Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) Pianoteq
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
PianoSupplies.com (150)
Piano Accessories Music Related Gifts Piano Tuning Equipment Piano Moving Equipment
We now offer Gift Certificates in our online store!
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Piano
Quick Links to Useful Stuff
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano Accessories
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >
Topic Options
#1297875 - 11/01/09 06:34 PM Had my first complaint about re-enrollment policy
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2648
Hi, I added a re-enrollment fee for those who leave lessons and then return(the fee is equal to one months tuition). Heard today from a parent whose child had 8 months of lessons with me last year. They took off for "summer" which became a 6 month break. Now she wants to restart. I let her know about the fee (all this by e-mail)and directed her to my website for current policies. And had a response that said okay but if she goes back to India each summer it would mean she has to pay this each time(it was definitely worded as a complaint).

I just let her know that everyone who takes off more than June and July pays the re-enrollment fee. (Trying to let her know that her daughter isn't unfairly treated.) But I did not try to justify it beyond that. Just let her know.

I thought I'd see what you do when parents complain about policy. Do you give further explanation? Or just let it be that this is the policy.

Top
(ad) Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
#1297890 - 11/01/09 07:20 PM Re: Had my first complaint about re-enrollment policy [Re: Overexposed]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10385
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Kind of funny. I wanted my son to take piano year round. His first teacher, however, took most of the summer off. So I had him study over the summer with another area pianist who offered him a different perspective. When his academic year teacher finally decided to offer summer lessons, we politely declined because we actually wanted to continue with the alternative summer program. His academic year teacher understood. She never charged re-enrollment fees though.

I can understand the charge, as long as everyone is clear that lessons are meant to be a year-round activity.
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

Top
#1297926 - 11/01/09 08:19 PM Re: Had my first complaint about re-enrollment policy [Re: Piano*Dad]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Ann, is your annual enrollment fee different than a re-enrollment fee?

I charge an annual enrollment fee, whether the student is with me year round or not. The purpose of the fee is to cover incidental expenses incurred on behalf of the student through out the year, it's not an income enhancer. If yours is similar, you might reward your policy to explain why/what it covers; that should eliminate complaints.

John
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

Top
#1297944 - 11/01/09 09:05 PM Re: Had my first complaint about re-enrollment policy [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2648
John, I do not charge an annual enrollment fee. I mainly started this re-enrollment fee to protect myself from parents who decide to skip a month when it suits them...to keep enrollment/income steady. So I don't really have an explanation handy, except the example of the local YMCA charging enrollment fees (steep) every time you drop out and come back. It just is a business practice to try to ensure steady income. But that doesn't sound like something a parent would like to hear.

In reality, if this parent skips out again for a 6 month "summer" break it is likely that my studio will be full when she decides to come back. I could tell her that...not to worry about paying re-enrollment a second time because I probably will not have a spot for her if she takes another break...but I'd be glad to refer her to another teacher.

Top
#1297956 - 11/01/09 09:24 PM Re: Had my first complaint about re-enrollment policy [Re: Overexposed]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2648
I just had another e-mail from the parent. She seems happy that she can still take off June and July without paying a fee to return. So maybe it will go over alright.

Out of 18 enrolled, the policy would only affect one or two who like to skip December or take extended summer break. This policy will hopefully get parents to think twice before missing more than 2 months in summer...or taking off say during December.

Top
#1297972 - 11/01/09 09:47 PM Re: Had my first complaint about re-enrollment policy [Re: Overexposed]
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1265
Loc: California
I have a re-enrollment fee that's different from my annual enrollment fee.

The enrollment fee is due in the spring for those wishing to return to piano in September (I take off July/Aug). I use it to pay for all books & supplies that students will use, as well as handouts, stickers, pencils, and new studio supplies like rhythm instruments, theory games, etc.....

When students enroll for the year they are committing to paying tuition each month, regardless as to the number of lessons in a month. If they want to drop piano they must give me a 30-day written notice.

Sometimes I'll have a parent who informs me that they plan to take off December (which happens to be a short month of only 2-3 lessons) and return in January. I consider this dropping without notice. When they return in January they must pay a 're-enrollment' fee, which happens to be $10 shy of monthly tuition.

