contract

My top tip to any new private teacher would be to get a policy drawn up with your students. Everyone will be much happier for it! Pupils and parents need to know how you run things and your business will benefit from establishing some ground rules.

A feature I love about Music Teacher’s Helper is the “studio policy” web page that is part of the included music teacher website package. This gives us an opportunity to explain to prospective students, who might want to register for lessons, how we run our teaching businesses.

When I first started giving private music lessons I had no contract with my students. Things were casual. Some weeks pupils would turn up and pay for that lesson, other weeks they didn’t. It became very frustrating as I waited to see whether they would attend and pay and as a consequence, my earnings were extremely erratic. I began to quickly realise that I needed a solution otherwise I would simply run out of steam. Enter the contract!

I remember the night before I was planning to present my newly drawn-up contract to my students I was feeling rather anxious. What if they didn’t like the idea of a formal agreement? Would I lose pupils? A couple of parents grumbled but most, to my surprise, were very understanding and agreed that it was a good idea to get things into writing. The improvement was immediate! People were now paying for Read more…

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Posted in Financial Business, Studio Management, Teaching Tips, Using Music Teacher's Helper

music teaching business

A lot of teachers of music, especially private ones, just fell into this line of work. Someone asked them to show them a few chords and one thing led to another. This is fine. But if at some point you find yourself really beginning to love teaching others, you need to start thinking of it as your career and your business. And teaching music is a business.

Systematization

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Posted in Financial Business, Product Reviews, Studio Management, Using Music Teacher's Helper

Hi, Everyone! Over the next several months, we will continue launching many updates to existing features, and some very exciting new features. Some of these updates will be ones you’ve been requesting, but others will be completely new features that we think will dramatically enhance the way you run your studio and connect with students.

Stripe Autopay Subscriptions for Families

First, an important new feature that is live! You can now bill and charge your families automatically each month for whatever amount they owe. Once you enable this feature, and the student/parent has entered their credit card information, you can set up the recurring billing option for that student, and never have to chase after money again! Your students will also save time in making payments to you, as it will be automated each month. A big thanks to those of you who helped us out as beta testers and offered input.

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(Students can upload a credit card in their login for you to bill them automatically)

 

For full instructions on how to setup and use autopay, please refer to this knowledge base article.

We also have two improvements to the student management area that will be available by August 31st. (Note: This is just a small part of everything we’re releasing by August 31, to whet your appetite. We’ll be announcing more as the month rolls on.)

Allow Separate Parent Records in a Family

Entering contact information for a child student can be difficult if their parents have different last names or addresses, or if someone other than the parents is paying for the lesson. Soon you’ll be able to accommodate this by including separate contact records for a child student. This can also include grandparents or others who should be receiving student notifications. For instance, if someone other than the parent(s) or guardian is paying for lessons, you can add that person as a contact and invoice them directly. You’ll be able to add an unlimited number of contacts per student so you can stay in communication with everyone necessary.

Switch a Child Student to an Adult Student

Sometimes students taking lessons grow into adults students and begin paying on their own. Now, you have the option of switching that student from child to adult without having to re-enter any information.

Additionally, sometimes the parent of a student decides to start taking lessons and you will have the ability to switch them to a student while maintain their status as the primary contact for their child. 

Thank you to our members that provide feature suggestions and feedback. That communication allows us to make the product better and teachers’ studios’ run more efficiently!

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Posted in New Features and Fixes, Using Music Teacher's Helper

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Losing Students

I read somewhere that 85% of music students will quit lessons within two years!

This astounds me. It is so rare for my students to quit and yet so many music teachers are having this problem: How to retain your students?

A Personal Story

When my son was around 8 years old, he began to express an interest in going to sleep-away camp. We were surprised as he has usually been a bit shy and slow to meet new friends. But this was good! Maybe he was breaking out of his shell.  

The thing about sleep-away camp, it’s probably more stressful for the parents than the kids. Parents have separation anxiety!  

The YMCA has rules for no electronic devices, no phone calls, no text messages, not even email because they know it will only promote homesickness and stress. But as parents, that was hard!

What got us through the stress were the daily postings to a camp website where they would post pictures and summaries of the day. It gave us a sense of confidence that our son was being cared for and we could see for ourselves when he was engaged and happy. It was providing information to their clients.

So why not do something similar for music lessons?   

Music Instruction As A Service

Music instruction is a service business. By framing it as this, you can start to ask questions like, what else can I do to offer a richer level of service to my clients?  

I send home a weekly email that details what we worked on, what they should be practicing and even links to videos I’ve created in the lesson or YouTube videos of the pieces being performed. I’ve been told that this is one of the best parts of my service.

I started using Music Teacher’s Helper a little over six years ago. Before that, I was cobbling together a bunch of other services like Google Sheets, Gmail, PayPal and an assortment of databases on my local hard drive. It worked, but the upkeep was a real pain. Initially, I figured the Music Teacher’s Helper (MTH) billing management and automatic email reminders would be all I would be using. But over the years, I’ve discovered the real power is the lesson notes. This is how I send home the aforementioned emails. By using the MTH system, both I and the client gets a copy and they also can log in and review the entire history at any time.

Process

My process is like this. Each teaching day, I check my MTH automated “Daily Summary” email, which arrives at 5:15am, to see my schedule and what was taught in the last lesson. I do a lesson prep on a paper template of my own design noting what I am going to work on this day for each student.

When the student arrives, I am mentally prepared to pick up right where we left off in the previous lesson. I don’t know what I would do without my lesson notes! During the lesson, I write down what was actually done and what I have assigned for the next week. What I planned to do and what actually happens differ often!  

Later that evening, glass of wine in hand, I sit and type up the day’s lesson notes and send them out to the parents. It has become a very efficient workflow.

