I think after writing this post, I’ll finally put this topic to rest. But before I can I have to be blunt… piano teachers spend too much time fretting over their teaching policies.
Do you need piano studio policies? Absolutely! Should you treat them like a contract, ensuring parents read them and sign them? Absolutely not!
Your teaching policies should be used as a reference, not a contract. Too many piano teachers make too big a deal about their policies and end up scaring families away. Don’t make your teaching policies the first thing you talk about when you meet the parents of a new student. Instead talk about the piano, and all of the lifelong benefits it will bring their child.
Forcing your policies down the throats of new parents is counterproductive. It immediately sets a negative tone in which the parent feels guilty before actually committing any crime. Don’t do this… Don’t do that…
And yet so many teachers do this. They conduct entrance interviews where they review each and every piano policy, finally culminating in a parent and student signature (no doubt signed in blood). Sign this… or else!
Here’s a better idea… simply send home or mail your policy sheet along with your piano lesson start-up package. And then, down the road, if a parent violates one of your policies, you can politely and kindly refer to your studio policies to help you solve the problem.
Resist the urge to hammer home your studio policy with signatures and speeches. It may seem like the right thing to do to solve problems before they start, but unfortunately, making a parent (a grown adult and also a customer) feel belittled before piano lessons even start is simply a bad idea.
People are generally good! They will respect you, not because of your piano policies, but because of your passion for teaching their children piano. And remember, those who break your rules will cause headaches even if you get them to initial each and every policy on your sheet.