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#1510845 - 09/07/10 02:33 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: TimR]
sarah_elizabeth Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 466
Loc: Texas, U.S.
Originally Posted By: TimR

If the governing association punishes student stealing of this type, then they are in effect protecting incompetent teachers - unless there is also some mechanism in place for addressing that problem.


I agree with John's refutement of Tim's statement. It's not about protecting incompetent teachers; it's about punishing very unprofessional behavior that has no place in the world of piano pedagogy.

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#1510846 - 09/07/10 02:38 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
Chopinmaniac Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 65
We all want to learn from the best we can find and afford for sure, if you are a better teacher, chances are there you student may come back to you.



Edited by Chopinmaniac (09/07/10 06:05 PM)
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#1510863 - 09/07/10 03:03 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: John v.d.Brook]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Perhaps, Tim, the question we ought to be asking is: "What business is it of Teacher A how student of Teacher B is doing?"
His/her business as a teacher. The student's wellbeing must always come first. No doubt Jesus wasn't above pinching the odd follower!
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#1510879 - 09/07/10 03:38 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: sarah_elizabeth]
JustAnotherPianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/20/08
Posts: 798
Loc: United Kingdom
Originally Posted By: sarah_elizabeth
Originally Posted By: TimR

If the governing association punishes student stealing of this type, then they are in effect protecting incompetent teachers - unless there is also some mechanism in place for addressing that problem.


I agree with John's refutement of Tim's statement. It's not about protecting incompetent teachers; it's about punishing very unprofessional behavior that has no place in the world of piano pedagogy.


I'm sorry, but the world of piano pedagogy isn't some little bubble immune to many of the uglier aspects human nature. If you call this behaviour unprofessional, you have much to learn about pianists and teachers.

This student had NO obligation WHATSOEVER to stay with the OP for any length of time. I'm sorry to say this, but it's true. That student can do with his/her money as he/she pleases.

My condolences to the OP...life sucks...and all that jazz. It's a tough world. That other teacher has something which you lack...be it Polish fluency, lower prices, a better piano....who knows. Maybe she's just a better teacher, full stop.

I've done A LOT of teacher changing in my life, and I've had students rudely switch on me as well without giving me notice or even apologizing. I've burned bridges. Stomped on toes. Hurt feelings. WHATEVER.

Do I feel bad about it? Not really. At the end of the day, I have benefited immensely from the many switches I have made. That's what matters. It's the student's best interest which matters. Not the interest of the teacher.

This sort of thing happens all the way up to the very highest level in the world.

If it's too much for you... I'm sorry.

I'm sorry you lost a student-it seems they weren't very courteous in the way they handled the situation. I'm sorry it was your best student.

For those who talk of 'poison' and 'small claims court' and 'bring it up with the MTNA'...... you're joking, right?

Any student can leave any teacher at any time for any reason.

There is NOTHING you can do about it as a teacher...
Well, you can hold a grudge against the family, you can whine about it, you can be bitter, etc.

Does that help the situation? Does that get you your student back? Does it really make you feel better?

Didn't think so.

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#1510881 - 09/07/10 03:38 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10356
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Quote:
The student's wellbeing must always come first. No doubt Jesus wasn't above pinching the odd follower!

John V.D. Brook = Jesus. Well that's a new one to me! grin

There is a reason why music teacher organizations don't try to define malpractice. Well, actually there are two reasons. The first is that musical malpractice rarely produces meaningful increases in morbidity or mortality!

More importantly for our purposes here, it is quite reasonable for teachers' organizations to be focused on defining how teachers should (and should not) behave toward each other. Codes of professional conduct are relatively clear and clean. Defining good and bad teaching is not. To put it another way, the MTNA can define the sort of credentials that are desirable or necessary, but it would be presumptuous for such an organization to try to lay out all the attributes of good and bad teaching in the form of actionable rules. The consumer ultimately is responsible for deciding whether or not they are receiving value for money.

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#1510889 - 09/07/10 03:54 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Piano*Dad]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
Quote:
The student's wellbeing must always come first. No doubt Jesus wasn't above pinching the odd follower!

John V.D. Brook = Jesus. Well that's a new one to me! grin
I believe it's John V.D. v Jesus! (V.D. Brook grin I never noticed before!)
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#1510891 - 09/07/10 03:55 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
Ben Crosland Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/10
Posts: 419
Loc: Worcester, UK
@JustAnotherPianist - I think you're being a little unfair to the OP, there. Their complaint wasn't so much aimed at the student, but at the way the other teacher seemed to solicit business away from him in an underhand manner.

