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#1177925 - 04/10/09 02:05 PM Lost a Good Student Yesterday
Mr. D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/22/09
Posts: 51
Not very musical, but studied and practiced everything I asked, progressed well, was very interested in theory, ... overall smart kid. The parents called and said they felt like they were throwing their money away because she wasn't going to be a concert pianist. I wanted to say, "well maybe if you bought her her a piano or at least a keyboard with more than three octaves, she'd have a chance"

And to think I gave them a discounted rate.

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#1177931 - 04/10/09 02:10 PM Re: Lost a Good Student Yesterday [Re: Mr. D]
kennychaffin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/19/09
Posts: 889
Loc: Aurora, CO
Oh no. Of course there is almost always more to the story.
_________________________
Kenny A. Chaffin
Art Gallery - Print Gallery - Poetry
"Strive on with Awareness" - Siddhartha Gautama

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#1177937 - 04/10/09 02:14 PM Re: Lost a Good Student Yesterday [Re: Mr. D]
jwcolby Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/07/09
Posts: 27
Loc: NC, USA
Truly sad. As if being a concert pianist is the only reason for learning piano.

frown
_________________________
John W. Colby
www.ColbyConsulting.com

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#1177951 - 04/10/09 02:24 PM Re: Lost a Good Student Yesterday [Re: kennychaffin]
Mr. D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/22/09
Posts: 51
Originally Posted By: kennychaffin
Oh no. Of course there is almost always more to the story.



I think the father was laid off, because he used to not be at the lessons, but now he is there every week.

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#1177952 - 04/10/09 02:24 PM Re: Lost a Good Student Yesterday [Re: jwcolby]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2845
Loc: UK.
I had one like that a few months back. The girl was doing okay. Nothing amazing but she had reached a good intermediate standard. The one day mum shows up and explains that a freind of hers had lessons as a child but now is unable to play and doesn't touch the piano anymore. Based on her freinds experience she cancelled her kids lessons. She said there's no point because she was never going to be a pro pianist!
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#1177992 - 04/10/09 03:12 PM Re: Lost a Good Student Yesterday [Re: Chris H.]
ProdigalPianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 1049
Loc: Phoenix Metro, AZ
That is sad. And I think the attitude is more prevalent than we like to think.

My father-in-law, when discussing whether or not someone should or should not do _anything_ (related to money or not), often argues against things using the phrase "it just don't pay." In his world, everything has to have an economic rationalization - a cost/benefit analysis is applied to every aspect of life...and things that do not return a financial benefit are discounted. It makes my skin crawl when he says it.

Hearing things like this make me think that people involved in music (not just teachers and professional musicians, but all of us) need to do a much, much better job of defending the value of music. And not just because music makes kids better students which translates into likelihood of future financial success. THe very fact that so many people don't realize how many people participate in music except as professional performers and teachers points this out. (which naturally brings us back to my favorite topic (surprise!) adult amateurs) wink

Lest we feel particularly sorry for music, though...It's not just music where this is a factor. It wasn't that long ago that educators themselves said that there was no point in girls taking advanced math and science classes because they weren't ever going to "do anything" with it. Even today I believe it is not uncommon for poor parents to have no belief that education in general will truly give their children better opportunities. The sad thing about it is that some of them have a good point.
_________________________
Adult Amateur Pianist

My only domestic quality is that I live in a house.

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#1178040 - 04/10/09 04:11 PM Re: Lost a Good Student Yesterday [Re: jwcolby]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13759
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Originally Posted By: jwcolby
Truly sad. As if being a concert pianist is the only reason for learning piano.

frown


It's the worst reason for learning piano, and I'm willing to bet most concert pianists would agree with me.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#1178080 - 04/10/09 05:48 PM Re: Lost a Good Student Yesterday [Re: Kreisler]
SAnnM AB-2001 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/20/04
Posts: 2022
Loc: Canada
I'm so glad teachers don't feel that way! I'm 51 and may never go beyond late intermediate. The sheer joy of studying music is hard to describe to anyone who isn't. I'd like to thank teachers everywhere who are passionate about teaching for teaching and not just to those "professional" hopefuls. You enrich our lives in more ways than you know.
_________________________
It's the journey not the destination..

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#1178098 - 04/10/09 06:11 PM Re: Lost a Good Student Yesterday [Re: Kreisler]
Little_Blue_Engine Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/30/09
Posts: 1233
Loc: Ohio, US
Our local school system recently stopped bus service for high school students due to money problems and is suggesting they will have to cut Art and Music programs and go to a core curriculum if there is no new money from the state or a local school tax levy. Someone was actually ignorant enough to write an editorial to the local paper suggesting that the district cut Art and Music now and reinstate high school bussing because it's mad"more important"! mad It's frightening that some people are more concerned that their child get a free ride to school than they are about what their child has the opportunity to learn when they get there!!!
_________________________
I'll figure it out eventually.
Until then you may want to keep a safe distance.


