Hi Phil, really interesting topic to raise – I have also thought about this. There might be some statistics that can be drawn out on a national level that might provide some good data analysis to provide more information around this topic. Do you think if information like this was presented back to teachers it would be useful? If there is a lot of interest in this from other teachers I am sure it can become a project at some point.
Hello to all! Welcome to the Music Teachers’ forum, a space to share support, network and have fun with other music teachers located across the UK and beyond.
Student retention. How many lessons do students take? (All Teachers)

CreatorTopic

Ideally students would start with me and have lessons forever. My estimate is about 30% of students have 5 or fewer lessons. 50% stay about 6 months 15 % 6 months to a year and the last 5 % over a year.I think i am going to have to start proper stats for this.
What does everyone else find ? 
CreatorTopic

AuthorReplies

veronica wakeling @I have 4 long term students now 9 years.They first were college students in my classes.They each have gone from middle of the road ,to now singing opera both technical and performance.Through all the stages both female and male ,.Amazing ,and I may add is now over 70 years old.1 latecomer.,had a voice like sandpaper ,now sings like a dove…….
So I have a singing lesson anniversary spreadsheet, and this post prompted me to update it!
Subsequently, I found this info fun to work out (I know how to have fun on a Friday night):
Out of 33 active students, this is how many have been having regular lessons and how long for:
12 of them: 2 months1 year (36.3%)
14 of them: Over a year4 years (42.4%)
7 of them: Over 4 years8 years (21.2%)Agree that stats would be very handy!
Yes Matt
Any stats would be great. I need to start collating my own too. As my thread was a guesstimate.
What a great discussion.
Over the last 3 years I have had 39 students to date.
I think I have been relatively fortunate as I have retained almost 49% of my students. Out of these 49, 84% of them have been with me at least 1 year.
The ones that I have lost have been for different reasons:
The general pattern is the majority of the students that I have lost have been adults. Their work flexibility has meant that they have found it difficult to practice.
I have lost 9 adults due to this. (45%)
I have had 4 students that were always going to be short term i.e. less than a year.(20%)
The remaining 7 students have been children and they left due to a loss of interest (35%)I am always open to who I teach but due to time constraints I am hoping to teach more adults than children. There are only so many hours you can teach after school!
And teaching during the day fills up the time!There is always that slight risk with adults as it might be seen that you have to help them develop new disciplines and with children you are able to do that far more easily.
Absolutely, specifically what stats would you be interested in know?
For example:
The average number of lessons that you teach to students? (Show average lifecycle)
Currently how many students you teach have been taking lessons for less than 12 months, less than 24 months and more than 36 months.
What questions would you ask of the data if you had it in front of you?
How many students are of a certain age and gender? How many of them practice?! Lol
approximately 55% female, 45% male
I have different methods when it comes to practicing based on what other activities they do, e.g. after school clubs or work, etc.
If it is a beginner I encourage a student (especially a child) to practice 2 times a week for approximately 10 minutes. In my opinion, and especially for a beginner, this does not appear too long and students may not pick up ‘bad’ habits if practising longer.
However, I have one student who currently practices 21 times a week and prefers the quantity of practice times. I have built my lessons around him encouraging him to work on small sections at a time so when he practices he looks at specific sections. In reality, when he practices he probably practices about 1 minute each time he moves to the piano.
I have had one student where dad insisted that he practices 60 minutes everyday (at Grade 1). I told him to half the practice time and to practice every other day. He’ll still end up practicing and I said to dad that it was important that he did not resent going to the piano.
I believe all my students practice apart from 2 or 3 students as I want them to believe that when they practice (2 times a week for 10 minutes) that this is achievable. If this was not achievable then they would lose motivation to practice.I love this!!
21 times though… wow! If only I had such discipline in my own practice!
Unfortunately, collecting age and gender of students wouldn’t be possible as we wouldn’t be able to collect that type of data on a national level. All the data would be generated at the enquiry stage and asking for gender and age is more prohibitive to quick enquiries, so it would have to be collected by teachers on a case by case basis. Questions that might be possible to answer is the number of times a student has taken a lesson, how frequently those lessons are and the average number of lessons a student will take before they stop taking lessons – all of this could be done by counting the number of occurrences of a students name in the lessons record database and reformating that data into a useful output.
The point about adult learners Alan raises is interesting. I only take adults. The lack of time to commit is a common reason. Then lack of money. Also people move jobs or are travelling away for work regularly. Retirees are good. My figures are skewed because I have students who take a 10 lesson package subsidised by their employer. Then that ends.
its not just retention its also regularity that counts. Im plannig next year to specify an 80% attendance rate.
I agree with Matt besides the difficulty of collecting age and gender of students it will not reveal much of use (too many confounding variables).
But the number of times a student has taken a lesson, how frequently those lessons are and the average number of lessons a student will take before they stop taking lessons is the key stat.

AuthorReplies