policy Tag

Every great studio needs a good policy, and it's not just about more paperwork, a good studio policy is about good communication. This will help your students be well informed about what you offer in your studio and can be expected from it. A good studio policy will also help you avoid some issues when it comes to managing your studio. It will help things be...

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If you look at my almost 4-year-old son you would agree that he is a happy and healthy little boy. He is almost always smiling, has an incredible memory, and is almost as tall as his 6-year-old big sister.

If you observed him at his preschool or in a swimming lesson, you might jump to the conclusion that he is a brat or that I am a terrible mother who must let my child do whatever he wants.

You see, my son has an array of diagnoses and special needs that aren’t visible to the typical eye.  His special needs are the result of early trauma that have affected his brain deeply. His needs manifest themselves in his behavior, his struggle to focus, his ability to transition from one activity to the next, his ability to keep his body in check and many other ways that make nearly every moment a struggle because his brain has difficulty processing all the information and stimuli around him.

We haven’t been able to just sign him up for any activity we think he might enjoy, and we often don’t attend group events, Sunday School or story times at the library. We have to be very thoughtful about what will allow him to be successful, and discuss with the teachers and group leaders whether or not they are equipped and open to learning about how to deal with a child that has special needs.

You might say that having a son with some extra challenges has created a soft spot in my heart for working with kids who have developmental delays or need a little bit of “outside the box” thinking to work with them. In my years of teaching piano lessons, I have worked with kids on the Autism Spectrum, children who struggle with Sensory Processing Disorder, ADHD and even one who had vision difficulties. Often times, these kids have tried piano lessons before and had a negative experience.  They have a teacher who is not willing to adjust expectations, or perhaps one who has labeled them a “bad kid” instead of understanding that the child’s brain might just be wired differently.

Instead of a typical informative blog post, I want to ask readers a question: What's your attendance policy? Everyone is different. I'm curious about how others do it. What works best for you? What have been some mistakes you made and learned from in the past? Currently, my policy is students pay me at the beginning of the month, in advance. If they cancel on the...

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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!

people on the phone-saidaonline

Spring is here and the phone is ringing! As I respond to the many phone calls I have received about studying piano, I was inspired to do a little research on how to best handle the phone interview. Even though many of my first contacts come through email, I always make a phone call before scheduling a live interview. This spring, I have had more phone calls than emails, which is an unexpected trend. I wonder if it has to do with the many fraud emails that are now out there. Be wary of any emails that ask for your bank account information to transfer funds. I delete them immediately!

At any rate, Joanne Haroutounian in her book Fourth Finger on B-Flat recommends having a fact sheet of information close to your phone that includes pertinent information that you would like to share with prospective clients about your studio. This can include your tuition rates, lesson length, philosophy, available times, and offerings beyond lessons.