New feature: pay override by individual session

We are pleased to announce a new feature that gives you still more flexibility in the use of MuseMinder’s payroll accounting feature. You may now override the default pay rate and input a new pay figure for specific sessions on the calendar.

Before demonstrating by example, we would ensure that you know two things: first, this is only available to studio managers. Second, this is a pay-related feature, not an accounts-receivable feature. If you add a session to the calendar and you charge by the session, the system will generate an AR for it. If you don’t wish to charge for the session you must still delete that AR.


Amy teaches cello to Daniel on Tuesdays at 4:00 p.m. On December 13, Daniel misses his lesson with no advance notice. The session stays on the calendar because the studio policy is to pay teachers in the event of a no-show, and if the studio charges per-session, the charge remains due.

Daniel’s mother calls and makes an arrangement with Amy to make up the lesson, and the studio manager has no objection. They create a new session on December 17th. However, the deal made is that Amy would NOT be paid for this session because she has already been paid for the missed one. Since the new session is actually on the calendar, the system will count in in on the payroll reports, but you don’t want the session to be counted.

Here’s what you do:

  1. If you have not yet scheduled the session, go to either the calendar or the course view and choose any session of Amy teaching cello to Daniel.
  2. Change the values on the view to the new date and time (and location, if applicable) of the added session.
  3. IMPORTANT!! Hit the radio button that “says create a new single meeting/lesson, based on this form’s info”. Otherwise you are overwriting the date and time for an existing session and that is NOT what you want to do. You want to ADD a session.
  4. Hit the button that says save and override pay for this session.
  5. After saving your new session, the system moves you to another view where you may input a new rate for that session. You would input $0.
  6. When you hit save, a record will be kept of the pay override for this particular session. The view requires you to input an explanatory note and will record that it is you who is making this override. These both will appear on reports.
  7. When the payroll detail report is generated, you will see the date and time of the make-up session in the listing, but there will be $0 in the pay column, and the rate basis will say “Override”.

Please recall what we mentioned at the beginning. If you charge by individual session, the system will create a new AR for the new session. If the deal you made with Daniel’s mom was that she should pay for the make-up session, then nothing needs to be done. However, if you are offering the new session at no charge, you must go to Daniel’s account and delete the AR for that day.

Here are a few more details.

  • The studio manager may override the pay rate for ANY session on the calendar. There is a button on the session-edit view that allows you to do this.
  • You can edit existing overrides. If there is already an override on the books for a session, there will be a button that reads “edit pay override for this session”. This takes you to that input view so that you can change the rate again.
  • There is a report that shows ALL overrides for the operating year. You can find this in the reports section under Accounting/Payroll.
  • There is an edit view that shows all overrides – it looks like the report view but there are two buttons by each listing, one to edit and one to delete. This edit view is found under studio manager/set-up/staff.
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Arrange make-up bookings by instructor

We are pleased to announce yet another enhancement to the private-instruction make-up feature of MuseMinder. In the past you were only able to access and edit make-up information one student at a time. Now you can access the information by instructor.

There is a new link under the Calendar item on the menu bar. This link allows you to ‘record a private lesson make-up by instructor’. Please note that this enhancement concerns private lessons only. There are other ways to record make-ups for group lessons.

The view that you will see when you hit the ‘make-up by instructor’ link is indexed by instructor, and then by calendar week. The default week is the current one. Once you choose an instructor name, the system will retrieve all the unattended lessons on the calendar for that instructor, for the selected week. The idea is that you choose the session has been (or will be ) missed and made up. If the session to be made up occurs during a different week, simply change the date on the calendar.

When you select a session to be made up, the system will retrieve the existing make-up arrangements for the student being taught. This will allow you to see whether the student has exceeded any maximum make-up threshold set by the studio. Once the student has been selected you will see the student’s name in the tabs on the view. Click on the tab to set up a make-up for the selected session.

On the make-up booking tab you will have the option of setting a date and time for the make-up session. If you do not know the date and time for the make-up session, you can leave it TBD by hitting the appropriate buttons. The make-up arrangement will now show on the make-up list for that student.

Next to each item on the make-up list view, you will see a delete icon and a calendar icon. The calendar icon will be enabled if the make-up booking is UNSCHEDULED. This is the icon to hit to schedule the make-up session.

