Parades: A Double-Marketing Whammy

Last week my studio families and I walked in our 5th annual parade since I opened in 2011. A 5-year anniversary is a perfect time for celebration, so I wanted to share a little more about it with you today.

Not only are you going to see photos from the last five years, but I’m going to share how a simple community event like a parade can become a core marketing tool to grow your music studio.


2011 – Year 1

The year I started my studio, I was living off only 10-15 students and needed to go on the cheap. My logo had not yet been designed, so I just cut a simple sign out of black poster board and borrowed my mother-in-law’s beautiful T-bird.


The keyboards I made from foam-core poster board I bought at Wal-Mart.


My hubby is a trooper. ūüôā


2012 – Year 2


With the new logo, this year I designed a nicer more professional-looking sign. I sent the file to FedEx Office and had them print it on their wide-format black and white printer. This is a very cheap way to have signs made.

The paper sign is taped to foam-core poster board.

Note how eye-catching the sign is. All the cardboard keyboards certainly leave no question in your mind what business we’re a part of!


2013 – Year 3

We added some more signs this year!


The large one clear to the right as well as the three Studio 88 Piano Lesson signs were made on our vinyl cutter and placed on coroplast board I bought at our local home improvement store.

The sign in the back is also made of coroplast – I had a fun decorating it with music notes.


Love it. These girls are showing ’em how it’s done!



2014 – Year 4


Thanks to great family and friends, we were able to borrow nice cars for every parade.


We decided to get smart this year and attach all our small keyboard posters together to make a full 88-key piano! It was all the kids idea!


 2015 (No-Go)

I had to leave the evening of the parade this year for our State Conference.


2016 – Year 5

This year was a bit light on those walking (mostly because my students were getting older and they aren’t as interested in walking once they hit middle school) but our enthusiasm was still high thanks to my husband. Gotta love that man!


I’m also blessed to be able to teach my two nephews who are standing directly in front of me. Aren’t they adorable?


Pretty sweet, I know!



Some cool shots by one of my parents from the Court House.



The Boring Stuff We Still Want to Know

It costs me between $60-$150 per year to do this. It’s $60 to register, I may spend $50-$60 on candy, and if any parents or friends walk that don’t have t-shirts, I simply give them a t-shirt so I have $20-$30 in extra shirts.

This particular parade happens in September during our annual Street Fair¬†which shuts down the streets of Bluffton. It’s a community event that¬†many¬†in the community have a love-hate relationship with. Most of the hate comes from the inconvenience of driving around it!


marketing Your STudio – Building Community

Keep in mind that marketing isn’t always just about active, direct campaigns. A strong portion of it is about continually keeping visibility in¬†your community even when you’ve had a waiting list for years.

Walking in a parade is simple, has low overhead, doesn’t require a lot of time or effort, and on top of that, it’s a double whammy. Not only are you keeping visibility in the community, but you’re also presenting an opportunity to build community¬†within your studio.

One of the greatest reasons music often loses to sports has to do with this word: “community.” Kids love being a part of something. A team. A group. Be that group.

This parade is perfect timing for the start of the school¬†year. Especially if you’re¬†looking to build your studio. In my experience, peak times for inquiries is always September and January.

Not all communities have parades in September but even so, keep your eye out for any kind of community events you can be a part of. Every community has a parade at some point in the year¬†whether it’s a Winter light parade, a harvest parade, or a Summer 4th of July parade.

Marketing doesn’t always have to be hard, elaborate, or even unique. Sometimes it just has to be.

Be there.

Be visible.

Be present.

Be the one – the one event/organization kids want to be a part of.

Have you ever walked in a parade with¬†your studio? What’s your experience?

For more on building community within your studio check out series¬†The Varsity Musician’s Playbook: Commitment-building Strategies from Team Sports to the Studio


  • Hey Amy,
    Great post. I haven’t done any parades yet, but I have done street festivals. One question, where do you order your shirts from and about how much are they per shirt?

    • Hi Christie, there’s a local print shop in my town that does all kinds of things like shirts, trophies, blankets, etc. The cost per shirt depends on a couple different things including type/brand of shirt, how many colors of print, and quantity ordered. I think I pay anywhere from $6.50-$7.75 per shirt.

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