Conferences, Studio Business

MTNA 2012 Conference | Prof. Studio Institute: Studio Documents

Here begins my notes from the 2012 MTNA Conference in NYC!  I had such a wonderful time, and I learned so much.

Saturday is always an optional day at the MTNA Conference.  For an extra $75, you can attend Pedagogy Saturday or choose the Professional Studio Institute track.  I chose the latter, which was led by Lee Galloway, Beth Gigante Klingenstein (author of The Independent Piano Teacher’s Studio Handbook), and Scott McBride Smith.

9:00am – Studio Documents That Work!

Having studio documents is important for professionalism, to protect yourself, to save time, for marketing, and for organization.  Some documents you should consider having for your studio:

  1. Mission Statement – a statement of the purpose for your life or career.  It establishes goals and can help you stay focused.  It has four parts: (1) What you do; (2) Who your target market is; (3) What benefits there are for them; and (4) What benefits there are for you.  Example: I bring joy to others, enriching lives through the gift of music in a fun, energetic, and inspired environment. Continue reading “MTNA 2012 Conference | Prof. Studio Institute: Studio Documents”
Printables, Studio Business

3 New Printables and 5 Others Updated!

To prepare for the new teaching year, I’ve been updating a plethera of my studio documents!  I finally have them all updated here online too on the Printables > Studio Business page.  If you are interested in using any of them, feel free.

The ones that are Microsoft Word documents can easily be edited to your personal needs.  On the pdf documents, I’ve left room on the top for you to print your own student name or logo if desired (just print it twice – once as is, and then run the sheet through the printer again this time adding your own personal touch).  Enjoy!

  • New! Record of Payments Due / Received – I use this to record checks and cash when I receive them from students/parents.  You can also use it to mark down books/sheet music that you purchase for students, so you can keep track of what has and hasn’t been paid for yet.
  • New! Student Scheduling Preferences – This 2-page document includes an empty scheduling table that allows students/parents to fill in their schedule and indicated their top 5 choices for lesson times, and to X out any times that will not work.  The first page is for the school year schedule and the second page is for the summer schedule.  This file is a Microsoft Word (docx) file, so it can be suitably edited to your needs.  There is room at the top of each page for your studio name or logo.
  • New! Studio Policies & Procedures (Sample) – This Microsoft Word (docx) file is a editable sample Studio Policies & Procedures.  If you are making your studio policies for the first time or are looking for ideas for adjusting your current policies, this may help you get started.
  • Updated! Record of Lesson Attendance & Payment – This 3-page document has been updated for the 2011-2012 year.  (see image at right for a preview)
  • Updated! Record of Student Achievements – This printable has been slightly updated in format.
  • Updated! First Lesson: Student Information Form – This printable has been updated to include a section for asking permission to use photos/videos of the student.  It is also now more suitable for using with both children and adult students.
  • Updated! First Lesson: Interview with Beginner Student – This printable has been updated in both format and content to reflect my evolving teaching style.  🙂
  • Updated! First Lesson: Interview with Transfer Student – Same as above.

Forum Q&A | What is your Policy Regarding Summer Lessons?

I had so much fun reading about what kind of pianos you all have on last week’s Forum Q&A!  And many of you with blogs posted photos of your piano too.  If you haven’t seen all the comments, click here and scroll down to check them out.

This week, let’s talk about something less fun… policies (haha, just kidding).  It’s interesting to hear how different teachers approach summertime.  Some teachers want their summer off.  Others want to keep teaching, or really need the income throughout the whole year.  It can also depend on the students you have.  One of my piano professors tried to require weekly summer lessons, but for years students/parents gave her trouble about it.  Now, she requires them each to take just 6 lessons at some point during the summer.  I’m sure everyone has ideas about this matter!  So, tell us about your situation:

What are your current policies regarding summer lessons? Required or optional?  Week, bi-weekly, or other?  Regular tuition rates, or discounted?

If you don’t require students to take lessons all summer, have you found other ways to keep your income the same throughout the year?

I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts!  Add your comment below.

Photo Credit: athrasher | CC 2.0


Link: Pno-Ped-L Studio Policy Website

Yesterday, I came across this great resource for reading other teachers’ Studio Policies!  It’s called the Pno-Ped-L Studio Policy Website.  The website is not fancy, but there’s a lot of good information there.  

This site has a collection of Studio Policies submitted by teachers all across America and Canada.  (Names, tuition rates, and locations have been omitted for privacy.)  What a great way to see how other teachers handle absences, payment, cancellations, etc!  To see my other posts concerning Studio Policies, see here and here.  

In other areas of the site, they have examples of parents letters, game and camp ideas, and other teaching ideas.  Check it out!

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 Continue reading “Studio Policies”
Studio Business

Conducting Student Interviews

Many teachers interview prospective students before accepting them into their studio.  While I haven’t yet felt the need to do so with my own studio, after reading James Bastien’s insight concerning interviews in his book Teaching Piano Successfully, I’m convinced that interviewing students is a great idea — even if you are planning to accept the student anyway.  

It’s difficult to know how to spend the first lesson: should you buy a book in advance for the student, and jump right in?  Should you hold off on the music books, and first teach them the musical alphabet, some simple tunes, and maybe some five-finger patterns?  Maybe.   Continue reading “Conducting Student Interviews”