N.B. At present, you cannot create a make-up for a make-up. You can reschedule the session using the calendar, but this will not create a new make-up booking record.

This view is visible and updatable by any instructor who has Instructor (not Instructor-Attendance Only) privileges. When an Instructor/instructor logs in, they will only see and set make-ups for their own students. On the studio preferences view there is a checkmark to indicate whether instructors may delete their own sessions from the calendar. If instructors with Instructor privileges are allowed to delete sessions, the delete icon will display. If instructors are not allowed to delete sessions, it will not appear.

On the left side of the view below the lesson list there is a select list of student names. This is here to display and allow selection from the list of ALL private students taught by the selected instructor. We include this so that the user may see the make-up list, and perhaps schedule a TBD booking, even if a student is not being taught during the selected week. There is less fishing around this way.

You can use this same view to create make-up bookings for students one after another, and for one instructor after another.

Posted in Attendance, Calendar, Scheduling | Comments Off

Make-up dates can now be TBD

We are pleased to announce an enhancement to the make-up booking and tracking feature in MuseMinder. You may now book a make-up without specifying a date and time for the make-up session.

In the past, the make-up procedure allowed you to choose the missed session from a list, and then identify a date and time for the make-up session. You can still do that of course, but now you have the option of leaving the make-up session unscheduled. When you do this, the make-up record shows up on the make-up arrangement view with the word “UNSCHEDULED” in the cell that would normally show the make-up date and time.

Whenever the make-up date and time is unscheduled, a calendar icon will be enabled to the right of the record. When you are ready to book the make-up session, hit this calendar icon and choose a date and time for it. If the time slot you have chosen conflicts with an existing booking either for the instructor or for the room, the system will show a message to that effect and it will reject the booking.

There is a new report in the system under Reports/Students/Attendance called “Make-ups Unscheduled” that lists all the make-up bookings that are still TBD.

More specifics:

When you create a make-up record, the missed class will be REMOVED from the calendar. Many of you allow the system to do the default thing, which is to NOT record that missed hour on the instructor pay record. Some of you have set the setting to have the system pay for that missed session but not pay for the make-up. This feature and the settings remain unchanged. If you opt for the default, the instructor will go unpaid until that unscheduled make-up is actually put on the calendar. If you opt for the pay-now, teach-later approach, the instructor will be paid for the missed session and not for the eventual make-up.

If you charge by having the system create an AR for each individual session, the AR for the missed class will be REMOVED from the student’s account. It will be created anew, when the make-up session is scheduled, and the due date for the new AR will be the day of the make-up.

Staff members who have “Instructor” (not “Instructor Attendance-Only”) status can schedule make-up sessions for their own students. If you allow people with Instructor status to delete sessions from the calendar, they may also delete make-up arrangements.

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Enhancements to the make-up feature

We recently made some enhancements to the feature in MuseMinder that allows you to track make-up arrangements. First, you now can hop to the make-up arrangement view directly from the calendar if you click on a tile. Second, there is now a student selector on the view, so you can set up make-ups for one student after another from that view rather than going back to the student view as was the case before. Third, we have produced an alternate option for bookkeeping teacher hours.

    Basics about make-ups:

If you do not track private-lesson make-ups at your studio, you do not need to use this feature. Simply reschedule any session that needs to be moved. The instructor’s hours will reflect the calendar, so if something is moved from September to October, the instructor-hours report will show the hour actually taught in October.

If you DO wish to keep track of private-lesson make-up activity, or if you pay your instructors for the missed class session instead of the make-up session, then you WILL benefit from this feature.

If you have group classes, the make-up feature is very useful because it will show a make-up student’s name on the roster of the make-up class, and the attendance report will indicate that they made up an absence.

    More detail:

From the calendar, if you click on a session that is a private lesson you will notice a new button on the details view, inviting you to arrange a make-up. This button does not appear for group classes. The system will automatically populate the make-up view with the student’s information, so you can just go to the appropriate tab and set the make-up date.

