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Posted By: scotpgot Lesson scheduling *SERVICE* - 10/20/20 04:37 PM
Forget the apps. Forget the websites. Forget the software that automates all your lessons.

I've been a music teacher on and off for 25 years, and the receptionist at a music school for nearly a decade. I know all the problems that come with running a home studio - invoicing, scheduling, policies. I've learned that I'm good at enforcing/handling those things, and I enjoy it.

Would people be interested in not a software platform, but an actual service (A REAL PERSON) that handles your home studio schedule? Is this a service teachers would be interested in paying for?

I have about a decade as an office manager in a private music school, and I feel we provide excellent value in the office letting teachers just TEACH. Our current environment has shown us how much can be done online/virtually. Combining the two has led me to this idea.

Is anyone else doing it? Would anyone be interested?
Posted By: Peter K. Mose Re: Lesson scheduling *SERVICE* - 10/21/20 05:07 AM
What nation are you located in, Scott? It might fly if a teacher were running a school, or had a zillion students, or were not very organized by nature. I've never heard of it, but there's no reason it could not work.

However, your idea also comes across as advertising, and as such belongs elsewhere on PianoWorld.
Posted By: mostlystrings Re: Lesson scheduling *SERVICE* - 10/21/20 02:07 PM
I prefer not to "just teach" but also oversee the other aspects of maintaining a personal relationship with the student/family, in addition to the business and educational. My piano technician has (or had) someone managing his schedule but he has lots more clients that he sees less often vs. I have fewer clients that I see more often.

The examples you listed of problems (invoicing, scheduling, policies) relate to existing clients. What about marketing and promotion, in order to attract new clients that will become existing clients? A service that finds clients for the teacher AND schedules them and bills and collects their tuition...sounds like a school.
Posted By: scotpgot Re: Lesson scheduling *SERVICE* - 10/21/20 05:33 PM
Thanks so much for the replies!

Originally Posted by Peter K. Mose
What nation are you located in, Scott? It might fly if a teacher were running a school, or had a zillion students, or were not very organized by nature. I've never heard of it, but there's no reason it could not work.

However, your idea also comes across as advertising, and as such belongs elsewhere on PianoWorld.

Hi Peter. I'm in the U.S. I suppose it's just a reflection of my own personal experience, but I have found those who teach tend to have the artist personality, and by nature are either not organized or don't enjoy the structured nature of dealing with scheduling and invoicing. Which brings us to your next, perfectly valid point...

I can totally see it's on the border, so to speak. My argument would be 1) it's NOT the point of the post to advertise anything. I'm really just trying to see if this is something people would be interested in. And, 2) There's no product, website, service that even exists yet. So technically it couldn't even BE an advertisement. :P

Originally Posted by mostlystrings
I prefer not to "just teach" but also oversee the other aspects of maintaining a personal relationship with the student/family, in addition to the business and educational. My piano technician has (or had) someone managing his schedule but he has lots more clients that he sees less often vs. I have fewer clients that I see more often.

The examples you listed of problems (invoicing, scheduling, policies) relate to existing clients. What about marketing and promotion, in order to attract new clients that will become existing clients? A service that finds clients for the teacher AND schedules them and bills and collects their tuition...sounds like a school.

Thanks, mostlystrings. Someone else I was speaking to brought up the idea of marketing as well. It's certainly worth some thought. My reluctance is that if we're fans of "stick to what you know" and what you're good it - my expertise would be the structured nature of scheduling and invoicing, and not the cheerleader/extrovert nature of marketing.
Posted By: rkzhao Re: Lesson scheduling *SERVICE* - 10/21/20 07:36 PM
The to me is similar to private tutors vs tutoring agencies.
For the consumer, the tradeoff is convenience vs quality. For the teacher, the tradeoff is convenience vs income.

The thing is, unlike academic tutors, where it's usually short term arrangements, teaching/learning an instrument is a much longer term relationship.
So the value of that convenience is lower.
Posted By: mostlystrings Re: Lesson scheduling *SERVICE* - 10/21/20 09:02 PM
Imagine this: a prospective student contacts me and I say, you must contact my scheduler person to get on my calendar.

Nope, as a sole proprietor teacher, I should start the (potential) relationship myself. But I have to check with my scheduler person to ensure I don't get myself overbooked? Or if I'm teaching in my physical home studio (suitable precautions or pandemic has subsided), then I'm waiting for my third party scheduler person to tell me when a student can come to my own house? That's too much middleman.

Contrast with working for a school: the school finds "my" students and provides my teaching location (or I'm still online because of pandemic). Students start their relationship with *the school* not with me. I would put a tutoring agency in this category.

Also, marketing is different for an online service/activity vs. an in-person service/activity. You're right about sticking to what one knows though; I have no plans to bother with online marketing, and if I were promoting myself for new in-person students, I should know the quirks of my local market better than a third party elsewhere would. I hope to ride out the pandemic with students who have been with me for years and years. The "future normal" of growing my studio is unknown but I'm not thinking about it yet.
Posted By: malkin Re: Lesson scheduling *SERVICE* - 10/21/20 11:44 PM
Like a secretary?

Last night, my husband was trying to call a plumber and twice got a call center. Is that what you're talking about?
Posted By: missbelle Re: Lesson scheduling *SERVICE* - 10/23/20 05:28 PM
I usually run 20-30 ish students, at my home studio and at a private school. The school does most of my set up- I get whatever students sign-up for the time they want available. School takes very little overhead, and I get free recital hall and free printing. And, free coffee!

For my home studio, knock on wood, I have not had issues with payments or changing schedules. I do not advertise- word-of-mouth only. Relationships and recommendations have served me well. Most of my home studio parents attend each lesson and fold practice into their daily home life.

If you pay for a semester up front, I waive the supply fee.

Set price per month. Handwritten receipts.

I keep a full inventory of books and have an extensive lending library. Students can buy books from me for usually less than on-line. I keep track of what to buy at a local music store that has teacher discount days.

When I offer a schedule, I give 3-4 choices. That is it. I tell the parents that I teach every day. (true)(well, not weekends, anymore).

My policy states that they are paying for the time slot.

It does take some organization, but I gleaned LOTS from this website and reading many policy pages on-line.

We even had a brief chapter on studio policies in my college piano pedagogy class.

Go MAK attack!

All that to say, I am not in need of such a service, but if I ever really go crazy and expand my studio...maybe...but prolly still not.

Keep working on the idea, though. If a teacher has multiple locations, instruments, needs help, if could be helpful.
Posted By: dogperson Re: Lesson scheduling *SERVICE* - 10/23/20 06:20 PM
Hi Scot
I suspect that piano techs might find this service useful—- as their clients change every day and repeat irregularly, rather than at a set interval. You could also handle their reminder calls

Just a thought.
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