Ultimate Guide to Missed Lessons Policy (Part 1) [7FMS Ep. #64]

by Daniel Patterson


Not too long ago, we asked our podcast listeners if they were experiencing any challenges around missed lessons and their makeup lesson policy.

Boy, did that question strike a nerve for both music schools and single-teacher studios!

Here’s just a small sample of the responses we received:

  • Last-minute absences are causing a burden on instructors
  • Scheduling make-ups for multiple students and multiple teachers can be challenging
  • Families ask for a tuition credit instead of a make-up lesson
  • Teacher sick leave results in tuition credits instead of make-up lessons
  • Limiting the number of make-up credits is considered but complicated and causes tension
  • If you’re a multi-teacher school, teachers might push back on the policy because they don’t like that they have to come in at odd times to do their makeups
  • Weather-related absences
  • Teachers “overriding” the policy by giving private make-ups
  • Payment issues for missed lessons
  • Solo lesson slots are full, making it difficult to schedule make-ups
  • Group lessons don’t offer make-ups, causing extra pressure
  • Touring musicians have performances that complicate the cancellation policy
  • Difficulties reconciling cancellation policies with time away from teaching
  • Inconsistent communication and enforcement of the policy
  • Students and parents not knowing the policy or disagreeing with it
  • Adult students complaining about not getting personal make-ups with their teacher
  • Loss of income and working on non-work days
  • Balancing fairness for students and teachers
  • Parents ignoring the policy and asking for make-ups
  • Difficulties communicating the policy effectively.

We looked at this list and created this episode to address these issues.

Listen to this episode and you’ll learn how to defend your policy, the 4 rules that you absolutely need to follow no matter what your policy is, and the HIDDEN consequences you will experience if you don’t follow these rules.

Click below to listen to the episode.


Or, check out the video version of the podcast:



Here’s what we cover in the episode:

  • Ultimate Guide to Missed Lessons Policy (Part 1)
  • Casual vs. strict: choosing the right makeup policies for your studio
  • How to handle pushback from parents in a professional way
  • 3 essential rules for creating effective makeup policies
  • Identifying and addressing sources of tension in your music studio
  • Creating clear communication policies for teachers and students
  • How teachers can find their own substitutes
  • How to simplify your studio’s schedule & policies
  • What happens if you just don’t have a makeup policy?
  • How to have confidence in your policies

This is the first of TWO episodes around policies in your school.

Next week, we are releasing the second part… a live Q&A where we answer the best questions submitted by the listeners of this podcast.

See you then!

PS> For other practical ideas on how to save time, scale, and get more students, check out our free resources at the link below.



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Daniel Patterson is a private teacher, writer, and marketing consultant for music schools. He began teaching in 2004. He co-founded and led marketing operations for a summer music camp that sees over 200 children each summer.

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