If a teacher's reputation is such that it encourages existing students of other teachers to transfer to them, so be it. However, to go along to a concert of another teacher and approach students like this (correct me if I'm wrong, but this is what happened, right?) is really not good behaviour - like others have said, the perceived ability and progress of someone else's student is entirely dependent on so many factors that are simply unknowable from just watching a performance, and, as far as decent, professional behaviour is concerned, I think it is way off the mark.

For the record, I'm in total agreement with Morodiene's take on this.
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#1510900 - 09/07/10 04:04 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: JustAnotherPianist]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5461
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: JustAnotherPianist
I'm sorry, but the world of piano pedagogy isn't some little bubble immune to many of the uglier aspects human nature. If you call this behaviour unprofessional, you have much to learn about pianists and teachers.


Gee, the glass is always half empty eh??? Your post is really bitter. Good grief!
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Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1510908 - 09/07/10 04:19 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7349
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Well, I'm not sure how advocating minding your own business became an anti-Jesus screed. I believe He also said something to the effect of "not worrying about the speck in your neighbor's eye until you remove the log in your own eye."
_________________________
"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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#1510909 - 09/07/10 04:21 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7349
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
BTW, the most recent "student nabbing" teacher I met was a legend in her own mind.
_________________________
"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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#1510911 - 09/07/10 04:33 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10356
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
BTW, the most recent "student nabbing" teacher I met was a legend in her own mind.


And this is, of course, a good reason why professional societies can write a fairly terse but general paragraph that boils down to 'don't steal each others' students' while remaining silent about teacher quality. Judging one's colleagues is often difficult to separate from simple bias and inflated ego.
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Grotrian 192 #156455

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#1510916 - 09/07/10 04:52 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: John v.d.Brook]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
I believe He also said something to the effect of "not worrying about the speck in your neighbor's eye until you remove the log in your own eye."
Then there was "Suffer little children to come unto me." I wonder if any of those had contracts?
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#1510917 - 09/07/10 04:52 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: JustAnotherPianist]
bitWrangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 1789
Loc: Central TX
Originally Posted By: JustAnotherPianist
It's the student's best interest which matters. Not the interest of the teacher.


Actually I would partially disagree with this statement. While I agree that for the student, their own best interest is tantamount, I would disagree that the interest of the teacher "doesn't matter". I think it would be a mistake for a student to not to make a move to another teacher that they consider "better" (here better meaning in any/all regards including personality, etc), but I think that it can be done in a way that at least partially reflects an amount of respect for the other party. E.g. if you feel the need to switch, give the teacher you are departing reasonable notice. If you are up to and the situation is right, explain to the teacher your reasons for switching (I understand this can be difficult or undesirable for the student for many reasons, but if possible I think most teachers would appreciate some inkling of what the reason(s) are).

Basically it just comes down to respecting the other individual. While it may be true that a student is under no obligation, above and beyond a contract, for how to handle such matters, I don't think it serves anyone to take a hard line approach. This is true for most any "relationship". While one can take the approach that ones happiness is all that matters and therefore dumping your SO at the drop of a hat is perfectly fine regardless of situation or circumstances for someone you find "better", generally most try for at least a certain amount of decorum in such situations.

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#1510930 - 09/07/10 05:12 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: AZNpiano]
JustAnotherPianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/20/08
Posts: 798
Loc: United Kingdom
AZN, what do you want me to say to the OP...?
I'm not bitter...but I do play at a level which few on this forum have achieved, and I KNOW what it took for me to get there. I hurt A LOT of feelings in the process.

Ben.... It's a dog-eat-dog world out there. I will admit, that GOING to another teacher's recital and offering free lessons (or whatever the Polish teacher did) is VERY sleazy.

It sounds like the Polish teacher (again sorry to keep referring to her as such but w/e) is building up quite a notorious reputation amongst her colleagues. One day that may bite her in the you-know-what.

In the meantime, it sounds like she'll be sitting pretty on a fair few talented students.

I really feel for the OP, even if that doesn't come across in my previous post.

At the end of the day, the classical music world is a cutthroat business. I know it far too well to ever say otherwise. Not everyone is a pirate. It sounds like the OP is a genuine and kind person....but look what happened.... he/she lost one of his/her best students to another teacher!

It's a dog-eat-dog world.

Do you want to be the big, nasty dog that can eat all the other dogs? Or do you want to be the nice dog....the loyal family pet? Not sure if you can have it both ways?

In addition to all this, we are only hearing one side of the story here. I'm not question the integrity of the OP-he/she seems to be an honest person as I have said before.

But how can we know for sure what the Polish teacher's motives were? We can sit here all day siding with the OP and declaring the other teacher's behaviour illegitimate...
What if, say, the Polish teacher genuinely knows better than the OP what this student needs? How can we be sure that the Polish teacher didn't see some hideous flaw in the student's technique which she KNOWS how to address?

