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Savvy Music Studio Blog

Plan & Market Your Music Summer Camp Like a Pro

Savvy Music Studio - marketing for music studio owners. Sara at a laptop computer
Sara Campbell / Savvy Music Studio
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Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

As we peek around the corner at summer, it’s time to swap our sheet music for something a bit more… seasonal. Yep, I’m talking about the much-awaited music summer camps and workshops!

If the mere thought has you scrambling for the calendar and wondering “how am I gonna fill this camp?”, you’re in the right spot.

Let’s dive into making your summer events not just happen, but happen spectacularly.

Book Music Summer Camps Dates Ahead (Way Ahead)

 

Summer sneaks up on us. Fast. Your first step is to nail down summer camp dates by early spring, or even late winter for some studios.

Snagging those calendar spots early is key, especially if you want to avoid clashing with the gazillion other summer activities (like that mega-popular church camp half your students jet off to).

Here’s a tip to help you pick the best weeks for your camps: Start by figuring out the summer weeks you’d like to take off — get your family vacations and time-off-weeks on the calendar first.

THEN do some market research about student availability.

Start conversations with parents. With students. Ask them about their summer plans and start sowing seeds about the fun summer events in your studio.

 

Example script:
“We’re planning some fabulous summer camps this year, so I’m touching base with all the parents to see what dates might work best for them. Here are the dates I’m thinking about — do you know if Timmy has any conflicts for these weeks?”

 

Once you’ve got your dates figured out, let people know! Announce it to the studio in person and via email. Send home “Save the Date” cards with students, and post the dates for all to see in your lobby and studio areas.

 

Market Research Your Music Summer Camp Topics

 

Ever spent lots of time planning what you thought was a super cool camp, only to find that it was a flop with your studio?

You’re not alone. I’ve been there.

The topics you choose and the way you package those topics can make or break the success of a summer camp.

Why? Well, let’s call out the elephant in the room:

Music theory is basically the broccoli of the music world.

Yes, these camps are a marvelous opportunity to teach new music theory skills… but parents and students are not going to get excited about signing up for a ‘Music Theory 101’ workshop. Even most high schoolers planning to go to college for music don’t wanna spend time studying that kinda stuff.

 

Here’s where we get creative!
 

Talk to your students about what they love — outside music, that is — and then use those interests to shape your camp themes. Questions to gauge what’s popular:

      • What movies are you into?

      • What books are you reading?

      • What videos are you playing?

      • What are favorite sports?

      • What’s your favorite musical?

    By understanding what your students are into, you’ll be able to come up with exciting topics (that still allow us to teach music skills!)

     

    Think Making Movie Magic instead of Music Theory 101.
     

    Suddenly, everyone wants in because who wouldn’t want to learn to write, direct, and score their own short film? This camp idea was SO popular that students begged me to run it multiple years in a row. You can see samples of their work by checking out the videos on my studio’s old YouTube channel.

    Have fun with this part! Other ideas that were a hit over the years:

        • Music Wizardry Camp and Musical Olympics (first year music skills)

        • Let’s Take a Cruise (world music and homemade instruments)

        • So You Wanna Be a Rock Star? (hello four chord songs!)

      And if coming up with creative camp topics isn’t your forte, there are so many fabulous camp resources out there — I’d highly suggest checking out Jennifer Foxx’s camp plans at Music Educator Resources.

       

      Thoughts on Pricing Your Music Summer Camps

       

      So you’ve scheduled your camp and chosen a topic. Now, let’s talk turkey… or rather, tuition. If you want a camp that’s fun, popular, and profitable, it’s time to crunch numbers.

      From your rent to materials to insurance costs, understanding your overhead is key. Start by making a list of all the expenses (E) involved:

          • Venue Rent: If you’re renting a space, include this in your total costs.

          • Materials and Supplies: Sheet music, books, learning materials, craft supplies, etc.

          • Insurance: Additional insurance coverage for the event, if necessary.

          • Marketing: Costs associated with promoting the camp, including digital and print advertising.

          • Snacks and Meals: If you’re providing them, consider the cost per participant.

          • Technology Costs: Website updates, online registration systems, and any virtual components.

        Once you’ve got your expenses figured out, then figure out the time (T) involved:

            • Instructor Fees: Paying yourself and any instructors for hours involved in running the camp.

            • Administrative Costs: Time spent planning, organizing, and managing the camp.

            • Duration & Intensity: The length and intensity of your camp (single day vs. a full week)

          Add your expenses + time, and you’ve got your overall cost. (E + T = C)

          Finally, account for your profit margin (P), the market (M), and the value (V) provided:

              • Profit Margin: Your profit margin is what your camp makes after all expenses and time have been paid. Aim for a profit margin that feels right for your camp, usually between 10% to 30%. This gives room to account for unexpected expenses and ensures financial health of your business.

              • Market Comparison: Take a look at prices for similar offerings in your area. Remember though — your camp’s unique features can justify a higher fee, so don’t sell yourself short.

