Implementing Online Lesson Scheduling

Implementing Online Lesson Scheduling

Summer is almost here.  The academic year’s schedule is coming to a close, and my students are signing up for lessons on the days that I will be teaching during the summer.

Traditionally, I’ve had a binder of available days on which students would sign up for a lesson.  Here’s an example signup sheet from last summer:

Summer Lesson Signup Sheet

This year, I’m trying out online lesson scheduling. While there are piano teacher specific services which might cover this well (e.g., Music Teacher’s Helper), my needs are more modest than what full blown studio management software offers.  I examined a few options for online appointment schedulers, and I implemented my summer scheduling through Acuity Scheduling.

Acuity Scheduling offers a free and a paid version.  Most studios would benefit from the $10/month version, which sends email reminders to your students and allows you to embed the schedule into your own website.  I signed up for the $19/month version, since it supports up to 6 “staff member” calendars – in this case, the two calendars I am using are of my studio and my wife’s studio.  I will cancel the membership once summer is over, since I do not need online scheduling during the year.

The interface is clean, and it allows scheduling multiple lessons at once, without the need to type in details more than once.  Clients can cancel and reschedule lessons on their own.

Other features that were critical in my choice of this service:

  • It is easy to set up specific lesson days, types of lessons (30, 45, 60, and 90 minute length), and specific available hours.
  • The lessons that are scheduled automatically show up in my iCalender or Google Calendar.
  • It takes a minimum number of mouse clicks for a client to set up one or more lessons.
  • The scheduling fits easily into your website.  There even is a WordPress plugin, which I use in this site.

One feature I am not clear is available is the ability to have each calendar (e.g., my studio and my wife’s studio) show up as a separate calendar in iCalendar.  It appears that one can do this with Google Calendar, so I may need to go that route.

I also had evaluated two other popular scheduling sites: Doodle and Sign Up Genius.  I couldn’t find the flexibility I needed in my scheduling with Doodle.  Sign Up Genius’ calendar setup for irregular days and hours was cumbersome, and the client appointment process involved way more steps than I wanted.  This is in contrast to Acuity Scheduling, whose feature set and ease of use fit very closely with my needs.

There are a lot more features to Acuity Scheduling that could be useful to me (automatic billing, text messages, etc.), but I will leave those for another piano teacher to explore and document!

It is my hope that because my clients do not need to come to the studio or call me to sign up, and because they will receive reminders of their lessons, I will save time and have greater summer student participation.

You can see my sign up page here.

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