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#1021832 - 08/26/08 10:06 AM telling your teacher you're changing teachers
FormerlyFlute Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/21/06
Posts: 235
Loc: Maryland
I want to change teachers and don't know how to tell my teacher. 2 problems: I know she will not accept it readily and will try and talk me out of it, and 2, I see her at a monthly musical gathering. Any suggestions besides lying?
_________________________
Piano: Brodmann PE 187 Strauss
Flute: Sankyo CF-201 with RT2 headjoint

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#1021833 - 08/26/08 10:09 AM Re: telling your teacher you're changing teachers
JDelmore Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/10/07
Posts: 634
Get a bad wig and say "You're FIRED"...LOL

Nah...just tell her you love her and all, but it just ain't 'clickin', and you'd like to try someone else. Be firm. But don't burn bridges, especially one's that show up at gatherings.
_________________________
PTG Associate Member

"There is always room above; there is only the ground below."....F.E. Morton (with props to Del F.)

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#1021834 - 08/26/08 10:18 AM Re: telling your teacher you're changing teachers
Triryche Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/06
Posts: 1451
Loc: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
That’s a toughie.
I am in a similar, but not as bad, situation. I took a break from lessons at the beginning of the year and want to start back up soon.
My teacher is really awesome and we got along just fine, but I sorta want to try a new teacher just for a different perspective.
And I see him almost ever Wednesday when my daughter goes to violin.

Tactful honesty is the best route, but it sure makes for an awkward situation.

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#1021835 - 08/26/08 10:24 AM Re: telling your teacher you're changing teachers
FormerlyFlute Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/21/06
Posts: 235
Loc: Maryland
My teacher is conservatory trained and plays beautifully. She gives me many excellent pointers. The trouble is that she is one of the most unorganized and whacky people I know. She's chronically late, she chatters off topic during my lesson and there is no structure to my lessons or any general plan. She doesn't remember from one lesson the the next what I'm working on or where I'm at. It's kind of like self teaching and having someone to check you once a week. I've only been playing 2 years and want more technique work and structure to my lessons. I'm 55 and times awasting! I've known her long enough to know that she can't change.
_________________________
Piano: Brodmann PE 187 Strauss
Flute: Sankyo CF-201 with RT2 headjoint

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#1021836 - 08/26/08 10:25 AM Re: telling your teacher you're changing teachers
Bartok's Babe Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/15/08
Posts: 39
Loc: Louisville, CO
I want to chime in for tactful honesty. It is awkward and a little painful, but in the end it's almost always the best route. Less lies to remember that way as well... Also don't let it simmer too long, it just makes the anticipation worse.

I just was facing the same thing... I decided that I liked my teacher well enough that I wanted to at least give us the chance to sit down and discuss what I'd like to have happen and what I'm feeling I was not getting. I was quite nervous at first, but once we started talking it went really well. Now lessons and practices are restructured in a way that I feel I am getting more out of them.

Good luck, I know it's a hard situation.
_________________________
Working on...
Suzuki Book 2: Minuet 2 by Bach
Linus and Lucy

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#1021837 - 08/26/08 10:54 AM Re: telling your teacher you're changing teachers
Mati Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/05
Posts: 1276
Loc: Lodz, Poland
Nothing works better than honesty I think. It is seriously awkward, but going with lies won't help at all. Try honest face-to-face discussion, but with no accusations whatsoever - I believe everything can be sorted out in that manner.

Good luck!
M.
_________________________
Mateusz Papiernik
My youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/Maticomp
"One man can make a difference" - Wilton Knight
Kawai CN21 (digital), Henryk Yamayuri Kawai NX-40 (grand)

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#1021838 - 08/26/08 11:43 AM Re: telling your teacher you're changing teachers
Oxfords Gal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/21/06
Posts: 1553
Loc: Jacksonville, Florida
Definately be upfront with her, it's best to tell the truth than lie and get caught up in it.

Just be tactful tell her how much you've learned from her and you value her friendship and want to continue sharing music as friends but that you're ready to get another perspective on music learning.

Good luck keep us informed.
_________________________
Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear, Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.>>> Herman Munster

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#1021839 - 08/26/08 11:56 AM Re: telling your teacher you're changing teachers
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Do it now!

No lies.

Just that it's time for you to move on and you appreciate what you have received from her.

What is her termination policy? Make sure she gets notice so you don't wind up being billed for lessons into the future.

Take a small bouquet of flowers or a small box of truffles or something (Mrs. See's?)with a simple hand written note with the gift.

Get a photo of you and she together for her scrapbook and for yours.

Make sure you mention you'll look forward to seeing her at the monthly event, too.

That seems effective and genuine to me, and I'd want not to be put on the defensive by having to answer questions about why. "Let me think about that, will you?" or, "It's about me not about you."

Take that next step by securing your next teacher.

