Forum Q&A's, Group Classes, Studio Business

Forum Q&A | Group Lessons: Scheduling & Other Logistics

Last week, we discussed ways to get books & materials for students, and methods of reimbursement.  As always, I really enjoyed everyone’s contributions to this discussion!  I think this fall, I’m going to try charging a non-refundable enrollment fee that reserves the student’s place in the studio and goes towards books & materials.  If the entire amount is not used, it will be used towards maintenance of the lending library.  We’ll see how it goes.  I think it will be much easier than my current method of waiting for reimbursement each time.  =)

Today, I’d love to start a discussion about group lessons!   Next week, we’ll talk about the benefits of group lessons and what kind of concepts can be covered — but today, we are just going to talk about the logistics of scheduling and planning group lessons.

So, tell us:

How often do you hold group lessons — monthly, or bi-monthly?  (And what do you call them: group lessons, studio classes, or something else?) Do group lessons replace the lesson for that week, or do you teach privately in addition to the group lesson that week? How long do your group lessons last?

How do you find a time that works for everyone?  How many students do you place in each group?  Do you divide your students into groups by age, or by level (or a combination of the two)?  If a student/parent decides they don’t want to participate in group lessons or their schedule doesn’t permit it, what do you do?

That was a lot of questions, I know, haha!  But I’m very curious to hear about how you all make your group lessons work for your studio.  Leave your thoughts in the comments below.  =)

Photo Credit: Rick Harris | CC 2.0

 

6 thoughts on “Forum Q&A | Group Lessons: Scheduling & Other Logistics”

  1. I have non-optional hour-long (slightly longer for the Advanced Classes) Performance Classes 4-5 times a year that replace the weekly lessons. I group more or less by age/level but the age takes precedence over the level. Because I offer several throughout the week (I have the numbers to do this), if a student can’t make one I might let them come to a different one. Inevitably someone will just have to forfeit that week’s lesson, if nothing works for them.

    My most recent classes were in March and I posted a schedule and comments about what I did in each class.

    This is always a work in progress! Initially, it is a TON of work but the rewards are amazing; there is SO MUCH available thanks to the generosity of so many teachers who make their materials available online.

    Have fun with this, Joy!

  2. I have “Piano Classes” six times per year in place of private lessons (90 minutes each). I used to give them in addition to their private lesson (when I taught five days a week) and feel this is best for the students. But today I teach 50+ students six days a week, which forces me to choose between not doing classes at all or doing them in place of lessons since doing them on my one day off is beyond exhausting. I determined that missing one lesson every two months was justifiable and even preferrable (I believe one class is more valuable to the students than their individual lesson would be), but I thought anything more than that was too many missed lessons.

    Time that works for everyone: everyone filled out a week schedule sheet that showed which times were impossible (with an X), which times were possible but not preferrable (vertical line), and which times were fine (leave blank). I put all these sheets in piles accrording to which students I wanted to group together. Then I used colored markers to indicate on the top page of each pile the intersection of “fine” times. If all students were fine for a certain time, it was blue. If all students except one were fine, it was green, and if all but two were fine, it was orange. Once that was done, I found one single schedule that worked for everyone. Some of the scheduled classes overlapped by 15 minutes into one or two students’ “impossible” or “non-preferred” times, so it wasn’t a big deal for them to always be 15 minutes late or leave 15 minutes early.

    One adult student takes lessons on her lunch hour – the most inflexible schedule known to mankind. Her entire sheet was marked “impossible” except for that one time. So I give her her normal a private lesson during group lesson weeks. Had she started as a new student and I was already teaching with this system in place, I would have expected her to just miss those weeks. The difference is that I changed the deal on her.

  3. I do a group lesson every eight weeks. I typically teach 24 students, so I divide my group lessons into three groups. Each lesson is one hour long, and the main purpose of the lesson is to have them play in front of each other. I have my students put into groups based on their current level. If a conflict arises, they are free to come to a different lesson. If that doesn’t work for them either, it counts as a no-show, and I do not make it up.

  4. I usually hold multiple group music lessons a week. We call them Rock Band Classes usually consisting of 3 students around the same age and playing level. One on drums, another on guitar, and usually a third on piano. We started doing this for the benefit that it cost less to the parent then a private lesson, but all together ads up to much more for our teachers (100$ an hour)

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