Revising my studio policies.

Posted by: Cindy O-H

Revising my studio policies. - 12/24/12 01:05 AM

I want to update my studio policy this year.
I would love to see or hear what your sounds like so that I can have more ideas on how you handle certain situations.
I am month to month tuition, but have gotten burned this past semester by those wanting make ups and only wanting to spay for what lessons they attended! Ugh how frustrating. So it is time for a re-vamp if my studio policy for 2013!

Help and thanks for your suggestions.
Posted by: MaggieGirl

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/24/12 01:17 AM

Ours has a flat monthly fee. Sometimes you get 5 lessons and sometimes 3 a month - all for the same price. This way when the studio closes for 2 weeks over winter break they (teachers, owners) are guaranteed to get the same income.
Posted by: catpiano

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/24/12 08:27 AM

I'm probably in the minority with this, but I charge my students on a weekly basis. It just works out best for me so I don't have to worry about makeup lessons. I allow students to cancel until 10:00am the morning of the lesson. After that I still collect payment. I have in my policy that cancelled lessons MAY be rescheduled in the same week, but I can't always guarantee a spot.
Posted by: malkin

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/24/12 09:08 AM

My teacher charges monthly for 4 lessons. I believe he's quite generous with make-ups and reschedules, and uses the occasional 5th week for make-ups or for a week off.
Posted by: manyhands

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/24/12 09:58 AM

I pay on the first lesson of month for as many lessons as will be had that month, which is straight forward. Makeups are arranged at time of cancellation working around teacher's schedule, but I hate to miss so this is rare.
Posted by: Minniemay

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/24/12 10:01 AM

I charge annual tuition. There are 36 lessons included and I issue a calendar of dates the studio is closed and I include one sick day for myself that doesn't have to be made up if we run out of weeks. Missed lessons simply move into summer. The calendar begins for each student upon enrollment. If they don't use all 36, I don't refund.

Tuition is payable in either two semester payments or 12 equal monthly installments.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/24/12 10:25 AM

Originally Posted By: MaggieGirl
Ours has a flat monthly fee. Sometimes you get 5 lessons and sometimes 3 a month - all for the same price. This way when the studio closes for 2 weeks over winter break they (teachers, owners) are guaranteed to get the same income.


This is what we've gone back to doing when we opened up our school. It takes a little bit of time for parents to understand they are paying installments on a yearly tuition, but doing it this way really helps with regulating one's own income.

As far as make-ups, we have not limited those, but they do happen way too often and I think next year we will change that. We do have weeks designated for making up lessons, however (like M-W the week of Thanksgiving, or the week of New Year's) where normally scheduled lessons do not occur that are used for when schedules don't allow for easy make-ups. Any last-minute cancellations are not made up (at the teacher's discretion).
Posted by: dumdumdiddle

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/24/12 10:40 AM

I charge annual tuition that's divided into 4 quarterly payments. Some suggestions:

Move from charging tuition monthly to charging quarterly. It's SO much easier on your bookkeeping and you're not thinking of 'how many lessons each month'.

Charge a hefty late fee for parents who don't pay on time.

Figure in the weeks you are NOT teaching (Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving). I plan for 5 weeks off during the year and parents know ahead of time the 4 scheduled holiday weeks off; the 5th week is one I can take whenever I need. Tuition is the same because I already have figured out how many TOTAL lessons students will get that year.

Don't give any makeup lessons. If you don't feel comfortable doing this then be VERY specific about what circumstances you give makeups (only for illness, NOT for out of town trips, parties/after school events, sports, etc...). And stick to it.