The make-up arrangement view used to be accessed only through the student view. Now you can get to it in three ways: from the student view, from the calendar drop-down menu, and from the detail view that shows when you click on a calendar item. Again, you can only get to the make-up from a calendar tile if the student is in a private lesson. If you wish to set up a make-up for a group class, please either find the link under ‘calendar’, or go to the student’s view and click on ‘edit/view make-up arrangements’.

Now for time-keeping. There are some studios who wish to pay their instructors for the session missed rather than for the make-up session. Pay now, make-up later. This is a new option on your studio preferences view (manage/studio set-up/preferences). If you put a check in that checkbox, the calendar will still reflect the reschedule, but the reports will bookkeep the instructor’s work on the original day, not on the make-up day.

    Make-up reports:

You can always see a review of all make-up arrangements for the operating year by using two reports that can be found under reports/students/attendance:

Make-up arrangements Detail
Make-up arrangements Summary

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Registration and roles in MuseMinder

Registration is the process of putting person’s name into your studio’s system. It is different from enrollment, which is signing someone up for instruction. Registration happens once; enrollment happens over and over. Accordingly, a person should be registered in the system ONCE ONLY.

After a person is registered, you may assign them different roles as their initial roles change. Here is an example:

Leopold Mozart registers his son Wolfgang because he want to enroll him in piano lessons. When he registers, he gets assigned two roles:

  • parent/guardian of Wolfgang
  • account principal on the account he shares with Wolfgang

Wolfgang has two roles as well:

  • student
  • account member

Leopold decides to take a Master Class at your studio. This means he needs to become a student.

Go to Leopold’s member record and hit the link that says “register this member as a student’. Now Leopold has three roles:

  • account principal
  • parent of Wolfgang
  • student

A year later, Wolfgang’s sister Maria Anna is ready to start lessons.

Go to Wolfgang’s student record and hit the link that says “register new sibling”. This will lead you to a view that will take Maria Anna’s name and birthdate. The system will automatically associate her with Leopold’s account, and with Leopold as her parent.

Leopold now has four roles

  • account principal
  • parent of Wolfgang
  • parent of Maria Anna
  • student

Leopold’s account will have three members:

  • Leopold
  • Wolfgang
  • Maria Anna

Now Leopold is hired to teach a master class. He needs to become part of the staff.

Go to the staff view and hit the button that says ‘new staff member’. This takes you to a view that allows you to select an existing member. Select Leopold’s name.

Now Leopold has five roles

  • account principal
  • parent of Wolfgang
  • parent of Maria Anna
  • student
  • staff

You can add or remove roles as circumstances allow, but please do not re-register any person when they take on an additional role. This creates duplicate member records and duplicate accounts. The system warns you not do do it if it detects that you are inputting a different name. Please heed these warnings and your system will be clean and lean.

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An indicator for maximum allowed make-ups

Most of you know that MuseMinder allows you to reschedule any class session to another day and/or time. Most of you know that this privilege counts among those granted to any staffer who has ‘instructor’ status. When a reschedule occurs, the system simply records the change on the calendar; there is no record that the change took place.

Here is what you might not know: there is a way to record any schedule change or attendance shift. You can do it by recording a make-up. In the User’s Guide there is a page on make-ups, and there are several videos on this subject, so you can study up by looking there. This message is to announce an enhancement to the make-up protocol.

Studios may now indicate a MAXIMUM number of make-ups they permit in their studio policies. Once this maximum is entered into the system, the system will alert the administrator when the student has hit their maximum number of allowed make-ups. This is a screen display only. The administrator may still record a make-up if the maximum has been reached, but the display will continue to show.

Please note several things: if an instructor indicates a make-up as they are taking attendance, the instructor is not notified (the assumption here is that the child is already standing in front of the instructor ready to take class, so this is a fait-accompli). This feature is for administrators to keep track of make-up arrangements. Once the maximum is hit, the studio may have a policy to contact the instructor and alert them that no more make-ups are allowed. They may have some other policy. This maximum-make-ups is a tool to help you keep track of things.

You can find the entry box for maximum number of make-ups on the ‘manage / set-up / preferences’ view. The default number of allowed make-ups is 100, so if you do not restrict the number of make-ups, leave this number as is.

