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#1258220 - 08/28/09 08:55 PM Re: Lost a student today [Re: plester102]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5458
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: plester102
The student/parent is the employer. The teacher is the employee. An employee may be fired/dismissed for a variety of reasons. Many employers do not provide a lenghty explanation as to the why.

Remember teacher = employee.



In some cultures, teachers are gods. At a piano festival last year, I saw a father and his daughter saying good-bye to their piano teacher, and they gave her a respectful bow. I evaluate hundreds of piano students each year at their annual exam, and last year one girl bowed to me as she said good-bye. For some reason, these respectful girls play the piano masterfully. Perhaps they view the teacher-student relationship as more of a master-disciple relationship and less as a business transaction.
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#1258231 - 08/28/09 09:09 PM Re: Lost a student today [Re: AZNpiano]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13776
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I don't mind teachers being thought of as employees, but I think it's important to know exactly what you're paying for:

You are paying for the *availability* of *help* in *learning*

Unfortunately, people often think that when you hire a teacher, you're paying for an education. You're not. You're paying for the availability of a service.

In a lot of ways, teachers are employed just like the cable company is "employed" by subscribers. The cable company promises that, should you turn your television on and tune in to certain channels at certain times, moving pictures will show up on the screen.

Whether or not you turn the television on, pay attention to what's there, or try out the cooking tips and recipes on the FOOD network is up to you.

But too often, people hire teachers thinking that's enough. Hire the tutor, get a better math score. Hire a piano teacher, be able to play the piano. But that's like saying "Pay for cable TV, learn History."

No, you have to tune into the history channel and pay attention. laugh
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#1258244 - 08/28/09 09:35 PM Re: Lost a student today [Re: AZNpiano]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: plester102
The student/parent is the employer. The teacher is the employee. An employee may be fired/dismissed for a variety of reasons. Many employers do not provide a lenghty explanation as to the why.

Remember teacher = employee.



In some cultures, teachers are gods. At a piano festival last year, I saw a father and his daughter saying good-bye to their piano teacher, and they gave her a respectful bow. I evaluate hundreds of piano students each year at their annual exam, and last year one girl bowed to me as she said good-bye. For some reason, these respectful girls play the piano masterfully. Perhaps they view the teacher-student relationship as more of a master-disciple relationship and less as a business transaction.


I love what you wrote, AZN, because I know it to be true from my teaching experiences, too. When I lived in California by studio had a majority of Oriental families with whom piano lessons are a very serious thing, the children practiced earnestly and their manners were impeccable when dealing with the teacher. The thank you was there after every lesson with a nod or a bow. For me the years were (1971 to 1975) and then again when we returned to California (1980).

Since 1981, in Washington State, I have not had the same ratio, but the Oriental students I have had remain a step above in ability, production, and respect for the teacher.

I think it must be a joy for you to receive such honor from the students you adjudicate and teach. It's nice to see that some families have big expectations for success and do all that they can in being supportive. They look to you and value your contribution and leadership and possibly, your every word.

Others may have different opinions, but, I'm just remembering that I had good experiences with people from these cultures too.

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#1258289 - 08/28/09 11:01 PM Re: Lost a student today [Re: Kreisler]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4783
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
I don't mind teachers being thought of as employees, but I think it's important to know exactly what you're paying for:

You are paying for the *availability* of *help* in *learning*

Unfortunately, people often think that when you hire a teacher, you're paying for an education. You're not. You're paying for the availability of a service.

In a lot of ways, teachers are employed just like the cable company is "employed" by subscribers. The cable company promises that, should you turn your television on and tune in to certain channels at certain times, moving pictures will show up on the screen.

Whether or not you turn the television on, pay attention to what's there, or try out the cooking tips and recipes on the FOOD network is up to you.

But too often, people hire teachers thinking that's enough. Hire the tutor, get a better math score. Hire a piano teacher, be able to play the piano. But that's like saying "Pay for cable TV, learn History."

No, you have to tune into the history channel and pay attention. laugh

Good points. There is another matter to. In an employer/employee situation, the employer calls all the shots. Or most of them, usually.

