching Songs through Vocal Quality Nourishes Children’s Music Sensitivity

Children’s Music Teachers pay particular attention to their own voices in order to help children to develop a sensitivity for musical keys, tones, and pitches. Several ways that teachers ensure vocal quality are:

  • Singing mostly without music, so that the vocal quality is the focus
  • Singing clearly, but also lightly so as not to dominate the singing of the group
  • Listening to ones voice for proper intonation, so that the song model is tonality exact
  • Pitching songs in the range in which they are suggested
  • Modeling good singing posture, even when sitting

Singing with vocal quality offers an excellent opportunity for children’s music teachers to model expressive musicianship. Establishing a relationship between familiar songs that children can sing and what they will play on the keyboard allows them to echo the melodic and rhythmic patterns which make up each song. This allows them to eventually figure out how to play their favorite songs, which is well exemplified by the Montessori approach of self-learning. The child’s ear becomes the “self-correcting instrument,” guiding the hands what to play.

Singing familiar songs throughout early childhood helps to provide a strong foundation for the understanding of beat, meter, tones, and patterns. And with the five-finger position provided on a keyboard allows children to move more easily to tetrachord and scale positions. Because their playing originates from a familiarity of songs and singing,  as a result they more easily translate and play the songs in many keys.

Much of the content for this post was based on the introduction to Music Makers: at the Keyboard, childhood music curriculum developed by Musikgarten.

Music Literacy and the Second Stage of Child Development

Merriam-Webster first defines literacy as simply “the ability to read and write,” but a second definition expands that to “knowledge that relates to a specified subject.” This is an important distinction, especially when considering childhood music literacy. In our next series of articles, we will explore how music literacy applies to the second stage of child development, specifically in playing the piano and instrument instruction. While most children’s music programs focus on music and movement in the first stages of development, many fall short of continuing the progress in the second stage of child development necessary to achieve music literacy.  

The Second Stage of Childhood Development

Developmental biologist Jean Piaget established the theory of phases of normal intellectual development from infancy through childhood. The second stage, which Paiget terms Concrete Operational, is where children’s thinking becomes less on themselves and more on their awareness of external events. Some experts argue that development is actually continuous, but Piaget did agree that the depending on the child, the age ranges could vary slightly. While Piaget defines the second stage of childhood development being from ages 7 to 11 years, our focus in this series of articles will focus on the 6 to 9-year-old child.

Ready to Face and Decipher New Challenges

From ages 6 to 9 years, the child has begun a new phase of development both physically and cognitively. They are eager to face fresh challenges and have a growing aptitude for the refined movement needed to play an instrument. Their sensory motor functions have been well-integrated over the last six years, and serve as a good foundation for abstract learning. They are starting to not be satisfied merely with knowing the name of an object, but having the desire to know the how and why of things. One result is that the child’s mind is now interested in symbols, patterns, and codes to explore. This in turn helps to develop an appetite for improvisation and cooperative learning with other children.

Children Love to be Part of a Group 

Beginning in the second stage of development, and sometimes earlier, children are self-aware and ready to become part of a group, especially with peers. A peer group setting becomes a place where the child can begin to learn rules, push limits, and test ideas. This important stage of identity has the benefit of teaching important social skills of how to work with others in teams.

Groups are considered very useful for learning things, as questions can be asked and addressed from different perspectives. This is why nearly all children’s education programs use group activities in the learning process. This is no different for childhood music programs. Children love being with and making music with others. The desire to contribute to the group requires deep concentration and absorption while teaching valuable lessons in cooperative learning.

Music Literacy through Children’s Group Keyboard Lessons

Learning the keyboard provides children with the cognitive challenges and group dynamic that they desire. Music literacy applied to piano playing is much more than reading and recognizing notation or finding the correct keys, but also gives meaning to those notes in a way that allows for composition and improvisation. It is a child’s desire to communicate that motivates them to further develop a deep relationship with the aural and written art of music. This aural approach to music literacy becomes the foundation which provides the child a delightful transition to the world of music notation and understanding. This aural-to-visual method of literacy allows children to understand and appreciate music in terms of its tonality, meter, and style, while further refining their ability to listen.

In our next installments, we will explore specifically how discovering the keyboard in a group setting can be very different from the mechanical drills and rote learning that traditional piano learning imposed.    

Much of the content for this post was based on the introduction to Music Makers: at the Keyboard, childhood music curriculum developed by Musikgarten.

Small Business Tips for Emerging from an Economic Downturn

With the recent approval of two Covid-19 vaccinations, and a second economic relief package from Congress, small businesses such as Children’s Music Studios can begin to share the hope that the economy will start to pick back up in 2021. Many small business owners have not fared well during the crisis. Some 30% to 40% of those most affected by social distancing have gone inactive since February.  Typically this time of year, small business owners are setting goals and making plans for growth in the coming year. The need to plan and adjust is just as important now as ever, but the approach and mental process is different in a flagging economy.

Tips for rebuilding your small business after Covid-19

  • Understand your prospective customers perception – Consumers are extremely cautious coming out of an economic upheaval. If they believe money is going to be tight (even if they have it), they are going to behave as such. Your message to them should be that your services are very important and a good value. It is also a good time to focus on keeping quality and customer satisfaction high.
  •  Take a hard look at your finances – It’s important to monitor your cash flow very carefully and forecast it at least three months in advance. Separate the essential expenditures from those that can wait, and work with creditors to spread or reduce payments while you get back on your feet. If your cash flow projection means that you will need to borrow in order to stay afloat, identify financial resources to help you recover.
  • Put together a marketing plan – You will not be able to market the exact same way as our economy comes limping out of the pandemic. Start by letting people know that you are back to business and offer them something of value to show you are in this together. We have previously explored how to make the best use of existing marketing resources with little additional cost. However, while many companies cut back on marketing in an economic downturn, savvy business owners understand it can be a good opportunity to capture market share with smart investment.
  • Develop a time line and contingency plan – When resources are scarce, a time line can help you to understand what actions (and expenses) should be addressed first. Rebuilding a business is just that – a step-by-step building process with contingencies. Knowing how and when to address priorities helps to balance resources.  Finally, be better prepared for the next time an unexpected downturn happens – and it will. Take what you have learned from this experience and prepare a well thought out plan for a better reaction to loss in customers and revenue.

While it is unfortunate that many small businesses across the world will never be able to open their doors again due to this pandemic, studio owners of children’s music programs can begin to make concrete plans on how to recover stronger than ever. And when the next downturn happens, that valuable experience will make them better prepared to endure it.  

Musikgarten is the leader in early childhood music education — for children and teachers, that offers a complete multi-year educational program that helps infants, toddlers, and children develop a deep love of music and the ability to express it. For more about Musikgarten and its offerings, go to https://www.musikgarten.org/.