February 14, 2011

Studio Policies

Lets focus for a bit on our studio policies, shall we? I believe that it is very, very important to have policies. I hope that if you teach anything, that you have policies written up. If you don't, let me encourage you to begin!

I wrote mine up last year when I began teaching here in Canada. I did not write them because I felt my students were going to be nothing but trouble and I was going to need them. (If any of my students are reading aren’t trouble! Thank you!) Right now, I teach mostly people from my church or one of their family members. When I first began giving out my policies and requiring my students, or prospective students, to read them, I felt bad. I felt like they were going to perceive me to be a big meany-pants because I have lots of “rules.” And who wants lots of rules?

I don’t feel that way anymore. For one thing, my policies are not rules. (Well, mostly.)They ARE guidelines for me, my students, and their parents to follow so that my students can get the most from piano lessons. I usually hand them to my student or his parent, and say something to the affect of, "Here are my studio policies, which I *lovingly* refer to as my "corner-of-the-church" policies. I don't forsee any problems, but these are to protect myself should any complicated situation arise. Just read through them to get an idea of what I do and what I expect, and let me know if you have any questions." Recently I had a mom thank me numerous times for having my policies written up. She really appreciated that she could read through them.

While I don’t foresee any problems with my current students, in the future I may be able to take on more students from the community. In today’s day and age, it is very easy to get in trouble with authorities because of disgruntled students and parents. This can be avoided by having potential problems covered in your policies so that you can say, “This is how I have chosen to handle this situation, and you agreed to it when you read my policies and signed the dotted line.”

There is a general outline to follow when you write up your policies. Here is the rough outline of things I came up with to include in my policies (Which, by the way, you can read for yourself by clicking here.)

Lesson requirements for student and teacher

Practice requirements for student and parent


Canceled lessons

Dismissal :-(

If you read my policies, you know that I expounded on these points quite a bit. :) Thats because I can’t say anything in just a few words. But these are the basic things I felt I needed to cover. I also read several other people’s policies to come up with these things and decide what I needed to include.

Lets make this a little teacher-to-teacher discussion! You may not teach piano, it may be some other instrument or even voice, still feel free to join! If you have written studio policies, we would love to read them and get fresh ideas. If your policies are posted on a blog or website, leave your link in the comments below. If they are not posted, but you would like to get into this discussion, go ahead and email them to me. And let us know...why do you include the things you have in your policies? What is your opinion on studio policies?


  1. nicely done Nicole! :)

    my studio link:

  2. I agree with you- a policy is a MUST HAVE if you are planning on teaching. I've found it's helpful for a number of reasons:

    1) It helps get you as the teacher organized. If you have the policy, it's a standard that you have to uphold as the teacher. That can be both scary and freeing ;)

    2) It shows a level of commitment on your part- that you take your job seriously. Parents appreciate that!

    3) It gives you an 'out'. I've never had to use it, but in case an issue arises you can always reference that policy to drive the point home.

    4) It's convenient! If you have an interested student, rather than answering endless questions, I send them a copy of the policy, ask them to read it, and THEN contact me with any questions. They usually don't have too many after that!

    I made my policy when I first started teaching, and have revised it periodically ever since. I think mine has basically the same key points as yours, but you're welcome to take a look at mine. It can be found on the printables page of my blog at:

  3. Thanks for posting your policies. I find myself copying alot of things from your blog and adapting them to my needs this resource really is a blessing! Thanks Nicole

  4. Great post, Nicole. I wholheartedly agree with you on the policy issue. I wrote mine a couple of years ago and it has helped tremendously. Here's the link to mine:

  5. Thank you all for linking up with your great policies. So many good ideas! I enjoy reading how you cover certain issues and areas of teaching.

    Becky, I am so glad this is a blessing! When I started reading piano blogs and such I also saved A LOT of info for the future that I am now able to use in my teaching. Be sure to let me know if there's anything in particular you'd like to see on here!