When covid hit the United States, music venues were forced to close their doors to the public (or offer limited access). Many performers found themselves out of work overnight and looked for new ways to supplement their income. Teaching music online became popular. It’s easy enough, fully remote, and pays a better hourly wage than most entry level jobs.
Solo music teachers had to adapt to the remote learning environment. Many went with a scheduling app like Appointlet. in order to book lessons and collect payment ahead of time. When a student picked a time to meet, unique video conference links were generated and sent in a confirmation email. Reminder emails kept the link in front of them. Voila, problem solved.
It turns out Appointlet supports 1-1 lessons and classes with multiple students. So we’ve seen a number of music schools onboard to our product and use it successfully for years. Schools can set up specific times when a class will be hosted and let them book into it. Best of all, the service is completely free!
For an online music school with lots of students, there may be other administrative tasks that you want to keep under one umbrella. If that’s the case, a robust music school management app like MyMusicStaff might be a better fit. It’s a gated scheduling environment, meaning that students have to log in and can only choose times that an admin has designated in advanced. This makes registration more secure but also makes scheduling one-off meetings challenging for teachers.
As a solution, we recommend music schools use both MMS and Appointlet, to cover different types of scheduling needs. This article highlights their benefits and limitations with a special focus toward online scheduling. By the end, you should have a better idea of how to set up 1-1 lessons and multi-student classes more effectively.
Why Use Music Teacher Software?
If you’re a teacher with a few students and an open schedule, it’s easy enough to organize classes with pen and paper. As your music school grows, scheduling gets more complicated. You’re not just coordinating times anymore – you need a place to keep track of students’ personal information.
To manage these responsibilities, administrators commonly use spreadsheet apps like Excel and Google Sheets. They can keep track of student details here. But the lack of communication between sheets has been known to drive admins crazy.
That’s why music school management software exists. During the pandemic, music teachers entered a remote workplace and sought out digital tools that could help. Web services like MyMusicStaff handle more than student data. They take care of invoicing, learning management, marketing your school, and managing teachers.
One common complaint about MyMusicStaff is their scheduling engine. Students have to sign up and log in before they can join a class. For this reason, some schools will combine their primary management software with a scheduling service like Appointlet.
MyMusicStaff Pros and Cons
This section will provide a balanced perspective of MMS’ functionality and more accurately inform the reader before making a purchase.
MyMusicStaff is a versatile platform capable of making life much easier for small studios and big schools alike. Teachers love features like:
- Quick account setup
- Direct SMS integration
- Hosted website for your school
- Comprehensive parent/student portal
- Cloud-synced calendar
- Transaction and expenses tracking
- Individual and group lessons
- Recurring schedules
- Free learning resources for music students
- Easy mass emailing
- 4.9/5 overall rating on Capterra
- Invoice and collect payments with PayPal and Stripe
While MMS certainly sports a host of compelling features, it’s not without its shortcomings. Poorly-received aspects of the platform include:
- Password protected scheduling page for lessons not ideal for all schools
- Students can only choose a time that was approved for them in advance
- Cannot name calendar events
- Complexity is better suited for schools than freelancers
- “Non-teaching events” are limited to Group Lesson, Lesson, Recital, and Vacation
MyMusicStaff aims to be the be-all-end-all for music studio management. Their platform promises to save you countless time spent on administration every month with its extensive toolset.
Below, we’ll evaluate its flagship features and give you an idea of its capabilities. Then in the proceeding section, we’ll evaluate its strengths and weaknesses directly. By the end, you should have a decent idea of its capabilities and whether or not it’s suitable for your music studio.
Student Management System
At the core of MyMusicStaff’s platform is its student management system. It’s a comprehensive software tool capable of storing student information and performing various administrative tasks with ease.
These admin functions include:
- SMS and email reminders
- Mass emailing
- Parent/student portals to access lesson and billing information
If you already have a list of your student information, you can import it into MyMusicStaff easily.
Invoicing and Online Payments
MyMusicStaff offers flexible options for invoicing students, whether you do it per lesson, semester, or year. You can even adjust your invoicing for each family.
You can create invoices automatically, meaning there’s no need to painstakingly fill out and send one each time. In addition, they’re extensively customizable, enabling users to add their branding for a truly professional presentation.
Once it’s time to invoice them, you can integrate Stripe and Paypal directly for easy payments. You can also save credit cards and bill clients automatically.
Whether you’re a solo teacher or music school, the interactive calendar system on MMS should be more than sufficient for your needs. The calendar integrates directly with the student portal, where pupils can easily register for open lessons slots. Students can only book a time with if that slot has been opened for them in advance.
