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Topic Options
#1200592 - 05/16/09 07:41 PM email or phone?
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
Just wondering. I have heard a few people say that email is too impersonal. Personally I love it, it's so hard to reach people by phone. Tag-tag-tag. You can do email any time of the day/night. But as we all know, it can easily be misinterpreted too.

What's your preference and that of your students?
It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

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#1200602 - 05/16/09 07:47 PM Re: email or phone? [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
Barb860 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 1647
Loc: northern California
Email for 90% of the parents of kids I work with. Sometimes what happens is that if there is a touchy subject needing discussion, one of us will suggest a time for a phone conversation.
Piano Teacher

#1200606 - 05/16/09 07:56 PM Re: email or phone? [Re: Barb860]
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1269
Loc: California
Email here.
Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

#1200648 - 05/16/09 09:24 PM Re: email or phone? [Re: dumdumdiddle]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7639
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
100% phone. People can always use the excuse, "Email? What email?"
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

#1200659 - 05/16/09 09:58 PM Re: email or phone? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
lalakeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/05/06
Posts: 286
Loc: Chicago 'burbs
E-mail whenever possible; voicemail as a second choice.

I try to avoid live phone conversations for two reasons:

--With e-mail both parties have a clear record of what was said; with voicemail the recipient has a recording; but with a live phone conversation there is no record (leading to the possibility of misunderstanding or confusion).

--With e-mail, communication can take place at a time convenient to both parties, and there can be revisions/corrections/additions to a message before it is actually sent.

Generally, I enjoy live phone conversations with my family and friends. But if I need to communicate with someone regarding a business matter (such as teaching), e-mail is the way to go!
Private piano & voice teacher for over 20 years; currently also working as a pipe organist for 3 area churches; sing in a Chicago-area acappella chamber choir

#1200686 - 05/16/09 10:57 PM Re: email or phone? [Re: lalakeys]
Stanny Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 1461

Sometimes people don't like to call in case I am teaching. But email is always easy. I also make contact through my website updates, facebook (some of my parents are there) and text messages. I've had parents text me while sitting in traffic to tell me they'll be a few minutes late. And sometimes I use a hardcopy correspondence, like my summer flyer.

I send a monthly newsletter via email, and occassional email notes to everyone when an event is coming up. I'll sometimes email a parent at the end of a lesson so I can tell them something when it is fresh on my mind.

Independent Music Teacher
Certified Piano Teacher, American College of Musicians

#1200687 - 05/16/09 11:00 PM Re: email or phone? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Diane... Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/16/06
Posts: 3462
Loc: Western Canada
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
100% phone. People can always use the excuse, "Email? What email?"

100% phone! ...I'm usually the one saying, "Email? What email?" smile
Jazz/Blues/Rock/Boogie Piano Teacher

#1200703 - 05/16/09 11:35 PM Re: email or phone? [Re: Diane...]
CD131 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/05/09
Posts: 104
Loc: Canada
E-mail preferred. Text messaging next, Phone message OK. Answer phone ---- never!
Steinway D, Pramberger 185, pianist-teacher

#1200740 - 05/17/09 01:19 AM Re: email or phone? [Re: CD131]
R0B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/08
Posts: 1458
Loc: Australia
Phone all the way!
Much more human.
Email is ok, for a quick confirmation of something, but email replies have a nasty habit of asking another question, which requires yet another email, to reply to it
I loathe text messaging,(way too fiddly, and usually full of incomprehensible shorthand) and always phone the sender, to give my reply, even if it is only, 'CU L8r M8 :-)'

#1200742 - 05/17/09 01:27 AM Re: email or phone? [Re: R0B]
currawong Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 6085
Loc: Down Under
With students, it's phone, or written messages.
For playing engagements it's a bit of everything. Some people email me so I email back; some send text messages so I reply in kind, but it's usually a preliminary contact which is followed by a phone call. I actually like text messages, but I always punctuate them properly and don't use the CU L8r M8 stuff smile. Strangely enough, those who text me also write in complete sentences too. I know, I know, we're weird.
Du holde Kunst...