Posted in Attendance, Scheduling | Comments Off

A resource free/busy display for rooms and instructors

We are so pleased to introduce to you two new resource-management displays that show the free/busy status of instructors and instruction rooms. You can find these displays under your ‘calendar’ menu icon.

Each display shows the free/busy status of either instructors or rooms. Each allows you to identify a start time for the time window. If you choose the instructor display for either, you can filter the results by any list descriptor assigned to staff. The most common use case for this is when a studio sets up an ‘instrument taught’ list descriptor for a staffer. If you identify the one or more instruments taught by each instructor, then you can display who is free by which instrument they teach.

There are two free/busy displays. The first is based on a specific day on the calendar. The second is based on schedule templates.

Practically speaking, the calendar-based display answers the question

“Which resource is free (or busy) on this specific day?”.

The template-based display answers the question

“Which resource is normally free/busy on this day of the week?”

What is a template? When you set up a class or lesson set, the system records a template for it. A template records the day(s) of the week and the time(s) that a class meets. As an example, if you have a Group Art class that meets Wednesday at 4:00 p.m., the system will record Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. for that class. Later, when you are setting up next year’s classes, you can refer to this template to schedule the Group Art class automatically for next year. The system will simply take that template and set the schedule for the new year every Wednesday at 4:00. Templates work for weekly classes. If a class meets more than once a week, there will be as many template records for that class as there are regular meetings.

Templates work for private weekly instruction and for group classes. If midway through the year a private weekly lesson gets moved from Tuesday at 3:00 to Wednesday at 3:00, and that schedule change is propagated through the rest of the year, the template will change as well.

With this in mind, you can understand that the template-based display will show you what the nominal schedule is. It will not tell you if there has been a cancellation, or a temporary rescheduling. If you want that kind of detail then you must go to the calendar display and check the day in question.

There’s more: when the system retrieves status, in the nominal display that status is based on whether an instructor is the DEFAULT instructor for the course instance. But on the calendar display it will show the instructor who is recorded for that particular session. Therefore, if Alan is substituting for Amy on Tuesday September 13, Alan will show up as busy on the calendar display, but it will be Amy that shows up as busy that day on the template display, because she is the default instructor the class in question.

Further, the displays will show if someone is assigned as an ADJUNCT staffer for a class.

What is an adjunct? The system allows you to assign more than one staffer to a class. Examples of adjunct participants include:

  • co-teachers
  • rehearsal pianists
  • teacher’s aides

Adjunct staffers are enrolled in the class, and they appear on the attendance roster. They may or may not be required to show up for each class session. The free/busy displays show adjuncts in a different color and with a different label, so that you can know that it is a different kind of commitment.

The different statuses shown on these displays are as follows:

  • booked
  • part-booked
  • adjunct
  • part-adjunct
  • free

And now a word about color. The free/busy display should show blocks of color for every booking status except free. Free shows up as blank. If you view your free/busy display and you don’t see blocks of color, please clear the cache on your browser.

Gosh that was a lot of explanation for a display that we hope will be intuitive. We write all this to remind you of parts of the system that might still be unfamiliar to you.

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A full-day free/busy view

We are pleased to announce a feature that could prove very useful as you are laying out your schedules for the academic year. The “Room/Instructor Free/Busy” view is a single report that shows whether a selected resource is booked, partially booked, or free during the selected time frame during a selected day. This display is meant to help you see at a glance whether a room or an instructor is free during a given time slot, so that you might determine if you can assign a lesson to them.

You can find this view under the ‘calendar’ menu item. It is visible to registrars, studio admins, and studio managers.

On the view, first you choose one of two resources, rooms or instructors. The rooms on the display will be all locations that have been identified as available for instruction (this is a settable option on the locations view). Then you use the calendar to select the day and the start time. Last, there is a slider that allows you to select the increment for the ‘cells’ on the view – 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, and 60 minutes. Then you hit ‘show report’.

The time increments are identified across the top of the view. The names of the resources are the rows of the display, shown down the left side.

The result is a snapshot of a time period divided into 24 segments, showing who/what is free or booked at what time.

Resources are presented in two groups, those who have any bookings at all during the selected time span are listed first, then those that are completely free.