You might say something about parents/siblings sitting in on lessons. Do you teach out of your home? Set some perimeters. I don't mind parents sitting in but siblings can be disruptive to the lesson. Have a nice bench on your front porch for parents/kids to wait on.
Posted by: jdw

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/24/12 12:58 PM

Another option on makeups is the policy my teacher has: there are a set number of "personal days" per year (in this case 2) that get makeups. That way the teacher doesn't have to be policing whether it's travel, illness etc. In any case students pay for the lessons as normal, and makeups are scheduled at the teacher's convenience, often at the end of the season.
Posted by: Peter K. Mose

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/24/12 02:29 PM

The missed lessons issue is always messy among studio music teachers. There are many different ways to deal with it, but I think they come down to this: you have to set a policy that works for you, and stick to it. Put it in writing, and then rehearse your policy out loud in front of a mirror and with trusted friends or family, so you believe what you state. Hand out the policy statement to your students and/or their parents, at least once a year.

Here's a shorthand spectrum as I view it.....

1. You can practice tough love: no make-ups, and tuition is charged by the year.

2. You can practice modified tough-love: sometimes yes to make-ups, but tuition is charged by the year.

3. You can practice the I'm-a-pal-to-everybody teaching style: yes to any make-ups, even at the last minute for flimsy reasons, and yes to missed lessons without payment.

If you are well off or have a well-off spouse, if you are only teaching for fun, and if you want everybody to like you but perhaps not respect you, go with version #3.
Posted by: MaggieGirl

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/24/12 02:54 PM

We are permitted makeups but they have to be scheduled quickly. They can't add up to the end of the year or next month. I think we have a week or two to get it made up or lose it. The time is usually a bad time (7 or 7:30 on a weeknight) so I assume most families give it up.
Posted by: Peter K. Mose

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/24/12 03:38 PM

Originally Posted By: dumdumdiddle
Have a nice bench on your front porch for parents/kids to wait on.


For the record: dumdiddle lives in California.
Posted by: John v.d.Brook

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/24/12 04:40 PM

Originally Posted By: Cindy O-H
I want to update my studio policy this year.
I would love to see or hear what your sounds like so that I can have more ideas on how you handle certain situations.
I am month to month tuition, but have gotten burned this past semester by those wanting make ups and only wanting to spay for what lessons they attended! Ugh how frustrating. So it is time for a re-vamp if my studio policy for 2013!

Help and thanks for your suggestions.

Cindy, there have been many, many threads on this subject with gnashing of teeth from many sides. I contend, like many of my professional colleagues, that there is no such thing as a make-up lesson, rather, you're giving the student a free lesson. Consider, did you show up at your work place on time and ready to teach? If you did, you're out an hour's worth of pay for your efforts.

Of course, there's the issue of rescheduling, which most of us consider to happen before the lesson. Rescheduling a missed lesson is double speak for make-up. Some of us have a 48 hr advanced notice, others have a 24 hr. When working with young students, who experience quick onset (and recovery) from colds, the morning of makes sense to many.

My own personal policy is that reschedules must be notified 24 hrs in advance, except for illness, and the missed lesson must be rescheduled within a 5 day window. That is, if you know you cannot be here Wednesday for your lesson, but there's an opening on Tuesday, you're welcome to it. Ditto Thursday, but not weeks later.

Academic school activities are justifiable reasons for rescheduling; sports are not. You decide what your priority is.

There are many, many goods and services which you purchase in life on an use it or lose it basis. There is no reason for you to be the sacrificial lamb for someone else's poor planning. Simply don't do it.

And by the way, there are plenty of piano teachers who simply do not give extra lessons under any circumstance. You come at your appointed time, or don't come. Your choice.
Posted by: dumdumdiddle

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/24/12 05:24 PM

Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
Originally Posted By: dumdumdiddle
Have a nice bench on your front porch for parents/kids to wait on.


For the record: dumdiddle lives in California.


grin
Posted by: Brinestone

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/24/12 07:40 PM

I found that when I switched from having students pay per lesson to paying per month, I got a LOT less outright cancellations. Yes, sometimes students still can't come, but it's rare. Much more often, they let me know ahead of time and reschedule. And a lot of the dumb reasons for cancelling have gone away. They know that they're paying for lessons, so they come if at all possible.

My bookkeeping is WAY easier now too. I don't have to count how many lessons each student had to send them a bill; I just have to keep track of any extra expenses, like materials or competition fees.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/25/12 12:46 AM

Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Rescheduling a missed lesson is double speak for make-up. Some of us have a 48 hr advanced notice, others have a 24 hr.

