For Summer Sign-Up: I love using large poster-size dry-erase,
calendar sheets (one for each month). These sheets, plus dry-erase
pens can be purchased at an office supply store. Parents or
students can sign up for preferred time slots within the time frame
I provide. Changes can easily be made anytime with the dry-erase
system. I love the flexibility, and so do my families.
-Veronica Lim, Fort Collins, Colorado
Have a tip sheet for "beating the blues"-most students go
through peaks and valleys during their study of a musical
instrument. Have something to hand parents the minute they say: "My
child just isn't having fun anymore." This tip sheet should include
things to re-engage the student, such as buying music and playing
for others, articulating to the student why the parent thinks music
study is important.
-Music Learning Center, Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio
At the beginning of each studio year, students receive handbooks
for their parents, with an explanation of every activity available
for the student. Included is a reminder of the studio policies and
a detailed calendar for the year. The handbook includes a table of
contents and each activity is on a different colored page.
-Submitted by Debra Hadfield, NCTM, Plano, Texas
In March, I send enrollment forms to each student/parent saying
that a place is reserved for the fall term until April 15, provided
that the form signed by the student and parent and along with a
nonrefundable payment is received. The nonrefundable fee covers two
optional festivals and music professional fees for those who
participate. After April 15, I open enrollment to my waiting list
and new students.
Be a professional in your thoughts, words and actions. Have a
business and policy statement-and stick to it. The more
professionalism you present to your parents, students and
community, the more respect you will gain. This in turn will
continue to raise the standards of our profession for all
-Submitted by Laura Swenson, NCTM, Wales, Wisconsin
Overlap lessons to encourage "performance practice." The waiting
student will be the "audience" for the student who is
Combine sets of books used for teaching and have them spiral
bound. This makes the "studio" copies unwieldy for students to
accidentally take home.
-Submitted by Ken Newsome, Duncanville, Texas
Utilize each student's entire time in the studio-if a student is
waiting for a sibling to finish a lesson, have the other sibling
practicing sight reading pieces, working on computer music
programs, writing a composition, reading a book about a composer
and so forth.
Utilize a parent/teacher/student conference to discuss problem
areas and for feedback time.
Give parents the option of paying for an entire year of lessons
Send your monthly newsletters to students and parents via e-mail
(snail mail if necessary) so you know parents receive the
At the close of the spring semester of teaching, we are often
not motivated, too tired or already involved in summer projects to
begin thinking about next year's studio. To avoid last-minute
revisions of my studio policies/procedures, I have opted for the
following: I keep a note pad handy at all times during the teaching
year to make notes on what has and has not worked in my studio.
Once the spring semester is finished, I review my notes for the
next year and make necessary revisions on my policies, calendar,
contracts and so forth. These are then printed and ready to
-Submitted by Adrienne Wiley, NCTM, Midland, Michigan
Divide your annual fee into 12 monthly payments, although you
may only teach 10 months. For example, my annual fee is
$850--$85/44 lessons a year over 10 months. Does this make sense? I
tell my parents they may pay $85/month for 10 months with no
June/July lessons, or they can pay $70/month over 12 months with
four free lessons in June, which they may or may not use. This
allows me a monthly paycheck year-round, and saves them $10/year.
By taking the 12-month plan, their children may also participate in
the June recital. I have very few parents who do not opt for this
-DL Murphy, Pensacola, Florida