Summer Lessons and Curriculum

This post is part of a series called Your Questions Answered that highlights questions from readers just like you. If you have a question you would like to submit, you can do so here.


What curriculum do you teach in the summer?  Do you keep the student going in their regular curriculum or do you use something different to give them a break?

I love your idea of 6 lessons in 7 weeks and I would love more info on how you set it up.




Dear P,

Those are some great questions and I would be happy to share a little more info!

I don’t have a set curriculum I teach in the Summer. For the most part, I just keep going with whatever students are working on but it’s always quite relaxed and there is no Classical repertoire involved unless the student specifically wants it.

Usually, I try to do a lot of pop tunes, Disney, chord charts, really anything the student is interested in. For several years I held a studio-wide outdoor picnic performance and it was fun to play that kind of music in that environment.

The 6 lessons in 7 weeks have worked perfectly for me ever since I’ve opened my studio. Depending on how my late July looks, I’ve even done 6 lessons over 8 weeks or 7 lessons over 8 weeks.

It’s nice to give flexibility to families in the Summer and I prefer to have a lighter schedule myself. Because of my preference for a light summer, I also do not require students to take summer lessons. I strongly recommend it for the first 3 years but don’t require it.

If they opt not to take summer lessons, however, I have a $30 non-refundable holding fee to keep their spot for fall lessons. I can’t replace my income for those two months if they don’t take lessons because I can’t take on new students for which I don’t have space in the fall. This is a great way to still have a little extra income while maintaining a lighter summer schedule.

The summer tuition fee is paid for in one payment (due by the first lesson) however, on occasion, if a family requests, I will let them make it in two payments. My fee is the same “per lesson” rate as the school term although I don’t advertise “per lesson” rates – that’s just how I calculate my fees.

My rates are listed as an annual tuition rate. More specifically, a school year rate and then a separate summer rate. From there, they have payment options of annual, semester, or monthly. I think it’s good to keep the focus on the big picture fee rather than on a per month (and especially not a per lesson) fee.

I hope this helps and let me know if you have any more questions!





  • Love-love-love your posts they are so helpful.

    Like you, I’m getting ready for Summer Lessons. I try to change things up for the Summer and this year I’m introducing more about composing. I started introducing this the last semester of this year but I want to do a lot more over the Summer.

    What ideas do you have to teach composing on a light level but keeping it fun? What other kinds of things do you do over the Summer?

    Also, I have two 4-year old girls starting this Summer any really fun ideas for them?

    Sorry I know that’s a lot of questions but you always have great ideas.

    Thanks again,

    • Hi, Frances – Thank you sooo much for your kind words. I’m so grateful to hear that and glad to know that you are finding use in what I do here! I just wanted you to know I’ve seen this comment and will reply to you via email in the next day or two. (This will also be one of our next YQA posts! 🙂

  • Do you also have a similar letter that you use for fall and spring lessons me? I’m trying to be more organized and intentional with my piano lesson information. It’s been a bit haphazard. I’d like it to be more professional. Also, I’d like to know how you do family discounts. I teach several siblings and need to consider a discount because each sibling set has another sibling to add!! Thanks for all your useful information and helpful ideas!!

    • Hi, Patsy, I honestly don’t have an email “template” of any kind I use each year. That would definitely be nice but I find every year is always a little different so I end up composing information based on whatever that year holds. 

      As far as the family discounts go, when I first opened my studio, I did 10% for the 2nd student but quickly found that I had way too many families with two kids in piano I couldn’t really afford to give that big of a discount. Now there are no discounts until you reach 3 students in a family. At that point, I think I give 3% (which equates to the cost of approximately one lesson). You definitely have to consider the fact that if they didn’t have a sibling, you would have a whole other family in that spot that would be paying full price.

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