Stick to your guns. smile
_________________________
Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

Top
#1297975 - 11/01/09 09:51 PM Re: Had my first complaint about re-enrollment policy [Re: Overexposed]
Barb860 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 1646
Loc: northern California
Ann, I applaud you for this re-enrollment policy. I don't think you need to offer any explanation whatsoever. This is your new policy and if people have questions about it, they will ask you. I think it's a great policy and I hope you stick with it. Keep us posted, let us know if you get any more feedback from parents.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

Top
#1298037 - 11/02/09 03:38 AM Re: Had my first complaint about re-enrollment policy [Re: Overexposed]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
I thought I'd see what you do when parents complain about policy. Do you give further explanation? Or just let it be that this is the policy.


It's your business and you can run it as you see fit. So long as the terms are clear up front, you're not obliged to explain yourself to anybody.

The downside, of course, is that there will be potential customers who you'll lose, because they don't like your policy or the way you implement it. But that's how capitalism works. If your policy is losing you income rather than gaining it, then it's time to think about whether it's a good policy wink

Top
#1298042 - 11/02/09 04:16 AM Re: Had my first complaint about re-enrollment policy [Re: kevinb]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5305
Loc: Europe
A different perspective:

As a parent of two kids who's lived for 4 years abroad I find such policies slightly unfair. I'm Greek and used to live in London. Whenever we had an opportunity we would go to Greece, which could mean 3-4 months time in total.

While it makes sense to have a general expectation on anual fees and divide them by 12, 11, whatever to create the monthly fees, but in rather special cases (for a example a student traveling to India) I'd expect an exemption to such policy.

You run your studio however you wish, and parents bring their kids back, because they love working with you, but it still remains that some policies might "seem" unfair to a few.

And of course in general marketing pricing and policies different from country to country and from case to case. If you think about it there are general rules, world rules, European or transtate rules, state rules and anything in between. Some things make sense in a case but not in another.
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

Top
#1298044 - 11/02/09 04:32 AM Re: Had my first complaint about re-enrollment policy [Re: Overexposed]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11731
Loc: Canada
Quote:
It just is a business practice to try to ensure steady income. But that doesn't sound like something a parent would like to hear.

It's not the way a business person would ever word their policy to a customer. Can you imagine, for example, if a dentist told you that from now on you have to have check-ups four times a year because he's not making enough money otherwise? He will tell you that twice annual check-ups are recommended for your benefit, and he can back this up.

* A student who takes off 2 or more months can slip into bad habits if she practises, and can slip, period, if she doesn't. That's one reasonable explanation.

* They are paying for an ongoing service comprising x hours of your time per annum. That's another.

In view of this, your issue about December does not make sense. In what manner is it ok to skip July and come all December, but it is not ok to attend in the summer, but skip December? A month is a month. People have lives. In my case, for example, the extended family gathers from hundreds of miles to a remote northern location at Christmas. Sometimes we get snowed in. It is the only time we get to see each other. December not being ok doesn't make sense to me. Is there a reason?

There is an extra reason why the need for a steady income doesn't work for me as explanation: I don't have one, even though I am the sole provider. I freelance, orders come when they come, and I cannot tell from one week to the next how busy I will be. It is possible to plan your financing so that some of your earnings are saved up for lean periods and emergencies. You are in a much better and more stable condition than many freelancers are. In fact, I once resumed teaching two family members over the long term, in order to get some steady income. I would not use this as an explanation.

Fwiw, a parent who ends up leaving for 8 months is not taking lessons seriously. It's rather astonishing, actually.

Top
#1298045 - 11/02/09 04:33 AM Re: Had my first complaint about re-enrollment policy [Re: Nikolas]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
While it makes sense to have a general expectation on anual fees and divide them by 12, 11, whatever to create the monthly fees, but in rather special cases (for a example a student traveling to India) I'd expect an exemption to such policy.

You run your studio however you wish, and parents bring their kids back, because they love working with you, but it still remains that some policies might "seem" unfair to a few.


The problem is that when you run a business -- any business -- you're going to able to satisfy only a proportion of prospective customers.

At least where I live (North London) there are plenty of teachers who can cope with extended absences and don't feel it necessary to charge additional fees. The downside for customers is that they have to be willing to reciprocate, and allow the teacher to miss classes because of other commitments.

But however you run your business, some people are going to be unsatisfied.