If a student/teacher is that way, with the student looking at the teacher as just a hired servant, so to speak, not much is going to be learned.
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#1259163 - 08/30/09 06:18 PM Re: Lost a student today [Re: Gary D.]
plester102 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/23/09
Posts: 3
Loc: Eugene Oregon
Some of the teacher replies regarding the teacher/student relationship is certainly interesting.
If any teacher (even a piano GOD) presented a year’s agreement with an extensive list of rules and regulations for my signature before I could begin lessons – I would be long gone.
I do not consider myself an employer but a consumer. And, as a consumer of a piano teacher’s service -- i.e. lessons, I will always have the power. Because I have the money to purchase that service.


I do not understand why this concept is so difficult to grasp.

Cheers,

A happy student

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#1259191 - 08/30/09 06:46 PM Re: Lost a student today [Re: plester102]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5920
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: plester102
I do not consider myself an employer but a consumer. And, as a consumer of a piano teacher’s service -- i.e. lessons, I will always have the power. Because I have the money to purchase that service.
Well of course you're at liberty to think of it how you wish, and I'm glad you're a happy student smile . No teacher wants a student to have no power, I don't think. I certainly don't. But the downside of your summary of the relationship is that if you feel you are just paying for a lesson that may be all you get. I'm not sure you'd be a happy student if your teacher just taught your half-hour lesson and never gave you another thought, or did any extra preparation, or spent time improving his skills, or maintained his piano.
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#1259265 - 08/30/09 08:36 PM Re: Lost a student today [Re: plester102]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4783
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: plester102
Some of the teacher replies regarding the teacher/student relationship is certainly interesting.
If any teacher (even a piano GOD) presented a year’s agreement with an extensive list of rules and regulations for my signature before I could begin lessons – I would be long gone.
I do not consider myself an employer but a consumer. And, as a consumer of a piano teacher’s service -- i.e. lessons, I will always have the power. Because I have the money to purchase that service.


I do not understand why this concept is so difficult to grasp.

Cheers,

A happy student

Your teacher also has the "power" to tell you to get lost.

Apparently you think that as a "consumer" that any teacher, even a very good one, can be replaced by another.

Good luck with that idea…
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Piano Teacher

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#1259339 - 08/30/09 10:54 PM Re: Lost a student today [Re: plester102]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5458
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: plester102
I do not understand why this concept is so difficult to grasp.



Perhaps it is because many people disagree with you! Don't expect the whole world to think the same way you do.

And what do you say to teachers who teach for free?
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1259356 - 08/30/09 11:28 PM Re: Lost a student today [Re: plester102]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Originally Posted By: plester102
Some of the teacher replies regarding the teacher/student relationship is certainly interesting.
If any teacher (even a piano GOD) presented a year’s agreement with an extensive list of rules and regulations for my signature before I could begin lessons – I would be long gone.
I do not consider myself an employer but a consumer. And, as a consumer of a piano teacher’s service -- i.e. lessons, I will always have the power. Because I have the money to purchase that service.


I do not understand why this concept is so difficult to grasp.

Cheers,

A happy student


I grasped your posting just fine. However, I think there is more to your being an employer than just being able to pay the bill. And, I don't subscribe to your equation at all as I've previously said.

I don't understand why you are so oppositional to my version of the transaction between student and teach are for piano teaching services.

We are, of course, oppositional, but I believe you can find someone who will teach your way.

Let me ask you: How many teachers have you employed in this employer relationship so far? What are your requirements of this teacher? If you can hire, you can fire. Have you done that? Have you actually held a role of employer having to account to the government for your business transactions? Do you keep records?

I don't think you are the employer in the way that I am thinking an employer acts toward an employee. You are simply wanting to pay your bill like you pay utilities, rent, buy food, put gas in the car, etc.

To turn on utilities in the first place and to rent property or own property, there are contracts with stipulations in them. The utility company and the mortagage companies also have you in their hot little hands.

You have more control over the food you buy and the gas you put in the car. You can choose where to shop and what to buy. But, the payment is due at purchase and you have no further control once you have spent the money.

Have you really found a teacher who knows your attitude and has accepted you anyway? Without a contract you have no recourse with the teacher. The only thing you will be able to do is "vote with your feet". When I sign a contract with my student, I am writing about the services I will provide over one year's time. My contract is a legal document between two responsible people. I think this contract between us represents "ownership". We both own the projected outcome and that plan is for the success of the student.

When you pay per lesson it suggests that neither of you wishes to commit to next week - neither of you is investing in the relationship of student and teacher.

