4/21/10

Piano Teaching Q&A: Theory Technology

Hello, again! We've finally moved into our new home in Idaho and I've already gotten a few student referals (yes!). I went to a workshop for piano teachers this past Friday entitled "Incorporating Technology into your Studio", and it turns out that technology is a BIG deal here in Idaho (which I love!) Even the elderly teachers who have been teaching for 50 years use MIDIsaurus and other computer-based theory exercises. I love it and I'm going to buy MIDIsaurus and a couple other computer theory programs in the next couple of weeks. But here's my question:

How should I handle computer lab fees? I originally thought I would charge a $5 computer lab fee per month (keeping in mind the cost of living in Idaho). However, when I went to the workshop on Friday and asked the same question, a lot of the teachers said they tried doing a monthly fee, but a lot of the parents would try to save money and say "Well, what if I just had my son take piano lessons without the computer instruction, so I don't have to pay the monthly computer lab fee?"

I obviously want to avoid that, because theory and ear-training are such an integral part of piano lessons! So some of the teachers suggested doing a yearly Materials Fee, which covers computer lab costs. I originally had my materials fee set for $25, BEFORE I added my computer lab. I thought maybe it should be $50 for the yearly materials fee, but it sounds like that might be too high for Idaho (I already had to drop my monthly lesson rates by $15, and it's STILL on the high side!) So what would you do? I'm having some students come for auditions next week, so I need to have this ironed out by the end of this weekend! Thanks!

2 comments:

Heidi said...

I include the cost of the computer software/materials in my lesson fee by charging a bit more than I would without a lab. I think most parents are willing to pay a bit more for a lesson that is double the length, even here in Idaho where I teach. I explain from the start that the lab is included with every lesson so parents don't view it as something optional. I have found quite a few free resources online that I incorporate into the lab without much extra cost. I'll try and post a list on my blog soon.

bonnie jack said...

I was going to say the same thing as Heidi. Instead of charging a $5 lab fee, just raise your tuition $5 a month and tell them that the lab is included. However, it sounds like that might be a problem considering that you have already had to drop your tuition to begin with.

I guess part of me feels like you should just go ahead and charge what you're worth, and if that means it takes you a bit longer to fill up your studio, so be it...

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