John, this is worth fleshing out for those who weren't around a few years ago when you first explained it. I found it quite fair and sane, and it is easily misunderstood, so I hope you don't mind. smile

The idea is that there are two kinds of occasion. 1) A student knows in advance about an absence, and asks for the usual lesson time to be rescheduled. The teacher is given forewarning so that he can plan, and it may even be possible to fill that time slot with someone else. This is "reschedule" and it is in fact a makeup lesson for the missed lesson. 2) A student announces last minute that he won't show up, or simply doesn't show up. If this is for a frivolous reason, or the student could have said something in advance but didn't, then it isn't fair to expect that lesson to be replaced. That's why two different names have been given for 1 and 2.

For non-teachers: there is sometimes confusion about the idea that the monthly or semester fee is for lessons, so if you pay for 4 lessons, you should get 4 lessons - thus a makeup is due if you are absent. But in fact you are paying for his time, and the time slot that is reserved for you, say Thursday from 5:00 - 6:00. If you're not there, and you want a makeup lesson, which maybe you get next Tuesday, then one of those time slots is unpaid time where the teacher has to sit there in the middle of the day. If he can fill your slot, then he doesn't have to sit idle for an hour, and he can also get paid for that time period. That's the essence of it. Anyone self-employed who has been in similar situations might relate.

May I suggest that it should be equal the other way around. If a teacher wants his time to be respected, then the student's time slot should also be. Either that, or the freedom extends both directions (example: teacher who does a lot of performing and has an unpredictable schedule).
Posted by: justpin

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/25/12 05:21 AM

Pay monthly?

Pay quarterly?

Every teacher I've had takes payment at the start of end of the lesson, I do it this way since there is no discount for payment in advance. I turn up at a specified time each week and give 48 hours notice if I can't make it.
Posted by: Peter K. Mose

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/25/12 01:20 PM

Justpin, your story is a reminder that many studio piano teachers run their practices differently than some of the suggestions you are reading about here.

And perhaps payment as tuition in advance is less common in Europe than it is in Canada and the US.

But from a teacher's standpoint, the issue is this:
if you as student cancel a lesson some week, even with the courtesy of 2 days of advance notice, your teacher still loses income for your lesson, and also has a (possibly annoying) hole in her teaching day's schedule.

If the two of you decide to reschedule this lesson, then the teacher has not lost income, but her teaching schedule is doubly thrown off - i.e., once for the day you missed, and once for the day you rearrange.

Some teachers don't missed the rescheduling issues, but lost income is another matter.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/25/12 03:11 PM

It has been my experience that the teachers who take lesson payment one lesson at a time are usually less serious or appear to be less serious about their teaching as a business. The only exception to this is for some teachers who have a very good reputation that attract students from all over the world, and thus charge on a per-lesson basis for those students.
Posted by: currawong

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/25/12 05:39 PM

Originally Posted By: Morodiene
It has been my experience that the teachers who take lesson payment one lesson at a time are usually less serious or appear to be less serious about their teaching as a business.
And that is your experience based on where you are. As Peter says, "And perhaps payment as tuition in advance is less common in Europe than it is in Canada and the US." Payment by the lesson appears to me to be more common where I live than it is in Canada and the US, and I don't think it reflects on the seriousness of the teacher.

(However, the OP is from the US.)
Posted by: catpiano

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/25/12 07:20 PM

I live in the US (NY) and all the teachers I've had charged by the lesson. And believe me, my teachers have been serious teachers.
Charging my students this way is just easier, for me at least.
Posted by: Minniemay

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/25/12 10:23 PM

I've never met a teacher who charged by the lesson and I've been teaching for 30 years.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/25/12 10:48 PM

Originally Posted By: Minniemay
I've never met a teacher who charged by the lesson and I've been teaching for 30 years.

