Scheduling lessons - Trying to schedule lessons i

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Postby 108-1121887355 » Fri Sep 16, 2005 9:24 am

I am flexible in arranging times for lessons. We have an early release from school on Tuesday so that is the best time to fit in lessons - beginning at 1:00 rather than 4:00. However, many parents want that to be a 'free' afternoon for 'play dates' as they have children signed up for gymnastics, soccer, art, dance or other activities. I try to arrange other times as I know the child wants to take piano lessons. It seems that many parents do not see this as a priority. How can I emphasize the importance of music, especially when a child is interested.
Also, do you 'hold' last year's time for a student, or do you take first calls and give them a spot? I wait for parents to call me after sending out a letter about a date for a group get-together and starting date of lessons. I do not call to ask them if the child is continuing.
I have an article I put together on the value of music in life. Perhaps I need to send it out to parents. i do not advertise, and I do not want it to feel like I am just. looking for business.
Thank you for any help in this area.
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Postby Stretto » Fri Sep 16, 2005 8:11 pm

When it comes to scheduling lessons I tell the parents the times I am available to give lessons, so if they want to schedule a lesson it has to fall within those times. Right now the times I give lessons is 4:30 - 5:30 Mon.-Wed. and 4:30 - 6:30 on Thurs. evening. I would have to give them another teacher's name if these times weren't good for them. I've not ever had anyone who couldn't "fit" in these times. I have changed lesson times on a temporary basis as a lot of girls sign up for basketball that conflicts with their lesson and the basketball session is very short, so the change is only temporary. I had one student in dance, so that they wanted to come on Friday evening for several months as that was the only night they could squeeze it in and they weren't very consistent in coming all along anyway. They took a summer break from lessons and I decided I would have an across the board policy that I would no longer do make-ups on Fri. eve. as I am not at my best as a teacher at the end of the week and would prefer to have Fri. night open for spur of the moment activities with my family. I've found that no one seems to want to do make-ups on Sat. or Sun. also. Anyway, bottom-line, the parents have to work around my availability which has been about the same times for several years and also pay for missed lessons from conflicting activities if they can't make it up on the times specified in my policy. If they sign up for sports, art, dance, they are still paying for missed weeks for those classes. So the same should hold true for piano lessons.
As far as holding last years times, I do try to do that and usually those that wish me to hold their slot let me know on their own well in advance. If it's someone who is faithfully coming to the lessons, I also might check with them closer to the year if they don't let me know, but most are worried enough to "reserve" their time ahead. These are the faithful one's that deserve top priority in the first place. That just reminded me that at my child's preschool, they mail out early enrollment forms for those who have come the prior year with a deadline, and then they open it up to newcomers. This may be something you could carry over to piano lessons to give last year's people priority. I usually keep everyone taking lessons in the summer so I don't have to worry about wondering if they're "coming back". A couple that skipped summer lessons as they weren't available much weren't consistent during the school year and didn't call back this fall. If I were to notify everyone by letter that they had to call by a certain date to get priority then I wouldn't call them if I didn't here from them or if you were concerned about someone who had been really faithful perhaps you could call and just say I hadn't heard from you and was just verifying that you received my letter. Parents need to take the responsibility to take care of this stuff, and unfortunately I have ran across too many parents who aren't always responsible in this regard. I can't bend over backwards for parents if they don't take the responsibility upon themselves.
When students sign up to start lessons, I do give some information sheets regarding the value of learning an instrument especially in regards to how it aids in making kids "think smarter" in other realms as well.
I also heard a recent study and information from the head of a local gymnastics center regarding how large motor skills also help with brain development and kids "thinking smarter" in school, etc. so upon hearing this I quit knocking the sports. The sports are just as important as the music in making "smarter" kids, it's kind of interesting how everything relates.
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