Top
#1298047 - 11/02/09 04:40 AM Re: Had my first complaint about re-enrollment policy [Re: kevinb]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5305
Loc: Europe
Yes, I agree Kevin. It's just that some times one needs to break a rule in order to keep 'everyone happy'. But this, certainly is up for discussion. smile (Because in the end you become a servant of your clients, and I really really don't like that when composing, so I can very much sympathise with anyone not wanting to do that).

Whereabouts in N. London, if I may ask? I was considering WoodGreen up to a point, but then I just decided for a nice appartement near Alperton tube station. (That before I moved back to Athens, Greece, right? ;))
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

Top
#1298051 - 11/02/09 04:57 AM Re: Had my first complaint about re-enrollment policy [Re: Nikolas]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Yes, I agree Kevin. It's just that some times one needs to break a rule in order to keep 'everyone happy'. But this, certainly is up for discussion. smile (Because in the end you become a servant of your clients, and I really really don't like that when composing, so I can very much sympathise with anyone not wanting to do that).


In my experience, flexibility works well when you're mostly dealing with reasonable people -- that is, people who will respect the extra work you do and reward you in some way for it (not necessarily with money, but somehow). Parents of music students are not always reasonable -- not because they're bad people but, as other people have said, they often don't realize what reasonableness entails in a student-teacher relationship. And by the time you've explained it, the relationship has often been already soured.

Quote:
Whereabouts in N. London, if I may ask? I was considering WoodGreen up to a point, but then I just decided for a nice appartement near Alperton tube station. (That before I moved back to Athens, Greece, right? ;))


Of course you may ask smile I used to live in Palmer's Green, just a stone's throw from Wood Green. But I recently moved out to the far reaches of the Picadilly Line, near Watford. So I'm not really in London any more, strictly speaking. But I deal with a lot of US and European customers and they generally have sufficient geography to know where `North London' is -- `Watford' would probably require a visit to Google Maps smile

Top
#1298058 - 11/02/09 05:45 AM Re: Had my first complaint about re-enrollment policy [Re: kevinb]
Canonie Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/09
Posts: 1941
Loc: Australia
It seems I take a lot of time off for a teacher. I don't teach during any of the school holidays during the year so that's 6 weeks. And I take the summer off as well, which i thought was normal in australia. Beginning to feel a bit slack... but I think it's better for me to be relatively poor than exhausted as I think I would be if I taught through the year. Are there any other teachers who follow the school terms like this?

My policies are pretty soft too, but this works ok because the parents are mostly connected to each other so it operates a bit more like a social group - I am less likely to be used so don't need to protect myself as much. The advantage for me is that when I have a composing project on I feel quite ok about suspending teaching for a week or 2, they give me this because I am flexible for them, so it is a different style of business.

I have a student going overseas for 6 months next year. I was explaining to parent that I can't guarantee that he'll get the same timeslot when he returns, and will probably get a late evening spot. At least now I know that I need not have felt bad for them at all - what was I thinking!
_________________________

Composers manufacture a product that is universally deemed superfluous—at least until their music enters public consciousness, at which point people begin to say that they could not live without it.
Alex Ross.

Top
#1298067 - 11/02/09 06:09 AM Re: Had my first complaint about re-enrollment policy [Re: Canonie]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5945
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: Canonie
It seems I take a lot of time off for a teacher. I don't teach during any of the school holidays during the year so that's 6 weeks. And I take the summer off as well, which i thought was normal in australia.
It is. Bear in mind that we have only 6 weeks summer holidays in most states, whereas in US they have up to 3 months! If we teach through each school term it works out at 40 weeks, which seems to be about the same as the US and UK teachers here.
(Like you I'm more flexible than most, but it's because I don't have many students, and most are adults.)
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

Top
#1298068 - 11/02/09 06:17 AM Re: Had my first complaint about re-enrollment policy [Re: Canonie]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: Canonie
It seems I take a lot of time off for a teacher. I don't teach during any of the school holidays during the year so that's 6 weeks. And I take the summer off as well, which i thought was normal in australia. Beginning to feel a bit slack... but I think it's better for me to be relatively poor than exhausted as I think I would be if I taught through the year. Are there any other teachers who follow the school terms like this?


It seems to be pretty standard in the UK. I guess teachers who themselves have kids in school are most likely not to teach during school breaks.

