Studio Business

Studio Policies

As a fellow piano teacher, I can’t stress enough how important it is to have written Studio Policies.  They’re great for letting new students know about how your studio is run!   It will help improve the level of communication between you and the parent/student, because it becomes more clear what you each expect of each other.  

Things to include in your Studio Policies handout:
  1. Studio name.  This may seem insignificant, but it’s surprising how much more professional you will look just by naming your studio.  It doesn’t have to be fancy; just try something like Piano Studio of Joy Morin or The Morin Music Studio.
  2. Yearly Calendar.  It doesn’t have to be detailed by any means.  Just state when lessons will be beginning and ending (e.g., September 1 – June 1) and when the holiday breaks will be (e.g., Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring Break, etc.).  If you offer lessons over the summer, include those dates as well.  Also includes the dates for any recitals or performances coming up (if you don’t know yet, put “TBD”).  
  3. Participation.  Be sure to state whether students are given the option or required to participate in any recitals, festivals, competitions, or other performances.  Include the dates if you can.  
  4. Tuition.  State how much you are charging this year.  (If you are raising your rates, try to give the parents advanced notice.  For example, send a note home during the last week of lessons in the Spring to let them know about the new rate for the fall.)  Also specify how you wish to be paid: weekly, monthly, or by the semester — and in what form: cash, check, etc. 
  5. Books & Materials.  Let the parents know whether they are expected to pay for all music books (if so, perhaps give them an estimate of how much they’ll be spending) and materials, or whether this is something included in their tuition rate.  
  6. Attendance Policy.  State your policies regarded excused and unexcused absences.  Specify whether you require a 24-hour advanced notice for a cancellation, except in the case of illness.  State your policy regarding make-up lessons.  Do they get refunded for missed lessons?  Are they required to schedule a make-up lesson before the end of the month?  
  7. Lesson Termination Policy.  This policy may seem a little harsh, but it is one of the most important policies to include.  It basically covers your back in the event of an extreme situation.  You need to state that if a student doesn’t seem to progressing well (isn’t practicing regularly, etc), you reserve the right to terminate lessons.  Hopefully, this doesn’t happen very often — but it’s good to have this in your Studio Policies just to be safe, because it may be necessary at times.  
  8. Contact Information.  Give the student/parent your contact information (address, phone number(s), email address, website, etc.) and perhaps even let them know when the best time to call is.  Let them know that you are willing to discuss a student’s progress at any time.  

Each year, an updated handout of your Studio Policies should be mailed to each student’s home.  If you have a studio website, try posting your Studio Policies there so that the parents/students can have access to them anytime.  

What did I miss?  Let me know what you include in your Studio Policies.  :)

To view my eHow article version of this post, click here.

3 thoughts on “Studio Policies”

  1. I include information about what the minimum requirements of a practice piano are (tuned, fully functional accoustic piano OR 88-key, weighted, touch-sensitive digital piano with a pedal). You’d be surprised how many people will try to sign their child up for lessons, and not have any sort of piano at home, whatsoever.

    I also include my expectations regarding parents and/or siblings sitting in on lessons, children being supervised when not in their lesson, no food/drink in the studio, practice expectations, etc.

    Lessons go much more smoothly, and the drop out rate is much lower, when the teacher’s expectations and policies are states very clearly up-front.

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