Business tools for busy music teachers

Teaching these days is full on. Increase your student numbers, and immediately the admin increases along with it. And if you are balancing playing at a professional level with private or school based teaching, then it is all too easy to end up overwhelmed. So what’s out there in the wonderful world of business management that can help make life a little easier?

EVERNOTE

This is a web based programme with accompanying app which I use for keeping track of student notes. It’s particularly helpful for the students I teach online as I can then share the lesson note with them. It’s the modern day equivalent of taking an exercise book to class!

Each student has their own Evernote ‘notebook’ where the lessons are stored. I can even create a ‘starred’ note that contains all their contact details and any other important things to remember. Each lesson is numbered 1/4, 2/4 etc which helps me keep track and know when to send out a new invoice.

For an excellent series of tutorials on using Evernote for music lessons, check out pianopantry.com

WAVE ACCOUNTING

When you have a busy teaching schedule, balancing your bank account on the back of an old envelope just doesn’t quite cut it. Wave is a free online accounting programme that allows you to send out professional looking invoices and receipts, and also links to your bank account to keep track of what’s going in and out. You can even add recurring invoices with credit card payments to make the whole getting paid thing as painless as possible.

ACUITY SCHEDULING

One of the best online booking programmes I’ve used. It’s super easy for both the teacher and student to use, and can be linked to your website so it’s straightforward for students old and new to find. You can set your teaching times and allow for lessons of any length. It also syncs with Google Calendar or iCal, so if you have something on, it will automatically block out that time in your teaching schedule. If you wish, you can even organised to be paid through Acuity when the lesson is booked, though that isn’t something I’ve tried out.

The thing I like best about Acuity is that it removes the long winded process of texts or emails going back and forth:

Student: Can I see you for a lesson next week?

Me: Yes- I’m free on Tuesday 4-5pm or Thursday 10-11am.

Student: Do you have any times on Friday?

Me: *facepalm*

 

APPEAR.IN

I’ve taught Skype lessons for many years now, and have stuck religiously to that platform through thick and thin. But it is not a perfect system. After a bit of experimentation, I’ve landed on Appear.in. Still not perfect (I can’t call the student- they can only call me) but the picture, and more importantly, the sound quality is noticeably better. You create a ‘room’ which is secure- only people with the link can ‘knock’ and request to enter.

 

Knock friend and enterarch architecture art blue

 

 

GOOGLE CALENDAR

Straight up, I’m not an Apple person. And I’m much too set in my ways to change now. So it’s Google all the way. Google Calendar syncs with Acuity (see above) and pops up without lag on all the devices in my life. Everyone in the family, bar the dog, has their own coloured calendar so I can easily see who’s going where when, and make plans accordingly. And an online calendar removes the worry that always used to haunt me with paper diaries- that when changing diaries between the years some important thing would slip into the changeover crack and I’d end up monstrously double booked.

apartment bed carpet chair
Me recovering from unexpectedly having to teach a group class for 23 people because everyone thought their lesson was at 4.30pm Monday.

 

 

 

How do you manage your teaching?

 

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