Our students need books and materials to study piano, there’s no getting around that! So every studio has to decide how they are going to handle the purchase of new books. My studio charges a flat fee of $25 per semester (Spring, Summer, and Fall) that covers all materials. By the end of each semester, some students may have used more than $25 worth of books, other students may have used less than $25. But I’ve never had a parent question what that money is used for or why they didn’t receive more books. We simply tell parents that this covers all the materials they need including but not limited to books they take home, songs purchased online and printed out, apps we use together in lessons, and supplies for recitals. I’ve been very happy with this system, here’s a few reasons why:

  1. I can order new materials immediately. Asking parents to purchase materials themselves or waiting for parents to pay for materials can slow down the process. When I want a student to start a new book I order it immediately and give it to them as soon as it arrives. No delays.
  2. We can celebrate the completion of a book without a parent being frustrated that completing a book means spending money on a new book. Who wants the cost of a new book to rain on the parade of celebrating something good?!
  3. It’s a lot less administrative work for me. I don’t have to alert parents when I’m buying new materials for their child. I don’t have to keep a record of how much was spent on materials for each child. I don’t have to ask parents to purchase a specific book. All I do is order the book, or pull it off the shelf if we already have it, and then hand it to the child! So simple. With 60 students, anything that saves me mindless time is good.

Again, in 5 years of using this system I’ve never had a parent question the materials fee. This has been a great way to simplify one part of teaching. How do you handle materials costs in your studio? We have so many creative readers, I’m sure you have some great ideas!

Author: Spring

Spring Seals, NCTM, teaches 60 piano students ranging from age 3 to 70 in Fort Worth, Texas. She also serves as the Director of Certification for TMTA. She is passionate about helping teachers become more effective in their studios through professional development, new resources, and fresh ideas.