The calendar also offers functionality for:
- Joining online lessons directly (Zoom, FaceTime, or Skype)
- Organizing your category and location
- Tracking attendance, make-up credits and classes
The MMS calendar syncs across all devices for easy access at any time.
MMS offers teachers a respectable range of learning functions:
- Lesson notes: During class, you can record lesson notes tracking what your students learned in class and what they need to focus on during practice time. MMS enables teachers to distribute these notes for viewing in the parent/student portal.
- Practice log: Students can record time in their Practice Log. From here, they can make notes, ask questions, and even upload recordings of their sessions.
- Lending library: This tool allows you to keep track of all materials lent to students.
- Online resources: Upload all teaching files to one place and set permissions for access. Students will be notified of uploads and will be able to download and/or stream materials for quick refreshers.
MMS provides everything you need to run your music studio like a proper business.
Their platform offers an impressive host of enterprise features, including:
- Website hosting: Build and host a ready-for-business music studio website from scratch
- Website integrations: If you already have a website, you can integrate MMS using their external website widgets
- Mileage tracking: If you or your teachers travel for teaching, you can track mileage directly
- Expense tracking: Like with mileage, you can record all business expenses into MMS
- Business reports: Generate exhaustive reports of your finances, including everything from expenses to payroll
If your music school employs multiple teachers, MyMusicStaff allows for easy management of each one. Teachers receive separate logins, for which they can receive the exact permission they need to do their jobs.
They have complete autonomy over their dashboard and can easily perform tasks like schedule management and attendance recording. For administrators, payroll is an easy task and highly customizable for every business model.
MyMusicStaff offers a reasonable $14.95/month for unlimited students and unlimited storage.
This price point makes it ideal for even the most minor operations to expand their efficiency without hurting their bottom line. With all the features offered, it’s undoubtedly an excellent value for money.
Scheduling software for schools
MMS allows school admin to expose times when students can register for a lesson or class. Once a student logs in, they pick the time and enter their information. This barrier to entry can make it difficult for students or parents to easily access the calendar to make updates. MMS does not offer automated notifications to the attendee or host when a student registers for a class. Each new appointment therefore requires manual notification by the school. Without this, there is no digital receipt of the agreement.
If a school neglects confirmation and reminder notifications, it can lead to missed lessons and disagreements. These oversights are frustrating for students and teachers alike. That’s why we recommend supplementing MMS with a dedicated remote scheduling tool like Appointlet.
Using Appointlet for Online Scheduling
Introducing the lightweight, powerful, and cost-effective scheduling tool that music teachers have been choosing for nearly a decade. Appointlet specializes in seamless booking experiences, ensuring that your students and their parents stay in the loop.
Filling the Gaps (And Then Some)
Where MMS struggles to provide an airtight scheduling experience, Appointlet comes to the rescue. As mentioned previously, MMS requires schools to manually email students a confirmation email. Appointlet streamlines that process with automatic confirmations, scheduled reminders, and one-click methods of joining the web conference. If you prefer to manually approve each meeting, that option is still available to you.
Furthermore, teachers will also find Appointlet’s comprehensive reminder and notification functionality particularly useful in eliminating no-shows. With support of 1-1 lessons and multi-student classes, it’s the perfect scheduling software for schools.
If that’s not enough to bring you under our wing, consider how these features can make your teaching career that much easier:
- Public scheduling pages: Appointlet hosts a scheduling page that you can easily share with anyone – no password required. This makes it easier for students and parents to access the booking page and choose a time.
- Effortless rescheduling: If the student or teacher needs to reschedule, they can do so with the click of a button. This option is available in the confirmation and reminder notifications as well as the calendar events.
- Intake forms: Easily collect all information required before a meeting by integrating a questionnaire with your invitations
- Branding and white labeling: Remove Appointlet branding and replace it with your own for maximum professionalism
- Available everywhere: In addition to its desktop functionality, Appointlet has apps for Android, iPhone, and iPad for scheduling management anywhere, anytime
Appointlet offers a forever-free plan for a generous collection of features. To activate premium features, the cost will go up to $8/member/month. Appointlet has a 25% EDU discount available, bringing the monthly cost down further. So music teachers can access the tools they need at an affordable price.
This pricing makes it ideal for supplementing MMS without breaking the bank. Combining the bargain entry with extensive functionality makes Appointlet a no-brainer for any music school serious about making its operation as efficient as possible.