The studio is buzzing with activity right now: a Spring Recital this past Saturday, promoting the Summer Workshops, a Rhythm Garden incentive program, planning a new group lesson room, summer t-shirt designs, and the most intensive of them all — figuring out the summer lesson schedule.
… and now you know why the blog has been so quiet as of late! In attempts to get back into the swing of things, I’ve decided to detail some of the projects that I’ve been working on over the past couple of weeks.
When I decided to open my private studio in 2010, I made the decision to teach full-time in the summer. I had attempted this while teaching in music stores, and while it was “optional” to continue lessons in the summer, I almost always had a good following of students throughout the summer months. Over the past three years I’ve learned to offer two things to my students/parents: 1) Flexibility and 2) Opportunities.
These two concepts benefit both teacher and student:
Flexibility: Students need to be able to take some time off during the summer. They have vacations, summer camps, and other activities (like just being a kid) that need to take precedence. As a teacher, I like to free up at least a couple days worth of evening hours so that I can enjoy the beautiful weather on my back deck, and hopefully catch up with my friends who work regular 9-5 jobs. I also like to take off for a couple of weeks and long weekends. It helps me recharge my creativity.
Opportunities: Summer lessons and workshops are a break from the regular “school year.” We have a tendency to step away from method books and focus on specific student-oriented goals. For example: A student wants to learn a specific popular song – we might spend a couple of weeks focusing on ear training and learning about chord progressions, with the end result being an awesome (self-made) arrangement of a piece. Other focuses could include vocal stylings, composition, or perhaps just plain old “fun pieces.”
In past years, I had parents/students fill out paper forms to schedule their lessons. I worked on a schedule similar to the school year, but made adjustments to tuition to account for the weeks when the studio was closed. This year, I decided to implement a “summer package” program. Students are able to purchase packages of lessons (anywhere from 6 to 11 lessons). I offered a bit of savings for those who scheduled more lessons, and also to those who paid for the summer in full by June 1st.
Rather than using paper forms this year, I decided to try an online schedule through youcanbook.me. I liked the options on this website because it allowed me to coordinate with my existing Google Calendar. This let me adjust the studio hours on weeks when I was teaching morning workshops or camps. Parents/students could schedule their lessons on different days/times to accommodate vacations and other activities. If you get the paid version of the site, you have the option of sending lesson reminders via email or phone.
Later this week, I will provide some more details about how exactly I used this website!
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