When my girls were little (they are teenagers now), they loved to go to a fun little ballet class. I loved the class too -- it was affordable, the instructor was great with the kids, and it was convenient to where we lived. In fact, I loved that little class so much, I made it a priority that my girls were there every time it met.
The problem was, I was never exactly sure when it would meet. Sure, classes were "scheduled" for Tuesdays at 3:30, but there were times we would show up and the building would be empty. After a handful of episodes like that, I began to wonder if I was the only parent out of the loop.
Turns out, I wasn't. When I started chatting with other parents who were also doing drop off (or no drop off when that was the case), I discovered we all were experiencing the same frustration. When does this class meet exactly?
When we had registered, there was no ballet studio calendar. The studio website wasn't updated very frequently. And when I talked to the teacher about it, she kind of shrugged, gave me a puzzled look and said "Well, we meet Tuesdays."
Except we didn't meet every Tuesday and when I tried to nail her down on when we would and wouldn't meet, I got a vague answer that left me feeling unsettled and frustrated.
For me to rustle up my daughters' ballet stuff, get them ready, put them in the car, and drive over there just to discover there was no class that day was very frustrating.
So, guess what happened over time? If we were having a hard day, we just didn't go because there was a chance "there would be no class anyway." When it came to signing up for the next month, and paying the class fee, I hesitated and reluctantly signed up and paid. But, then I finally decided to not do it at all, because I didn't like wondering if there would be class, and I needed a consistent schedule.
And when friends asked me about the class? My response was always lukewarm -- its a great class, but sometimes it doesn't meet and you never know when and . . .
Great class, great teacher, bad business.
So, what about you Piano Teacher? Do you have a calendar that you follow, distribute to your clients, and stay consistent to as much as possible?
Can your clients depend on you? Do they know when you aren't teaching and when you are? Do they know what holidays you take off and which ones you work through?
Think about your piano students who are younger -- the parents have probably worked all day long, either inside or outside the home. They've gathered up piano books and helped their child get ready for the lesson. And then they get in their car and drive to you, or they wait expectantly for you to show up, and . . . nothing.
Or think about your piano student who is an adult. They have carefully budgeted their time and money to make piano lessons a priority, and but their perception of you is that you might or might not be giving lessons this week, so . . . ?
How long do you think that client will stay with you?
Your job is more than just being a great piano teacher. Your job is also to be a great businessperson. Run your business well.
Have a calendar. Publish it. Make sure everyone is well informed.
It might take a little extra effort on your part, but if you communicate frequently and clearly, particularly with matters of schedule, your clients will be grateful and reassured that you know what you are doing.
Trust me: have a calendar, publish it. Make sure everyone is well informed. You'll be glad you did.