I've taken lessons (in Southern California) from teachers who charged by the lesson. They treat piano as a hobby for students, kind of like a coach for swimming or tennis. But I can't imagine doing that and still making a living.
Posted by: Minniemay

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/25/12 10:53 PM

I'm referring to ongoing lessons with a student. I have paid for individual lessons for myself, but those are coaching sessions scheduled once in a blue moon.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/25/12 11:10 PM

Originally Posted By: currawong
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
It has been my experience that the teachers who take lesson payment one lesson at a time are usually less serious or appear to be less serious about their teaching as a business.
And that is your experience based on where you are. As Peter says, "And perhaps payment as tuition in advance is less common in Europe than it is in Canada and the US." Payment by the lesson appears to me to be more common where I live than it is in Canada and the US, and I don't think it reflects on the seriousness of the teacher.

(However, the OP is from the US.)


Exactly, which is why I have the qualifiers. This goes for both in central WI and southern FL (less populated/rural community and more urban).
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/25/12 11:51 PM

Originally Posted By: Minniemay
I'm referring to ongoing lessons with a student. I have paid for individual lessons for myself, but those are coaching sessions scheduled once in a blue moon.

But those were ongoing lessons.
Posted by: Peter K. Mose

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/26/12 12:36 PM

This PW board is a helpful place to be reminded of differing views on a subject of common interest! Clearly there are many serious, and professional, studio piano teachers who do not charge tuition, but charge instead by the lesson. And our newcomer Cat actually finds this system easier for her, which I kind of understand, assuming that payment is handled at each lesson, and not over a span of lessons.

Have some here ever paid (as a student) or charged (as a teacher) per lesson, but after the fact? I.e., paid or charged for a cluster of several already received lessons? What's your take on that model, versus payment each time?

Signed,
Curious in Canada

P.S. Since my editor is away for the holidays, my last sentence in my prior post came out wrong. It should have read: "Some teachers don't mind the rescheduling issues, but lost income is another matter."
Posted by: LadyChen

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/26/12 05:26 PM

I find that fees are handled a little more casually where I am (Saskatchewan). I have one teacher who I pay in advance (4 lessons at a time), but my other two teachers both charge after the lessons have been received (one charges after every 4 lessons, and the other one charges at the end of each month). I have been invoicing my students at the end of every 4 lessons and haven't had any issues, but I think I've been quite lucky in that respect. When I grow my studio, I will likely move to a pay-in-advance model.
Posted by: Barb860

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/27/12 08:05 PM

I'll add my 2 cents' worth here. As John said, there have been, and probably always will be, many threads on this subject of makeup lessons/rescheduling/canceling. I find them to be very helpful; lots of good information and feedback.
FYI if a student cancels a scheduled lesson and wants to reschedule, I will offer them a lesson during available open lesson time, if there is any. Doesn't matter to me what the reason is for their desire/need to reschedule; sickness, shopping, etc. what's the difference really?
Posted by: Peter K. Mose

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/28/12 01:27 AM

Originally Posted By: Barb860
Doesn't matter to me what the reason is for their desire/need to reschedule; sickness, shopping, etc. what's the difference really?


Do parents really say, "Hi, Barb, little Janey won't be at her lesson tomorrow, because she and I are going some mother-daughter shopping in Santa Rosa. When can you do a make-up?"
Posted by: ezpiano.org

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/28/12 02:28 AM

I think the reasons is really not important. Little Janey might be shopping at the same time her mom would just say that little Janey is sick, and teacher would have no way to proof it anyway.
I think the importance in this makeup/ rescheduling issue is that how many makeups a family can get in a year. My policy said that a family only get 5 chances in a year. It is parent's discretion about how to use those 5 chances. It is not my business if they decide to take time off because they want to go shopping. I keep track of how many lesson each family cancel and reschedule and been very strict about it not to give more than 5 make ups.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/28/12 10:00 AM

Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
Originally Posted By: Barb860
Doesn't matter to me what the reason is for their desire/need to reschedule; sickness, shopping, etc. what's the difference really?


Do parents really say, "Hi, Barb, little Janey won't be at her lesson tomorrow, because she and I are going some mother-daughter shopping in Santa Rosa. When can you do a make-up?"