Finally.... NO, the glass is NOT always half-empty.

But I know many, many teachers, some of whom are on the faculty, even heads of the department, at top-drawer, world-famous conservatoires who are MEAN spirited, spiteful people. They play favourites. They blacklist people for studying with other teachers. They fail people's exams (despite very good playing) without good reason (besides a personal grudge) etc ad nauseum.

NOT all conservatoire teachers are like that. Many of the top ones are. I know this for a fact. Calling me bitter doesn't change that.

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#1510963 - 09/07/10 05:44 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: keyboardklutz]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7349
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
I believe He also said something to the effect of "not worrying about the speck in your neighbor's eye until you remove the log in your own eye."
Then there was "Suffer little children to come unto me." I wonder if any of those had contracts?

That's the problem, isn't it? Too many little children suffer when they come unto piano teachers!
_________________________
"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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#1511034 - 09/07/10 07:22 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
Dark Dragon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/10/08
Posts: 97
Loc: ON
I "just' finished reading pages 2-5 on this thread...geez!! lol

I think what I'm supposed to be learning from this is that it's ok to take someone else's student, if it will make that student better. Sure it looks bad, but no one here seems to have much of a problem with that, life goes on right?

I am a nice guy in general and maybe I'm not a type of person to solicit students currently being taught by other teachers. Maybe I just think that's inappropriate. Or maybe I'm just not in the loop and didn't realize that I should do what this Polish teacher did. I'm more than certain I could steal a lot of teachers if morals and ethics are tossed out the window, I just never realized that this is something happens and is clearly accepted.

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#1511038 - 09/07/10 07:26 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158
Originally Posted By: Dark Dragon
I'm more than certain I could steal a lot of teachers if morals and ethics are tossed out the window, I just never realized that this is something happens and is clearly accepted.



Why would you want to steal a lot of teachers?

Just kidding!
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#1511046 - 09/07/10 07:33 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10356
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Originally Posted By: Dark Dragon
I "just' finished reading pages 2-5 on this thread...geez!! lol

I think what I'm supposed to be learning from this is that it's ok to take someone else's student, if it will make that student better. Sure it looks bad, but no one here seems to have much of a problem with that, life goes on right?



How on earth could you draw that conclusion from this thread, unless you are letting that big chip on your shoulder speak loudly.

Indeed, I have told you that life goes on and that you should get over it. But I, and many others, have also said in no uncertain terms that professional associations write rules for how members of the professional society are obligated to treat each other precisely to make clear to people the boundaries of professional behavior.

Approaching someone else's students with the expressed purpose of taking them away from their current teacher is a violation of just about anyone's code of ethical behavior. The vast majority of the commentary here supports that.

If you are a member of a teachers' organization, and if this other teacher is as well, then please acquire some gonads and bring it to the attention of that organization. If this person is not a member, please bring it to the attention of your organization so that people are aware of the behavior.
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Grotrian 192 #156455

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#1511049 - 09/07/10 07:37 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7349
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: Dark Dragon
I "just' finished reading pages 2-5 on this thread...geez!! lol

I think what I'm supposed to be learning from this is that it's ok to take someone else's student, if it will make that student better. Sure it looks bad, but no one here seems to have much of a problem with that, life goes on right?

I am a nice guy in general and maybe I'm not a type of person to solicit students currently being taught by other teachers. Maybe I just think that's inappropriate. Or maybe I'm just not in the loop and didn't realize that I should do what this Polish teacher did. I'm more than certain I could steal a lot of teachers if morals and ethics are tossed out the window, I just never realized that this is something happens and is clearly accepted.

It's not an acceptable practice among professional teachers. It's in all of our teacher's associations ethics guide that it's unacceptable practice. What you are seeing, for the most part, are adult students and some parents who are mixing up the concept of being free to move from teacher to teacher, from a teacher who stands outside another teacher's recital, and bad mouth's the teacher and solicits students. I thought Morodiene and Ben made the point well, and you know I have many times in the past.

And as a parent, Piano*Dad made the point very well, 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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#1511059 - 09/07/10 07:51 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4414
Loc: San Jose, CA
"...Indeed, no code can be written to describe the full range of bad behaviors..."

It would make fascinating reading. Gogol's Dead Souls comes to mind...


Edited by Jeff Clef (09/07/10 08:52 PM)
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#1511069 - 09/07/10 08:00 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
currawong Offline
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Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5924
Loc: Down Under
And I was trying to make the point that bitterness doesn't help you, regardless of what other people do.
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Du holde Kunst...

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#1511132 - 09/07/10 09:22 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Dark Dragon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/10/08
Posts: 97
Loc: ON
I don't know who this teacher is affiliated with. She just moved to the country this year.

