If you’ve never visited it before, I highly recommend checking out the Piano Teachers Policy Site and Great Idea Exchange. It is a collection of studio policies and ideas from music teachers all over the world. The exchange that led to the creation of this site was an invaluable resource to me when I was writing my studio policy. (In fact, my policy is listed somewhere on the site, but I can’t remember which letter it is!) My current studio policy can be viewed on my studio web site.
Implementing a studio policy is one of the best things a teacher can do. Here are a number of benefits that I’ve found from having one:
1. It forces me to think seriously about my teaching practices – why I’m teaching and what my goals are for my students.
2. It provides a way for potential students to determine before arranging an interview whether my philosophy and policies will be a good fit for them. (I send all lesson inquiries to my website to review my policies with instructions to e-mail or call me after reading over them if they want to arrange an interview. I have been very pleased when, on several occasions, I have received a call from the parent expressing that after reviewing my policy, they decided either to not take lessons at all or to pursue another teacher. This is exactly why I do this – so that we can avoid potential conflicts that might otherwise arise after lessons have begun.)
3. It allows me to clearly communicate with all of my students what my expectations are and what their responsibilities are.
4. It assists me in making difficult decisions. When questioned, I can state my position matter-of-factly according to what is written in my policy. I have become much better at kindly, but firmly, stating, “No, it’s my policy to charge a flat monthly rate regardless of the number of lessons that month.” Or something along those lines, depending on the situation.
As long as you teach, your policy will need periodic tweaking. Don’t be afraid to try something new and then adapt as necessary according to what works best in your studio.