When I first started teaching about 12 years ago I charged for lessons the only way I knew how – per lesson. It soon became apparent that this arrangement would not work for me long-term. Attendance at lessons was too sporadic, bookkeeping was a headache, and my monthly income was unpredictable. Eventually I settled on a monthly lesson fee as the best arrangement for my studio and I have never looked back! It makes everything so much easier this way for both the families and me, and it frees me up to invest my time and energy in teaching and other creative ideas.
However, for those families who are coming from a per-lesson fee background it takes a little while to make the mental adjustment. Sometimes I still get the occasional, “such-and-such a month only has three lessons scheduled, so do we pay less for that month?” I’ve found that the best way to respond is just to say something along the lines of, “Actually, I don’t charge per lesson; it’s just a flat monthly rate that covers all the scheduled lessons that month, overhead costs, supplies, etc. It’s all wrapped up into the monthly tuition.” This helps families see that the money they are paying covers more than just the weekly lesson time, and that I’ve incorporated all of the fees into that monthly amount.