Make up lessons

said: Jul 20, 2010
 2 posts

Hi! Wondering what your makeup lesson policy is if a child is sick. Our previous teacher was pretty flexible but our new one does not allow any makeup lessons. Thanks!

Laura said: Jul 21, 2010
 
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
358 posts

Being sick falls within my “compassion clause”, which includes a very short and clearly defined list of situations for which I will offer make-up lessons. However, the parent must initiate the request for a make-up (I don’t go out of my way to chase them down), and I will only hold it if we can find a mutually convenient time. Too many times, a parent has turned down all of my proposed make-up times, because they conflict with swimming lessons, play dates(!), etc. I don’t believe I am obligated beyond this, or else I would find myself shouldering everyone’s problems. It is unreasonable to ask me to be more flexible than you are willing to be, for something that ultimately is to your benefit.

My views on this have changed over the years, even on this discussion group! But on the advice of many, I’ve learned to be a little more hard-nosed about it than I was before. The main principle I try to follow is: “I’ll gladly be respectful of your situation if you will similarly be respectful of mine.”

I personally do not believe in a strictly no make-up policy, unless one’s teaching schedule is so full that it is realistically impossible. Even still, several studios and school studios I know offer certain make-up days or weeks, typically at the end of each semester, on a take-it-or-leave-it basis. I find this type of approach to be a nice middle ground.

Ruth Brons said: Jul 21, 2010
Ruth Brons
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Livingston, NJ
148 posts

In my full studio I have a several different teaching situations, so the make-up policy varies slightly.

In the Saturday colllege prep program, the college publishes a no make-up policy for lesson missed by student for any reason.

For students seen at their private school during the school day, I do not charge for the last two lessons for the year and consider that as make-ups in full for any lessons missed due to student absences or school activities, such as field trips, special assemblies, etc.

For home studio lessons, students may cancel/reschedule lessons a week or more in advance for any reason on my online studio calendar [thanks to http://www.musicteachershelper.com!] with no penalty. Parents, realizing that in a full studio they are reserving a weekly slot of the teachers time, thus precluding other students from using that slot, understand the need to pay for the time slot. In cases of a short illness, then parents are welcome to see if there are any open slots on the calendar perhaps later in the week. Of course, I work with those with extenuating circumstances, under the “compassion clause”, but the occasional illness is not an extenuating circumstance.

Best Wishes,

Ruth Brons
http://www.things4strings.com
http://www.brons.us

said: Jul 21, 2010
 2 posts

Thanks for your replies. I think it is best if the teacher offers at least one makeup lesson per session. I liked saving a week at the end of the semester for makeup lessons that our previous teacher did. I wish our current teacher would do that because it is in the best interest of the child and for some it is a struggle to pay for the lessons.

Barb said: Jul 22, 2010
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

I have offered make-up lessons in the case of illness (with advanced notice) because I’d rather the students didn’t come when sick! I have a week at the end of each term with dates set aside for this (and also use Music Teacher’s Helper calendar—very helpful), and if I have another cancellation before that time I might offer that slot for a make-up. I limit it to two make-ups per term. A few of my students don’t bother to take them. If a student just doesn’t show up or cancels less than 24 hours in advance for a reason other than illness, there is no make-up. I do not offer refunds.

This year I will, with permission, share contact info of students/parents so that they may arrange to trade lesson dates, which might be helpful in the event of a short illness.

I have heard of teachers who simply don’t do make-up lessons. Maybe they are charging by term or month and have factored the odd missed lesson into the price? (i.e. those who are never sick get a bonus.)

Barb
Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
Studio Helper—for entire music studios or schools

Jennifer Visick said: Jul 24, 2010
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

I offer up to three “guaranteed” make-up lessons per school year. The guarantee is that if the student cancels at least 24 hours in advance, they are guaranteed one of three options:

  1. we will either find a make-up lesson time before the end of the school year, or
  2. the student can opt for a refund on that lesson, or
  3. the student can defer the lesson to the summer holidays (any lesson thus deferred and then not scheduled during the summer “expires” without a refund on August 31st.)

If there are cancellations less than 24 hours in advance, or if the student has cancelled more than 3 lessons during a school year, there are no possible refunds and there is no guarantee of a makeup lesson.

