Summer. Do you hear the death bell tolling for your studio?
Yes, its true. Summer can be brutal for piano teachers.
You know how it goes . . . families mean well, they intend to keep taking piano lessons, but the truth is, summer fever hits and everyone just wants to lie around the pool all day. Or they are travelling.
But that often leaves you, the piano teacher in a lurch. Remember, I'm always writing this blog assuming you are NOT independently wealthy and giving lessons for free, so I think its safe to say that you actually NEED that income during the summer. Am I right?
Well, my piano teaching friends, there is a solution for that: keep giving lessons.
Oh, and make them mandatory.
That's right, I said it. Please hear me, as I gently say this to you: when you act like the piano lesson year is over when June hits -- i.e., when school lets out -- then your clients will see it as over too.
Do you really want your students to stop practicing during the summer? No, of course not! So, why do you stop giving lessons?
My piano lesson year follows the calendar -- it is January - December. During the summer, lessons just keep on going. I charge regular tuition during the summer months and students are expected to keep coming to their lessons and to keep practicing. My students know that I will be missing a few lessons for my own family vacations, but they are not charged for those missed days. My policy is clear and simple, so there is little confusion for my clients.
Of course, because it is summer, I do offer a couple of other options to families who might be missing some lessons due to traveling or other family stuff. I'm a bit more lenient on my make up lesson policy, I even offer a couple of summer music camps as an alternative for missed lessons (families can pay for the music camp if they want BOTH lessons and music camp).
But, the point is, lessons still go on. They don't stop. If families want to slack off on piano practice or even lesson attendance, that is their decision. Not mine.
It is amazing, though, when people are still paying for their lessons (through that monthly tuition fee) during the summer -- they tend to show up for them and even practice from time to time.
So, if you are unsure as to how to handle summer, give this some thought. Or maybe its too late -- you've already set a summer policy -- but you can contemplate this for next year. Remember, when you treat summer like its a break from piano lessons -- guess what, your clients will take a break from piano lessons.
But treat the summer like it is a fresh time for some new music, or a fun time to do an incentive program with your students, or it is time when students can actually catch up or work ahead because they might have MORE time to practice . . . well, your studio, your clients will catch that same feeling.
Keep giving lessons during the summer. You'll be glad you did.