Friday, April 23, 2010

Novelty vs. Utility vs. Reality pt.4

Utility – Music Teacher’s Helper

For as fun and rewarding as teaching is, it is still a business, with all the things a business needs to be managed.  I have to keep track of students, families, lessons, invoicing, and event planning.  I use a website called Music Teacher’s Helper to get that done.  These are the things I’m currently using it for:

  • student database – including online registration; separation into active, wait list, and former students; and mass emailing
  • invoicing – tracking tuition per student, automatic charging it monthly, and emailing PDF invoices with a link to Paypal
  • calendar – my full teaching schedule with recurring lessons, syncing to Google calendar
  • file sharing – it has a file upload area where my students can do and download things I post for them

There are so many more features that I’m hoping to take advantage of going forward.  This is the first year I’ve actually used the calendar feature since it can now be synced with Google.  This means I see the same calendar on the website, on iCal, and on my Droid.  I can make changes anywhere and they sync back to everywhere else.  One feature I’m going to be investigating is the notes feature.  You can reconcile a lesson after it happens and add notes, which can then be emailed.  I’m not sure if it will be enough to replace my current lesson notes, but I am working on eliminating the paper system.  Unfortunately, there is no wifi at the studio, which makes using a web-based system for notes more difficult.  A mobile solution would be great, but there are no iPhone or Android apps yet.  An iPad app could be fun, but with a screen that big, just using website directly may work.

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