I have been using a Google calendar embedded on my website to help students see when there is a possible open time slot that they can schedule a make-up lesson in. I can sync Google Calendar with Outlook on my desktop, and outlook will also sync calendars with my phone, (so after making changes when away from home I need only plug my phone into the computer to update my web calendar. Eventually I may pay to get something that syncs my phone with Google calendars over the air, but for now this is a free and workable option). I looked into Music Teacher’s helper but found the “start-up” work involved in transferring the calendar I already use to their system to be too much work for me.

Barb said: Aug 1, 2010
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

How long ago did you look at Music Teacher’s Helper? I think syncing might be a new feature. They are continually updating, upgrading, great with support—I’m really happy with the program. They have a new forum now, too, by the way.

Here’s their current info on syncing:
If you have a Google account, you can sync your Music Teacher’s Helper calendar to your Google Calendar. This allows you to take advantage of some of the great options that Google provides, such as:

* See your personal, studio, and other events on the same calendar.
* Sync your calendar with other calendars such as Outlook or iCal.
* Sync your calendar with mobile devices, such as the iPhone or Blackberry.
* Place your calendar on a remote website, such as your Music Teacher’s Helper website.

How it Works

Initially, we send Google all of the events on your calendar, from one month ago, to 6 months in the future. All of these events will be placed in a calendar called “MTH”, which will appear on your Google calendar sidebar. (Note: You can change the name of this calendar to something else, if you prefer.)

Our servers contact Google every 10 minutes, to update your Google calendar with any changes you’ve made to your Music Teacher’s Helper calendar, and also update your Music Teacher’s Helper calendar if you’ve made changes from within Google. So if you do not see changes updated right away, this is why.

To sync your calendar, simply enable the option below, and type your Google calendar username and password in the boxes below. You can also choose a specific calendar name other than MTH, if you prefer.

Barb
Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
Studio Helper—for entire music studios or schools

Jennifer Visick said: Aug 2, 2010
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

yes, I saw all that. But for various complicated reasons—mainly dealing with the fact that I want to sync more than one google calendar to whatever studio website I use—it doesn’t work for me.

Rebecca said: Aug 14, 2010
Rebecca SchiblerViolin, Viola
24 posts

The way I’ve dealt with this issue is to teach 4 weeks every month, and any days that fall on a “fifth week” of the month are make-up days only. So, this month, I have two make-up days on the 30th and the 31st. Parents have to request make-up lessons with me, I won’t hunt them down, but because I have regular times for make-up lessons, I have never had a problem with my policy. My two cents!

“Music exists for the purpose of growing an admirable heart.” -Dr. Suzuki

Connie Sunday said: Aug 15, 2010
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

A lot of teachers don’t do any makeups, period. I offer them with 24 notice, but parents still call me and ask for a makeup, at the lesson time or an hour before. Once they’re heard, “sorry, but I can’t do a makeup without 24 hour notice,” they usually don’t try that again.

And they know perfectly well that the 24 hour notice is in the Lesson Policy, which they signed. But even the most long term parent, who should know better, will ask. With 50 students, it’s impossible.

Here are the sections dealing with that in my lesson policy:

http://beststudentviolins.com/Studio.html#section1

§1. CANCELLATIONS: Please think and plan ahead, and remember your lesson time. If you need to cancel a lesson, make every effort to give teacher as much notice as possible, at least 24 hours. It’s fine to trade lesson times with another student, but not counting that, changes in lesson time are limited to two (2) per semester. NO EXCEPTIONS.

and

http://beststudentviolins.com/Studio.html#section7

§7. MAKEUPS: With a waiting list and fully booked schedule, make-up lessons are not always possible. You are paying for the teacher’s time, not the lesson, per se. Schedule changes are limited to two (2) per semester. No makeups without 24 hour notice. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:
http://beststudentviolins.com/library.html#handouts

Elizabeth Jones said: Aug 15, 2010
Elizabeth Jones
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Violin
Owensboro, KY
21 posts

My program has a policy that lessons missed due to a teacher’s cancellation or inclement weather will be made up. We schedule these the week following our 16 week semester.

I do unofficially offer make-up lessons for illness when I can. I travel to teach, so I can only offer make-ups on the days that my travel expenses are covered.

Christine said: Aug 30, 2010
Christine Goodner
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Viola
Hillsboro, OR
68 posts

I have a policy that make up lessons are not guaranteed. I do try to do them if there is an emergency or a student is sick but because I have a really full teaching schedule and children of my own it is not always possible.