Top
#1298094 - 11/02/09 07:34 AM Re: Had my first complaint about re-enrollment policy [Re: kevinb]
Andromaque Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 3886
Loc: New York
As a student, I would be (am) supportive of a yearly tuition, e.g. broken down into 2 semesters and a summer, and even a moderate annual "enrollment" fee that covers extra expenses the teacher incurs. But I would be resistant to a "re-enrollment" fee. That is just inconsiderate of people's life circumstances and basically assumes that people are not serious about their engagement. Unfortunately life cannot always be anchored around piano lessons. Of course a teacher has to protect his/her income, but that is where a 30day notice and perhaps opting for the annual tuition approach rather than a monthly or per diem approach come in.
There is a good reason why it is difficult to articulate the rationale for the "re-enrollment" fee : There is not a good one. In every business, there will be people whose behavior is incompatible with your sense of good practice. The best approach, IMO, is to "weed" them out, rather than alienate others. I certainly would not pay someone for untaught lessons, which is what the not so modest re-enrollment fee (of an entire month tuition) really is. That is assuming, of course, that I have given proper notice. It is not that I am unsympathetic to a self-employed teacher's money concerns. Rather keep in mind that parents or adult students also have similar concerns and obligations. I would not jump to conclusions, even subconsciously. To take this case as a hypothetical example, I would not assume that if she can afford to go to India, she can afford to pay me a month tuition. Going to India probably challenges her budget severely and may be an unavoidable family obligation..
Sorry if this sounds harsh. But I think there could be better ways to address this issue, that are more equitable and that would be perceived as such.

Top
#1298102 - 11/02/09 08:06 AM Re: Had my first complaint about re-enrollment policy [Re: Overexposed]
Canonie Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/09
Posts: 1941
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
John, I do not charge an annual enrollment fee. I mainly started this re-enrollment fee to protect myself from parents who decide to skip a month when it suits them...to keep enrollment/income steady. So I don't really have an explanation handy, except the example of the local YMCA charging enrollment fees (steep) every time you drop out and come back. It just is a business practice to try to ensure steady income. But that doesn't sound like something a parent would like to hear.

In reality, if this parent skips out again for a 6 month "summer" break it is likely that my studio will be full when she decides to come back. I could tell her that...not to worry about paying re-enrollment a second time because I probably will not have a spot for her if she takes another break...but I'd be glad to refer her to another teacher.


The YMCA charges an enrolment fee when you enrol for the first time, and charges the same fee when you lapse for long enough to be considered a first timer again? Is that correct? If it is, maybe that's the source of questioning the fee. The trouble with a RE-enrolment fee where there is no enrolment fee, is that the re-enrolment fee is not "for" anything. It's more of a "long break penalty payment". Maybe you need to introduce an enrolment fee for all first starters as well, that is the same amount.

The other approach which it looks like you're considering too is to give the valued time-slot away to the next in line, And then when a student returns from a long break they have to settle for the not so nice time slot after hours until something better becomes available. At least then you've sold all your best time slots to those who fill them for most of the year, and someone who wants more flexilbility needs to be flexible too.

But I think you are suggesting that in this particular case there is also a lack of commitment/interest from the student or parents, so that makes you feel less happy about making special exceptions etc.

hope it works out for you.
_________________________

Composers manufacture a product that is universally deemed superfluous—at least until their music enters public consciousness, at which point people begin to say that they could not live without it.
Alex Ross.

Top
#1298111 - 11/02/09 08:18 AM Re: Had my first complaint about re-enrollment policy [Re: Andromaque]
Lollipop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 820
Loc: Georgia
I don't charge an enrollment fee or annual fee of any kind, but I think it's a fair thing to do. I've never heard of a re-enrollment fee, though.

I do figure out the semester schedule in advance, and charge by the semester. Parents who want time off during the semester do so at their own expense. Where I live, the school year ends in late May, and begins in early-mid August. During those months off, lessons are very casual - if you are in town, and I am, let's have a lesson. I encourage everyone to have at least one lesson per month. Some come almost weekly, some I don't see all summer.

Most parents around here have paid for their child to go to a preschool, or a seasonal sport - something where they pay the whole price regardless of whether or not their kid misses a day. Once I explain the policy to them with that analogy, they usually understand. This year I had one continuing students whose parent wanted to delay the start of the semester until late September. I told her she could start anytime she wanted, but that the semester fee would be the same. In my studio, returning students pay less than new students, so her alternative was to begin later as a new student with a higher tuition.

