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#950009 - 08/07/08 02:44 AM Make-up Lessons
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5510
Loc: Orange County, CA
As I am re-writing my studio policy for September, I need to re-think the rules on make-up lessons. What are your guidelines when it comes to making up missed lessons for...

1) student illness

2) death in the family

3) school event

4) "too much homework"

5) transportation issues (bad traffic, car breaking down on the way to lesson, parents sick and can't drive)

6) sporting event

7) family out-of-town

8) hand/arm injury

I am seriously contemplating a "lesson swap only" policy, by which a student--if needing to switch lesson time--has the sole responsibility to find another student with whom to swap lesson times. And I'd have to place a cap on the number of times swaps can occur within a year. That would alleviate a lot of my scheduling nightmares.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#950010 - 08/07/08 07:20 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
chocolatefairy99 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/10/08
Posts: 48
Loc: Ireland
This is what my policy says:
Make-up lessons will be offered to students who give at least one weeks notice for planned events (such as school plays and trips), and 24 hours notice for illness and unexpected emergencies. Make-up lessons will take place on Saturday mornings unless I can find a convenient time during the week. There will be a maximum of 2 make-up lessons allowed per student per year. Students who don’t show up for scheduled lessons with no notice will NOT be offered make-ups for these times, regardless of the reason. Consideration will be taken for students who become suddenly ill, but even in this case should inform me the morning of their lesson if they do not go to school.

1. Student illness- covered in policy
2. Death in the Family- I'll give a make-up lesson
3. school event- covered in policy
4. Too much homework- doesn't cut it with me - no make-up lesson
5. Transportation- traffic is fine where I live and if there are going to be roadworks there is advance notice on the local parents. If the parents are ill a relative can get the student to the lesson
6. Sporting event- covered in policy- notice required
7. Family out of town- again notice required
8. Hand/arm injury - this has happened to some of my students. They can still work with the "good" arm, and it's a great time to catch up on theory

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#950011 - 08/07/08 11:09 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
What is your local university's policy on missed classes? Do they reconvene class for any of the reasons you've listed?

I've found the best approach (which is echoed by many others) is: no makeup lessons.

What about rescheduling? That means in advance. What is a reasonable time before the event to reschedule, and for how long should the window be open to reschedule?

My policy is 48 hrs advanced notice, and one week window in which to reschedule.
_________________________
"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

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#950012 - 08/07/08 11:12 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
A word about terminology - I carefully explain to my parents that rescheduling prior to a lesson is not the same as a makeup for a missed lesson.

My statement has a COMMENTS[/b] block at the bottom and once a year, I add a comment about rescheduling vs. makeup. Ditto late payments. And other issues. That way, long term students, who never bother to reread the policies, receive a fresh reminder annually. In small doses.
_________________________
"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

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#950013 - 08/07/08 11:58 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12043
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I allow one make-up lesson per semester, if 1 day's notice is given (or in the case if sudden illness or family emergencies, I will allow a make-up for that). I have designated make-up days each semester, and a lesson must be made up within the semester it was missed or it will be forfeited. Lessons missed by the teacher are not included in this limitation and will always be rescheduled.

This year I will be adding a student swap policy, but the swap must be done at least 48 hours of the lesson, and the student swapping must notify me within 24 hours of time change so I can prepare. Right now I have it as often as needed they can swap, but I do mention if there are excessive changes then they will have to find a new permanent time. The wording is a little vague as to what "excessive" means, but since this is the first year, I want to feel it out to know what I would consider excessive.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#950014 - 08/07/08 12:21 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
Stanny Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 1461
I changed my policy this year. Last year I allowed 2 make ups per semester, with a 24 hour notice.

This year it says: As scheduling permits, I will try to offer make ups for lessons that are missed with a 24 hour notice. I offer make up lessons as a courtesy, not an obligation. Students are encouraged to trade lesson times in case of a conflict.