So what are the results?

I just went through my student logs on Music Teacher’s Helper and I have several students with lesson notes going back over six years! My average student seems to have been with me for 4-5 years. It is rare to have an opening on my roster and when I do get one, I have usually filled it within hours.

Is my success all because of this weekly email? No, but it’s a part of it. I encourage you to start thinking of your lessons as a true service business. Think of ways to offer that extra bit that keeps your students and clients happy, coming back and referring all their friends and family.

What other ideas do you have for serving your clients? I look forward to your comments below.

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Posted in Promoting Your Studio, Studio Management, Using Music Teacher's Helper

MTH has the wonderful option to send Lesson Notes after each lesson. Although designed to simply let parents know what’s assigned or happening at lessons, this is an opportunity to save yourself time and keep your customers informed!

Answering ten unnecessary emails = wasted time!

How many emails do you get asking  questions about schedules or upcoming events, even though you previously sent emails or other correspondence with that exact information? Read more…

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Posted in MTH 101, Music & Technology, Professional Development, Promoting Your Studio, Studio Management, Using Music Teacher's Helper

Google Analytics gives you insights on how visitors find and use your site. It shows which pages of your site are the most popular, how long people are staying there, how people are finding your site, and other statistics.

If you have a Google Account you can activate the service for Analytics using these instructions. If you do not have a Google Account, it’s easy and free to sign up by clicking here.

When you sign up for Google Analytics, you’re given a unique tracking ID called a UA-Number. To use Google Analytics with your Music Teacher’s Helper Studio Website, simply enter this number into your Music Teacher’s Helper Settings page.

Find Your Analytics UA-Number

To find the tracking code, tracking ID, or property number in your Analytics account:

  1. Sign in to your Analytics Account.  http://www.google.com/analytics
  2. Select the Admin tab.
  3. Select an account from the dropdown list in the ACCOUNT column.
  4. Select a property from the dropdown list in the PROPERTY column.
  5. Under PROPERTY, click Tracking Info > Tracking Code.

Google Analytics for music teachers

You’ll now see the complete Google Analytics code for your site near the top of the page. Select the tracking ID (#3 below), starting with “UA”, and add it to your Music Teacher’s Helper Website Settings page.

In Music Teacher’s Helper, click the profile icon in the upper right hand corner, then click “Settings”. Select the “Website Preferences” tab and scroll down until you see “Add Your Google Analytics Code”. Paste in the UA-Number code (#3). Once saved, all pages of your studio website will now be linked with your Google Analytics account.

 

Now you have successfully linked your Google Analytics account to your Music Teacher’s Helper account. Once Google begins collecting data about your site (which can take up to 24-48 hours), you’ll be able to view your traffic statistics from your Google Analytics page.

If you have any questions, please contact us at support@musicteachershelper.com.

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Posted in New Features and Fixes, Using Music Teacher's Helper

Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) is the act of helping your website rank well in search engines for specifics words or phrases, called “keywords”.

You’ll place these keywords in the content of your website or blog to help people find you. For example, you might title one of your web pages, “violin lessons in San Diego” or “advanced harp teacher”. You could then use those keywords periodically throughout the page.

Overloading a page with keywords is not looked upon highly by search engines, but if you write content that a person would find useful, then search engines will likely rank it higher, too.

Another way to increase your search engine rankings is by having your website or pages shared on social media, or getting other relevant websites to link to yours.

Under each page of your Music Teacher’s Helper studio website, you can also enter meta keywords and a page description. These can help search engines know what keywords you intend to be found under, and can help the search engines know how to describe your page to visitors.

To Enter Keywords and Descriptions:

First, click on the Profile dropdown arrow in the upper right corner.

Next click on Settings.

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Then click the Website Preferences tab.

 

Add Keywords into the Box below Website Meta Keywords. This will be one word followed by a comma for each word you want to use. Typically it’s better to use 5-10 words, such as the instrument(s) you teach with the word “lessons” and your location such as city and neighborhood. 

Lastly, enter Descriptions for Website Meta Description. Descriptions will be for each page of your website such as blog, website, policy, etc.

You’re all set! If you have any questions about this feature or anything else, please contact support@musicteachershelper.com.

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Posted in New Features and Fixes, Promoting Your Studio, Using Music Teacher's Helper

Happy students don’t quit piano lessons!image

What is more  important than keeping your current customers?

Use Music Teacher Helper to have happy students by communicating on a regular basis.

The lesson notes feature of Music Teachers Helper is helpful in that you can send any message after each lesson.

Use lesson notes to retain students!

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Posted in MTH 101, Practicing, Promoting Your Studio, Studio Management, Using Music Teacher's Helper

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Competition for a good piano teacher is fierce these days. How do you make yourself stand out? Somehow I’ve managed to make a business for myself in the musically congested city of Los Angeles. Here are some of the tricks in my bag:

Use your phone’s video camera.

Most of the time, parents are not around to watch their kid’s piano lessons. Sometimes, they aren’t even home (nannies are there instead). If you have a studio where students come to you, it’s likely the parents don’t sit in the room with you. This means that the very people who hired you never get to see your actual work. You need to show them what you are doing for 2 very important reasons. Read more…

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Posted in Professional Development, Studio Management, Teaching Tips, Using Music Teacher's Helper

New to the Music Teacher’s Helper Mobile Apps, you can now access the file area, record audio and video, upload, and create new folders with the app. Select the Files tab on the sidebar menu and click the + symbol on the top right to use these new functions. 

music teacher's helper app

Your students can also now record practice sessions in audio and video, save, and it automatically uploads to your file area in a sub-folder with the correct permissions. Students can also access other files shared with them by you. Read more…

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Posted in New Features and Fixes, Site Announcements, Using Music Teacher's Helper