I think the dentist analogy doesn't work because if you cancel a dentist appointment, the dentist can fill the spot with another patient. If you cancel one piano lesson and I fill it with a new student, you've lost your spot. So paying to keep the spot is reasonable.

In a free market, you get to make your own rules, and others get to decide if they can live with them. It's tricky finding a balance that is attractive to families but that is fair to you, too.
_________________________
piano teacher

Top
#1298123 - 11/02/09 08:39 AM Re: Had my first complaint about re-enrollment policy [Re: Lollipop]
Canonie Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/09
Posts: 1941
Loc: Australia
Quote:
In my studio, returning students pay less than new students, so her alternative was to begin later as a new student with a higher tuition.


Another way to reward loyalty to the studio that I hadn't thought of. So the actual lessons are cheaper for a returning student? And does this kick in after one semester, or after a whole year?
I like this because you can make it appear as reward for loyalty rather than a penalty.
_________________________

Composers manufacture a product that is universally deemed superfluous—at least until their music enters public consciousness, at which point people begin to say that they could not live without it.
Alex Ross.

Top
#1298154 - 11/02/09 09:35 AM Re: Had my first complaint about re-enrollment policy [Re: Canonie]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12046
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I also do not agree with a re-enrollment fee. Students need to take 6 summer lessons with me in order to get priority scheduling in the Fall. Those that take those lessons get to be scheduled first, getting their pick of times. I do this as an encouragement to the student to continue their progress. If they take the whole summer off from lessons, they lose so much that they learned the previous year. It is a huge setback.

I do not see the value of penalizing students for this, especially when you put it in to deter certain students from taking off December. Why not have the re-enrollment fee apply for breaks during the school year, and have a requirement for summer lessons but no re-enrollment fee? Taking 6 months off for lessons is huge, but you can let them know that you will try to fit them in when they return, but cannot hold their lesson time. I forget if you charge an enrollment fee or not, but it would certainly make sense that they would have to pay that at least when they return.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

Top
#1298166 - 11/02/09 10:00 AM Re: Had my first complaint about re-enrollment policy [Re: Morodiene]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
It might be a good idea to review why have an enrollment fee, what is it's purpose, etc.

Through the teaching year, there are a lot of minor expenses which the typical teacher funds out of his or her pocket. In the USA, at least, most of the public realizes and accepts that this isn't fair. The employer should cover all expenses related to teaching the student.

For the private teacher, this may be something as simple as covering part of the cost of recital hall rental, the monthly student magazine, etc.,

Piano is unique among the musical arts in that the student cannot reasonably bring her or his instrument to the lesson, so the teaching studio must provide an instrument for the student to learn on. The wear and tear on this instrument is microscopic at an individual lesson, but 20 to 40 hours a week playing on this instrument does create noticeable wear and degeneration. The studio must factor this cost in. And the instrument needs tuning, which is an additional overhead expense.

Many teachers supply notebooks, handouts, etc., to students. Other teachers take students to auditions, performances, etc. These are "out of pocket" expenses the parent overlooks.

The enrollment fee is one way to cover these odds and ends expenses. What's nice about it is that I don't have to nickel and dime my families through the year with this expense and that expense. By billing it in May or June, they have a couple of months to get it paid, and it serves as a deposit on holding their preferred lesson time. Finally, it indicates a degree of commitment which can be lacking sans some kind of enrollment fee.



_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

Top
#1298173 - 11/02/09 10:13 AM Re: Had my first complaint about re-enrollment policy [Re: John v.d.Brook]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
It might also be appropriate to review policies concerning long term absences.

As several posters have noted, these are not good for the student's learning, and additionally, they create havoc for the teaching studio. They are lose-lose propositions.

My policy, while some feel it's extreme, is simple. You've subscribed to a service. Pay for that service whether you use it or not, otherwise, you're permanently dropped from the studio rolls.

The benefit to the student is that their time is available when they are ready to return, the studio isn't roiled with absenteeism, and the only loser is the client who has missed instruction, advancement and of course, a month or two of fees. However, if the studio doesn't hold the slot, there is no guarantee that the slot will be available for the student later on, and that usually means the student will be changing teachers, and again, less learning, less progress, inconsistency in lessons, missed subject matter, etc., etc.

