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#1308472 - 11/19/09 12:03 PM Reasons for NOT taking a student!
Diane... Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/16/06
Posts: 3443
Loc: Western Canada
Have heard of piano teachers doing this. I mean, some piano teachers will not take a student and I'm curious what some of these reasons are!

Just the other day, a friend of mine told me that she had both her kids go to a piano teacher who takes only certain students, and this teacher interviewed both her kids and only took the son, and the daughter was left with the understanding that she was not accepted by this piano teacher. Her mother was fine with this, but I am just wondering what are some reasons piano teachers will take one student and will not take another.

So my question is, in the interview process, what is it you are looking for and what are some reasons you won't take a particular student!

Just curious!
_________________________
http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/goldsparkledress.jpg
Diane
Jazz/Blues/Rock/Boogie Piano Teacher


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#1308485 - 11/19/09 12:29 PM Re: Reasons for NOT taking a student! [Re: Diane...]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7355
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Diane, I can think of many reasons, some of which are actually honorable and beneficial to both student and teacher.

- During the interview, you detect there will be a personality conflict which would be detrimental to student learning.

- You detect that the student/family is looking for a different learning style than you offer.

- Student/parent is looking for results you cannot deliver.

- Student/parent is looking for a survey type course, while you teach music majors.

- Student isn't ready to start music study.
_________________________
"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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#1308495 - 11/19/09 12:45 PM Re: Reasons for NOT taking a student! [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11803
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
And, don't forget, the teacher may be looking for a particular kind of student. Perhaps they wish to only teach those students who as John mentioned are hard-working, but also ones that may display a certain level of talent as well.

I also think that this is a win-win situation for the student and teacher, though, because if the teacher will have certain expectations that the student cannot meet, it will be frustrating and detrimental for the student and teacher.
_________________________
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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#1308539 - 11/19/09 01:56 PM Re: Reasons for NOT taking a student! [Re: Morodiene]
david_a Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 2913
Different teachers have different points of view about this whole thing. Nobody's answer will cover everybody else - so with that in mind...

For me to say no to a student, I think it boils down to just one thing. That is their attitude to "Why are we having this piano lesson in the first place?".

The "wrong answer" in my studio is - anything not directly music. If I sense an attitude that music lessons are "for a purpose" such as competition with others, improving in math or other school subjects, maintaining or increasing parents' social standing, padding a little child's CV to make him look well-rounded, etcetera, then I'm not the teacher for that person.

Of course there are truly-musical purposes, like "I want to play with _______, and I'm not good enough, please help me." To me, that's fine.

With little children as the students, this attitude thing is all about the parents. (I've never met a little kid who, on his or her own, I wouldn't take.) With more mature students it's the student themselves, or a combination of student and parent if applicable.

To put it positively: Any student and/or parent who sincerely says in their heart, "I'm here because I want to learn music, and that's it" - with me, they're in.
_________________________
(I'm a piano teacher.)

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#1308563 - 11/19/09 02:41 PM Re: Reasons for NOT taking a student! [Re: david_a]
Lollipop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 820
Loc: Georgia
I got told no by a couple teachers when I was looking for a new teacher for my son. His goal was to major in music performance (he is now in his last year of grad school at Juilliard). His primary instrument was NOT piano, but he was very talented on piano, and knew that he needed to continue it to help with theory and composing. Plus, he enjoyed it.

I tried to be very honest with teachers when talking with them. Several seemed skeptical at my opinion that my son was that talented, and did not seem enthusiastic about taking him on. (We all know parents who believe their children are better than they are.) One said outright that she would not teach him since piano was not going to be his main focus. Fortunately we found a teacher who could live with his divided interests. He went on to be named an Outstanding Performer on piano under her teaching.

It was a little disconcerting to be "rejected" by teachers, but in the end, I'm glad I was honest, and kept looking for the right fit. It worked well for everyone.