Christine in OR
http://www.suzukitriangle.wordpress.com

Christine Goodner

Studio Website: Brookside Suzuki Strings

Blog: The Suzuki Triangle

“When Love is Deep, Much can be Accomplished” ~ Suzuki

Alie said: Aug 30, 2010
 Violin
Columbus, OH
21 posts

Vicky Barnham wrote a wonderful article regarding makeup lessons. It is entitled “Make-Up Music Lessons From an Economist’s Point of View”. Here is a link to the article.

http://www.mvmusicstudio.com/MusicStudioTalk/000000010.htm

(I know about the article because it was published in a Suzuki Journal, but inadvertantly found this on another teacher’s site. I do not know the teacher, just thought the link was convenient.)

Christine said: Aug 31, 2010
Christine Goodner
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Viola
Hillsboro, OR
68 posts

That is a great article! I remember reading it in the journal when it first came out but it would be a great thing to pass along to parents in your studio to explain a no make up policy.

Christine in OR
http://www.suzukitriangle.wordpress.com

Christine Goodner

Studio Website: Brookside Suzuki Strings

Blog: The Suzuki Triangle

“When Love is Deep, Much can be Accomplished” ~ Suzuki

Karen said: Sep 1, 2010
 Piano
2 posts

as I read through the posts here I was thinking about that article. Glad to see it has been so widely populated :)

I don’t offer make-up lessons in my studio as a general rule however I do usually teach the first Monday of any school holidays. I let parents know this in advance and they are welcome to book in a time on that day. I also offer the opportunity for students to attend more than their scheduled number of group classes in lieu of an individual lesson.
Karen

said: Oct 5, 2010
 1 posts

Barb

How long ago did you look at Music Teacher’s Helper? I think syncing might be a new feature. They are continually updating, upgrading, great with support—I’m really happy with the program. They have a new forum now, too, by the way.

Here’s their current info on syncing:
If you have a Google account, you can sync your Music Teacher’s Helper calendar to your Google Calendar. This allows you to take advantage of some of the great options that Google provides, such as:

* See your personal, studio, and other events on the same calendar.
* Sync your calendar with other calendars such as Outlook or iCal.
* Sync your calendar with mobile devices, such as the iPhone screen or Blackberry.
* Place your calendar on a remote website, such as your Music Teacher’s Helper website.

How it Works

Initially, we send Google all of the events on your calendar, from one month ago, to 6 months in the future. All of these events will be placed in a calendar called “MTH”, which will appear on your Google calendar sidebar. (Note: You can change the name of this calendar to something else, if you prefer.)

Our servers contact Google every 10 minutes, to update your Google calendar with any changes you’ve made to your Music Teacher’s Helper calendar, and also update your Music Teacher’s Helper calendar if you’ve made changes from within Google. So if you do not see changes updated right away, this is why.

To sync your calendar, simply enable the option below, and type your Google calendar username and password in the boxes below. You can also choose a specific calendar name other than MTH, if you prefer.

is thisvalid for iphone as well as for black barry as i want to try this on my iphone .

Irene said: Oct 6, 2010
Irene YeongViolin
160 posts

the first day i signed up for violin lesson , i asked about make up lesson. the violin teacher looked at me puzzled, yes, i am serious about violin lessons and intend to go every week, but kids do get sick, and here in hong kong, we need to bring kids for kindergarten interviews on Saturdays, so… make up lesson or rescheduling is acceptable. i would think it is too strict if there is no make up lesson at all.

as for playgroups like kindermusik, the center that we go to has unlimited make up lessons.. so that’s really good.

Barb said: Oct 26, 2010
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

Fixpod,

Sorry I didn’t see your question earlier about the Music Teacher’s Helper Calendar and the iphone. I don’t know, so I’ve put the question out to MTH. I’ll let you know here asap.
Barb

Barb
Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
Studio Helper—for entire music studios or schools

Barb said: Oct 27, 2010
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

Fixpod,

Check out this blog re using Google Cal, MTH, and iphone… http://www.musicteachershelper.com/blog/all-i-can-say-is%E2%80%A6-i-love-the-%E2%80%9Cgoogle-cal%E2%80%9D-app

Barb

Barb
Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
Studio Helper—for entire music studios or schools

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