I see myself as a professional and I see my students as my clients until the termination comes effective. One of us will terminate at some future time it's a given. I think the odds are that we will conduct a cordial end and have good things to say about the time we spend together.

You could get so much more for your money, I think.

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#1259403 - 08/31/09 02:00 AM Re: Lost a student today [Re: Betty Patnude]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4783
Loc: South Florida
I have to mention that I'll take Plester seriously when he exceeds two posts and shows some genuine desire to communicate rather than just stir things up. laugh
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#1259405 - 08/31/09 02:05 AM Re: Lost a student today [Re: plester102]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
Originally Posted By: plester102
Some of the teacher replies regarding the teacher/student relationship is certainly interesting.
If any teacher (even a piano GOD) presented a year’s agreement with an extensive list of rules and regulations for my signature before I could begin lessons – I would be long gone.
I do not consider myself an employer but a consumer. And, as a consumer of a piano teacher’s service -- i.e. lessons, I will always have the power. Because I have the money to purchase that service.


I do not understand why this concept is so difficult to grasp.

Cheers,

A happy student

It's not difficult to grasp. I get it. It's a business relationship with a contract. And like any business relationship, it can be ended usually without notice by either party. Piano lessons is just another market transaction. That's the reality good people!
_________________________
Play New Age Piano
http://www.quiescencemusic.com

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#1259407 - 08/31/09 02:09 AM Re: Lost a student today [Re: eweiss]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4783
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: eweiss

It's not difficult to grasp. I get it. It's a business relationship with a contract. And like any business relationship, it can be ended usually without notice by either party. Piano lessons is just another market transaction. That's the reality good people!

Yes, but in this particular market transaction, it's not true that one party has all the "power". That's the logical flaw.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#1260188 - 09/01/09 09:41 AM Re: Lost a student today [Re: Monica K.]
MsAdrienne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/06
Posts: 283
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
abcdefg ~ So sorry to hear you lost a student. Middle school years seem to be getting more difficult for piano students. I have lost 2 seventh-graders in the past week because of the "academic team" schedule -- they meet 3 nights a week and have once a month "competitions." The AT schedule was JUST published, after piano had already begun. Actually, lost 3 students, as one younger sibling will now not begin lessons. frown

It seems counterintuitive in a way that one would drop piano for academic team, but so it goes. (?) I will be filling these spots as quickly as I can, as I have already made many schedule changes and other accommodations for these particular families. It is heartbreaking and frustrating, and I guess it happens to all of us! Hang in there! smile

Still learning to communicate with my students' parents after 18 years of teaching....
_________________________
Private piano teacher in Lexington, Kentucky
Member MTNA, NGPT Board of Adjudicators
http://www.pianolex.com
http://www.facebook.com/pianolex

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#1260194 - 09/01/09 09:57 AM Re: Lost a student today [Re: MsAdrienne]
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17773
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Were these Winburn students, Adrienne? My daughter just made the academic team there, and I have to tell you the 3 days a week schedule was a surprise to us. We had originally been told it would be just two afternoons a week. Fortunately the days don't conflict with her flute lessons, but now she's going to have virtually no free time. frown
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#1260222 - 09/01/09 10:45 AM Re: Lost a student today [Re: Monica K.]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11756
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Another thing about the concept that the student is the employer and the teacher is the employee that I find incongruous is that generally the employer him/herself or someone they've assigned as a direct supervisor over the employee knows exactly what the employee should be doing. They even train them to do their job sometimes. The employer will often have benefits they offer to employees, pay unemployment and social security/medicare taxes on their behalf, and provide a work environment. And as has been previously pointed out, many offer a severance package or at the very least 2 weeks' notice for layoffs or termination. None of my students give me any of these things. Certainly, the US government considers me to be self-employed, and so do I.

In a business, you have the provider of a product or service, and the client. Certainly, if the client is not happy, they can bring their business elsewhere. But the client comes to the provider for their expertise in something. Whenever I hire a contractor to work on our house, I assume they're better at it than I am, and they always provide me with a contract. Sometimes, that contract is not to their benefit when it comes to a warranty or sticking to a price quoted, but it protects me from costs escalating or shoddy workmanship. For services or products that are delivered on an ongoing basis, most of these companies have a cancellation requirement where you give notice in writing. Most of them also have you pay for the service in advance, not in the past, and so such cancellation also entails a 30-day notice.

