Getting Started Guide: Part 3 - The Next Level - My Music Staff » My Music Staff

The Next Level

My Music Staff is more than just a perfect solution to a music teacher’s admin treble (we’re full of music puns!). It’s also an incredibly useful tool to share information and resources with students. The Student Portal allows students and parents to have a central place to access their lesson notes, view resources, schedule & cancel lessons, make payments, and more! Remember that the Student Portal is only as valuable as you make it, so the more content you share on it, the more worthwhile it will be to your studio’s families.

Here are some ideas for Student Portal content:

Lesson Notes

When taking attendance for a lesson, there’s a place for you to record lesson notes. This is where you can write out specific instructions for what your student should be working on. You can even leave separate notes for the parent, and private notes for yourself all from the same spot! Use these lesson notes to provide details about technique, repertoire, progress, and what to practice leading up to the next lesson. This is a great spot to share links to external content as well, like YouTube videos or online theory games.

Students and parents can view their recent lesson notes on the Home page of the Student Portal – no excuse for them not to remember what they worked on in their last lesson. They can also view their whole lesson note history under Attendance & Notes.


Online Resources

The Online Resources section can be used to upload any files your students will need to access. Each file can be assigned to students so they can access them directly through the Student Portal. This allows you to upload a file just once, and share it instantly with multiple students. There is no limit to how many files you can upload, but an individual file is limited to 2GB.

Some ideas for files to upload to Online Resources are:

  • Music theory worksheets (there are many free activity sheets available for download from the My Music Staff Pinterest)
  • Short video clips of a song being played, technique being explained, or of warm-up exercises for students to follow along during practice (most common formats can be streamed directly in the Portal – no need for your students to download a large file to their device!)
  • Audio files (for example, record accompaniment for vocal students so they can sing along during an online lesson without worrying about audio lag)
  • Pre-recorded lessons that guide your students through the structure of a typical in-person lesson

You can use folders in different ways to organize your Online Resources. You may want to create a folder for each student and upload new files during their lesson time. Or you could keep different types of content in different folders – one for sheet music PDFs, one for audio files, one for video warm-ups, etc. Some MMS members even use folders to organize their Online Resources into an online course!


Repertoire

Adding repertoire is another great way to manage lesson content with My Music Staff. Like Online Resources, you just need to add a piece of repertoire once, and can then assign it to multiple students as needed.

When you add repertoire, there will be an option to add notes. These notes will be available to any student that is assigned to that repertoire. This is a great place to include video/audio links, instructions, tips, etc. Switch to Plain HTML Mode to embed a YouTube video directly in the notes! Students can view repertoire notes in the Portal to guide them as they practice.


News

Writing a News post is the perfect way to communicate studio-wide information. Share info about studio closures, recital updates, and even announce practice challenges! Recent News posts will be displayed in a can’t-miss spot on the Student Portal Home page.


Lending Library

Always trying to hunt down those theory books you let a student borrow? Take the guesswork out of finding your resources! Track all your library items in MMS, mark them as lent to a specific student, and set the due date. You’ll see on the Home Agenda when the item is due so you can remind them!

Student Portal

1. The side of My Music Staff for students and parents to access their schedule, resources, practice log, and other helpful features

2. The ultimate way to save your sanity by automating away all those back and forth emails with parents about scheduling

e.g. No need to text or call if you need to cancel next week’s lesson, just sign in to the Student Portal and cancel it from your calendar – it’ll be way quicker for both of us!

Anatomy of the Student Portal

1. Upcoming Events – Students and parents can see a list of scheduled lessons over the next month. Clicking an event will open up more details about it, like the location, assigned repertoire, and items due from the Lending Library!

2. Profile Settings – Students and parents can update their personal information and change their password here.

3. Help Center – Students and parents can click here to open the in-app Help Center. Any questions they have about how to use the Portal will be answered here.

