Drop In vs Courses – What’s the Best for Your Studio by Lottie ‘Adore’ Sanders

One of the greatest things about being a part of a studio is the diverse range of students that come pouring through the door. You will have attendees who come to every class, train every discipline and practically live-and-breathe aerial. There will also be people who can only make time to take part once a week, between busy lives and commitments – and everyone else in between.

On top of this variance in availability, there are also many different types of learners. Your XPERT training will have prepared you for this, so I won’t spend too much time dissecting the in’s and out’s of learning styles, but what I will say, is you’ll notice distinct differences between those who need everything dissected into every tiny detail before jumping on the pole, and those who need you to stop talking to just get onto the pole.

All are welcome, of course, but there are certainly different ways to harness the best way of teaching, and therefore enhance the overall learning, of all your different kinds of students. One way your studio can provide the best service for all is to provide a blend of drop in classes, and month-long to six week style courses. Strap yourself in, and let’s dissect just how to make these two different kinds of classes work best for you, and your students.

Just Dropping In – Why Drop In Classes Are Great
A fact of life is for some, it is pretty unlikely that your average person is guaranteed to be free at the same time, on the same day, every single week. Our lives are busy, and with commitments to work, family, and even just finding some time for rest can be a challenge in itself. Making sure that your studio timetable reflects people’s sometimes hectic personal schedule is a great way to cater to your community. An excellent way to make sure that your students can get their pole and aerial fix no matter what is by providing a range of drop in classes.

What defines a drop in class? Like the name suggests, this is a stand-alone class where the tricks and techniques taught are unique to that one class. You do not have to have attended the week before in order to know what is going on. You can, of course, develop specific skills week on week – but it is vital that if someone is there one week, and cannot return again for another three weeks, that they are able to follow along with the class plan. Often, drop in classes are divided up into ability levels. This not only makes it easier for the
student to select the right class for them, regardless of day or time, and also facilitates the teacher being able to set the right level of challenge to each session. These classes are usually at a set rate cost, with some studios providing discounts depending on frequency of purchase (through class pack or membership schemes).

A great benefit that your students can reap from being a serial drop-in attendee, is the opportunity to try all the wonderful different disciplines and teachers available at your studio. They can effectively curate their own weekly timetable of exactly the skills they want to work on, on a basis that suits them. And by learning from different instructors, they will pick up tips and techniques along the way which they may never have learnt before trying out different class styles.

For studio owners and teachers, a drop in class is also an excellent way to test the waters. Do you have a class idea that you’re not sure will work? Pop it on the schedule as a one-off drop in. Get feedback from those who booked on. If it was a massive hit – amazing, consider re-formatting into a course or making a regular slot on the timetable. Didn’t go so well? That’s fine, it was only a one off anyway, and not every idea works as well in real life.

Whatever way you look at it, drop in classes are an essential part of your studio timetable. And make sure you provide a range of ability levels and styles available throughout the week in order to really get the benefits!

Well, Of Course – Why You Need to Run Courses, Too
So, you’ve got your drop in strategy nailed, and each of your classes is filled to the brim each week. Why should I even look at putting on a course, you may ask. First off, let me explain what I mean by a course.

A course is defined as a week on week set of classes – usually running from four to six weeks. A common way that courses are run is through the use of choreography or routines. This does not mean it is a dance only option. If you think of more advanced classes where combinations are more common, this is just an extension of that. The course will be pre-booked with the same people week on week, and you are able to build up on skills each week, and revisit the previous week and recap without having several confused faces pop their hand up. A course is pre-booked and pre-paid for in advance, with some studios opting to provide a discount, for example, six sessions for the price of five for committing to the course.

One of the main benefits of a pole and aerial course is continuity. Your student knows before they walk in the door that they will be developing a specific set of skills throughout that four to six week period. They will have more time in order to learn things they find tricky – instead of having to rush to learn that spin variation in one choreography session, they can practice over the duration of the course and continue to get tuition from their teacher. Confidence can be built in their own time. On top of that, as the course is pre- booked, they will also get to know the same group of people in that class over the coming weeks and hopefully make new training buddies left, right and centre!

Also, as I mentioned above, whilst you will have a cross section of your student base who are never free on the same day, or same time every week – you will also have attendees who are available more frequently, and may find it challenging to work out the best timetable for them through drop ins. By having a few set courses woven into your schedule, it becomes much easier for them to structure how their training week will look.

From a class planning perspective, a course is beneficial because you know you will have the same set of students each week, you know what parts of your choreography will have the most challenges and therefore will need the most time and attention, and you will get to know your learners. If, on week one, they are more advanced than expected, you can ramp up your tricks in the coming weeks. If you find they are struggling on certain aspects, you can slow things down and alter the class plans to reflect that. You can nurture your student’s learning journey much more easily when you know you have a decent amount of time with them, and you can be flexible in what you teach by having prior knowledge of the ability levels you have to work with.

There you have it. So, now you’ve weighed up the pros and cons of drop in classes vs courses (and hopefully concluded a blend of both is best), head to the online XPERT portal for all your class planning needs. There’s videos and tutorials a-plenty to keep you inspired and supported on your teaching journey