These are standard business practices, and no one squawks at them unless they're trying to get something for nothing. If someone squawks at my policy, then it's best that I don't teach them for both of our sakes.
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#1260253 - 09/01/09 11:18 AM Re: Lost a student today [Re: Monica K.]
MsAdrienne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/06
Posts: 283
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Monica ~ Yes, one of them is. I believe that the students are capable of doing both piano and academic team, but possibly the parents feel overwhelmed with all the driving around from activity to activity... I don't know, just guessing.

Both have said they "want to stop piano FOR NOW." Well, I can't make the curriculum work for only part of the year, so I really have to fill the spots immediately. I've held too many spots already this summer, and it's too disruptive. May be time to take on more beginners. smile

The fact that the AT events take both afternoons AND the Saturday tournaments means that I can't accommodate the schedule no matter how flexible I am. I am losing two Saturday students after "giving in" and allowing Saturday lessons. I should have known better. confused
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Private piano teacher in Lexington, Kentucky
Member MTNA, NGPT Board of Adjudicators
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#1260268 - 09/01/09 11:31 AM Re: Lost a student today [Re: MsAdrienne]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11756
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: MsAdrienne
I am losing two Saturday students after "giving in" and allowing Saturday lessons. I should have known better. confused


I found this out to be the case as well when I taught Saturdays. Those students were the most often to get rescheduled or to cancel. If they cannot find a time during the week where they can come for a half hour once a week, then perhaps they are too busy to take lessons at all. I doubt they'd find any time to practice either.
_________________________
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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#1260807 - 09/02/09 02:19 AM Re: Lost a student today [Re: Morodiene]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4783
Loc: South Florida
For years Saturday has been my fullest day, and my best student has been coming on Saturday for years.

Strange…

More and more I'm struck by how different lifestyle is in the US from region to region. smile

The thing that shocks me, and depresses me, is that with the time demands on students, it might all make sense if they knew more because of all the extra time.

Teachers tell me that they are teaching less and less (information) but need more and more time to do it (and take care of paper-work).

Again, this may be especially bad in South Florida—NCLB country—where everyone appears to have been left behind and the thinking is that firing teachers should only be a minor problem in the educational system.

I also see more students quitting earlier, often in middle school, because they really have no time left.

It's quite depressing.
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Piano Teacher

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#1260902 - 09/02/09 09:24 AM Re: Lost a student today [Re: Morodiene]
bitWrangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 1789
Loc: Central TX
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: MsAdrienne
I am losing two Saturday students after "giving in" and allowing Saturday lessons. I should have known better. confused


I found this out to be the case as well when I taught Saturdays. Those students were the most often to get rescheduled or to cancel. If they cannot find a time during the week where they can come for a half hour once a week, then perhaps they are too busy to take lessons at all. I doubt they'd find any time to practice either.


Well, we have our lessons on Sat morning to _prevent_ conflicts and to ensure that the piano lesson does not interfere with homework (the only activity that trumps piano). Then again that's for two lessons (two kids) so it's not a matter of finding 1/2 hour a week, rather more like 2 1/2 hours (two lessons plus travel and prep). Of course I can't deny or negate your experience, but I just wanted to provide a different data point.

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#1261095 - 09/02/09 01:58 PM Re: Lost a student today [Re: bitWrangler]
MsAdrienne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/06
Posts: 283
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Originally Posted By: bitWrangler
Well, we have our lessons on Sat morning to _prevent_ conflicts and to ensure that the piano lesson does not interfere with homework (the only activity that trumps piano). Then again that's for two lessons (two kids) so it's not a matter of finding 1/2 hour a week, rather more like 2 1/2 hours (two lessons plus travel and prep). Of course I can't deny or negate your experience, but I just wanted to provide a different data point.


It's kind of funny; for the longest time, I couldn't get anyone to take Saturday mornings, and even then, there were other activities that conflicted (soccer games, ballet, music performances/festivals, even my professional music organizations, etc.). I keep my Mondays open (no lessons at all) so I can have Saturday lessons, but I really haven't been able to get many to come on the weekend.
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#1261145 - 09/02/09 03:25 PM Re: Lost a student today [Re: MsAdrienne]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Hi Adrienne,I'm sorry you've lost students recently. Sunday lessons work for me. I had two families request weekend lessons, so I offered them Sunday afternoon times. I take off Friday and Saturday, teach Sunday through Thursday. So far I have 3 students on Sunday afternoon. It works for me. I like to be able to leave town on a Friday and not have to be back until Sunday. (But I'm noticing the LFMC recitals are on Sunday afternoons!)

