HELLO EVERYONE AND WELCOME BACK
LATELY, I HAVE HAD A LOT OF TEACHERS – BOTH THOSE WITH THE TAPATAK OZ SYLLABUS PROGRAMME – AND OTHERS,
ASKING ME THE SAME QUESTION:
” HOW DO I GET MORE STUDENTS INTO MY TAP CLASSES?”
YOU MAY BE SURPRISED TO HEAR THAT THERE ARE, IN FACT, THINGS THAT YOU CAN DO TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN.
SO – HERE ARE SOME IDEAS FOR YOU
1. Make sure you are teaching an exciting and modern tap programme.
If you are using Tapatak Oz, then you are on the right track with that already. Remember that if your students can not relate what they are doing in class to the real world of tap, and do not see it as modern, funky, up to date and fun, why would they want to come to class. In all other genres, most dance schools take get pride in being ” current, up to date, on the cutting edge and relevant” – so you need to make the same effort with your tap department if, you want to see student numbers grow. Check out professional tappers and their social media accounts if you do not have a pro-tapper of note available in your area for some guest classes. To bring that added zing to your tappers – learn a few ” current steps” and add them into your syllabus or classes of choice.
2. Give the tap students something ” of their own” that makes them feel special. It may be a funky t-shirt with a funky image or saying like ” TAP DANCERS ROCK” or ” TAPPERS RHYTHM BRIGADE 2023″ on it. Or maybe a funky baseball cap. But something that only the tap students have access to in your dance school. It could even be a t-shirt with your studio logo on the front and then SALLY’S GOT RHYTHM / LACHLAN’S GOT RHYTHM etc on the back. This way, the students will want to join the tap programme as it will seem special and cool.
3. When you are asked to perform at an event – choose to include and promote tap!
Invest in a few tap boards and then choreograph a great performance piece with your tappers featured. If you have low numbers in tap, this is a fantastic way to create a big, dynamic number – using rhythm as the link. Use your funky hip hop and jazz students around the stage / performance area too and then add in the tappers on their tap boards for some rhythmic action. This way your tappers feel like they are part of something fun and they get the same opportunities to perform at events. If it’s always the ” cheer team”, the ” hip hoppers” or a ” senior jazz team” that get to perform at events, the tap students assume that tap is second. If the studio principal treats the tap department as second best – then expect enrolments to be second best in tap too. So – get out with your tap boards to the local fete, the half -time basketball entertainment, any community events and rock it out of the park with some rhythmic stylings, kindly brought to you by your tappers. And again – if there are
only a few of them – throw some of your jazz students on percussion with some drumsticks, recycled drums, whistles etc and watch the crowd explode. As we all know ” THE RHYTHM OF LIFE IS A POWERFUL BEAT” – so use it to sell your tap classes to the masses.
4. Don’t forget that tap is an entry level genre! That’s right. Tap is a great starting point for all your young dancers. It teaches rhythm, timing, discipline, creativity – and it is fun. An added bonus is that it appeals to all students with no barriers – that is the students can be male, female, tall, short, thin, large etc etc and they can still enjoy tap, so recommend it as your entry level genre and then move the students into classical ballet and jazz from there. You could also start a ” boys only tap class” to bring in some more male tappers, who may then feed through into other genres too.
5. Find a great tap teacher who is dedicated to teaching tap!
This is perhaps the most difficult of all these suggestions, but it will reap huge rewards. If you can find a great tapper, who genuinely loves teaching tap and sees a future with your dance school – grab them. You want someone with a vision for your tap department, that centres around them staying put for a few years. Encourage this person by making them the ” Head of the Tap Department” at your dance school. This title will make them feel valued and may also give them the push they need to put in some extra work for you, generating excitement with the student body. Employ a ” Head of Tap ” who can genuinely tap, and who is passionate about rhythm. You want them to exude JOY when they are teaching.
If they exude JOY – your students will pick up on that and love tap. If you can – put all your tap classes on one night or all day Saturday, so this teacher can dedicate this time to your school. If they have 4 hours teaching on Monday and 4 hours on Wednesday for instance they are likely to be loyal, as it is worth their travel time etc. But if you offer 1 hour every night, the uptake may not be great.
So there you have it.
Try these tips and see if they grow your tap numbers.
As they say:
” Where the attention goes – the energy flows”
Love tap – pass it on!
Tap teacher, choreographer &
Creator of Tapatak Oz: The Total Tap Syllabus
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