I actually had a last-minute cancellation that went pretty much like this.
Posted by: Barb860

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/28/12 11:05 AM

Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
Originally Posted By: Barb860
Doesn't matter to me what the reason is for their desire/need to reschedule; sickness, shopping, etc. what's the difference really?


Do parents really say, "Hi, Barb, little Janey won't be at her lesson tomorrow, because she and I are going some mother-daughter shopping in Santa Rosa. When can you do a make-up?"



Yep. If I have open lesson time I offer it to them. If no time is available that week, they forfeit the lesson. This doesn't happen too often, though, once parents understand that they have to pay for such missed lessons. It's in my studio policy, but I don't think people really "get it" until the situation comes up for them.
Posted by: Peter K. Mose

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/28/12 11:06 AM

But Morodiene, do you actually grant a make-up for this? Or does your schedule suddenly become too full, and you just say to Mom, "Sorry, I can't seem to find a slot for this make-up. I'll just see little Janey next week at her regular lesson hour - unless the two of you plan to be shopping again"?

I think the latter might be my response.

Posted by: Peter K. Mose

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/28/12 11:13 AM

Barb, are you this agreeable even at the last minute, or do you require "X" number of days' notice in advance of the mother-daughter-bonding-in-Santa-Rosa missed lesson?
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/28/12 11:58 AM

Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
Do parents really say, "Hi, Barb, little Janey won't be at her lesson tomorrow, because she and I are going some mother-daughter shopping in Santa Rosa. When can you do a make-up?"

I've heard that before. But the most common excuse is another extracurricular activity like swim meet, tennis match, orchestra concert, or any one of the 80 things kids do nowadays.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/28/12 12:05 PM

Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
Barb, are you this agreeable even at the last minute

There is a local high school that pulls such stunts on a weekly basis. The coach would announce (at 7:45 AM) practice (at 3:30 PM) that's mandatory, or else you're benched the following game. And it's not just sports! Choir, orchestra, drama, clubs, you name it.

Only at a nationally-ranked high school could faculty and staff pull such IDIOTIC stunts and get away with it on a regular basis, because all the parents and students are pressured into compliance.
Posted by: Barb860

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/28/12 05:39 PM

Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
Barb, are you this agreeable even at the last minute, or do you require "X" number of days' notice in advance of the mother-daughter-bonding-in-Santa-Rosa missed lesson?


with 24 hours' notice, I will attempt to reschedule the lesson (if I have available open lesson time). If I don't have any time available, they forfeit the lesson (still responsible for payment). Last-minute cancellations I consider no-shows.
Posted by: Barb860

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/28/12 05:43 PM

Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
Barb, are you this agreeable even at the last minute

There is a local high school that pulls such stunts on a weekly basis. The coach would announce (at 7:45 AM) practice (at 3:30 PM) that's mandatory, or else you're benched the following game. And it's not just sports! Choir, orchestra, drama, clubs, you name it.

Only at a nationally-ranked high school could faculty and staff pull such IDIOTIC stunts and get away with it on a regular basis, because all the parents and students are pressured into compliance.


Yes, this happens and it's infuriating.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/28/12 06:18 PM

Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
But Morodiene, do you actually grant a make-up for this? Or does your schedule suddenly become too full, and you just say to Mom, "Sorry, I can't seem to find a slot for this make-up. I'll just see little Janey next week at her regular lesson hour - unless the two of you plan to be shopping again"?

I think the latter might be my response.


Actually, I just tell them what my policy is on make-ups (which is that if it's last-minute for a non-emergency, then we don't make it up), and let them know I'll look forward to seeing them next week.
Posted by: KurtZ

