Do your studio policies read like a locked-in lifetime membership for a cell phone contract? If they do, you may be losing piano students before they even pick up the phone to give you a call.
I’ve read studio policies that would scare even the most war-hardened navy seal. They are filled with words like “must”, “do not”, and “beware” (ok, maybe not that last one, but often that’s the impression given). In addition to scaring off potential students, frightening policy sheets also tend to put parents immediately on the defensive. And this is going to make your job a lot more difficult in the future.
Writing an effective piano teaching policy sheet is an adventure in creative, yet friendly wordplay. You MUST make your policies clear… but kind. Try to communicate to parents that there are guidelines that must be followed, while avoiding making them feel like a 7 year old school child being disciplined by the principal. Trust and respect are vital in the teacher-parent-student relationship.
Here’s an example of a poorly written piano teaching policy:
Make-up lessons will not be offered for missed lessons for any reason whatsoever.
As a parent, words like “will not” and “whatsoever” communicate to me that this teacher is strict and inflexible… not qualities I’m looking for in a piano teacher for my child.
Here’s an example of the same teaching policy written in a more effective manner:
Make-up lessons: Because of our busy schedule it is often not possible to reschedule a piano lesson that a student has missed. We will, however, try our very best to offer an alternative timeslot if a space opens up due to the absence of another student.
Will a policy like this cause you a little more work in the future? Sure, but it also goes a long way to promote your studio as a flexible, friendly, and supportive learning environment… which is EXACTLY what parents want when they are looking for a piano teacher for their child!