I teach beginners, and have never turned down a student outright, but I have tried to discourage a few, when it became obvious that it was probably not going to be successful. I try to be honest, but in the end, I let it be their decision.
_________________________
piano teacher

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#1308616 - 11/19/09 04:23 PM Re: Reasons for NOT taking a student! [Re: Lollipop]
david_a Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 2913
A couple more thoughts from my point of view:

First, the things John mentioned are all really good points and I wish I had thought to include them.

Second, specifically to Lollipop's situation - hearing a parent's opinion of her (or his) child's talent is an immediate danger sign for many teachers. It doesn't even matter what the parent's opinion is - the mere fact that they have turned the conversation in that direction is often enough.

"Looking for the right fit", as you did, is in my opinion the best thing to do.
_________________________
(I'm a piano teacher.)

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#1308628 - 11/19/09 04:49 PM Re: Reasons for NOT taking a student! [Re: david_a]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
I for one won't take on any students with halitosis...



It's nasty.
_________________________
Play New Age Piano
http://www.quiescencemusic.com

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#1308665 - 11/19/09 05:32 PM Re: Reasons for NOT taking a student! [Re: eweiss]
Passion Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 70
Eweiss that's hilarious. grin

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#1308672 - 11/19/09 05:38 PM Re: Reasons for NOT taking a student! [Re: Diane...]
Barb860 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 1646
Loc: northern California
"What if":

Perspective student comes for an interview. You have openings and agree to take him/her based on your interview. But, in the mean time, the student's former teacher contacts you and tells what happened with this student at her studio and why she dismissed this student.
Does this affect your decision to take on the new student?
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#1308705 - 11/19/09 06:16 PM Re: Reasons for NOT taking a student! [Re: Barb860]
david_a Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 2913
Originally Posted By: Barb860
"What if":

Perspective student comes for an interview. You have openings and agree to take him/her based on your interview. But, in the mean time, the student's former teacher contacts you and tells what happened with this student at her studio and why she dismissed this student.
Does this affect your decision to take on the new student?
If the student's former teacher made a special effort to contact me when they normally wouldn't, I would consider it the most egregious of red flags and would likely refuse to take the student.

And I would consider changing my interview process so that whatever this potential student was lying about or hiding from me would never slip past me again.

Possible exception: Some teachers are offended by certain things about which I am not so concerned. For example, I would tend to tolerate more insubordination/rudeness than most teachers. If the other teacher described something that horrified them but made me want to laugh, I might take the student anyway.
_________________________
(I'm a piano teacher.)

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#1308724 - 11/19/09 06:43 PM Re: Reasons for NOT taking a student! [Re: david_a]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7355
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Barb, it is a wise precaution to ask the parent the name of the previous teacher and also if notice has been given, on the telephone, not at the interview. If there is the slightest hint of something off color, or hesitancy in answering, I will call the previous teacher before reaching a final decision. My decision, however, is generally 95% based on the interview.
_________________________
"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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#1308753 - 11/19/09 07:44 PM Re: Reasons for NOT taking a student! [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Passion Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 70
What if a teacher gets rid of a student because of their sexual orientation? Say your boyfriend drops you off and picks you up, and somehow because of that they bring the subject up, and then decide they no longer want you to be their student. Is that right?

I suppose another example would be something more readily apparent, such as a teacher not taking a student because of their race. Just wondering what, if any, recourse there is for such (not that the teacher would ever come out and say that's the reason).


Edited by Passion (11/19/09 07:48 PM)

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#1308794 - 11/19/09 08:53 PM Re: Reasons for NOT taking a student! [Re: Passion]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Don't be the next teacher if the student and the parent look at each other and say "What was her name?" You are going to be next in line to be the next piano teacher that no one remembered her name. That comment has been made several times in my presence.

Another thing to avoid is students and parents who get into a disagreement at the interview. "No, that's not true!" "Unhuh!" "You're wrong!" "I'm not!" Then the parent starts using eye messages and trying to be fearful and calling a stop to it. The student crosses his arms over this chest, slumps, puts his head down into his neck and gets beady-eyed and dark. You don't need this in your life! Decline gracefully.

The parent makes an interview appointment they don't keep or call to cancel. They contact again and want to schedule another. Another what? Another stand-up? That would be two in a row? Hasn't the teacher learned yet? This is what you can expect from this parent. You must confront the issue and set some rules right now.

You get all kinds of clues at interviews. While I am looking objectively for information that gives me a picture of how to approach this child's study I am getting another picture of what it is like to be together with them. You'd think you could put up with anything for half an hour, but, week after week of the same old same old is going to have you tearing your hair out - no matter what message they sent you that set off an alarm, you should really take a good look at before getting started.

You've heard my story about the lady who said her former piano teacher sent out emails about being raped by aliens: If she had said that at the interview that would have been it then and there. In the future, what was she likely to say about me. We never made it through the first month - she didn't like my reaction to the story at all.

So, it might be chiefly instinct, but if you had that thought that something was pretty strange, consider your self lucky to be forewarned.

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#1308878 - 11/19/09 10:50 PM Re: Reasons for NOT taking a student! [Re: Betty Patnude]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11803
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Betty, I've had that same statement made...the child looks at her mom and the "what was her name?" comes up! I haven't noticed whether or not these things show a trend in turn-over, but I suspect you are right.

Quote:
The parent makes an interview appointment they don't keep or call to cancel. They contact again and want to schedule another. Another what? Another stand-up? That would be two in a row? Hasn't the teacher learned yet? This is what you can expect from this parent. You must confront the issue and set some rules right now.

LOL! How true! I do set up another interview if they call to reschedule ahead of time, but if not, I've got better things to do with my time than be stood up.

Instinct often is dead-on.
_________________________
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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#1308924 - 11/20/09 12:09 AM Re: Reasons for NOT taking a student! [Re: Passion]
david_a Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 2913
Originally Posted By: Passion
What if a teacher gets rid of a student because of their sexual orientation? Say your boyfriend drops you off and picks you up, and somehow because of that they bring the subject up, and then decide they no longer want you to be their student. Is that right?

I suppose another example would be something more readily apparent, such as a teacher not taking a student because of their race. Just wondering what, if any, recourse there is for such (not that the teacher would ever come out and say that's the reason).
I must admit I never thought of these potential situations. Any teacher in my area who dumped students for those reasons would soon be looking for other work. (Except perhaps for a few who are perceived in the community as "ethnic music teachers" and who tend to get requests for lessons only from particular groups I guess.)
_________________________
(I'm a piano teacher.)

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#1310072 - 11/21/09 10:04 PM Re: Reasons for NOT taking a student! [Re: Diane...]
Canonie Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/09
Posts: 1941
Loc: Australia
I had parent phone wanting lessons for her son. He is too young I said, but she begged for the opportunity for an interview because no-one else would help her etc. I suggested he should do fun group music classes with other kids, parent told me that he already does this but is so talented that she wants to extend him and also get some assessment of his high level of ability.

At the interview he waddles into my studio (it's hard to walk with a nappy) and drops his bottle on the floor, but those toddler bottles are so well designed there was no spill.... inside my head was a loud voice saying Nooooooooo! You've got to be kidding!?!?! eek eek cry
I think that she had given me the impression he was a little older.

So yeah, I won't teach anyone in a nappy.
_________________________

Composers manufacture a product that is universally deemed superfluous—at least until their music enters public consciousness, at which point people begin to say that they could not live without it.
Alex Ross.

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#1310344 - 11/22/09 11:40 AM Re: Reasons for NOT taking a student! [Re: Canonie]
NWL Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 83
I try to give anyone the opportunity to learn. Music is a shared cultural heritage, after all; every student has a unique way of looking at music, and it is the beautiful privilege of a private teacher to become acquainted with the individual.

There's only one type of student (parent?) that I try to avoid--The Drifter. The Drifter usually has some very nasty things to say about his/her previous piano teacher at the first lesson, immediately falls in love with the new teacher, discovers after a few weeks that his/her problems are still his own, that he/she still has things to learn, and promptly switches teachers again before attempting to make progress under the new instructor.

I've taught two Drifters before they've drifted on to other teachers, and each of them said very negative things about the previous teacher, and each of them was resistant to change.