Quite honestly, my schedule is FULL and I won't teach outside of my regularly scheduled hours.
_________________________
~Stanny~

Independent Music Teacher
Certified Piano Teacher, American College of Musicians
Member: MTNA, NGPT, ASMTA, NAMTA

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#950015 - 08/07/08 12:32 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
allthumbs Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 115
Loc: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Below is from my studio policy. I have found it works great once everyone understands the reasons behind it. It also improves attendance as well.

Also have a look at this article "Make-up Music Lessons from an Economist’s Point of View"
By Vicky Barham, Ph. D.


http://kmclayton.wordpress.com/2008/07/20/music-lessons-from-an-economists-point-of-view/


allthumbs

From my studio policy -

The tuition that you have paid reserves a lesson time slot for you or your child to use or not use. A missed lesson will not be re-scheduled. In cases of a sudden serious illness or injury or other serious family situation that would require missing lessons for more than two weeks, I would suspend lessons for the duration and return your tuition, unless you wish to keep your reserved lesson time slot secure. A prior family commitment or other such conflict does not constitute a valid reason and no compensation will be forthcoming.

Students who simply fail to attend their lesson as scheduled or cancel their lesson will forfeit the missed lesson time. It will not be re-scheduled and no refund will be given.

Should you foresee a lesson time conflict, please try to switch with another student if possible, rather than forfeiting the time. I will provide the names of other families willing to make such arrangements for you to contact provided that at least 24 hours prior notice is given. You may also switch lesson times with another family on a permanent basis, if everyone is in agreement. Just let me know and I will adjust the teaching schedule to reflect the change.

Should I require the need to cancel a lesson or lessons, you will be given at least 24 hours notice or more if possible and the lesson(s) will be re-scheduled at your convenience or other such arrangement so that your time is not lost.

Students who miss lessons on a consistent basis and who continually show a lack of preparation or interest, will be dropped from the studio.
_________________________
Sauter Delta (185cm) polished ebony 'Lucy'
Serial # 118 562

Single Malts Forever!

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#950016 - 08/07/08 01:03 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
Minaku Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/07
Posts: 1226
Loc: Atlanta
My policy is this: all cancellations must be given 24 hours in advance, and every student gets 1 unexcused and 1 excused absence per semester. Excused absences and unexcused absences such as illness may be made up during make-up week. Unexcused absences like no-shows aren't made up. If a student is late I will teach to the end of their time, but won't go over.
_________________________
Pianist and teacher with a 5'8" Baldwin R and Clavi CLP-230 at home.

New website up: http://www.studioplumpiano.com. Also on Twitter @QQitsMina

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#950017 - 08/07/08 02:10 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
musiclady Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/19/05
Posts: 431
Loc: Toronto, Canada
I tend to be more understanding of students and parents wanting to reschedule a lesson, because sometimes I can't make a lesson due to a rehearsal, performance, or recording session (which I do all three fairly regularly). But I don't fill up every available minute for teaching lessons, I leave a few slots open for things like that, though this year it might be rather tough to reschedule lessons. My own teachers have been flexible with me.
_________________________
Clarinet and Piano Teacher based out of Toronto, Canada.Web: http://donmillsmusicstudio.weebly.com

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#950018 - 08/07/08 04:27 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Remember in your studio policy to tell them how you work through Notice to Terminate. I use 30 days as a time period during which to finish up the current lesson, observe what has been accomplished, perhaps conference on why the termination, then say a mutual good bye.

Someone leaving abruptly can upset your life - try to give them enough time to review their choices, negotiate the situation, and complete the lesson cycle.

If they choose not to take the last 30 days of lessons during the termination process, their payment is still due. (In my book, that is.)

One of my motto's is: "I do not teach in chaos and confusion".

If someone is having a true emergency in their family, I do whatever they need at this time to be the circumstances around piano lessons. Death and emergencies, accidents, serious illness have those priorities. I have found it I give everyone what they need - including - interruped lesson status - it builds our relationship. I will also send a card to the family if it is appropriate.

I was a mother of 5 kids having a schedule to balance and I have a respect and empathy for mothers and fathers who support their activities. Until I know someone to be a "problem" in transportation or payment, I go with the flow when unexpected things happen.