#1200751 - 05/17/09 02:41 AM Re: email or phone? [Re: currawong]
Nannerl Mozart Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/08
Posts: 732
Loc: Australia, Melbourne
For me, it depends on the situation.

If it is urgent, like: a lesson being cancelled due to strange and unforseen occurances (car accident, bad traffic - terribly sick that it's contagious) then its a phone call, sooner rather than later.

If it's something like: what is the homework? ... That's an email.

If it's ridiculous to the point that we send emails back and forth, back and forth then one of us will call (saves time!)

Also, if I didn't know how to practice something and I was stuck (which is rare nowadays) it's normally a phone call. More often it's an email.

If I was to be leaving a teacher I ideally I think it should be face to face or over the phone.

#1201247 - 05/18/09 12:33 AM Re: email or phone? [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
Akira Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/27/07
Posts: 1645
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
I think it depends on what you want to communicate and who the recipient is.


You should consider the possibility that;

- some people don't check their e-mail everyday (i.e. "I'll have to cancel our lesson schedueld for noon today")
- it could get caught in a spam filter
- e-mail lacks "tone of voice" and can get misinterpreted

Of course, these are just possibilities. I check e-mail 10 times a day, so people know if they send me an e-mail, I'll read it that day.

I never address problems with e-mail -- always a phone call. Too easily misinterpreted and this type of communication calls for a real-time two-person conversation.

In most instances, I think e-mail is fine (for most people), but I think you just need to be sensitive to the "what" and "whom."

#1247317 - 08/11/09 01:57 PM Re: email or phone? [Re: Akira]
Mike in Illinois Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/06/09
Posts: 6
E-mail for me. It's a permanent record until deleted. One can send it any time of day or night and not disturb anyone.
Of course the party at the other end must be checking their inbox on a daily basis. It helps avoid confusion over, "Oh, I thought you said...." The only thing is that one must be specific in what they e-mail!

#1247429 - 08/11/09 05:57 PM Re: email or phone? [Re: Mike in Illinois]
ToriAnais Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/24/08
Posts: 244
Loc: Australia
Text msgs are handy as they are instantaneous, and email. Talking on the phone re business issues is awkward. I'd much rather not have to go through the cliche dance of "ok well I'll see you next week then, byyyeeeee".
Piano teacher since August 2008.

#1247596 - 08/11/09 10:38 PM Re: email or phone? [Re: ToriAnais]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
I see this topic has been revived recently so I thought I'd add my comments also. Our preferances might not be the preferances of the person we are communicating with, so that has to be taken into account.

Cell phone use when the person is driving gives me very uncomfortable no matter who it is or why they are calling. I have had inquiries made while they are driving and if I detect this I'll ask to connect with them at another time. For 2 reasons: 1) they are not giving me much of their attention, and, 2) I worry about people's driving habits when there is something else taking their attention. I wouldn't want to be part of the equation that might cause them an accident. So, I would invite them to make an appointment by calling again soon when they have their calendar available. The appointment is for getting acquainted and demonstrating through a "first" lesson what it is like to be a student of mine. Studio policy and contract is discussed as the last part of the getting acquainted. All of this takes about one hour.

I much prefer emails that give us opportunity to communicate in an on-going connected way with one email between us. Attachments can be sent as well as photos and it can be continued throughout the introductory questions that parents and student have.

I'd say 95% of inquiry communications come in by email and in communication with my present clients, e-mail is the most established way for everyone. Plus, you get "records" of what transpired between you.

I don't text message except socially.

It will soon be time for September new enrollments and we'll get a chance to apply our preferred ways of communicating with our prospective clients - but at the same time be aware of our need to be flexible to accomodate their style of communicating, too.

#1248150 - 08/12/09 09:14 PM Re: email or phone? [Re: Betty Patnude]
Jennifer Eklund Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/16/09
Posts: 162
Loc: SoCal
1) Email -- written record

2) Text message -- best for quick lesson reminders, "I'm running late", etc..

3) Phone -- in emergency situations
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