Product/Service: Complete Teaching Studio Management System
Price: FREE for the first 30 days – then $14, $29 or $49 per month depending on studio size
Summary: Music Teacher’s Helper is a complete online system that allows you to fully organize your teaching studio. When you sign up for the online monthly service (the first 30 days are free), you get access to powerful tools to track your current/past/waiting list students, send invoices to students, accept online payments, maintain an interactive online calendar and communicate with your students via email and uploaded documents. When you sign up you also get a fully functioning website that not only gives your studio an online presence but it also gives your students a fully functioning control panel to interact with you and the site. You can accept online payments (which requires a merchant account with PayPal), track expenses like mileage and supplies, and even track library items that you lend out to your students. Your students can track their practice and repertoire and you can make notes about those things that the student can see and use as ongoing assignments and encouragement.
The Pros: The creators of Music Teacher’s Helper have literally thought of everything that a private studio teacher needs to be as efficient as possible. The control panel is very easy to navigate.
The record keeping components are invaluable. The program automatically send invoices to the students and leads them to pay online (if you have signed up for a merchant account). Then you can see who has paid and who stills owes you. You can view and download reports of all the lessons you have taught in a certain period of time making tax-preparation very easy.
The interactive calendar is an excellent tool because you can indicate not only the time slots that are filled but also include time slots that are open so that when a student is checking your calendar, they can see when you are available and request to have a lesson in that slot right from their computer. It also works the same way for cancellations – they can request to reschedule or cancel their lesson from your calendar and your cancellation policy is posted there for them to see. You can also post studio events and schedule automatic reminder emails to be sent to your students before their lessons and events.
I think one of the greatest attributes of this system is the ability for your students to register on your website and have access to their own control panel. This allows you to set up real accountability assisgnments for them. You can instruct them to log their practice time, give them notes regarding their assignments for the week and give them access to worksheets, manuals or any other documents or files you want them to be able to view. All of this happens online. If you have young students who do not have access to the online services, you give access to the parents and they can know what the assignments are, pay online and communicate with you.
The people of Music Teacher’s Helper have also created a community on their site. They have an extensive blog that has various contributors who cover many relevant topics about teaching. They also have a forum where teachers can interact with each other. And last but not least, they have excellent video tutorials on how to use the system.
The Cons: Music Teacher’s Helper offers free websites and while there are 18 different backgrounds to choose from and you can add pages to the 8 pages that are already put in place (Home, Registration, Contact Me, Photos, Links, etc.), you don’t have much opportunity to customize the layout. Also, while you can choose a portion of your domain name, the full URL of your site will be something like, mystudiosnewwebsite.musicteachershelper.com, which is a little cumbersome. However, if you are not tech savvy at all, the free website is a huge bonus.
Recommendation: I think this is a truly excellent system to organize all aspects of running a studio. It promotes productivity, accountability and makes record keeping a breeze. The free website is invaluable for today’s studio teacher and the price points are highly manageable. If you are a studio teacher, try it out for 30 days and see how much it can change the way you think about organization!
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