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#1214348 - 06/08/09 11:50 PM "Screening" students
Gisele Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/08/09
Posts: 152
Loc: Schenectady, Saratoga Counties...
My name is Gisele and I very recently decided to become a piano teacher while continuing as a stay at home mom. I have found this site to be very useful!

My questions are:
I would like to meet with the student and their parent(s) before their first "potential" lesson.

1. What sort of questions should I ask the student?
2. Should I meet with them at the piano immediately to see what level they are at, so I could develop a lesson plan?
3. Are there any good websites from which I could develop a lesson plan? I am planning 30 minute lessons for children, 45 minute lessons for adults. I am using Alfred series for adults and Bastien for children.

After posting my ad last week, I have already received 2 emails! I could not believe it but now have to advise these people on what we are doing next so I can develop an action plan for their kids' lessons. Any assistance would be appreciated.

Thank you very much!
Gisele
_________________________
Gisele Sum, gsum82-piano@hotmail.com
Piano and Theory Teacher
Principal Church Organist and/or Choir Accompaniment

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#1214399 - 06/09/09 03:24 AM Re: "Screening" students [Re: Gisele]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5486
Loc: Orange County, CA
Welcome to the forum!

Some basic questions to ask:

1) Is the student experienced? Or is this the first lesson ever?

2) What instrument do you have at home? Digital piano? Upright? Grand?

3) What kind/genre of music do you enjoy?

Trust your instincts, and go from there. Good luck!
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1214455 - 06/09/09 07:27 AM Re: "Screening" students [Re: AZNpiano]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
HI and welcome!

I have a "welcome letter" that I send out to all prospective students. Also, I have a questionnaire (what kind of grades do you get, what other outside activities are you in etc...). They have both been tweaked over the years, but they cover simple things like my expectations, their expectations, payment, parking, make-ups...etc. I don't ever meet with anyone until they have read this. Some folks run away after reading it lol.

I always have the first meeting at the piano. That's when we chat and get to know each other a bit. I don't have any meetings with the parents (alone), I figure I'm working with the kid, that's the one I want to meet with.

I would suggest that you make something up, so that you have the same set for everyone (so you don't forget what you said to whom). I know it seems like no one will bilk you, and that no one will be a no-show, but sadly it will happen and you need to have policies in place for that.


Good choice, btw, it's a very rewarding career path!

Oh and just a suggestion... after you get a full schedule, you may wish you had more book choices. It is good to know the pieces, but after a few kids in the same books... well you get it smile Plus some books move along faster than others and you may find you need to switch it up a bit.



Edited by Ebony and Ivory (06/09/09 07:31 AM)
_________________________
It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

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#1214534 - 06/09/09 10:10 AM Re: "Screening" students [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7368
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Hi Gisele, and welcome.

Before you teach your first lesson, you need to think through a number of issues. One of them is going to be your teaching plan and secondly your operating plan. This is a business, not a charity, so there are financial as well as behavioral issues to decide.

You'll need Studio Policies, sooner or later. There has been a lot of discussion on this forum on this topic, so a little research will help you out.

There are several excellent books on pedagogy for your use; your local library may be able to get them for you.

An initial student interview is imperative. You need to communicate with the student both their needs and your offerings. I generally give the student a mini-lesson at the interview, regardless of whether we continue or not. The exception being if it's obvious that we're not going to be a good fit together.

Best wishes,

John
_________________________
"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

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#1214558 - 06/09/09 10:42 AM Re: "Screening" students [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11940
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I agree with all of the above. First get your ducks in a row before that first interview. I generally will hand out the policy at the interview. I will show the student how the piano works (I have a grand, so I open it up for them to see while I play), and I show them the pedals too. I then ask them to play something if they know anything, and if not, then we improvise something on the black keys together. I play some nice arpeggios using the damper pedal and just tell them they can play any of the black keys they like.

I ask them if they are playing any sports, or if they've had any other instruments they've learned, if they like to sing, etc. I then go over some of the details of the policy with the parent highlighting the major points. I show them the books that we will be working out of and what their cost will be.

I explain that all new students are signed up for an 8-lesson trial period where it gives us time to get to know one another. By that time, they are generally out of the "honeymoon stage of taking piano and have a good idea of what is entailed. We then decide at that point if the student should continue. I have them pay for the first 8 lessons upfront.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1214565 - 06/09/09 10:47 AM Re: "Screening" students [Re: Morodiene]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7368
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
I explain that all new students are signed up for an 8-lesson trial period where it gives us time to get to know one another. By that time, they are generally out of the "honeymoon stage of taking piano and have a good idea of what is entailed. We then decide at that point if the student should continue. I have them pay for the first 8 lessons upfront.


I like this idea. What do you charge as a fee? Your standard rate or something special?
_________________________
"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

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#1214589 - 06/09/09 11:17 AM Re: "Screening" students [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11940
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
I explain that all new students are signed up for an 8-lesson trial period where it gives us time to get to know one another. By that time, they are generally out of the "honeymoon stage of taking piano and have a good idea of what is entailed. We then decide at that point if the student should continue. I have them pay for the first 8 lessons upfront.


I like this idea. What do you charge as a fee? Your standard rate or something special?


I charge my standard rate of $228 for the 8 lessons. This also includes 2 group lessons so that they get a feel for coming to these as well. In the summer I don't have group lessons so the rate drops down to $152 for the 8 lessons.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1214594 - 06/09/09 11:28 AM Re: "Screening" students [Re: Morodiene]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7368
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Is this 8 + 2 or 8 lessons including the 2 group lessons?
_________________________
"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

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#1214604 - 06/09/09 11:43 AM Re: "Screening" students [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11940
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
8+2. The rates here are quite a bit lower than your area, but believe it or not, I'm on the higher end of the spectrum.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1214654 - 06/09/09 12:58 PM Re: "Screening" students [Re: Morodiene]
Stanny Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 1461
I do a trial period for my summer sessions only....Morodiene, do you do it any time of year?
_________________________
~Stanny~

Independent Music Teacher
Certified Piano Teacher, American College of Musicians
Member: MTNA, NGPT, ASMTA, NAMTA

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#1214684 - 06/09/09 01:40 PM Re: "Screening" students [Re: Stanny]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11940
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Stanny
I do a trial period for my summer sessions only....Morodiene, do you do it any time of year?


Yes, and then if we decide to continue afterward I just pro-rate for the remainder of the semester (or month if that is what they choose to do).
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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