summercampThis year I will be offering my third summer camp at my studio. The past two years, my camps have been small. I’ve only opened camp up to current students already taking from my studio — more as an encouragement to keep them learning during the summer months. I would see six students at a time in my group studio at my house, offering 1.5 hour camps throughout the day for students.

This year, I’m going full throttle, offering a half day camp for the entire community. I’m renting a venue, hiring helpers and advertising. I’m nervous, but I’m also super excited. Here are some things I’ve had to spend the last few months thinking through in order to plan my summer camp:

Every March, I attend the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Conference to refuel, recharge and reinvigorate my studio and my teaching. After a particularly brutal winter, I found myself frazzled, stressed and on the brink of Teacher Burnout!! Thankfully, I had scheduled time off to attend this year’s conference in the “windy city” of Chicago. The trip was just what I needed to replenish my energy, giving me a fresh perspective as well as gratitude for all that I do have!

The administrative aspect of owning a teaching studio can be tricky at times, especially when it comes to money. And though it wasn’t easy, this summer I made the decision to go forward with a payment policy change that I’ve been contemplating for a couple years now.

Up until now, I had been charging per lesson. If a family cancelled — regardless of the reason or amount of notice given — they didn’t pay. Now while most of my students attend regularly and give plenty of notice for absences, this lax “per lesson” payment policy was resulting in quite a bit of lost income for me. It took some brainstorming, but I came up with a solution that I think will benefit everyone.

It’s always nerve-racking to make a big change like this, so I spent quite a bit of time putting my new policy into writing. I wanted to be clear yet concise in my explanation, and judging from the positive feedback that I’ve received so far from my clients, it seems that I managed to do so.

I’d like to share the letter explaining my new payment policy for those of you who, like me, need to revamp your own policies. Perhaps I can save you a little bit of the time I took to write it!

quitterYou can pick out the family within a few minutes of conversation — the kind who tells you they’re looking to “give piano/violin/dance/etc. a try”. They don’t give the impression of being overly-committed, and within a few months — when repertoire starts to become more challenging or when the exciting “newness” wears off, the student lose interests and asks to quit, which his parents are all to ready to let him do. You cringe when this happens, thinking of the spot he has taken up while students on your wait list have likely found other teachers in the meantime.

It’s that time of year where parents and students alike are gearing up for summer. Vacations are being planned, plane tickets booked and everyone looks forward with great anticipation to relaxation and good times. What most people are not gearing up for are summer music lessons. I’ve heard many arguments both for and against summer lessons. For some, you’re just going against the grain/trying to reinvent the...

Read More