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#1178099 - 04/10/09 06:21 PM Re: Lost a Good Student Yesterday [Re: Little_Blue_Engine]
buck2202 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/06/09
Posts: 216
Loc: Cleveland, OH
Originally Posted By: Little_Blue_Engine
Someone was actually ignorant enough to write an editorial to the local paper suggesting that the district cut Art and Music now and reinstate high school bussing because it's mad"more important"! mad It's frightening that some people are more concerned that their child get a free ride to school than they are about what their child has the opportunity to learn when they get there!!!

I'd be careful with sentiments like that...I grew up only with my mother, and she didn't get off work until 3 hours after my school let out. During tax season, she worked 12 hour days (accountant). Without buses (riding about 45 minutes each way), I either wouldn't be able to get to school, home from school, or both.

By the time I got my license and have saved up for a cheap car, it was a different story. But be careful with blanket statements like that. It's not necessarily parental laziness or wanting a "free ride" that makes people ride school buses. It's frequently a necessity. And besides, if you can't get to school in the first place, it really doesn't matter to you what they teach there. And even more than that, bus rides aren't free! We pay for public schools, and everyone has the right to attend. That should include transportation when required.

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#1178112 - 04/10/09 07:01 PM Re: Lost a Good Student Yesterday [Re: Mr. D]
kennychaffin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/19/09
Posts: 889
Loc: Aurora, CO
Originally Posted By: Mr. D
Originally Posted By: kennychaffin
Oh no. Of course there is almost always more to the story.



I think the father was laid off, because he used to not be at the lessons, but now he is there every week.


Could be, it's tough times out there for almost everybody.
_________________________
Kenny A. Chaffin
Art Gallery - Print Gallery - Poetry
"Strive on with Awareness" - Siddhartha Gautama

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#1178126 - 04/10/09 07:29 PM Re: Lost a Good Student Yesterday [Re: Mr. D]
piano_deb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/26/05
Posts: 787
Loc: Memphis, TN
Originally Posted By: Mr. D
Not very musical, but studied and practiced everything I asked, progressed well, was very interested in theory, ... overall smart kid. The parents called and said they felt like they were throwing their money away because she wasn't going to be a concert pianist. I wanted to say, "well maybe if you bought her her a piano or at least a keyboard with more than three octaves, she'd have a chance"

And to think I gave them a discounted rate.

Originally Posted By: Mr. D
Originally Posted By: kennychaffin
Oh no. Of course there is almost always more to the story.

I think the father was laid off, because he used to not be at the lessons, but now he is there every week.

If the father's been laid off, then perhaps they simply can't afford to continue lessons. You say you were giving them a discounted rate, so it sounds like they were already struggling. (Not having a suitable instrument in the home might also have been due to strained finances.) The girl's lack of musical aptitude might simply have been one the things that tipped the scales — and something that they felt you could understand and appreciate as a reason to end the lessons. We have no idea, really, what was involved in their decision. Perhaps there are other activities that the daughter is better suited to or enjoys more that they are still trying to fund. Who knows? Not any of us, for sure. smile

You may be perfectly correct is thinking that the decision will ill-considered. But it may be that the parents, and their daughter, agonized over the decision and hate the choice that they had to make. There's really no way for you or anyone in these forums to know for sure.

Either way, it is a shame that you've lost a good student. I hope that you were able to leave the door cracked, so to speak, so that the girl may be able to resume lessons with you when/if things at home change. (And I wish her and her family the best in these difficult times.)
_________________________
Deborah
Charles Walter 1500
Happiness is a shiny red piano.

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#1178130 - 04/10/09 07:40 PM Re: Lost a Good Student Yesterday [Re: Kreisler]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11420
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Originally Posted By: jwcolby
Truly sad. As if being a concert pianist is the only reason for learning piano.

frown


It's the worst reason for learning piano, and I'm willing to bet most concert pianists would agree with me.


I woudl then ask that parent if their child plans on being a professional soccer player (or whatever sport they're in). That is not the point of taking soccer, nor is it the point of taking piano! mad
_________________________
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Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1178163 - 04/10/09 09:04 PM Re: Lost a Good Student Yesterday [Re: Morodiene]
Mr. D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/22/09
Posts: 51
It's a frustrating situation. The girl was one of my most interested students. I cut a lot of corners for her family ... tuition, books, going over the lesson time, even allowing her to practice at my studio after business hours ... Only to find out one day that daddy drives a luxury car. And now I'm owed for two lessons (which this guy isn't going to pay). Well, I hope things work out all right for him.

Ugh. Lesson learned.

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#1178207 - 04/10/09 11:04 PM Re: Lost a Good Student Yesterday [Re: Mr. D]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3155
Loc: Virginia, USA
Parents don't always give the real reason, so it is not productive to debate it.

You can't win them all.

But I think there's a very good chance that you won this one, that you planted enough seeds in the early development of this child that music will be part of their life in the future.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#1178262 - 04/11/09 12:54 AM Re: Lost a Good Student Yesterday [Re: TimR]
Tenuto Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/07
Posts: 550
Loc: U.S.A.
In the long run, if you've been teaching for a long time (like me) you never know who is going to stay and who is going to leave. There are so many extenuating circumtances. Sometimes it's not even based on talent or interest.