Two rules:

  1. an instructor will only show up on this view if they have at least one class during the operating year. If someone is on your staff roster but has not yet been assigned a class, they will not show (so you can assume they are completely free).
  2. instructors’ free/busy status is based on their identification as the default instructor of the course instance. Adjunct instructors are not listed in the bookings at present.

Since this is really a report, you can push the results out to a spreadsheet. Please have a look at this new view, especially if you have already begun scheduling. We hope you’ll find it useful.

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Instructors may now enroll, if granted the privilege

We are pleased to announce a feature that allows you to allow selected instructors to enroll students in weekly private instruction.

You might recall that there are different access levels that you can assign to any member of your studio. In general they break down along the lines of Office Staff and Instructional Staff. Most of the office staff people can view account information, all can accept payments, some can edit and delete account items. Instructors do not see any account-related information.

If you use this new access level, the instructor still would not be able to see or change any account information, but since they would be able to enroll a student, they would be given the privilege of creating new charges on an account. This is a privilege that most studios take very seriously.

The instructor-enrollment view looks very much like the regular enrollment view, except that it does NOT allow the following:

  • assignment of discounts
  • assessment of additional fees (the ‘other’ fees that appear in a box on the right of the view)
  • mailing of PDFs

If there is more than one fee associated with the course, they CAN choose the fee. The simplest example of this is if there is a monthly or semester charge. More complicated might be something like member rate or non-member rate, so you would need to have a certain level of trust to ensure the instructor chooses the correct rate. Also, if a student is affiliated with more than one account, they CAN choose the account.

All this is to say that this is an access level not to be taken lightly, but if used just right it could save your registrar a lot of time, particularly for new students. Remember that MuseMinder has an auto-renew feature for continuing private weekly lessons from one year to the next, so registrars should not have to re-enroll every single private student through the standard enrollment view.

That said, here is how this new feature works:

Instructor enrollment has two layers of a security. First, the instructor has to have Instructor/Enroller privilege. For starters, this will be in addition to the ‘Instructor’ status. Second, the base course must be identified as open for instructor enrollment.

In the past, there was a checkmark on the base course view that identified whether members can self-enroll. Now there is a select list with four options:

  • Enrollment by office staff only
  • Member self-enrollment allowed
  • Office staff and all instructors may enroll
  • Office staff and default instructor may enroll

Please note that his notation is available at the BASE COURSE level only. If you have a course called Intermediate Ballet and some sessions are group sessions but other sessions are private, this will not work. It works if you organize your instruction so that private lessons are grouped together under one or more base course, and group sessions have their own set of base courses.

As you can see by the options, you can either allow ALL instructor-enrollers to enroll students in the particular course, or ONLY the instructor who is identified as the default instructor.

The enrollment process is the same as usual, where any schedule conflict either with the instructor or the room will be reported to the enroller, but instructor-enrollers cannot override a schedule conflict.

Last but not least, you must go to manage/studio set-up/staff/staff roles and click on the checkbox of Instructor/Enroller for each instructor to whom you wish to grant the privilege of enrolling.

Posted in Enrollment, Staff/Instructor info | Comments Off

Announcing the MuseMinder calendar-sync app!

Everyone here at MuseMinder HQ is thrilled to announce the release of Version 1 of the

MuseMinder Mobile App for Apple devices

This app serves a single purpose, and that is to synchronize your studio’s classes and events, as recorded through MuseMinder, with the calendar on an iPhone, iPad, or other Apple device. Members of your studio community no longer need to log in to the system to see their schedule.

The app is designed for instructors and for parents, so you may forward this message, or one that you compose, to your staff and parent community. Just a note, studio managers and admins will NOT see the entire studio calendar as you do in the online system. That would be way too much. This app is meant to provide individualized entries tailored to the person logging in. For instructors it will show classes for which they are listed as instructor or adjunct, events with which they are associated, events that are marked as ‘visible to the public’, and studio closures. For parents, it will show classes and events that pertain to their child(ren) , plus public events and studio closures.

The app is available at no charge through the Apple Store. Click here to access the app’s feature page, where you can click on a link and download directly.

Before you start to use the app, please review the User’s Guide entry about it.

Look for the the menu item on the lower right that says “Mobile apps” once you click here.

This will instruct you on how to set up things on your device.

Stay tuned for a related message about the app for Android!

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