Betty

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#1021840 - 08/26/08 11:56 AM Re: telling your teacher you're changing teachers
melwig Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/18/08
Posts: 94
Loc: California
Try being honest with her in a way that is respectful and allows both of you to grow from the experience. I would let her know that her teaching style just doesn't match your learning style. If she presses for more details, then I would let her know you need a more organized approach. The truth may be just what she needs to become a better teacher, but I believe in not being brutal in the delivery.
_________________________
Keep it fun, and stay motivated!

If you can achieve something without a struggle, it's not going to be satisfying.


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#1021841 - 08/26/08 12:14 PM Re: telling your teacher you're changing teachers
FormerlyFlute Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/21/06
Posts: 235
Loc: Maryland
Thanks everyone for the support. I want to assure you that I don't want to lie -that's why I said I need suggestions besides lying. Too many people seem to find lying more acceptable than hurting someone's feelings. I do know however, that if I tell her in person I will not be able to get out the door. I will have to run 'cause she'll be unable to accept the loss. Unfortunately I've heard all about other students she has lost. And policy? That's too organized. I am going to give her a month's fee and probably send her a note. Then she'll call me and insist I not quit. I'll be brave.
_________________________
Piano: Brodmann PE 187 Strauss
Flute: Sankyo CF-201 with RT2 headjoint

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#1021842 - 08/26/08 12:31 PM Re: telling your teacher you're changing teachers
SantaFe_Player Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/31/08
Posts: 607
FormerlyFlute - honesty is indeed the best policy. You don't have to be so honest that you tell her you think her wacky free-spirit cant-remember-sh** is the issue, you can just tell her that you want to explore different perspectives and want to build on what you have gained from her. Most teachers won't be 'unable to accept' this kind of decision, they understand that eveyone goes through stages in their learning path and sometimes one person is a good fit for awhile then becomes less of a good fit....either because of one party or the other, or sometimes not because of the people at all, just circumstances. Don't worry too much about this, it's something all teachers get used to dealing with. But you are paying her for a service and you should keep firmly in mind that if you want to choose another vendor, this is entirely up to you and no guilt need be involved. Your departure might even help nudge her in the direction that her other losses have suggested (apparently so far to no avail) she should be moving anyway....so you could be doing her a favor. Think of it as tough love \:\)
_________________________
SantaFe_Player

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#1021843 - 08/26/08 07:44 PM Re: telling your teacher you're changing teachers
cruiser Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 1171
Loc: Cornwall, England
 Quote:
Originally posted by FormerlyFlute:
My teacher is conservatory trained and plays beautifully. She gives me many excellent pointers. The trouble is that she is one of the most unorganized and whacky people I know. She's chronically late, she chatters off topic during my lesson and there is no structure to my lessons or any general plan. She doesn't remember from one lesson the the next what I'm working on or where I'm at. It's kind of like self teaching and having someone to check you once a week. I've only been playing 2 years and want more technique work and structure to my lessons. I'm 55 and times awasting! I've known her long enough to know that she can't change. [/b]
FF, I could have written this, almost verbatim!

But additionally - and crucially! - I also have a serious communication problem with my young Japanese teacher. I live in Hamburg, my teacher speaks German (and Japanese, of course!) and practically no English. She is also conservatory trained and is a wonderful pianist. Unfortunately, she is almost too 'nice', if you understand me, and dosen't guide me in a way which maximises my potential, I feel. Like you, I also want more structure and planning for my learning, given that I'm 57 now and prepared to work hard to become the best pianist I possibly can be. This structure is lacking at present and I'm actively looking for a new teacher with the qualities I need, and who speaks English!

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#1021844 - 08/26/08 07:59 PM Re: telling your teacher you're changing teachers
1RC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/28/06
Posts: 497
Loc: Alberta
SantaFePlayer: But if she's not going all the way in being honest, and witholding the true reason she's leaving, how will the wacky teacher know which way to be nudged?

I tend to believe that on some level, everybody knows their faults and can at least suspect the reasons behind their failures... But, hearing it confirmed from somebody else can make the difference between hazy suspicions, and knowing for sure what's going on in the other persons head. (Of course, some people have strong powers of denial, no matter what they're told)

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#1021845 - 08/26/08 09:59 PM Re: telling your teacher you're changing teachers
Nannerl Mozart Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/08
Posts: 732
Loc: Australia, Melbourne
You know what I had something like that happen to me. A teacher I saw, had a studio with one too many students. He overlapped his students and each of them went over time eating into each student's time. What's more is that he goes totally off topic talking about the loss of his parents (every lesson) ... (I dont mean to be rude, but sometimes I felt like the relationship we had was much too close). Anyways, he also kept very strict into the area of piano exams and only taught according to the syllabus outcomes. I get fed up with this, I talked to many friends, other (prospective) teachers, students of other teachers and asked a whole lot about what they believe proffesionalism is, what they believe music education is, what they percieve to be the most important area of piano playing.