I have seen these students and their piano playing is abysmal. You want to take them back to day one and start them over, but you realize that they will not practice properly, because they are "too advanced" to go back over that "baby stuff." As a teacher, you realize that the student is most likely a lost cause, and the fault lies primarily with the parent.

Parents, if you need to be absent for several months, consider the tuition as part of the cost of travel. Pay your teacher. They will be thrilled, will bend over backwards to favor your student, will most likely give them extra time and lessons as a thank you for your consideration. And you'll have the preferred lesson time when you come home.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

Top
#1298202 - 11/02/09 10:56 AM Re: Had my first complaint about re-enrollment policy [Re: Morodiene]
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1265
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
I do not see the value of penalizing students for this, especially when you put it in to deter certain students from taking off December. Why not have the re-enrollment fee apply for breaks during the school year, and have a requirement for summer lessons but no re-enrollment fee?


The way my studio is set up I teach a 36-lesson year (September-June). When parents sign their kids up for lessons they are paying a yearly fee, broken into 10 equal monthly payments. I figure in 5 weeks that I won't be teaching. Two of those weeks are in December, yet tuition remains the same.

Sometimes I'll have parents of new students forget about the written studio policy that's been handed out and that they've signed. They'll look at December, see that they're paying the same amount, and decide they'd rather just skip a month and come back in January. 99% of the time it's COMPLETELY about their perception that they're only getting 2 lessons, yet paying the same tuition.

The only reason I instituted a re-enrollment fee was for these very specific situations, which are now extremely rare in my studio. In the past I might have had a half dozen or so students 'skip' December. That's a lot of money lost in one month; in fact it equals to half the rent I pay on my studio space.
_________________________
Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

Top
#1298219 - 11/02/09 11:25 AM Re: Had my first complaint about re-enrollment policy [Re: dumdumdiddle]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2648
The bottom line is that I expect students to take lessons continuously until they quit. So if they stop and start there is a small penalty. It also could weed out the ones that find it unfair and who are really not prepared to commit to weekly lessons. I have a 2 week break in December and those lessons have already been taught in the extra lessons that crop up when there are 5 lessons per month.

I teach year round, but so far have decided to be flexible with June and July since so many travel at that time. I'm finding the ones who want to skip December are also the ones who want longer than 2 month summer break. I am clear in my policies about the teaching schedule and the 4 weeks in which there will be no classes.

I like the idea of requiring 6 lessons in June/July in order to get priority scheduling for fall. For now I'm letting summer be flexible. So far it is working out alright with each student keeping their original lesson time when they return in fall, and letting me know if they are hoping for a different time.

Top
#1298242 - 11/02/09 12:14 PM Re: Had my first complaint about re-enrollment policy [Re: Overexposed]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5512
Loc: Orange County, CA
Ann:

If the parent disagrees with your policy, you don't have to accept her child as your student. I think your idea of a re-enrollment fee is a great idea. I have a similar "place-holding" policy in my contract, so I don't think your idea is out of line in any way.

Best of luck!
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

Top
#1298245 - 11/02/09 12:17 PM Re: Had my first complaint about re-enrollment policy [Re: Canonie]
Lollipop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 820
Loc: Georgia
Originally Posted By: Canonie
Quote:
In my studio, returning students pay less than new students, so her alternative was to begin later as a new student with a higher tuition.


Another way to reward loyalty to the studio that I hadn't thought of. So the actual lessons are cheaper for a returning student? And does this kick in after one semester, or after a whole year?
I like this because you can make it appear as reward for loyalty rather than a penalty.


Canonie - In my studio, I raise tuition fees for new students every year. But I guarantee the amount for 3 years, assuming that the school year is paid in full each year. (Summers are optional.) If a student takes off for any period of time they have a choice of paying for the missed time, or starting over at the higher rate. It is usually enough to keep kids coming, even when they are too busy to practice much. Parents figure that if they have to pay, they may as well come.

It makes my bookkeeping interesting, but it is easy enough to jot down each student's tuition amount next to their name. (At the end of three years, they pay the current rate. But this is the point where I begin nudging them out the door to a higher level of study.)

My fee was configured to cover incidental expenses (which are tax-deductible) so I don't need to charge parents "enrollment fees" for little things, although I have no problem with the concept. They do reimburse me for books, and my policy states that students will share recital fees. However, that hasn't been needed because we have a local church that lets us hold recitals without charge.
_________________________
piano teacher

Top
#1298294 - 11/02/09 01:34 PM Re: Had my first complaint about re-enrollment policy [Re: Lollipop]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2648
Thanks to all for the ideas. AZN, I like the phrase you used: "place-holding" policy.