4. Recent Lesson Notes – Quick and easy access to the notes you took at previous lessons!

5. Calendar – This is where parents and students can go to see their scheduled lessons and available open lessons or events. Registrations and cancellations can be done on the Calendar, and they can also sync their Calendar to their device!

6. Account & Invoices – This menu item is only visible for parent logins or adult students. They can view their transaction and invoice history. They can also make an online payment directly from this page!

7. Online Resources – Any files you assign to the students will be available to view and download here.

8. Practice Log – Students can log their practice time manually, use the in-app practice timer to track their practice as they go, and upload files for you to see!


Frequently Asked Questions

They’re almost identical, with just a couple of key differences. The parent login will show the Account & Invoices menu and allow them to make changes to payment and billing information. The student login does not display any details about billing or invoicing. In a family with multiple siblings taking lessons, the parent login will give access to the schedule, assigned resources, and more for all students in the family. The student login will only show this info for that specific student.

Your families can log in directly from your website! If you have an MMS-hosted site, just add a page to your website, then choose “Login Page” for the Page Type. If you have an external website, just add the Login widget to any page you’d like!

As with anything new you introduce, it might take some time for parents to adapt. The best way to help those parents who are still texting and emailing you about things they should be doing in the Student Portal is to continue to redirect them. If you just go ahead and cancel their lesson over text, they’re not going to do it from the Portal next time either. Here’s an example of a message to keep in the back of your mind for situations like this:

“Thanks so much for reaching out. Please make sure you log in to the Student Portal to reschedule/cancel the lesson, as all scheduling changes need to be confirmed there. See you Tuesday!”

You can control your own registration and cancellation policies from Studio Settings! Set your cancellation and registration deadlines, and tell the system what attendance status to set cancelled events to before the deadline and after. You can even automatically convert cancelled lessons into make-up slots!

Top Troubleshooting Tip

When a parent or student has an issue in their Student Portal, use the View As button to see what they see. Usually you can find the answer or solution for them pretty quickly just by looking at the same thing they are! To view the Portal as a student or parent, just go to Options under their Student Details!

My Music Staff also has a number of features that can help you with the other aspects of running your business, and keep you organized outside of your actual lessons. Here’s a quick overview of these helpful features:

Expenses & Other Revenue – Any business-related expenses can be tracked here – instruments, books for the lending library, rental spaces for your recital, etc. You can set up recurring expenses and even take photos of your receipts to track them! The benefit of tracking expenses in MMS is that the system already knows your teaching revenue. When tax season rolls around, you’ll just need to send a Revenue & Expenses report to your accountant and you’re all set!

What’s the difference between cash flow and accrual mode?

The difference between Cash and Accrual reports is subtle, but important. The main difference comes in December/January:

In Cash mode, revenue is recorded at the time payment is received. So, if you invoice for lessons in December, but don’t receive the money until January, in Cash mode this will be income recorded in January.

In Accrual mode, the revenue is recorded at the time that it’s invoiced. So, in the same example (invoiced in December, paid in January), the revenue would be included in December.

Mileage – If you’re a traveling teacher, our mileage feature will keep track of everything for you! You can add individual trips or recurring trips for your regular travel between lessons. To make it even easier, use the GPS on your phone to track the mileage as you drive!


Website – If you don’t have a website for your studio, you’ll love our website builder. You don’t need to be a tech whiz to build a website with My Music Staff. Our simple, template-based web builder will let you create a professional website to promote your lessons, sign up new students, and have a place to log in to the Student Portal. New students who sign up through your website’s registration form will automatically be added to MMS!


Studio Reports – We’ve put together some commonly used report templates for you. Pull a Revenue & Expenses report for your accountant, a Student Retention Report, a Student Attendance report, and many more! Most reports can be saved as a PDF or a CSV. PDFs will be formatted similar to your invoices, using the same accent color and logo. CSVs can be opened in your favorite spreadsheet application for the data to be manipulated how you need.

You’re almost done!

Read the Getting Started Guide wrap-up on the next page to find out where you can learn more about how to use My Music Staff.