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/29/12 12:58 AM

I live in CA and between my son and I, count 13 music teachers in my life over about 40 years. Only one of mine didn't charge by the lesson. Our present piano teacher charges monthly for a required 40 week year for the son and charge me by the lesson. As for qualifications, proficiency etc., one of my recorder teachers was head of all musical education for (IIRC) the Claremont USD. as well as being the head of music for Ren Fair and a prominent recorder teacher. The other recorder teacher is co-chair of early music at USC Thornton. One of my cello teachers had a degree in education and worked part time doing educational outreach for the LA Phil. My 2nd drum teacher had a doctorate in ethnic music, went to Ghana with Mick Fleetwood and through that trip received a fellowship from the university of Ghana to research and preserve their percussion history. At the risk of patronization I would remind some of you that there's a huge world of music education that isn't entirely dependent on packing as many 6-16 year olds as possible into a work week and getting as many of them possible into certificate of merit programs. My long experience in this musical universe proves to me that teachers that charge by the lesson don't automatically fall into the category of under-qualified, hobbyists.

kurt
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/29/12 04:57 AM

Originally Posted By: KurtZ
Only one of mine didn't charge by the lesson. Our present piano teacher charges monthly for a required 40 week year for the son and charge me by the lesson. As for qualifications, proficiency etc., one of my recorder teachers was head of all musical education for (IIRC) the Claremont USD. as well as being the head of music for Ren Fair and a prominent recorder teacher. The other recorder teacher is co-chair of early music at USC Thornton. One of my cello teachers had a degree in education and worked part time doing educational outreach for the LA Phil. My 2nd drum teacher had a doctorate in ethnic music, went to Ghana with Mick Fleetwood and through that trip received a fellowship from the university of Ghana to research and preserve their percussion history.

yawn

Originally Posted By: KurtZ
At the risk of patronization I would remind some of you that there's a huge world of music education that isn't entirely dependent on packing as many 6-16 year olds as possible into a work week and getting as many of them possible into certificate of merit programs. My long experience in this musical universe proves to me that teachers that charge by the lesson don't automatically fall into the category of under-qualified, hobbyists.

And is there something wrong with "packing as many 6-16 year olds as possible into a work week and getting as many of them possible into certificate of merit program"?

Teachers who choose to charge by the hour (not by month, semester, or year) may simply mean they have another job that pays their bills. Alternatively, they may have a spouse who makes enough money, and thus don't need a steady stream of income.

I live near teachers whose spouses make so much money, they don't really need to work. So they can afford to charge low rates, or charge nothing at all! Some of them are also way, way past retirement age, and they keep teaching because they'd be bored otherwise.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/29/12 10:16 AM

Originally Posted By: KurtZ
At the risk of patronization I would remind some of you that there's a huge world of music education that isn't entirely dependent on packing as many 6-16 year olds as possible into a work week and getting as many of them possible into certificate of merit programs. My long experience in this musical universe proves to me that teachers that charge by the lesson don't automatically fall into the category of under-qualified, hobbyists.

kurt


It sounds as though you are insinuating that many of the teachers here who propose charging by the month fall into this former category of just wanting to pack as many kids in as they can and churn them out with certificates. Perhaps that's not what you meant, but if so, rest assured that if a teacher is bothering to post and read on here with any regularity, they actually care about each of their students and are trying to find solutions that suit the individual, while trying to also remain in business in this economy.

The vast majority of serious teachers that I have encountered that are not met on a "consulting" or "coaching" basis charge by the month.
Posted by: dumdumdiddle

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/29/12 11:45 AM

Originally Posted By: KurtZ
I live in CA and between my son and I, count 13 music teachers in my life over about 40 years. Only one of mine didn't charge by the lesson. Our present piano teacher charges monthly for a required 40 week year for the son and charge me by the lesson. As for qualifications, proficiency etc., one of my recorder teachers was head of all musical education for (IIRC) the Claremont USD. as well as being the head of music for Ren Fair and a prominent recorder teacher. The other recorder teacher is co-chair of early music at USC Thornton. One of my cello teachers had a degree in education and worked part time doing educational outreach for the LA Phil. My 2nd drum teacher had a doctorate in ethnic music, went to Ghana with Mick Fleetwood and through that trip received a fellowship from the university of Ghana to research and preserve their percussion history. At the risk of patronization I would remind some of you that there's a huge world of music education that isn't entirely dependent on packing as many 6-16 year olds as possible into a work week and getting as many of them possible into certificate of merit programs. My long experience in this musical universe proves to me that teachers that charge by the lesson don't automatically fall into the category of under-qualified, hobbyists.
kurt


It sounds like most of the teachers you've described have other jobs that pay the bills; teaching, for them, is more of a philanthropic activity. Goody for them; wish I could also be in such a cushy position. Unfortunately, teaching is my only source of income. Charging by the lesson would be disastrous for my studio (and my budget), as it would lead to cancelled lessons and no-shows. I would always have 'spaces' in my teaching day and income that would fluctuate from week to week, month to month. No thank you.