I think I have a tough policy over all - but I give myself 52 weeks (minus TA, studio closures, holidays, snow days) to get 40 lessons per year in. It makes a big difference in being able to earn the income I need, and the extra time to use for rescheduling.

I would rather have a rescheduling date to offer than to chew someone out, cast blame, or find fault. It seems mutually courteous that if you want them to meet your needs, that occasionally you can try to meet their needs in scheduling.

Sometimes kids even come on their birthday! Do you have that happen? If so, do you make an "event" of it?

Betty

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#950019 - 08/07/08 05:31 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1265
Loc: California
The problem with offering makeup lessons (or 'rescheduling' lessons) is that you're out twice: once for the lesson that was missed and you can't find a replacement for that lesson, and secondly, the fact that you've now set aside a different day/time that you normally wouldn't be teaching.

Because I've scheduled certain hours that are designated teaching hours, those are the only hours that I teach. I don't do makeup lessons. My policy also states this.

There are very few times when I'll make an exception and OFFER a makeup to a student (due to an extreme circumstance), but those are at my discretion.

If you have a strict policy to start with parents will know what to expect (and what not to expect... as in makeup lessons). You can then make exceptions as YOU feel necessary. But going into a long paragraph that lists all the legitimate reasons to give a makeup and all the reasons makeups won't be given (blah, blah, blah) is giving parents way too much.
_________________________
Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

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#950020 - 08/07/08 05:55 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5510
Loc: Orange County, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by dumdumdiddle:
There are very few times when I'll make an exception and OFFER a makeup to a student (due to an extreme circumstance), but those are at my discretion. [/b]
The danger with this approach is that parents do talk to each other. When you make one exception, other people will expect you to make the same exception for them.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#950021 - 08/07/08 07:30 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1265
Loc: California
Yes, but makeup lessons for me are extremely rare; not enough for parents to get together and 'chat' about them. The point is that when I offer a makeup the parent is eternally grateful (since they know by no-makeup policy) instead of them expecting a makeup.
_________________________
Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

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#950022 - 08/07/08 07:56 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
pianoexcellence Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 753
Loc: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
 Quote:
Originally posted by dumdumdiddle:
Yes, but makeup lessons for me are extremely rare; not enough for parents to get together and 'chat' about them. The point is that when I offer a makeup the parent is eternally grateful (since they know by no-makeup policy) instead of them expecting a makeup. [/b]
As soon as you put yourself into a role where you make decisions as to when to allow makeups, you will be dealing with frustrated parents who think that their circumstance warrants it when you do not agree.

You will have less angry parents when you NEVER allow makeups for missed lessons than when you sometimes allow makeups. ;\)

Just make sure that you let parents know right at the beginning how you run your studio.
_________________________
Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs

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#950023 - 08/07/08 08:12 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
D3 wrote: The problem with offering makeup lessons (or 'rescheduling' lessons) is that you're out twice: once for the lesson that was missed and you can't find a replacement for that lesson, and secondly, the fact that you've now set aside a different day/time that you normally wouldn't be teaching.[/b]

My studio is "open for business" from 11:30AM to 9:30PM with a break for dinner. No other activity is scheduled during that time. I am at the studio and am either practicing or working on student preparations, so it matters little to me if a student reschedules, with 48 hrs advanced notice. That provides me enough time to review the student's assignment, record, repertoire and be ready for him/her.
_________________________
"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

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#950024 - 08/07/08 08:31 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
PandO Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/08
Posts: 68
Loc: Scotland
Betty,
I remember being slightly irriatated when my pupil said she wouldn't come to her lesson on her birthday! Had she had a party or something planned then fine - but she didn't! As far as I was aware the day of her actual birthday was no different to any other day of her life as her birthday party was at the weekend. I didnt complain at the time, but I wasn't particularly impressed with that one. So many excuses I've had, though. I aways loose out though, because I'm paid per lesson rather than it being taken care of beforehand.
What do teachers say for cancellations due to birthdays? Is this an unexcused absence? I certainly wouldn't cancel my own lesson just because it was my birthday.