I have a decidedly below-average student who has stayed with me longer than any other student I've ever had. I think she just likes the special one-to-one attention she gets while taking a lesson. And sometimes she even surprises me with a good lesson every once in awhile.

Sometimes you can think of it as a learning experience. There may have been a choice you made that didn't work out. You might not want to give a discount to students because they will not value you as a good teacher anymore. Sometimes a person's good will can be abused. Well, something to think about.

all the best,
Valerie

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#1179073 - 04/12/09 02:23 PM Re: Lost a Good Student Yesterday [Re: Tenuto]
Rachel J Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 324
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
That's really tough. I'm always disappointed to lose a student for the wrong reasons. I think parents often don't realize what an investment we make in their kids. It's not just the paycheck we do it for, right?

I doubt any of my students will be concert pianists, but I think all of them are gaining a lot from their study of the piano. The ones who improve and work hard really give me pride and joy. I hate when the parents pull them out or they quit.
_________________________
Rachel Jimenez Piano teacher in Brooklyn, NY / Author of Fundamental Keys method
My professional website: FundamentalKeys.com
Latest blog post: "A marvelous pianist and mentor"

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#1179081 - 04/12/09 02:32 PM Re: Lost a Good Student Yesterday [Re: Rachel J]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2845
Loc: UK.
In case nobody else has said it yet,

welcome to the forum Rachel.

Good to have another teacher on board. thumb
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#1179084 - 04/12/09 02:36 PM Re: Lost a Good Student Yesterday [Re: Chris H.]
Rachel J Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 324
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Thanks, Chris!
_________________________
Rachel Jimenez Piano teacher in Brooklyn, NY / Author of Fundamental Keys method
My professional website: FundamentalKeys.com
Latest blog post: "A marvelous pianist and mentor"

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#1179140 - 04/12/09 04:29 PM Re: Lost a Good Student Yesterday [Re: Rachel J]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7302
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Welcome from the West Coast as well. Nice photo, too. Nice to see you have a grand!

Last night, I was playing through Ernesto Lecuona Andalucia Suite and it reminded me of a family I had some time ago (part of the family was from Cuba, and were very fond of Lecuona's music). In church this morning, of all things, there was that family. The boys had left me after several years of lessons, when they reached the age where other activities became more important, but I was pleasantly surprised to learn that both of them continued music, on different instruments, and music had become important in their lives. You never know!



Edited by John v.d.Brook (04/12/09 04:49 PM)
Edit Reason: add a detail!
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
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#1179169 - 04/12/09 05:24 PM Re: Lost a Good Student Yesterday [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Rachel J Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 324
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
That's gotta be the best, John, to find out your students went back to it. Means you clearly did it right!

Hopefully the original poster will have that experience, too.

I'm of Cuban heritage. Gotta love Lecuona --- it's a requirement! wink
_________________________
Rachel Jimenez Piano teacher in Brooklyn, NY / Author of Fundamental Keys method
My professional website: FundamentalKeys.com
Latest blog post: "A marvelous pianist and mentor"

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#1179233 - 04/12/09 08:28 PM Re: Lost a Good Student Yesterday [Re: buck2202]
SantaFe_Player Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/31/08
Posts: 607
That's a shame. Too bad they didn't grasp that piano study was likely to make the kid a better mathematician and linguist, so even if she didn't become a concert pianist, her chances in other fields would be increased because of music study. I totally get the cost/benefit thing, though. My father used to always say it wasn't worth paying for me to get a good instrument or world class teacher UNTIL I could play like the pros, then it might be worthwhile. I don't think he quite 'got it.'
_________________________
SantaFe_Player

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#1180283 - 04/14/09 02:23 PM Re: Lost a Good Student Yesterday [Re: SantaFe_Player]
Akira Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/27/07
Posts: 1645
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
I think its possible that they could no longer afford lessons. "Luxury" items are the first to go, when times are tough. Perhaps, they were just to embarassed to say the words and made up an 'excuse.' Its a possibility.

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#1182507 - 04/17/09 07:14 PM Re: Lost a Good Student Yesterday [Re: buck2202]
Drunk3nFist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/08
Posts: 640
Loc: London
Did the student enjoy their lessons? Did they want to carry on? If so, the parents clearly do not consider their daughter's feelings and wishes about her taking lessons. The fact that they didn't provide their daughter with the right resources to nurture her skill to begin with, and yet say what they said to you at the same time, makes them even more irrational. They do not realize that in order for their child to succeed with their ability and especially with something like the piano, they must work at it not only by being taught by someone else, but also by dedication and encouragement at home. With them however, they expect their child to become a concert pianist by sheer efforts of the teacher and student alone. It's like the parents wanting their child to dig up a mountain with a spoon, yet discouraging them from doing it. How selfish and blindly-opinionated they are! That's not how parents should cultivate their child's talent or ability. I feel sorry for that student and for you too Mr.D .

Oh and just another note - The parents obviously failed to see that you don't have to aspire to be a concert pianist to take piano lessons. Another thing they failed to recognize.


Edited by Drunk3nFist (04/17/09 07:16 PM)
Edit Reason: I wanted to add one more thing.
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