Canadian Music Trade - April/May 2017 - Page 23

TARGETING THE SENIORS MARKET From “A Golden Opportunity” – CMT December/January 2015 Tammy MacEachern is the adminis- trator for Long & McQuade Charlotte- town’s music school. She reports that her lesson program has experienced an infl ux in interest from older learners (aged 55+) in recent years; in fact, it turns out she had just changed the lettering on the big sign in front of the store to let people know that L&M can accommodate lessons outside of the usual morning and evening slots that appeal to school kids – “so, like, 10:30 or early afternoons on weekdays when people [over 55] might have some free time and our school isn’t as busy.” This seems like a no-brainer for stores whose lesson studios are empty during these hours – extracting more return-on-investment from existing facil- ities, with the only additional overhead being the wages for instructors. On that same note, MacEachern was also amidst the process of printing out some promo materials about her lesson program to bring down to a brand new active seniors home that had just opened nearby. “I saw that as a huge base of potential students,” she says. And she’s not alone. There’s an increasing number of forward-thinking retailers that recognize the growing potential of servicing this lucrative and largely untapped market segment. Nick Hamlyn of Gary Bennett Music, Corner Brook, NL ENGAGE THEM TWICE About fi ve years ago, Gary Bennett Music began hosting sum- mer music camp programs in addition to their regular individual lessons. “So we did one voice camp that ended with a cabaret-type performance after a few weeks, and a rock camp that ended with an outdoor concert in the park,” Hamlyn offers as examples. “This year, we added a traditional music camp, with the fi nal performance happening in the store.” The camps, which run for several weeks through the summer months, are open to the general public and advertised fairly heavily online and in the local paper. The idea is to immerse students into more social group settings, and then hopefully have them stream into regular individual lessons once the camps have concluded. These have not only been successful in generating a healthy number of new music students, but also led to existing students starting a new series of lessons on a second instrument. The reason behind that is in rock camp, for example, there were typically six or seven students placed in each band, so if one of those groups had two drummers, one of the drummers would try an alternate instrument. “So without getting more people, we were getting more lessons,” Hamlyn notes. “That was unexpected, but really cool.” ENGAGE THEM ONSITE Carol Cook is the co-owner of The Music Room in Pala- tine, IL, a northwestern residential suburb of Chicago. She was down at The NAMM Show 2017 in Anaheim to pres- ent the very fi rst Idea Center session of the event. Called “7 Ways to Supercharge Your Lesson Program,” her pre- sentation shared advice sourced fi rst-hand about engaging and retaining students who come into your store to inquire about lessons. The fi rst two ideas she presented as part of it involved starting and develop- ing a dialogue with your potential enrollees to put yourself in a power position and to try and fi gure out what they’re seeking from music lessons and, subse- quently, how you can help them realize those goals. Tammy MacEachern of Long & McQuade, Charlottetown, PE CANADIAN MUSIC TRADE • 23