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#950025 - 08/07/08 08:46 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1265
Loc: California
Quote: "You will have less angry parents when you NEVER allow makeups for missed lessons than when you sometimes allow makeups.

Just make sure that you let parents know right at the beginning how you run your studio."


Exactly. While most teachers I know operate completely without a studio policy (much less a makeup lesson policy), I've always had such a policy. In my opinion, having a '48-hour notice' policy or a 'swap lesson' policy or an 'illness only' policy is making things way too complicated. Parents end up lying about why they weren't at lesson, swap lists can get abused by the parent who frequently needs to use them, etc.... For me, it's just simple to say 'No Makeups'. And the very, very few times (maybe 2 in a year) that I've offered a makeup (such as when a student had a wreck on the way to lesson) have had no negative impact on my studio. This system has worked great for me.
_________________________
Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

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#950026 - 08/08/08 02:15 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
Minaku Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/07
Posts: 1226
Loc: Atlanta
 Quote:
Originally posted by PandO:
Betty,
I remember being slightly irriatated when my pupil said she wouldn't come to her lesson on her birthday! Had she had a party or something planned then fine - but she didn't! As far as I was aware the day of her actual birthday was no different to any other day of her life as her birthday party was at the weekend. I didnt complain at the time, but I wasn't particularly impressed with that one. So many excuses I've had, though. I aways loose out though, because I'm paid per lesson rather than it being taken care of beforehand.
What do teachers say for cancellations due to birthdays? Is this an unexcused absence? I certainly wouldn't cancel my own lesson just because it was my birthday. [/b]
I wouldn't accept it as an excuse. Just because you were born on that day doesn't give you an automatic free pass out of doing what you need to do. Count it as an unexcused absence, and since it's not a conflict, don't make it up.
_________________________
Pianist and teacher with a 5'8" Baldwin R and Clavi CLP-230 at home.

New website up: http://www.studioplumpiano.com. Also on Twitter @QQitsMina

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#950027 - 08/08/08 03:06 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
It's been interesting to see who comes on their birthdays, and who takes the day off. If it is a serious consequence to teachers who abhor that, it needs to go in your policy. And, for all those other invitations they get, if they choose other, it should not affect your pay. Let them make choices, but cover your needs and express your desire way out in front.

As a question, I wonder if teachers know their students birthdays and ages? Do you send greeting on their birthdays?

A young man who has taken lessons for 7 years has spent lots of time with my cat, Marmaduke (yes, orange and white). The other day he asked: "How old is Marmaduke?" It turns out they were both born in April of 1995. He was surprised to hear that. "My piano teacher's cat and I have the same birthday", will probably be a top priority to remember when he thinks back on his lessons. The other being, "Thursday at 12:30 for an hour."

Of bigger concern to me than how a student chooses to spend their birthday, is:

1) Kids who come to a morning lesson after having spent the night at a slumber party. Last week one cutie yawned 10 times in her last 10 minutes of lessons - her energy level plummeted throughout the lesson.

2) The other are the kids who have to leave, quick out the door, hop in the car, and go play a sport. They come dressed for their activity. It makes me wonder if they are going to remember anything from the lesson we just had.

Kids need to be kids, and their birthday is theirs as far as I'm concerned. Kind of like a "National Holiday".

Sorry about that!

Betty

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#950028 - 08/08/08 05:01 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Thinking on this topic for a while, I remembered what airlines do. If you miss a flight, or want to change it, fine. Or even cancel it outright, also fine. But there's a fee associated with it. I recently had to change a return trip. It was $50 or 20% of the total air fare. I wonder if parents would be happier paying a change fee, lost lesson fee? A month's tuition is $135, so a changed lesson would be $27. Parents, does that sound fair?
_________________________
"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

