Policies and Procedures

“Gratitude is the best attitude.” ~Author Unknown

The holiday season is a time for giving thanks. Do your customers really know how much you appreciate their business? What do you do to express your gratitude? In order to develop good customer service and build your brand, recognizing your clients for their loyalty goes a long way. Most businesses have some kind of special event, sale or special recognition for their customers. We, as studio business owners, are no different. When I first considered this, I asked myself the question and thought that I wasn’t doing much, but after some reflection, realized that I already do quite a bit – not to say that I can’t do more! There is always room for improvement!

I’ve stated this before, and I’ll state it again: communication with parents is absolutely essential in my studio.

Many parents come in before or after their students’ lessons or wait in the waiting room, so I have a chance to briefly chat and give a progress update. But other parents simply drop their students off and wait for them in the car, so I rarely see them face-to-face.

For that reason, I implemented weekly lesson notes about four years ago. Up until this past spring, I’ve sent my students home with written assignment sheets and lesson notes in their binders.  However, with so many students to see every day, I hated the thought of going through so much paper — not to mention all the time spent handwriting notes.

Previously, I wrote about how to use time effectively while teaching a lesson in Self-Help Pedagogy: Part 2. In this month’s blog, I will address the topic of how to make the best use of our most precious commodity as studio business owners – Time. Time is very valuable; once it is used, it is gone forever. We can’t ever get it back. In today’s world, time moves very fast. As one student parent said upon returning after summer break, “I blinked and summer was over.”

Therefore, it is in our best interests to use time wisely. I must admit as I sit here writing at the last minute that I am no expert on time management! However, after doing some research, I have come up with my top ten list of the best tips on time management.

10. Stay healthy. Take care of yourself – exercise, eat healthy and often to stave off hunger and keep blood sugar levels stable. Stay hydrated and get 6 – 8 hours of sleep every night. Remember to breathe, slow down, and take breaks.

Each year, I find myself re-evaluating my studio policy, tweaking it and adjusting it as a result of things that I have learned throughout the year. When younger siblings were hanging out during older siblings’ piano lessons and becoming disruptive, I added a new policy about having no siblings present during lessons. When parents were cancelling piano lessons regularly in order to make sure their kids didn’t miss a volleyball game, I instilled a non-negotiable monthly fee regardless of missed lessons (totally changed my life, by the way!).  Having a studio policy in place to give students once they inquire about lessons — and then enroll at your studio– is invaluable. At the end of each school year, I adjust my policy and re-distribute it to all current students with any updates.

The trick for me in developing a studio policy that works is making sure that I don’t have so many rules and policies in place that it seems overwhelming to students, and being brief and concise in the way I explain them. Having a policy in place protects me as a teacher. If a student or family ever questions something, I remind them that it is part of my studio policy.


This year I am celebrating 10 years of being a music studio business owner. In 2002, I opened my studio and had 17 students within the first year. I now carry a load of about 40 private students. My dilemma is that I am completely full, teaching six days per week, but just a little stressed! After some attrition and a drop in enrollment about two years ago, I am once again at full capacity, which means that any prospective students must go on my waiting list.