As a piano teacher, one thing I have learned is the absolute necessity of having a clearly written studio policy. I hand the studio policy out to each family at the beginning of the fall semester of lessons (or to new families, at the beginning of study), regardless of whether they have been in my studio for only a short length of time or they are seasoned veterans. I strongly feel that good communication solves many issues before they even become issues.
One topic necessary to include in any good studio policy is that of makeup lessons. My current policy reads:
“At the end of each semester, there will be a week for make-up lessons. You are entitled to receive one make-up lesson for any and all lessons you may have missed during the semester. If you did not miss any lessons, you will not have a lesson that week.”
I personally enjoy having a week at the end of the semester designated for makeup lessons. It feels like the cool-down at the end of a long workout. It provides a little extra breathing room, and gives us some margin to work within the limits of a sixteen week-long semester.
Recently, I have come across some very interesting articles making the case for offering no makeup lessons, unless the teacher must cancel a lesson. While I do not intend to change my current policy on makeup lessons, I appreciate the philosophy behind the “no makeup lessons” stance. I appreciate the fact that teachers should be regarded as professionals who “sell” their time and expertise, and it is the responsibility of the student to use the time that they have purchased wisely.
You may find the main article I’m referring to here. Another article on the same topic is referenced within the first article.