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#950029 - 08/08/08 05:48 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12043
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
 Quote:
Originally posted by PandO:
Betty,
I remember being slightly irriatated when my pupil said she wouldn't come to her lesson on her birthday! Had she had a party or something planned then fine - but she didn't! As far as I was aware the day of her actual birthday was no different to any other day of her life as her birthday party was at the weekend. I didnt complain at the time, but I wasn't particularly impressed with that one. So many excuses I've had, though. I aways loose out though, because I'm paid per lesson rather than it being taken care of beforehand.
What do teachers say for cancellations due to birthdays? Is this an unexcused absence? I certainly wouldn't cancel my own lesson just because it was my birthday. [/b]
It's for this reason (and many other lame excuses) that I don't' charge per lesson. You open yourself up to this sort of thing, even if you state in your policy it's not considered an excused absence. If you get them on a different pay schedule, at the very least, monthly, they will be less likely to back out and not consider your cancellation policy. I had one student cancel to go shopping. If they decide to do that, it's fine, because they just paid me for my time. I was there and ready to teach.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#950030 - 08/09/08 09:04 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
No make-ups!!

Exception: If someone else cancels the week of the absence, and it works for the student that missed the lesson, then I will fit that student into that spot.

If there is a conflict, I have a wipe-off board where parents can write down the date(s) their child will miss and ask if any other parents' child can swap. It is up to them to figure it out, make phone calls, etc... they then are required to let me know of any changes.

I teach piano. I do not have time nor do I want to spend time on the phone rescheduling for parents or take up my personal time to make-up lessons.

Sounds harsh, but I have experienced making up lessons. It takes so much time, money and seriousness from the lessons that it just is not worth it.

You will receive more respect from students and parents and their piano lessons will become more of a priority if you have a no make-up policy.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

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#950031 - 08/10/08 02:40 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
jerry2000 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/02/05
Posts: 11
Loc: Midwest Kansas
It boggles my mind when I read how some teachers have "no makeup lesson" policies.

So,, tell me, Oh teachers, what exactly do you do when you have to take time off, examples-- could be a death in the family, dentist visit, doctor visit, weather, or maybe you just didn't feel like teaching that day. After all, the students have already bought and paid for your "time." What exactly do you give the students if YOU cause the lesson to be canceled?

John v.d.Brook referenced an airline charging a 20% changing fee and asked if it would be ok to charge this for a student changing a lesson.

So to put the shoe on the other foot,
How about it teachers,, Would it be fair to require you to give a refund of 20% plus a rescheduled lesson if it was your fault for a missed lesson?

Or would that be too fair to the student and just not good for business?

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#950032 - 08/10/08 03:33 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
Stanny Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 1461
My policy states the following:

"In case of teacher illness, a group make up lesson will be scheduled. Lessons
missed by the teacher for any other reason will be made up at a mutually convenient time."

I would not schedule an appointment during the times I'm scheduled to teach. And even if I don't "feel like it", I still honor my student's scheduled lesson time.

I'm in business for myself and I can state whatever works for me in my policy. If someone thinks it isn't fair, they don't have to take lessons from me. I have only cancelled lessons one time for 3 days in the past 7 years, because I had a severe allergic reaction to a medication. I don't take missing lessons lightly (and yes, I teach on my birthday!)
_________________________
~Stanny~

Independent Music Teacher
Certified Piano Teacher, American College of Musicians
Member: MTNA, NGPT, ASMTA, NAMTA

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#950033 - 08/10/08 08:48 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12043
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I state in my policy that if I miss a lesson, that it will be made up. I also have in my policy that since I do perform there may be times that I will have to reschedule lessons. This does not go against their 1 make-up lesson per semester limit. I can't remember the last time I missed a lesson, and I never schedule appointments during my lesson times.

Jerry2000, this policy is to protect everyone involved. It may seem harsh, but how many times do you need someone to take advantage of your generosity before you draw the line? Every experienced teacher I know has a rather strict policy to refer to in times where a student or parent crosses that line. In an ideal world, we wouldn't have to do this. And honestly, I don't have a problem rescheduling if something comes up. However, I do have other obligations like classes that I teach, and a husband. My time is not very flexible and so when someone misses a lesson, the only time I can give a make-up would be during the time I'm supposed to be with my husband, eating, sleeping, or any other part of my life that is necessary. Is that fair to my family or myself? And it's not just one person who reschedules, but they all do. Then that's a real mess! How does one plan their lessons then? It really benefits everyone to have a policy that limits the amount of rescheduling.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#950034 - 08/10/08 09:43 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1265
Loc: California
My policy states, "In case of teacher being unable to teach a lesson, the lesson will either be made up or refunded, at the teacher's discretion."