For now this parent is OK with the policy. She will be the first one to pay the re-enrollment fee. I feel OK about it especially because this parent did not give any notice when they left the studio, and I ask for a 30 day notice.

I learned to be more careful at the initial meeting to explain what my policies are, so that next time it happens I will ask for payment for the following month if they don't give a month's notice.

Top
#1298311 - 11/02/09 01:59 PM Re: Had my first complaint about re-enrollment policy [Re: Overexposed]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12046
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
Thanks to all for the ideas. AZN, I like the phrase you used: "place-holding" policy.

For now this parent is OK with the policy. She will be the first one to pay the re-enrollment fee. I feel OK about it especially because this parent did not give any notice when they left the studio, and I ask for a 30 day notice.

I learned to be more careful at the initial meeting to explain what my policies are, so that next time it happens I will ask for payment for the following month if they don't give a month's notice.

I didn't know they didn't give you notice according to your policy. It's good they are OK with it, and if not, they won't return. I'm sure by then you will have filled their spot anyways.

As far as students canceling in December, I have never had anyone do that. Even when I switched from monthly lesson payments to semester with monthly installments. Perhaps it was how I transitioned students from paying monthly to semester or monthly installments towards a semester tuition. I first went to semester payments and if they wanted to pay monthly, I divided the semester payment by 4, even though the semester would run from Sept through mid-Jan, and mid-Jan. through May (4.5 months each). I told them they woudl pay Sept.-Dec. the same amount, and have no payment in Jan. Caused a little confusion, but no one complained. Then when I switched to spreading out the monthly payments over a 9-months school year, that lowered the monthly installment amount in spite of increasing my rates.

Now, I do not have students that are tempted to quit for the month of Dec. and return in Jan. If they did, of course, I'd give their time away to a new student or rearrange the schedule if that leaves an empty slot in the middle of the day. And they'd have to cancel according to my cancellation policy, otherwise I'd give pause when considering teaching them again.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

Top
#1298326 - 11/02/09 02:19 PM Re: Had my first complaint about re-enrollment policy [Re: AZNpiano]
Diane... Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/16/06
Posts: 3450
Loc: Western Canada
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Ann:
If the parent disagrees with your policy, you don't have to accept her child as your student. . . .


Well, I do take the summer off, and some of my students go elsewhere and take summer lessons with other piano teachers, or conservatories, which is fine with me. So I suppose they could make up a policy up for me! But as AZNpiano said, you don't have to take a student if it is getting ridiculous for you!

Only had a ridiculous situation once. The parent was making up all kinds of strange things up for me. Let's just call it, Her Policy". So one day I happen to phone her back and the husband answer! She wasn't home, so I explained all the things to him! He nearly hit the roof! I got paid the very next day! (that's another part of the story) But sometimes you can just decide that it is just a situation that is too complicated and not take that student the next year.

Was on the way to taking this parent to "Small Claims Court"! Luckily for me, all it took was a decent father!

Sometimes enough is enough!

EDIT: Spelling: changed "small claims coutr" ot "Small Claims' Court"!


Edited by Diane... (11/02/09 02:25 PM)
_________________________
http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/goldsparkledress.jpg
Diane
Jazz/Blues/Rock/Boogie Piano Teacher


Top
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >

Moderator:  Ken Knapp 
What's Hot!!
8 Live Ragtime Piano Players on the Cape!
-------------------
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Seiler Pianos
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Is A443 banned definitively?
by Olek
35 minutes 54 seconds ago
Ritmuller Grand Pianos - Help!
by Mike RSA
40 minutes 42 seconds ago
J.D.Grandt Bass Strings Opinions Please
by chernobieff
Yesterday at 11:48 PM
Which Electronic Sounds & Feels Most Like Real?
by MinstrelandMuse
Yesterday at 11:47 PM
fun music theory
by David Farley
Yesterday at 07:56 PM
Who's Online
67 registered (angga888, Anne H, beet31425, bjorn of brekkukot, Beemer, 13 invisible), 1117 Guests and 13 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
76633 Members
42 Forums
158462 Topics
2327024 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
(ads by Google)

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
|
Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission