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#1278297 - 09/30/09 11:20 PM Do you teach on Saturdays?
PianoKitty Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 133
Loc: US
When I was a new teacher, I decided to teach on Saturdays in order to increase my availability so I could build up my studio. Well, that didn't take long...word of mouth brought me up to almost 40 students in just a few months. And now, I am really missing having my Saturdays free. My husband also detests that I have to get up early on Saturday mornings and teach instead of spending family time with him and our kids. =( I can never go to birthday parties because they are always on Saturday mornings - ugh! And I can never go to my son's baseball games because again, they are always on Saturday mornings!

So, after great thought, I am planning to eliminate my Saturdays... Do you think doing this in January would be OK (with a few months notice)? Or should I wait until the summer? I don't want to leave the kids high and dry in the middle of the school year, but I don't know how much longer I can do Saturdays.

I feel badly, because I know that several of my Saturday students cannot come on weekdays because their parents work long hours, so they will have to leave my studio when I cut out Saturdays. =( I have already tried to work them into my week days and the parents have said it is impossible. That is why I have been dreading this decision...a few of my Saturday students are very attached to me and want to become piano teachers when they grow up (they say because of me...awwww). I will feel awful if they can't come anymore when I drop Saturdays.

Ugh, this decision is so tough! Do you teach Saturdays? Why or why not?

How should I go about communicating this?
_________________________
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#1278299 - 09/30/09 11:27 PM Re: Do you teach on Saturdays? [Re: PianoKitty]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
I refuse to teach on Saturday. I did it for a few years when I was in grad school and I resented not having my weekend.

If your students are that committed to having you as a teacher, they will make the time to come on another day.

Your family should come first.
_________________________
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

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#1278305 - 09/30/09 11:38 PM Re: Do you teach on Saturdays? [Re: Minniemay]
C.Y. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/30/08
Posts: 391
How about teaching those kids on Saturday afternoon?
Just wondering if those kids are one of you best students, will you still consider dropping them?

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#1278307 - 09/30/09 11:49 PM Re: Do you teach on Saturdays? [Re: C.Y.]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7200
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
I only teach my monthly group lesson on Saturdays, in the PM. I'm like others, I need my weekend for family time, too.
_________________________
"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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#1278309 - 09/30/09 11:53 PM Re: Do you teach on Saturdays? [Re: C.Y.]
PianoKitty Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 133
Loc: US
CY, one of the Saturday kids is one of my best students. I would hate to lose her. But I've tried over and over to switch them to a week day and the father says he can't, even if I teach till 7 pm. They literally live a block away from me, so I don't see why it's such a problem. And this student is very attached to me; she is a sweetheart. I'm hoping that when the time comes, and it's either switch or leave my studio, he will work something out.

That's a good idea about teaching in the afternoon instead...at least for next semester. I am definitely cutting out Saturdays at the end of this school year. I want to do it sooner but I would feel too badly about it. =(
_________________________
Private Piano Instructor
Member, Music Teachers National Association (MTNA)

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#1278317 - 10/01/09 12:07 AM Re: Do you teach on Saturdays? [Re: PianoKitty]
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1250
Loc: California
I taught on Saturday mornings when I was in high school and college. Then when I got married I stopped and have not taught Saturdays in 25 years. I am now considering teaching Saturday mornings again. My kids are in college, have jobs and their own social calendars. I think I could do it OK. I'd only be teaching from 9:30-11:30am, so it wouldn't be all day, but it's a huge decision.

I would probably finish out your year (whatever your parents contracted with you) with teaching Saturdays. Then, when it's time to schedule all of your students for the new year, drop the Saturdays. I don't think it's fair to parents to make such a change in the middle of the year. But I guess you could try and just see what reaction you get.
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Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
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#1278323 - 10/01/09 12:21 AM Re: Do you teach on Saturdays? [Re: dumdumdiddle]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5278
Loc: Orange County, CA
Saturday is now my busiest day of the week. Against my will...
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1278333 - 10/01/09 01:15 AM Re: Do you teach on Saturdays? [Re: AZNpiano]
Roxy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/19/08
Posts: 478
Loc: Whittier, Calif
If you are going to change your schedule Jan. would seem the best place with advanced notice to start. You have two choices with your best student teach him/her only on Sat. in the morning or evening or whenever is the most convient and no one else. Or hold the line and if she/he really likes you, her/his parents believe it or not may come around to your time. You'd be surprised no matter what they say. They may realize she/he is your best student and that's why they are holding out. Also your student has not brought pressure on the parents yet realizing she/he will no longer be able to take from you as you have not issued the ultimatum. Good luck, it is a hard decision, but speaking as one who no longer teaches on Sat.'s it is well worth having the weekend.

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#1278334 - 10/01/09 01:19 AM Re: Do you teach on Saturdays? [Re: AZNpiano]
PianoKitty Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 133
Loc: US
dumdum - I agree. I *want* to drop Saturdays sooner but I know I won't, because I don't feel that it's fair to the kids or the parents. Even though I am not under "contract" with anyone (my students pay monthly), I still don't feel right about it. But summer is a natural transition time, so I'll do it at that point. I just have to persevere for 8 more months...ugh!

AZN - If I had taken on every student who wanted Saturdays, I'd be teaching from 8 am to midnight LOL. Saturdays are a big piano day for working parents; it seems like I am constantly getting calls and emails from prospective Saturday students. Right now I have 6 students on Saturdays and I refuse to add more since I know I'll be cutting it out next year.
_________________________
Private Piano Instructor
Member, Music Teachers National Association (MTNA)

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#1278353 - 10/01/09 02:00 AM Re: Do you teach on Saturdays? [Re: PianoKitty]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5278
Loc: Orange County, CA
I don't mind so much teaching on Saturdays, but none of these students are new. They all moved over from their weekday lessons last year because they now have too many activities and/or too much homework. And my weekdays are thin now.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1278420 - 10/01/09 07:28 AM Re: Do you teach on Saturdays? [Re: AZNpiano]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
I stopped teaching Saturday about 6 months ago and it's really nice to have the weekend free. Unfortunately filling time during weekdays is difficult so I am thinking about starting Saturday lessons again. It's a popular day and of course kids are not in school. I guess you just have to put up with the anti-social hours if you make your living from piano teaching.
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Pianist and piano teacher.

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#1278429 - 10/01/09 07:50 AM Re: Do you teach on Saturdays? [Re: Chris H.]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I teach Saturdays, but my family and my students' families are used to situations where weekends aren't free. Since I do a lot of performing and my wife and I have never really had normal 9 to 5 jobs, the idea of a middle-class Monday-Friday-with-weekends-free life has never really been a part of our world.

When I arranged my schedule, I did make sure to give myself two days off each week, but this year, those two days turned out to be Thursdays and Sundays. (I know, it's so weird that nobody wanted lessons on Thursdays, but that's the way the chips fell...)
_________________________
"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)

www.pianoped.com
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#1278443 - 10/01/09 08:20 AM Re: Do you teach on Saturdays? [Re: Kreisler]
Lollipop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 820
Loc: Georgia
I am an empty nester. I went back to teaching to bring some kids and some noise back into the house. My husband gets home about 7 p.m., and is home on weekends. Since my goal was to have something to do with my free time, I have been clear from the outset that I teach M-F, only until 7. That doesn't mean I don't get pressured to offer lessons outside that time, but I have been firm. I have learned that some people will push for as much as they can get - which is always a little bit more, and I need to be willing to set my own limits and stick to them.

I suggest that whenever you decide to stop Saturday lessons, that you let your families know well in advance. You can tell them that you are letting them know now so they can begin thinking about alternatives, whether it be a weekday time in your studio, or finding a new teacher. And of course, let them know that your weekday times will fill up quickly, so if they think they will want to switch to a weekday time, they should reserve a time ASAP. I suspect that once you issue the ultimatum, you will find parents suddenly more flexible.
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#1278477 - 10/01/09 09:10 AM Re: Do you teach on Saturdays? [Re: Lollipop]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10761
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Piano Kitty,

With all due respect, your family is telling you that they need you on this day. Your husband - the man you've made a life-long commitment to - is upset, and your children are disappointed and yet you still waffle. Does that mean your students mean more to you than your husband and children? I'm sure that is not the case, but that is essentially what you're saying to your husband and kids by not switching.

If you do not have a contract with these students beyond month to month, then couldn't *they* drop *you* if they just came to realize that piano lessons were cutting into their family time or for any other reason? Do you have a cancellation policy, like 30 days' notice? I would observe that with your students. 30 days is plenty of time for them to reschedule a time with you that would work, or if need be, find another teacher. If the latter is the case, then help them by giving them names of local teachers who have openings.

Send these families a nice letter letting them know that you enjoy teaching their child but that it is not working out with your family. They should understand (and if they don't that's their problem). You can even just ask them what time if they had their choice of any time other than weekends, would work for them, and then see if a student you have at that time is more flexible and would be willing to move to another time. It would be optional for them, and they'd be doing you and this family a favor.

As a last resort, see how your husband and children feel about Sunday evening lessons. Find out if these Saturday people would be able to do that. But be sure to check with your family first.

I'm sorry to be so forward about this, but your family must always come first. They are the people who will stay with you for your/their entire life. All students will leave you at some point, and that isn't always a bad thing. But you don't want to permanently damage a lifelong relationship for the sake of a temporary one. I hope you understand.
_________________________
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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#1278533 - 10/01/09 10:25 AM Re: Do you teach on Saturdays? [Re: Morodiene]
Diane... Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/16/06
Posts: 3343
Loc: Western Canada
Originally Posted By: Morodiene

As a last resort, see how your husband and children feel about Sunday evening lessons. Find out if these Saturday people would be able to do that. But be sure to check with your family first.


Well I started teaching Sunday's because I had no spots during the week for new students. Soon discoverd that I actually liked Sunday, because the problem with Saturday was that student's families would go out of town Friday night and wouldn't return until Sunday. And that happened a lot!

So I teach Sunday thru to Thursday! I start on Sunday night at 5:00 and teach til 9:00!

Friday is my day all to myself, and Saturday I'm with friends and family!
_________________________
http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/goldsparkledress.jpg
Diane
Jazz/Blues/Rock/Boogie Piano Teacher


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#1278576 - 10/01/09 11:06 AM Re: Do you teach on Saturdays? [Re: PianoKitty]
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17698
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Originally Posted By: PianoKitty
CY, one of the Saturday kids is one of my best students. I would hate to lose her. But I've tried over and over to switch them to a week day and the father says he can't, even if I teach till 7 pm. They literally live a block away from me, so I don't see why it's such a problem.


I agree--this seems so strange that I have to imagine there's something else going on. How old is the child? Even if there are no parents at home, could she not walk herself to your house for a lesson during weekdays? What if you volunteered to walk there and give the lesson at her house if the parents don't want the young girl walking by herself? Obviously you don't want to set the precedent of traveling to lessons, but given the short distance, it seems, well, baffling that *something* couldn't be worked out during the weekdays.
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Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
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#1278615 - 10/01/09 11:47 AM Re: Do you teach on Saturdays? [Re: Monica K.]
kissyana Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/12/07
Posts: 199
Loc: Northeast Illinois
Kitty,

I would stop the Saturday teaching. I agree with everyone who says family comes first. If your Saturday students really want to stay with you they will find a way to make it work. Sorry, but I don't buy the excuse of weekday evenings being impossible for these families. It may be much less convenient but certainly not impossible for a determined person. My mother worked full time and went to night school to complete her degree. My dad worked extremely long hours running his own paving business (80+ hours a week). This went on for most of my childhood yet my mother made sure that we were able to get to our weekday evening piano lessons. Aunts, unlces, grandmas, babysitters, and family friends gave us rides to lessons when my parents couldn't do it. Unless everyone in the area hates them, I'm sure some of these families can find a way to make it work if they really tried.

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#1278622 - 10/01/09 11:56 AM Re: Do you teach on Saturdays? [Re: kissyana]
Lollipop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 820
Loc: Georgia
Okay - this sounds so cliche - uphill both ways in the snow -- But I just Google mapped from my childhood home to my teacher's studio - 5.6 miles. Google says that walking it takes 1 hour 49 mintues. I used to catch a bus after school to get there, and walk home. My mom gave me bus money, so I walked to get to keep the extra change! I lived in Erie, PA - so in the deep snow, I did tend to ride the bus both ways.

Of course, that was back in the dark ages. But it does seem like, given the choice of driving their student some distance to another teacher's studio on weekends, or walking one block to your house during the week, the choice should be a no-brainer.


Edited by Lollipop (10/01/09 11:57 AM)
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#1278633 - 10/01/09 12:17 PM Re: Do you teach on Saturdays? [Re: kissyana]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Originally Posted By: kissyana
Sorry, but I don't buy the excuse of weekday evenings being impossible for these families.


Maybe they stay home to spend time with their families, and maybe someone is telling them that "if she really wants to teach you, she'll find a way to make it work."

Your dad, working long hours running his own paving business, probably had to work some weekends. Sometimes that's what it takes to run a successful business, whether it's paving or piano teaching.

That's not to say PianoKitty shouldn't take Saturdays off. I reserve time for my family because I think it's important, too. But it's also important to remember that it's a trade-off. Especially in music (and in healthcare - my wife), you can't expect to work full-time and have evenings and weekends off to spend with your family. Public education is like this, too. Most teachers could do a better job if they spent a lot of evenings and weekends doing stuff for their students.

Balancing personal and professional lives is always difficult, for piano teachers, and for pretty much everybody else in the world.
_________________________
"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)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#1278651 - 10/01/09 12:44 PM Re: Do you teach on Saturdays? [Re: Kreisler]
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4974
Loc: boston north
It sounds like a delicate balance.

You mention this one student. If she loves you as a teacher as much as you love her as a student, the parents WILL find a way to get her there. Neighbor, sister, taxi, bike.

I used to teach Sat mornings 8-1 plus do the church organist things on Sun. My life was all switch around for many years. Not much of a social life as my friends had weekends off. Yet I was 'tied' to my students and church duties.

After several years of inside conflict of which part of it resulted in my burning out as a teacher, I now realize that things should be IN BALANCE with your goals and life.

As to when to change? I think that the best time just passed - the new fall schedule. But as others mentioned, a nice letter in advance gives everyone time do whatever changes are necessary after the holidays.

Good luck. It sounds like you are a very conscious teacher.
_________________________
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

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#1278686 - 10/01/09 01:31 PM Re: Do you teach on Saturdays? [Re: Kreisler]
kissyana Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/12/07
Posts: 199
Loc: Northeast Illinois
Good point, Kreisler. Yes, my dad worked weekends and many holidays because that's what it took to make his business a success. He was also a great success as a dad because even though he worked so much, he made sure that my sister and I knew that he loved us. I guess it's all about balance and we each have to find our own. If the students can go with it, great. If not, they will have to move on. Change, even for the better, comes with sacrifice, unfortunately. Wow- my brain hurts now!

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#1279349 - 10/02/09 12:55 PM Re: Do you teach on Saturdays? [Re: kissyana]
PianoKitty Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 133
Loc: US
Thank you, everyone, for your very helpful insights.

What I think I am going to do is change the Saturday morning lessons to either Saturday afternoon or Sunday afternoon for next semester. At least then I will be able to go to most birthday parties and baseball games! =) I am going to try that out for the Spring, and if it still is not working out, I am going to eliminate Saturdays for the summer and following school year. I talked with my husband about this, and he is fine with this arrangement. Saturday mornings are worse for him because he works so hard during the week and does not want to wake up early on Saturday to take care of the kids while I'm working, so I think afternoons will work out better. And if they don't, I need to have the conviction to cut them out altogether, as much as I hate to upset anyone. =(

Do you remember the family with the overbearing father I posted about many months ago?? This is the same Saturday student I am referring to... I guess I shouldn't be so surprised that they are unwilling to be flexible LOL! We'll see how it goes.
_________________________
Private Piano Instructor
Member, Music Teachers National Association (MTNA)

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#1280465 - 10/04/09 10:50 AM Re: Do you teach on Saturdays? [Re: AZNpiano]
musiclady Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/19/05
Posts: 431
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Yes I do, though I usually start my Saturdays at 11:00 am because of doing the occasional Friday night concert which I don't get home until late.
_________________________
Clarinet and Piano Teacher based out of Toronto, Canada.Web: http://donmillsmusicstudio.weebly.com

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