Preferring Shared Over Private
Stephen R., California
I didn’t sleep well last night and feel like I’m at a crossroads here. I hope it’s ok to vent some frustrations and maybe get some additional perspective from all you teachers…
It seems like my studio has dissolved to a lot of private students again. I have struggled with starting and “keeping” shared lessons going. Some recent pairs became private students after one student stopped. I find it challenging to match people up once they switch to private even if it’s not by choice (schedules don’t align or they’re not in the same place or have similar ability).
A little background, I teach at a music store in a not very large music studio (when I first started teaching SM I was in an even smaller studio. 😞 ) I can do pairs of students comfortably (two kids, two parents) or two or three adults in the room. Haven’t done a shared lesson of three in a very long time. Some of the issue here is me and some certainly is the logistics of the space.
I really DON’T want to be teaching this program privately anymore, but I have a lot of private students going very strong! It’s aggravating for me, especially w new pairs that fall apart. Private lessons can sometimes get uncomfortable if the relationship is new or not good. The spotlight is all on the one student and they feel pressure. It’s also more work for the teacher with so many individually tailored lesson plans and often loses the fun and energy of a shared lesson.
The catalyst for this post perhaps are two adult students who have had back to back time slots and are in the same place in the program and are moving at similar paces, a lady and guy, both in their 30’s. He used to be in a shared lesson, but she has been unwilling to share and “wants to do this on her own”. In fact, I used to teach her younger son until he stopped and she wanted to continue instead. The guy lost his initial partner several months ago. Since she seems unwilling I feel I want to move him now to a different day and time as there is no other match for him.
So, wondering how I should move forward here?? I have a $40 price difference between private and shared lessons currently, but maybe that’s not enough. I’m also feeling that at this point, the bigger picture I guess, is that I shouldn’t offer private lessons anymore and just change my policy to reflect that and even increase the rate. People seem to default to private lessons all too often. If there’s no option and people know that they have to be matched up if and when the opportunity arises maybe I should just require that.
Any perspectives would be appreciated!
Here’s my response to Stephen’s question:
Preferring Shared Over Private Lessons
Original discussion started February 16, 2022