I also live in CA and I can guarantee you that 90% of the teachers in our music teachers branch charge lessons by the month or semester, not on a 'per lesson' basis.
Posted by: John v.d.Brook

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/29/12 06:18 PM

Originally Posted By: KurtZ
I live in CA and between my son and I, count 13 music teachers in my life over about 40 years. Only one of mine didn't charge by the lesson.

One ponders what your musical skills might be if you had sought out top-notch teachers whose primarily livelihood was studio teaching. BTW, the editor of Clavier Companion has several choice words, by inference, for these non-professional teachers in his editorial comments this month. Worth a read.
Posted by: Cindy O-H

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/29/12 10:53 PM

Ok thank you all for your wonderful input. Very diverse I might add. I did not mean to open a bad canon worms here. I am just frustrated after 22 years of the same old recurring problems!
Here is the situation for some clarification. I have been teaching privately for 22 years or so. I do not have a issue with weekly, monthly or quarterly, I have done all three and whatever works for each individual then so be it. Monthly just happens to work for me.

My problem and it will never stop or be solved as long as private lessons happen, but it is the missing and the "make-up" issues! I hate it...... When I taught 75 students per week, I did not make up. But now with a full time public school teaching position a d a three year old at home, I don't have time again to give makeups, but for some reason, people are just ASSUMING that I can or have the time to do make ups. S I am re writing my studio police for 2013 and revising the make up policy.


Again thanks for the input.
Posted by: Cindy O-H

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/29/12 11:50 PM

Sorry for the typos ......dang auto correct gets me whome
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/30/12 08:49 AM

Originally Posted By: Cindy O-H
Ok thank you all for your wonderful input. Very diverse I might add. I did not mean to open a bad canon worms here. I am just frustrated after 22 years of the same old recurring problems!
Here is the situation for some clarification. I have been teaching privately for 22 years or so. I do not have a issue with weekly, monthly or quarterly, I have done all three and whatever works for each individual then so be it. Monthly just happens to work for me.

My problem and it will never stop or be solved as long as private lessons happen, but it is the missing and the "make-up" issues! I hate it...... When I taught 75 students per week, I did not make up. But now with a full time public school teaching position a d a three year old at home, I don't have time again to give makeups, but for some reason, people are just ASSUMING that I can or have the time to do make ups. S I am re writing my studio police for 2013 and revising the make up policy.


Again thanks for the input.


Cindy, I think it's wise to not do make ups in your case. People assume because they don't know your schedule, but I'm sure if you explained to them what you are doing and that any time given for "make-ups" would cut in to your already diminished personal time with your family they would get it.

One alternative is you could have people volunteer to be on a swap list with other students that they could call to swap lessons with them if there's a conflict they know of in advance. You will want to have some guidelines like swapping must happen at least 48 hours before the first of the two lessons in question, and the swapper must notify you once the swap has been made, things like that. That way it's up to the student to do the change. I found many people didn't take me up on this because it was much easier to work around their lesson than to call another student an inconvenience them. smile
Posted by: Cindy O-H

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/30/12 02:20 PM

Thanks I did think of that and a former co-worker published her schedule and they did the swapping. Like you they thought it too much trouble ths what it was worth! Lol. I have just finished revising my studio policy for 2013 accompanied with a letter as to the newest guideline revisions, AND a late fee tagged on to late payments and no makeups! I just can't do it and I am going back to that policy this upcoming year. I worked for 15 years before and I am going to make it work again. Thanks for the input.
Posted by: bmbutler

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/31/12 02:09 PM

Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
Originally Posted By: Barb860
Doesn't matter to me what the reason is for their desire/need to reschedule; sickness, shopping, etc. what's the difference really?


