Monday Mailbag – Piano Camp Logistics

I’ve perused your piano camp lesson plans and student workbook. They’re all very well done. I have some questions for you:

1) How do you schedule piano camp amidst summer private lessons?
2) What hours do you run the camp?
3) Are students able to take only a part of the camp and still know what’s going on if they missed earlier camp days?
4) If you’re willing to share the following question, great, but if not that’s fine too: How do you charge for piano camp?
5) What number(s) of students is a good number, and what number is too many?

It can be a bit intimidating to think about offering a piano camp for the first time, but I highly recommend it! Here are my answers to each question, along with some things I’ve learned over the past several years.

1) I do a survey at the end of the spring semester that helps me ascertain everyone’s summer plans and schedule accordingly. Here’s a post with a sample of the survey I use: http://musicmattersblog.com/2010/05/06/summer-is-just-around-the-corner/. I wait to figure out all the scheduling until I’ve heard back from everyone. Interestingly, this year I’m not even holding a regular piano camp because so many of my students opted to either continue with private lessons or take the summer off. I’m trying a new idea, though – a Pre-Piano Camp for children ages 3-5 who want an introduction to piano. The format is different for that; I’m hoping to share more about it later this summer after we have several more weeks “under our belt” so I can let you know how it’s working!

2) You’ll be able to see the options for this in the above survey as well. I do it for 2 hours each day. Since I’ve had up to three camps in one week before, I’ve sometimes done 10-12, 1-3, and 3:30-5:30. 2 hours seems like just the right amount of time for my studio.

3) I’ve had students miss a day or two here and there and it’s usually pretty easy to fill them in and pick up with wherever we’re at.

4) I charge the same as my monthly 45-minute lesson rate. This covers the week of camp, plus all supplies.

5) I’ve had anywhere between 4 and 8. It kind of depends on what all you’ll be doing and what equipment you have available. If you’re doing ensemble playing, then you’ll probably want to limit the number of students to the number of instruments you have available. I love working with all different-sized groups; you just have to factor in the different dynamics and then work with it. 🙂

I know there are quite a few other teachers who hold piano camps in the summer, so feel free to jump in with your own thoughts on what works well (and what doesn’t!) for your studio!

Remember, if you have a question you’d like to contribute to next week’s Monday Mailbag, leave it in the comments below or send me an e-mail sometime this week with Monday Mailbag in the subject line!

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