Studio Policy on Materials/Books


Sarah Coley said: Jan 8, 2011
Sarah Coley
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Viola
34 posts

I would appreciate anyone who would be willing to share what their studio policy is on materials/music that student’s will need to use.

I thought that my own policy was pretty succinct (and good), but I am experiencing some issues with some parents on the whole music issue. (And, yes, I have considered the possibility of encouraging the parents to look for another teacher if need be.)

I try to be very frugal in terms of telling parents what their child will need in terms of music, but I have two parents in particular who seem to fight with me every time I send a bill home for new music. (They have both issued “ultimatums” of “please, no more music for my child for this semster.”)

I am feeling a little put out right now, so I would love to know what everyone else does with regard to this.

Thanks so much!


Sara said: Jan 9, 2011
191 posts

I have had similar experiences. Here is what I suggest:

  1. Give the parent ample time to get the needed books. Perhaps have a list of needed books divided by what Suzuki book they are in. Make this as part of your studio policy. This way the parents know along way in advance what will be needed.

  2. When it is nearing time for the new book, alert the parent 2-3 months in advance. Saying something like “when your student has _______ we will start working out of it.” I have found this to be very affective. Especially if you don’t let it drop from there. In lessons, from time to time, drop comments (sincerely of course) “In the book ____ we study this particular technique/theory/___. This way the parent sees this as a necessary purchase that will further advance the student.

  3. Look at it from the parents perspective. Either they really are having a difficult time financially and really can’t afford it, or maybe they don’t comprehend the need for it.
    Some families have several children in lessons and they are spending x amount of $ on instrument rental alone, x amount of $ on lessons, gas to transport from lesson to lesson. More books really might be out of the question, unless they know about it ahead of time so they can budget it in somewhere. With a heads up way in advance, the books might be more easily attained. Also, knowing in advance it gives them time to scout out a book maybe online, on sale at a store, or from a friend or former student, where appropriate.

Hope this helps!

“What is man’s ultimate direction in life? It is to look for love, truth, virtue, and beauty.” Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

Mikaela said: Feb 11, 2011
Mikaela CashViolin, Viola
28 posts

It used to take forever for students to acquire the books I asked them to get—especially since the only music store in town is a joke, never carrying needed books in stock, and forgetting to call and notify when a special order did come in. Now, I require a $30 music deposit, which I use to buy their books. I keep detailed records, and when the money runs out, they pay me another deposit. Of course, if the student leaves me, I refund them the remainder of their deposit.

This made things a lot easier for me, because it takes me just as long to find the book online and click “add to cart” as it does to email/write down for them the title/author/publisher/place to get it. They never bring me the wrong book, and it’s never late!

However, I do have one family that hasn’t been able to do this because of financial issues. So if these students truly don’t have the money, the deposit could be a burden. If they do and they’re just somewhat unnerved to throw ten dollars at one one book and fifteen at another book the next month, then this could be a good solution.

said: Mar 13, 2011
 63 posts

The most expensive investment year-to-year still is the Suzuki book with the CD. After that, I have a theory book every year and use the “Dozen a Day” series for sight-reading, both of which are inexpensive to use. So even if student is going through a book per year, the cost is roughly $40.00-$50.00 CDN for the entire year. So it’s reasonable, and I’ve never had a complaint about the cost.

I do stock beginner books for parents, and try to encourage them to buy future books at our well-stocked stores where I live (TIP: have them take in the current book, and tell them to ask the store manager to help them get the next one). But yes, there are busy parents who do need me to get books for them—I don’t like going more than a month without theory or sight-reading getting done.

Hope that helps!

Jennifer Visick said: Mar 14, 2011
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

how much sheet music / how many cds or albums are we talking about here?

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