After speaking to many I evaluated and looked at my own goals and found that this teacher wasn't right for me. I got a long with him terrifically and just saying to him I'm on on the look out for another teacher was difficult. What's more is that I was worried if I was to see another and then regret leaving. I talked to my teacher about what I thought was neglected in a tactful manner, he responded as though he was 'stuck in his ways and I decided enough was enough, after a few attempts ... I called up a few teachers and interviewed them on what they chose was most important. After a lot of questioning, I finally found a new teacher more suited to me.

My teacher was shocked and I felt really bad because there was an element of loyalty that existed between me and him. When I called him to tell him the truth I said it like:
"you see how I mention changing teachers?" ...
"yes" ...
"well I have decided that its time, I have thought about my goals and I've decided to change" ... "
"the things you have mentioned, the areas in which you have wanted to look into can be covered by me"
"Well I thought, you've been teaching like this for so many years, I don't want to bother me ... thanks for teaching me ... we had an awesome year ... anything you wish to say before I hang up?"
"No apart from I'm very surprised...I wish you
all the best in the technical department"
"thankyou"
... we said out goodbyes...

It was downright, unpleasant but I'm glad I did it and have no regrets! I know how it feels ... I wish you all the best
_________________________
http://colouredsilence.wordpress.com/


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#1021846 - 08/27/08 02:17 AM Re: telling your teacher you're changing teachers
MVB Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/17/08
Posts: 89
Loc: San Antonio, TX
Honesty is the best policy of course but there's also no rule that states that you need to be specific about why you're moving on. I had a teacher who chattered throughout the lesson and was lucky to get in 5 minutes of playing time or helpful advice. This teacher was also quick to pull out her receipt book at the end of the half hour. She'd routinely leave voicemail reminders regarding our scheduled lessons and this actually gave me the opportunity to break it off. I simply left her another voicemail thanking her and informed her that I would be discontinuing my lessons..... period.

I now have a wonderful and thoughtful teacher. Tuition is paid monthly and at the end of the month she'll actually ask if I'm interested in continuing.
_________________________
MVB

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#1021847 - 08/27/08 03:22 AM Re: telling your teacher you're changing teachers
Akira Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/27/07
Posts: 1645
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
 Quote:
She gives me many excellent pointers. The trouble is that she is one of the most unorganized and whacky people I know. She's chronically late, she chatters off topic during my lesson and there is no structure to my lessons or any general plan. She doesn't remember from one lesson the the next what I'm working on or where I'm at. I've only been playing 2 years and want more technique work and structure to my lessons. I've known her long enough to know that she can't change.
I'm wondering if you've given the teacher an opportunity "to" change. Have you had a heart-to-heart talk about what's bothering you about the relationship or jointly tried to formula a strategy to overcome the disorganized manner in which you're being taught? Perhaps taking a more pro-active role in your lessons might be the answer. From what you've described, it doesn't sound all that bad (assuming you can overcome these obstacles), if you can put up with the whackiness, that is.

You both have two years of your lives invested in this partnership. Why not at least 'try' to make it work first. \:\)

Of course, if you've already tried this route (or you've already made up your mind), then, as others have said, tactful honesty would probably be the best way to sever the relationship.

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#1021848 - 08/27/08 04:08 AM Re: telling your teacher you're changing teachers
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11520
Loc: Canada
I agree with Akira. Some teachers think that adult students are laid back and not that serious, but if they find out that you do want to work seriously they will change their style. That will also mean that they expect *you* to work (scary part). Either you have a whacky teacher who can't change, or one who chooses whackiness but can unwhackify.

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#1021849 - 08/27/08 05:42 AM Re: telling your teacher you're changing teachers
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8482
Loc: Ohio, USA
if i were you, i would just talk to her and tell her that you need a break from the lessons because this or that reason. most teachers would understand why a student quit, but they want to know why and want to hear some acceptable reasons.

i remember that my teacher was telling me, when he was teaching at a school, that some kids from a family just quit without giving any reason, even though he like those kids and thought that they had potential.

for your situation, i guess that you'd be better off with a different teacher. good luck to you in finding a good one!

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#1021850 - 08/29/08 04:59 PM Re: telling your teacher you're changing teachers
ChristinaW Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/05/04
Posts: 152
Loc: Washington DC
I've changed teachers a couple times but it was kind of easy because I was going to a conservatory (adult nonprofessional division) and they tended to have breaks in the summer anyway. So you had to go out of your way to schedule next year's lessons with a particular teacher, so I just didn't sign up again with the teacher I disliked. I just told her I needed a break and wanted to work on my own a while as I wasn't sure I had enough free time to practice that I was making the most of my lessons. Then I could call the office and ask for someone else. It was a similar situation, she was a good pianist, it was mainly a personality difference. She wasn't even disorganized or wacky (and I would never put up with a teacher being late consistently), but she scared me, to be honest. She had a loud and abrasive attitude and kind of a temper. So I got to the point where I was dreading my lessons, they ruined my day (even though I thought she had some good tips and ideas and teaching technique), and life was just too short for that when you are doing this as an amateur.

