As the school year draws near it is the perfect time to talk about private teaching. As I reflect back on my experiences in working with students (and parents- of course!) here are some things that have definitely helped me and my studio teaching.
- Stay incredibly organized: Write everything down (lesson notes, schedule changes, correspondence, etc.)
- Have a system and stick to it: If there is a way of taking lesson notes, organizing lesson payments, scheduling lessons, using a particular teaching methodology (ie. developing proper bow hold), and creating pace to the lesson- stick to it!
- Ask for payment(s) in advance: This benefits the teacher and the student because a monthly payment encourages regular lesson attendance, shows commitment to the teacher, and helps the teacher manage less individual payments. I send out email invoices to all my parents every month (for the upcoming month) and this has worked really well for the past year.
- Have a very clear studio policy: Easy to read and also to the point when it comes to laying out policies on attendance, cancellations, make-ups, payment options, and communication methods to parents. Also, have someone else (preferably a non-musician) read your draft… most parents actually don’t have any musical training and they are new to the whole idea of signing up their son or daughter for private lessons.
- Focus on one or two new things to implement every year with your studio. This year I am hoping to try out a new online email program for sending my monthly newsletters (to give a nice fresh look with pictures, links, social integration). In addition, I really would like to record as many of my student’s solo pieces, etudes, etc. as reference recordings for them.