Do parents really say, "Hi, Barb, little Janey won't be at her lesson tomorrow, because she and I are going some mother-daughter shopping in Santa Rosa. When can you do a make-up?"



Oh, yes. Would happen quite frequently until I changed my policy. Most recent one was getting called two hours before with "he can't make his lesson because he has to help his father." Found out the "something" was turning pages for his father at a practice. Are you kidding me? (Father is a piano major who deosn't give his very talented son any encouragement!)I don't reschedule. My time is worth money especially when I have a hole in my schedule left from something like this.
Posted by: bmbutler

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/31/12 02:12 PM

Originally Posted By: dumdumdiddle
Originally Posted By: KurtZ
I live in CA and between my son and I, count 13 music teachers in my life over about 40 years. Only one of mine didn't charge by the lesson. Our present piano teacher charges monthly for a required 40 week year for the son and charge me by the lesson. As for qualifications, proficiency etc., one of my recorder teachers was head of all musical education for (IIRC) the Claremont USD. as well as being the head of music for Ren Fair and a prominent recorder teacher. The other recorder teacher is co-chair of early music at USC Thornton. One of my cello teachers had a degree in education and worked part time doing educational outreach for the LA Phil. My 2nd drum teacher had a doctorate in ethnic music, went to Ghana with Mick Fleetwood and through that trip received a fellowship from the university of Ghana to research and preserve their percussion history. At the risk of patronization I would remind some of you that there's a huge world of music education that isn't entirely dependent on packing as many 6-16 year olds as possible into a work week and getting as many of them possible into certificate of merit programs. My long experience in this musical universe proves to me that teachers that charge by the lesson don't automatically fall into the category of under-qualified, hobbyists.
kurt


It sounds like most of the teachers you've described have other jobs that pay the bills; teaching, for them, is more of a philanthropic activity. Goody for them; wish I could also be in such a cushy position. Unfortunately, teaching is my only source of income. Charging by the lesson would be disastrous for my studio (and my budget), as it would lead to cancelled lessons and no-shows. I would always have 'spaces' in my teaching day and income that would fluctuate from week to week, month to month. No thank you.

I also live in CA and I can guarantee you that 90% of the teachers in our music teachers branch charge lessons by the month or semester, not on a 'per lesson' basis.


Must be having a rough day, hmmm? I have it "cushy" because I work three jobs (including teaching 29 students) and work over 12 hours a day??? REALLY????????????

I give an invoice for the month and it is due at the first lesson. My policy (which is black and white) has cut down on the no-shows and make-ups. Not how I charge.
Posted by: musicpassion

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/31/12 09:33 PM

I charge monthly tuition that is the same every month.

I set aside 5th days in the month for makeup lessons. If I have other openings in my schedule I make those available as well.

For my studio policy, whether they attended lessons or not is irrelevent for the tuition amount. They are enrolled in lessons and the same tuition is due as long as they are enrolled.
Posted by: musicpassion

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 12/31/12 09:38 PM

Quote:
I also live in CA and I can guarantee you that 90% of the teachers in our music teachers branch charge lessons by the month or semester, not on a 'per lesson' basis.


I agree. Amost all of the local teachers where I live (also CA) charge monthly, or semester tuition.
Posted by: Cindy O-H

Re: Revising my studio policies. - 01/03/13 04:57 PM

So I had my first lessons for the new year with a revised policy. So far so good. No "lip" or hassle yet.


My final decisions were the same as they have always been just stated firmer and more strict.
No make up
You pay for four lessons fifth is free tuition is due at the first of the month wi a late fee added after the 15th of the month, However ts did not solve my December problem of being cut one students tuition when she split for the last lesson of the month and has not returned calls or texts since then. So needless to say, I am short on student for 2013. But just more time to spend with my precious little one after a full day of teaching.