Studio Policies


Make-up lesson policy

QuestionQuestion
Carrie L., Michigan

Ideas for makeup policy? I’m considering doing a no makeup policy next fall but I see there being a lot of upset about that. I’m teaching an extra 3 to 4 hours a month just in makeups.

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Stephen R., California

I do one per quarter for illnesses or emergencies, and the student has to schedule it with me. It’s not applicable to shared lessons though. Student vacations also don’t qualify for a makeup.

I have a limit on 4 per year or one per quarter. I don’t proactively offer it though, only if the student requests it. Shared lessons are like classes, so missed lessons need to be caught up; they’re not eligible. I’m trying to move to more shared lessons anyway.

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Marlise S., Indiana

My policy says that “makeups are only offered at teacher discretion”. Families I teach know my schedule is limited, so it hasn’t been a problem. In practice, I do something similar to Stephen. Students in shared lessons are expected to get information from another group member and catch up. The only time I go out of my way to schedule a makeup is if I was the one to cancel, and this is very rare. I switched to this about three years ago, and parents understood much better than I expected.

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Stephen R., California

Makeups are pretty rare for me too. Only for private lessons. The gray area, I guess, is if somebody is out on medical leave. I have a limit to how many I’m willing to do and may tighten up in the future. I always look over my policy during the summer.

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Carrie L., Michigan

Ours is one a month. They have to call in advance and all makeups come as a regular shared lesson, so privates are either not made up at all or in a shared lesson. We always make up if a teacher misses. But probably only a third of students even ask for makeups. But this month I’m doing about 4 to 5 hours of makeup times and that’s a lot of time.

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Bernadette A., California

I don’t do makeups. If they want a makeup, I charge them my private rates. Once in a while I give them freebies at my discretion.

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Terri P., Michigan

I only do makeups for private lessons, because they cost a considerable amount more. How is it really possible to do a makeup lesson for someone in a shared or group lesson, without it being a private lesson?

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Laurie Richards, Nebraska

If you have other groups in a similar place in the curriculum, they can attend a different class one week. That’s the only type of makeup lesson I offer.

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Robin Keehn, Washington

I have no makeups as a policy. If I think someone is really struggling and I want to save the day (because it’s not an ongoing issue–just a circumstance), I’ll offer a free makeup.

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Pamela S., Missouri

I typically don’t do makeup lessons either, only in very rare cases, but if I know they are going to be absent, I try to plan to do something they can try on their own, like accompaniment or something they can learn from the video. And I’ve found that people try to plan their other activities around the lesson. I only do shared lessons, but when I had a private lesson, I still did not make up the lesson if they missed.

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Anna J., Canada

I typically don’t do makeups either. My policy states no makeups, but in practice I use some discretion for my private students. Where I can provide an alternate time, and they’ve notified me in advance, I consider it. I’m pretty up front that this is an exception. Most families haven’t had a problem.

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Katie S., California

I use 5th lesson days for makeup days.

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Missy M., Iowa

I encourage students to come to any other lesson if they really feel they need a makeup. They can come to a group in a level beyond them or behind them. Either can be inspiring or helpful for review. Funny thing is I’ve only had one person ever take me up on it.

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Kerry V., Australia

“Missed lessons are not credited”. That is on my enrollment form which, when they sign, they are accepting the terms. Groups can share info with each other. I use discretion for private. But over school holidays etc, if there is another thing we are doing I may ask students to come in and I spend time with them. It all works out. What I’ve found is that very rarely are students missing classes. It gives a completely different view on how important lessons are. My guitar teacher, at my studio, doesn’t use this and is always having people miss class and even dropping out. So retention rate is much higher with no credits. Shows I mean business.

I do, however, offer parents or coaches to com to lessons if the child is away at camp, sick, etc and the adult can come along still.

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Jacqui G., Canada

You have to draw a line in the sand and keep to it, or people will take advantage of you. I started giving makeup lessons, and credits for missed lessons, to help out one family. All well and good, until the mom started texting me five minutes before a lesson “can’t make it today, can we reschedule?”, and then bailing on the reschedule. After a few such incidents, the next time she said “can’t make it today” I texted back, “I’m sorry to hear that. See you next week”. She was speechless. When it came time to pay me for the next month, I could tell that she was expecting a credit for the missed lessons, but I said nothing and she paid me the full amount. I have now revised my studio policy to read “It is not the policy of this studio to provide makeup lessons”, and I am going to add a line about no credits.

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Cheri S., Utah

If you truly believe that no makeups is the best policy for your studio, most students and parents will go along with it.

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Laurie Richards, Nebraska

My policy is the same as Bernadette’s. With a larger studio, it is just not feasible. Another option is to offer one or two group makeup sessions per quarter or whatever works for you. Not separated by level, age, or anything. Do Comp & Improv or other projects or workshops outside the regular curriculum. A good topic might be musical expression.

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Shanta H., Minnesota

I do all-studio makeup group lessons about six times a year. Mostly during the school year. But you could do whatever schedule works for you. I don’t do any makeups other than these.