As others have stated, it's my business and I set the perimeters and policies. Every parent knows those policies when they sign up for lessons. I also know myself. I haven't had to cancel a lesson in the past 2 years. If those circumstances were to change (like a prolonged illness or something) I'd reconsider my policy and adjust it.

Part of my studio policy includes a list of holiday weeks when I'm not teaching. I do this because I charge a flat monthly rate, even when students only receive 2 lessons in December. I generally take off the weeks of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. I decided to include an additional week that I can choose to take off at any time. This covers me if I'm sick or have an emergency where I have to cancel lessons. I've also used my 'extra' week to extend my Spring Break vacation to Europe.

Another thought to consider is that when a teacher has a lax makeup policy he/she could potentially be making up lessons every week, as students cancel. If I cancel a lesson due to illness, I can usually reschedule all the lessons on one additional morning or afternoon (I'm thinking Saturdays here) and not have a perpetual makeup day every week.
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#950035 - 08/10/08 09:55 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5943
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by jerry2000:
It boggles my mind when I read how some teachers have "no makeup lesson" policies. [/b]
And it boggles my mind that you would expect it as a right.
Did you read the article linked above by allthumbs? I suggest you do - it makes some good points.

There must be plenty of situations in life which also boggle your mind: the fact that you can't take one piece of steak back to the butcher because you realised you only wanted three, not four; the fact that if little daughter misses a ballet lesson you actually don't get one lesson's fee refunded; and the fact that teachers also need to eat and sleep, not to mention interact with their families.

I was rehearsing instrumentalists for a competition a while ago and one mother didn't want to pay my half-hour accompanying fee in full because she pointed out that I wasn't actually playing for the full 30 minutes. I was actually talking for a few of those minutes! That's the sort of thinking we sometimes have to deal with, Jerry.
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#950036 - 08/10/08 10:02 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
jerry2000 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/02/05
Posts: 11
Loc: Midwest Kansas
From an outsiders perspective these policies do not benefit everybody. In fact they all seem skewed rather heavily to the teachers benefit.


Morodiene says
 Quote:
I also have in my policy that since I do perform there may be times that I will have to reschedule lessons.
Do you give them any choice in the rescheduled lesson time? Is your time so much more valuable than theirs that they only get 1 "makeup" per semester while you get to reschedule whenever you perform?

Then we come to obligations and family and fairness.

Are your obligations more important than your students? Is your "family time" more important than their "family time?" Do you tell your students these facts?

As to fairness I think it is quite obvious that the "piano teaching business" is not fair to the students but is rather heavily skewed toward the bottom line of the "teaching professional." Policies to maximize compensation while minimizing effort/work appears to be the norm.

God forbid someone would actually teach with a goal of producing pianists instead of a paycheck.

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#950037 - 08/10/08 10:42 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5943
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by jerry2000:
God forbid someone would actually teach with a goal of producing pianists instead of a paycheck. [/b]
Well, I suppose when you are looking for a teacher you could take these policies into consideration. If you want a teacher who will do unlimited make-ups and run themselves ragged trying to accommodate the various little irregularities of all their students, then you probably could find one, if you look hard enough. You would then have what you want according to your criteria - emphasis on your financial position instead of the teacher's dedication to actually teaching students.

But wait a minute, weren't you just criticising teachers for focussing on the bottom line instead of teaching the students?...
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#950038 - 08/10/08 11:02 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
jerry2000 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/02/05
Posts: 11
Loc: Midwest Kansas
Well,,,, at least there was no argument about the true goal of a "PIANO TEACHING BUSINESS." Which I repeat again: to maximize compensation while minimizing effort/work/teaching.

Just a side note, do any of you see your students as more than just a paycheck or an advertisement for your "studio" when they perform?

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