Studio Management

Billing, scheduling, collections, fee raising, and other related topics.

One of the most important benefits of Music Teachers Helper (MTH) is that students can look up information at their convenience: they can look up online when their next lesson is, what they did in their last lesson, what their payment situation is–and if you wish, they can look up alternative lesson times in case they need to schedule a makeup.

At this time of year, teachers are scheduling lessons for the fall, and MTH can make that much easier. Who hasn’t had to play phone tag or use multiple emails to schedule a lesson?

I’ve tried a few different approaches with MTH. One was to create events on the calendar that were global, open to all, showing when there were available lesson times. This had the benefit of being easily accessible to students, but the drawback was that most students didn’t need this information very often, and it cluttered up their own calendar, making it harder to view their own lesson information.

What I do now (though we would all appreciate hearing from you about your own experiments–just add a comment at the end of this post) involves a fictitious student named “Just Visiting.”  It works well both for new students trying to schedule a first lesson, and for existing students needing to reschedule. [···]

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Sometimes I’ll hear of people being struck with fear at the mention of making online payments through Paypal. Most of this is due to having received some malicious e-mail claiming to be from Paypal, with the attempt to steal their credit card information.

This is called “Phishing” and really has nothing to do with Paypal, nor any other financial institution, other than there are people out there who are trying to get that information from you.

So when you receive an email from “Paypal”, how can you be sure it is legitimate?

Take the “Can You Spot Phishing” challenge and see how well you do.

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What do you do for the summer? If you’re employed in a school system, how much summer vacation time do you take? If you teach privately, do many of your students continue through the summer, or do many of them cut down or take the summer off entirely?

From the post about Payment and Cancellation Policies (which has some new comments from teachers, by the way), it’s clear that some teachers set up annual tuition rates that include at least a portion of the summer for lessons. There is, however, always that pressure not to push students who want to take some summer time off. No one is at their best if they are always pushing and never taking a break.

As much as we’d like to regularize our income, we are also working with students as instructors and mentors, and can’t reduce this relationship entirely to financial transactions. We offer more than a commodity and expect students to respect us more than they respect a store or a salesman.

A number of my students continue through the summer, but maybe a third of them take a break or cut back. It’s a financial hit, but other events such as teaching at music camps or extra gigs tend to pick up the slack for me. What about you? I’m sure I’m not alone in being curious about the summer experiences of other teachers.

We all know that if someone wants to make progress in their playing, they need to [···]

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