It happens every single year.  Scheduling Stress.  I try to avoid late summer craziness by beginning the fall scheduling process by early July.  As I am writing this, I am “done” for this fall with the exception of a few early openings or morning before school possibilities.  I have checked with every parent.  I have confirmed and reminded that once we have this laid out, a swap will have to be made should a change be necessary.  And of course, problems will happen.  It isn’t just because our students are so busy.  It’s partly because parents’ expectations have changed over the years.  YOU, the piano teacher, are teaching one on one unless you are doing group classes.  The philosophy goes like this—Should the student discover that the patrols, the cross country track team, the after school club, etc. etc. etc. meets at the same time as the scheduled lesson, then the private teacher needs to accommodate that change.  When I was a student, if a club met the same time as the scheduled lesson, then I was already committed to the lesson time.   I just didn’t join the club or selected something else.  Now, parents believe their child must do everything.

Last year, in spite of my best efforts, there must have been four or five “yeah buts” the first week of school.  What to do?  I stuck to my studio policy which reads.  “Please note that my studio is fully Scheduled.  Agreeing to a club or sport that conflicts with your previously scheduled lesson time may result in an unsolvable conflict with your child’s lesson time.  Please check to see that you can trade with another student before agreeing to another activity. “

Here comes a dad who said his son was joining a ball team and the lesson would have to be moved.  I pointed to my policy, cheerfully gave him (likely the mom does this) the studio swap list and suggested they look for a trade or decide what is most important to them.  However, I do not give back registration fees nor unused quarterly payments (also in my policy.)  I held my breath.  Guess what????   The child’s family fixed the issue, the trade was made, I stayed out of it, and while I was at it–kept my cool.  It worked.  Should a student pull in late August due to conflicts, so be it.  Their tuition is paid to October 1st.  I do not give money back.  It has yet to happen that a student left due to another schedule change.  Your studio policy is your foundation for all conflicts.  I’m more relaxed, and somehow the parents work things out for themselves should they decide they want to make a last minute change.  Problem solved!