Using Music Teacher’s Helper

Useful tips for how to get the most out of your Music Teacher’s Helper subscription, and save time managing your music studio.

I just got back from the Texas Music Teacher’s Association Conference and enjoyed meeting the many teachers there. As I was showing them Music Teacher’s Helper, a question I heard asked many times was, “I charge a [$100] fee to my students at the beginning of the year to cover all their books and materials for the whole year, and then deduct whatever I buy in books for them, from that amount.”

The reason some teachers do this is so they don’t have to charge parents a different amount every month if new books are needed, since they’ve already been paid for. If the teachers had used Music Teacher’s Helper from the start, this probably wouldn’t have been such a burden, since it calculates and sends invoices to the student automatically, and if they owe more for a book that month, it already knows that, and adjusts the invoices accordingly. But to make it easier for the parent, some teachers like the simplicity of charging a materials fee.

So, how do you handle this in Music Teacher’s Helper? It’s easy! (Although I did have to do some thinking to figure out the best way to handle this from an accounting standpoint).

  1. First – at the beginning of the year, charge the student your normal materials fee. (Click Billing -> Fees -> Add Fee(s))
  2. Then, when you buy a book for that student, since it is a business expense to you, it will go in your expenses. (Click Billing -> My Expenses. Add a transaction, and for the category, put something like “John Doe Materials”, where John Doe is the student’s name.
  3. Then, when you run your Income & Expense report, you’ll see a categorized list in your expenses for how much you’ve spent on John’s materials. If you want to keep a total of how much you’ve spent on each student, then you’ll create a category for each student you buy materials for, and it will break these out into separate categories in the report.

That’s it! Now you can know if you’re keeping within budget on the materials you purchase for your students. One other thought: If you don’t want to charge the materials fee upfront but just want to charge students for books as you buy them, you’ll want to create two transactions. The first is an “Expense” for when you buy the book, the second is the “Fee” where you charge the student for the book. Just add those two transactions in there, and Music Teacher’s Helper will take care of the rest!

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Some teachers and students have mentioned that when accessing their studio website in Internet Explorer for the first time, a security warning appears telling them that the secure certificate may not be valid.

This can happen when you’re accessing your studio website incorrectly. Remember that your studio website does not have any www’s in it.

To access your studio website, go to:

http://[studio-name].musicteachershelper.com

NOT

http://www.[studio-name].musicteachershelper.com
(where [studio-name] is the name you chose for your studio website).

The SSL Certificate on the server doesn’t secure 2nd-level subdomains (having two sections with dots (.) before the domain name). So that’s why the warnings appear when you access the site using www’s. Therefore, make sure that when you tell others your studio website address, that you give them the correct address (without the www’s).

Update [Sep 13, 2007]: This problem has now been completely resolved. We have made it  redirect visitors coming to your page through www to the non-www subdomain. This eliminates the certificate warning.

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Over time, we’ve had a few requests from teachers who want to be able to keep track of make-up lessons in Music Teacher’s Helper. We’ve also had requests from teachers who want to setup available lesson times, and let students pick from available slots on a first-come, first-serve basis.

One of our most active members came up with a brilliant idea that will let you do both of these right now. Here is what he said: [···]

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