I figure that with this sort of student, I don't need to be just another stop along the way...

N

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#1311755 - 11/24/09 08:51 PM Re: Reasons for NOT taking a student! [Re: NWL]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Welcome to the forum, NWL!

Your "drifter" is also known as a "piano teacher hopper".

Avoid the situation if you can it is usually a head on collision on a dead end street.

It's hard to make way in music education when confronted by serious obstacles, chaos and confusion as a steady habit from one of the principles - teacher - parent - student.

Yes, resistance and control are usually part of it.

What we need for all to thrive is cooperation, communication, trust, time,effort used constructively, a sense of adventure together, and a team to work out the difficulties toward a solution when they occur.

Betty Patnude

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#1311786 - 11/24/09 09:42 PM Re: Reasons for NOT taking a student! [Re: Diane...]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
Originally Posted By: Diane...
Have heard of piano teachers doing this. I mean, some piano teachers will not take a student and I'm curious what some of these reasons are!

Too many "good" students.



My students need to embrace the "dark side" of the piano.
_________________________
Play New Age Piano
http://www.quiescencemusic.com

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#1312108 - 11/25/09 11:30 AM Re: Reasons for NOT taking a student! [Re: eweiss]
Diane... Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/16/06
Posts: 3443
Loc: Western Canada
Thanks for all the great responses to my question. Thinking now that I should have had the title read "Reasons you TAKE a student.

Anyways, with out stating the obvious eweiss, my question is more about how a teacher would take one student and not another, especially when they are from the same family.

So in the interview process, what did the teacher hear from the one student that they didn't hear from the other! Thinking that my question is that they are "hearing" something from one and not the other.

So my question was more on the side of musicality! And obviously, even students from the same household can be totally different. Even musically wise!

Thank you to all those who responded! Your comments were very much appreciated!
_________________________
http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/goldsparkledress.jpg
Diane
Jazz/Blues/Rock/Boogie Piano Teacher


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#1312191 - 11/25/09 02:01 PM Re: Reasons for NOT taking a student! [Re: Diane...]
david_a Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 2913
On the side of musicality:

Willingness to take a risk (risks include singing in front of the teacher, stating an opinion, making a mistake, trying new music without being shown first); having both personal humility AND pride in learning and improving (just one or the other won't do) - I'm not sure those are correct, and I'm sure there are more.
_________________________
(I'm a piano teacher.)

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#1314641 - 11/29/09 06:43 PM Re: Reasons for NOT taking a student! [Re: david_a]
John Citron Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 3925
Loc: Haverhill, Massachusetts
I agree that music lessons are something that should be enjoyed by anyone who is willing to learn. However... it comes a time when neither the teacher nor the student are ready for each other.

Recently I responded to a small advertisement on the bulletin board at school. A grandmother looking for a teacher for her grandson. Since they lived near the university, I chose to meet them at grandma's house instead of having them drive 40 miles in the opposite direction.

Well... The first meeting/lesson did not go well. The little grandson had just turned 6, and could barely read. He's a bright little boy, but still quite young. He also didn't have a piano. I inquired with the grandmother when I talked on the phone, but she never answered my question because she got another incoming call (call waiting), so our conversation got interrupted.

There he was sitting at the dining room table with an old Casio keyboard. His grandmother sat at the other side of the table and glared at me through out the lesson. She interrupted me at every opportunity she could. These were supposed to be half-hour lessons, and she made sure that her stove clock buzzed when that half hour was up. By the time the alarm went off, we were just getting rolling (wishful thinking), and he was getting used to note names.

I thanked them for the lesson time, and left it that they would call me if they should decide to continue. A week went by, and to my satisfaction, the grandmother told me that her grandson decided he was too young to learn yet as if a 6 year-old can make an executive decision like that.

No loss, and I was quite happy to let this fish go. I'll stick with my adult students who are an absolute joy to work with. There's no clock watching, or interjection by someone else during the lesson, and we all work at a pace that's comfortable for each other.

John
_________________________
Nothing.

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