Have you decided to hold group lessons but aren’t quite sure how often to schedule them or how to make sure as many of your students as possible can attend?
When I first started holding group lessons I was overwhelmed and unsure of how to effectively schedule group lessons. Everyone seemed to suggest a different way to host group lessons. I heard everything from once a week, once a month, once a quarter, once a semester, to not at all!
There are so many ways to integrate group lessons in one’s studio. Due to my large studio, I found it works best for me to dedicate one week of each semester to group lessons. This ensures that everyone has an opportunity to attend group lessons while still allowing for adequate private lessons throughout the year. During the week of group class I only teach group lessons and do not schedule private lessons this week. In my studio, group class is required and part of tuition. Even if a student skips group class they still are required to pay the same tuition as those who attended.
Over time I have found a few tips that have helped keep my sanity when scheduling times for group classes. Whether you decide to hold group lessons once a week or less frequently as I do, hopefully you will find the following tips helpful.
You Can’t Keep Everyone Happy
The first thing to remember is you cannot keep everyone happy. It will drive you crazy if you try! Though I do try to accommodate different schedules and stay aware of what works for the majority of my students it is important to remember you can’t please everyone. Despite your best efforts sometimes someone will not be able to attend class.
Create a signup sheet with class time options.
I begin by creating a signup sheet with various time options. I assign each class a level, for example beginner, preschool, intermediate, teen or advanced. I then look at my studio to see who needs evenings, afternoons, or weekends. I try to schedule at least three beginner classes one in the evening, afternoon, and on Sunday or Saturday. I also do the same for all other levels with the exception of the teen/advanced class for which I only need one class and usually choose evenings. Sometimes I know I need more than three beginner classes so I will schedule one in the early afternoon, late afternoon, evening and on Saturday or Sunday.
Getting Families to Choose their Times
As families sign up I will ask for their first and second choice should I find that one of the times I originally thought would work does not work for enough families and I need to adjust the time. Typically I like to keep group class between 5-8 students but I have held smaller and larger classes as needed. When a class fills up I mark it as full and do not allow other families to sign up for that class. I usually take time preference requests on a first come first serve basis.
To give you an example of a possible group class schedule I have listed the schedule I used this past spring below. For reference preschool and beginner classes are a 1hr, Intermediate classes are 1hr 15min, and Advance classes are an hour and 15min to an hour and a ½ depending on if it’s beginning teens or advanced students.
3:00 Late Beginner
4:30 Beginner/Late Beginner
If you are not sure where to start in scheduling ask a few of your students what times and days might work for them. Just remember not to guarantee a time since you are just starting the scheduling process.