Monday Mailbag – Scheduling Group Classes

How do you schedule group classes so parents don’t mind the “extra event”? Do you replace all lessons of the week for the group class or work it out some other way?

Some of this has to do with your perspective and how you present the group classes. In my opinion, group classes are a tremendous benefit to students and I present them as an added perk of my studio. For instance, when someone calls and asks what my rates are, I quote them my monthly rate and say, “That includes a weekly 45-minute lesson, plus a group class every 4-6 weeks, participation in all studio recitals, and the opportunity to participate in numerous other festivals and events throughout the year.”

It rarely works out for all of my students to attend any given group class, but I usually have 15-20 students in attendance. Especially for families that live a considerable distance away, it is a bit much to make the trip twice in one week, so they are welcome to choose between the regular lesson and the group class. I know there are some teachers who prefer to schedule groups in place of regular lessons that week, but I’ve always preferred to maintain a regular weekly lesson schedule with groups as an added bonus. Also, I consistently hold my group classes and recitals on Thursday evenings and I put out my schedule for the whole year at the beginning of the fall semester. This gives families time to get it on their calendars and make plans to attend.

Finally, because I promote group classes in my conversations with prospective families and on my website, I’ve actually had people tell me that they want their children to study piano with me because of what they’ve heard and seen. It’s all part of creating a culture of enthusiasm and musical excellence!

I know lots of other teachers offer group classes, so feel free to share your input! Do you schedule groups in addition to or in place of regular weekly lessons? What scheduling approaches have you found to be most effective?

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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