              • Value-Added Pricing: Price based on the value you provide, like specialized workshops or unique performance opportunities, which can elevate your camp above others.

            To calculate the tuition per student with your desired profit margin, use the formula:

             

            Tuition per Student = C * (1 * P) / N
            C = cost
            1 = 100% of your cost
            P = Profit margin
            N = Desired number of students

             

            If costs are $2000, you want a profit margin of 20%, and a camp with 10 students: Tuition per Student = $2000 * (1 * 0.2) / 10 = $240 per student.

            Adjusting for Market and Value (M and V): While not quantifiable in a simple formula, consider the market rates (M) and the unique value (V) your camp provides. If your camp offers more value or unique features compared to others, you can adjust your tuition rate higher than the basic calculation.

            Given the complexities of market comparison and value-added pricing, your final tuition might look more like a strategic decision than a straightforward formula output. That’s okay!

            The core formula helps establish a baseline tuition rate, which you can then adjust based on market research and the unique value your camp offers.

             

            Marketing Your Music Summer Camps

             

            Once you’ve set your tuition, it’s crucial to effectively communicate the value behind the price. Which brings us to… drum roll please: marketing ;)

            Having a step-by-step marketing plan takes the guesswork out of what to do and when to do it. It gets all of those ideas out of your head and onto paper. And it gives you something that is trackable, and if successful, repeatable!

            SO… when should you start marketing your June summer camp? Start marketing yesterday. Okay, maybe not yesterday, but start marketing earlier than you think!

            A standard marketing plan calls for at least a solid 10 weeks of promotion.

            Let’s “Give a Mouse a Cookie” 🍪 this timeline:

                • If you’re planning a camp for the week of June 17th, a 10 week marketing timeline means you need to start marketing April 8th.

                • If you’re going to start marketing on April 8th, all of the decisions about dates, camp topics, and pricing need to be figured out by mid-March.

                • If all of those decisions are made by mid-march, then you’ve got 3 weeks to craft your marketing plan.

              The goal is to craft a marketing plan that’s as detailed as your lesson plans. Or if you don’t create lesson plans (I don’t!), make it as detailed as your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.

              To craft a marketing plan, you’ll need to identify:

                  • Goals w/ Measurable Objectives – I love to set Good, Better, and Best goals for enrollment.

                  • Platforms – A list of exactly where you’ll market the camp.

                  • Projects – Make a list of all the projects involved.

                  • Tasks – Break down all the projects into doable tasks. (I love using goblin.tools for this.)

                  • Due Dates – Get those doable tasks onto the calendar!

                Want more info on how to break goals and projects down? Check out this blog on goals, strategies, and tactics.

                As you craft your marketing plan, remember that your goal is to communicate the value your clients will receive. Highlight the qualifications of your instructors, the unique curriculum, the benefits of the camp experience, and any success stories or testimonials from past camps. Build that excitement and anticipation!

                 

                Tips to Boost Camp Enrollment

                 

                Last but never least, let’s talk incentives. Early bird pricing, friend referral bonuses, and even some sweet, sweet swag can turn the hesitant (or the just busy!) into the enrolled. Here are five of my favs:

                    • Early Bird Pricing: Rather than a gimmick or discount, let the early bird pricing be the genuine tuition rate for your camp. This strategy rewards those who commit early, helping you secure initial funding and gauge interest.

                    • Friend Referral Bonuses: Word of mouth is gold in the music education world! Encourage this by offering a friend referral bonus. Whether it’s a discount on tuition, a free lesson, or an exclusive piece of merchandise, incentives for referrals can significantly boost your enrollment numbers.

                    • Exclusive Swag as Incentives: Never underestimate the appeal of exclusive swag. Branded t-shirts, water bottles, or music books — highlighting these items as exclusive to early registrants or to those who refer friends can create a buzz around signing up and spreading the word.

                    • Leverage Social Proof: Share testimonials and success stories from past camps! Positive feedback from previous participants can significantly influence decision-making for prospective campers and their parents. Post pictures, videos, and testimonials from previous years to drum up attention.

                    • Highlight the Value: In all your communications, emphasize the value your camp offers. From unique workshops and guest artists to the chance to perform in a showcase, make sure potential participants and their parents know what makes your camp stand out!

                   

                  Let’s Wrap it Up

                   

                  And there you have it. Your quick guide to a summer camp that hits all the right notes.

                   

                  Planning. Pricing. Promoting. It’s a lot, but you’ve got this. Because you’re not just any music teacher. You’re the one who makes summer rock. Let’s make this summer unforgettable!

                   

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                  4 thoughts on “Plan & Market Your Music Summer Camp Like a Pro”

                  1. Super helpful – thank you! I am creating a Secret Agent piano camp for this summer and can’t wait to share it with my students!

                    1. Cori that sounds like SO much fun!! I wanna be a secret agent :) Please do stay in touch and let us know how this goes! Can’t wait to hear more about it.

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