I didn't tell her but she kind of made it easy because she was starting to hint around that she wanted me to come to her house for lessons instead of us doing it at the school -- for her own convenience. While I paid the school the same money. I don't think so, lady, was what I was thinking . The school was on my way home from work, whereas her house would have involved an hour or two drive time for me on a Saturday or something. Also, I liked being around the school and hearing and talking to other students and seeing announcements on the board, etc. I just thought that was really nervy. So I told her I didn't want to do that, it wasn't convenient for me.

I don't really see the point in trying to change someone or educate them about their teaching skills. You aren't going to change someone, and I don't think it's your job to tutor her. It makes it more difficult because you see her regularly, that's the only problem.

It sounds to me like telling her the truth, even if nicely, isn't going to do a bit of good. Teachers know they aren't supposed to be constantly late, she just doesn't care. Since it does sound like you have to tell her something, why don't you go with the idea that time is a wasting and while you aren't sure, you would like to try some different teachers to get a well-rounded education and see how other methods work for you ... or something like that.

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#1021851 - 08/29/08 11:56 PM Re: telling your teacher you're changing teachers
it'sallabouttone Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/11/08
Posts: 8
I'm reading this thread and I cannot believe how similar your story is to mine! Except that I want to switch because I'm trying to prevent injury (I'm having some symptoms of pain, numbness and tender thumbs.) My story can be seen in this thread:

http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/27/2166.html

I especially can relate to the part where you'll be seeing your potentially ex piano teacher in social circles and it doesn't present as awkward.
Oh- I wish you the best... and would love to hear more about what you'll do. Feel free to send me a private message.

Best to you!

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#1021852 - 08/30/08 01:41 AM Re: telling your teacher you're changing teachers
glitzer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/12/06
Posts: 64
Loc: Tornado Alley meets Bible Belt
This seems all good and thoughtful advice.

No one mentioned that your money is being spent on the lessons, not your teacher's (I suppose), that should also be a small aspect in this matter and limit your guilt and embarrassment.
_________________________
Beginner, started in Summer 2006, self-taught

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#1021853 - 08/30/08 01:54 AM Re: telling your teacher you're changing teachers
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4217
Loc: Arizona.
How about you just say that you intend on getting a new piano teacher every couple of years on purpose to be exposed to different points of views in terms of teaching methods.

It actually could make a bunch of sense if you think about it. Imagine what a jazz musician could learn if he obtained a few years training from 3 or 4 different teaching styles. A student would be exposed to so much more.

I'm not saying this is for everyone in every circumstance but it can make sense as well as be used as a legitimit excuse!

That would be my route.

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#1021854 - 08/30/08 09:23 AM Re: telling your teacher you're changing teachers
SantaFe_Player Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/31/08
Posts: 607
1RC, I didn't imply she should keep it a "secret." She should definitely tell the teacher these are the things that are not working for her. But she doesn't have to use offensive terms or characterize the teacher as 'wacky' or even 'forgetful.' It could be couched in terms such as the need for a more structured and measured approach, the need for continuity and the feeling that the instructor pays adequate attention to keep track of what the student is working on week to week, and where progress has been made or is still needed.
_________________________
SantaFe_Player

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#1021855 - 08/30/08 10:00 AM Re: telling your teacher you're changing teachers
BearLake Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/16/08
Posts: 144
Loc: SE Idaho
I changed teachers after the summer break. I just considered it a natural time for the change, and it would not be noticed. Then I got a surprise phone call from my former teacher asking why I haven't signed up for another year. I honestly don't remember what I told her. I think I just gave a nebulous answer that I'm busy with other things right now. I was just starting high school, so it was a long time ago.

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#1021856 - 08/30/08 01:45 PM Re: telling your teacher you're changing teachers
FormerlyFlute Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/21/06
Posts: 235
Loc: Maryland
I did tell her today. It went better than expected. She clearly sounded disappointed but didn't try and talk me out of it. She said she would miss me but hoped we would still see each other at our monthly gatherings. Whew!

We actually had a very nice conversation for perhaps 45 minutes. And she related the advice someone had given her about not continuing grad work at the same school she had done her BS at (Peabody), so she acknowledged the concept of trying different perspectives.

Thanks everyone for your sage advice and understanding.
_________________________
Piano: Brodmann PE 187 Strauss
Flute: Sankyo CF-201 with RT2 headjoint

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