There are a number of good posts in the blogosphere on the policies of private music teachers. I’ve written some thoughts here, but here are some other issues people seem to be asking about.
Q: Why not just accept payment week by week?
A: I’ve found that students who pay week by week, almost without exception, are more prone to quitting. It’s sort of a signal that they’re not even willing to commit to a month with you. If parents were to ask why they have to pay for a month in advance (and I don’t ever remember being asked) I would tell them:
– I have to pay my studio rent once a month.
– Your payment reserves your time slot. I have a waiting list, and some of my current students may be interested in your time slot.
Also, if someone misses paying for a week, then you have to collect for two weeks at the following lesson. If they get further behind, things get awkward.
Q: What is considered sufficient notice for private lesson cancellations?
A: 24 hours. This gives me time to call another student for a make-up (or make-ahead) lesson. I will admit to being relaxed with this policy at times. But again, paying for the month in advance is a great way to make sure you get paid for every lesson whether it was cancelled or not.
Q: Which methods of payment do you accept for private lessons?
A: Cash or check. Students or their parents pay me directly, and I don’t have access to credit card payments. (I suppose if someone really wanted to pay me with gift cards from Starbucks or iTunes, I would take those too!)
Q: Do you make students/parents sign a private lesson contract?
A: I’ve never had them sign anything, because honestly it’s not as though I’m going to take anyone to court. I can certainly understand why a bigger operation with a co-op of teachers would require such a contract. I do have a policy sheet which I discuss with new students.