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#1261387 - 09/02/09 10:30 PM Re: Lost a student today [Re: Ann in Kentucky]
abcdefg Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/18/09
Posts: 67
Loc: midwest
I always took my piano lesson on a Saturday morning. For me that meant no sleepovers and I missed out on Saturday morning cartoons. Somehow I survived. I tried giving lessons one year on Saturdays. The students were either half asleep because they had been up with friends all night or looking at their watch the whole time because they had somewhere to go.

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#1261657 - 09/03/09 09:47 AM Re: Lost a student today [Re: abcdefg]
Stanny Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 1461
I can imagine that Sunday afternoons work much better than Saturday mornings! But I'm tempted to do a group make-up once or twice a semester on a Saturday Morning at 8:00. *insert evil grin here*
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#1261712 - 09/03/09 11:07 AM Re: Lost a student today [Re: Stanny]
Mrs.A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 155
Originally Posted By: Stanny
I can imagine that Sunday afternoons work much better than Saturday mornings! But I'm tempted to do a group make-up once or twice a semester on a Saturday Morning at 8:00. *insert evil grin here*


This is exactly what I do. Make-ups are the first Saturday of the month. It is a group lesson and only allowed if student schedule ahead of time. I have not had anyone take advantage of the make-up time in over a year. I also have no one complaining that I don’t reschedule missed lessons. It works very well for me....and there is only a slight evil intent in my motive.
_________________________
Piano Teacher.
Church Music Director.
Kindermusik Instructor.
Mom to four boys.


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#1261747 - 09/03/09 11:47 AM Re: Lost a student today [Re: MsAdrienne]
Mrs.A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 155
Originally Posted By: MsAdrienne


Both have said they "want to stop piano FOR NOW." Well, I can't make the curriculum work for only part of the year, so I really have to fill the spots immediately. I've held too many spots already this summer, and it's too disruptive. May be time to take on more beginners. smile



Been there.

I have one student who took the summer off. She spent the summer with her father so I understand and am glad to have her back . .. She was in piano for less then a year before she took the summer off. Her first return lesson was yesterday. She forgot everything. Couldn’t name a note or find a the key on the piano. I took her back nearly to the beginning. I am hoping she will catch up quickly.


If a student says they are stopping FOR NOW because the schedule is too busy, they usually don’t come back. Their schedules are not going to get any lighter.



When my boys come back to baseball every spring, they haven’t lost much. Same with other activities. Parents often perceive piano the same way they approach the other activities BUT piano needs consistency and commitment or they will regress. Time and money invested is lost after an absence from piano. Communicating this to parents is difficult.
_________________________
Piano Teacher.
Church Music Director.
Kindermusik Instructor.
Mom to four boys.


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#1261892 - 09/03/09 03:34 PM Re: Lost a student today [Re: Stanny]
bitWrangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 1789
Loc: Central TX
Originally Posted By: Stanny
I can imagine that Sunday afternoons work much better than Saturday mornings! But I'm tempted to do a group make-up once or twice a semester on a Saturday Morning at 8:00. *insert evil grin here*


Yeah, just try convincing two kids that it's perfectly reasonable for them to get up early on a Sat to have their piano lesson. I can see how this would not fly in many households (and once the kiddos hit their teens, might not fly anymore in mine smile )

However, we made a conscious decision to do this because we vowed to have one day a week devoted to "family time" with no regularly scheduled activity (practice/homework not withstanding). As others have mentioned, Sat is the day for sports and other activities so we figured we'd just sacrifice that day and keep our Sunday's free.

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New Topics - Multiple Forums
How much to Move a piano from Tucson, AZ, to New York?
by Paul678
33 minutes 42 seconds ago
The Mooozart Effect
by Rich Galassini
Today at 06:13 PM
What would you do in this situation?
by CountSmith
Today at 05:55 PM
An aural and visual demonstration of the Skeleton.
by Mark Cerisano, RPT
Today at 05:09 PM
tunelab update
by michaelopolis
Today at 04:40 PM
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