I'm sorry if I missed the point about stealing students being un-acceptable. I was reading a lot of posts about how I should just suck it up and move on. But I guess that's why I come here. I get to hear responses from both sides of the fence.

I'm not feeling much about this situation anymore. Although to be clear, I have only recently included in my policy that I do not wish to have another teacher, teaching a student that I am currently working with. Should the time come to collaborate with a teacher for the sake of the student, I'm all for it. I put this in my policy and obviously the ONLY family to have anything to say about it is the family in question. At least now, the next time a "new" teacher decides to solicit students that I'm currently working with, my clients will at least know where I stand on the issue.

I wouldn't mind maybe seeking out some other fellow teachers in the area because of this issue now and maybe start working more with them. Maybe start working on duets between my student and their's. Not with any ill intention, but maybe it will be a fun experience.

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#1511141 - 09/07/10 09:37 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11659
Loc: Canada
DarkDragon, I would like to explore this idea of a second teacher. This was explored in another music forum (diff. instrument) a ways back. The consensus was that for beginners it is confusing to have two approaches and this can really mess up a student. Also, a teacher may have a reason for holding back in introducing something because he has a plan - if another teacher introduces it, then it makes a mess of what that teacher wants to develop in the student. Finally, can a student handle the work load of two sets of assignments, as well as two different sets of priorities? Those were the cons.

On the pro side, different strengths and views can give more sides to music and piano playing. A student can become more well rounded. One teacher may be more technique-oriented, another more toward interpretation. One may be fascinated by theory, and another may lean toward improvising. Those would be reasons FOR working with a second teacher.

So do you have reasons for not wanting your student - and this particular student - to work with a second teacher, such as the ones mentioned? And if so, does the parent know what those reasons are? Also, do you know what kinds of things this parent sought out with the other teacher? Might the have been things that you don't teach or emphasize, that might be secondary things that complement what you do (in the parent's eyes)?

In the way you have come across in the forum, you did not stress the welfare or growth of your student. You appeared to be seeing your territory as being crossed, or your authority and control to have been breached. How you come across is not necessarily your attitude - it is how you come across - how you present things. That is why I am asking how it might have been presented to the parent.

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#1511175 - 09/07/10 10:55 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Piano*Dad]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3190
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
Approaching someone else's students with the expressed purpose of taking them away from their current teacher is a violation of just about anyone's code of ethical behavior. The vast majority of the commentary here supports that.



What if you advertise on the internet, showing your star students performing in videos, with the promise that this is how any child should be performing at six months lessons, two years lessons, whatever?

Ostensibly you are trying to recruit new students to your studio.

But at the same time, the message is going out. If your child is not at that level, must be your teacher's fault. Maybe a change is warranted.

What do you think? Standard advertising? (if your car doesn't get 35 mpg, you should be driving ours) Or attempt to steal?
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#1511197 - 09/07/10 11:47 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7349
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Good question, Tim. Advertising is very general in nature. It is, or usually is, putting out general information for the public about your services, qualifications, achievements, etc. You might be able to focus the advertising down to families with children, perhaps, but much narrower than that is probably difficult(I'm kind of guessing here. How would you compile a list of families with pianos, for example?).

As you said, "recruiting new students" most likely who have never played the piano, or advertising your services as a teacher who can help advancing students move to the next higher level, is, IMO, just fine.

Standing outside the auditorium door, nabbing parents as they walk out, telling them that their current teacher is no good, is beyond bad form, it's totally unethical.

I suppose that if you believe a teacher is really that bad, there may be some mechanism for making this publicly known, but you have to be ultra careful, otherwise, you're engaging in libel.

There are teachers in our organization who are extraordinarily fine, and there are several at the opposite end of the spectrum. You might be surprised to learn that the parents of these teachers are quite thrilled with their child's teachers, despite their musical short comings, because they bring other qualities to the table. These are qualities that the parents desire beyond the ability just to play a musical instrument at the highest level.

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#1511202 - 09/08/10 12:09 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7349
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Dark Dragon's situation is a bit different, as I understand it. His student was offered free lessons by a teacher of the same ethnicity as the student. There are several things in play here. One is the offer of free lessons. If I decided to run an ad in the newspaper offering two free trial lessons to any and all comers, that would be one thing. Or if I offered two free trial lessons for potential transfer students on my web page, it would non-targeted in a general sense. However, if I go around to various teachers' recitals (not hard to do - just check the calenders at the usual performance venues) and offered free lessons, that would be cutting it pretty close to the bone, and if, in the process of doing so, I started to bad mouth the other teacher, that is unquestionably over the line.

Another factor in play here is the characteristic of immigrant groups. For obvious reasons, the first generation immigrants tend to cluster for a sense of security. It is totally understandable that they might want a teacher who teaches in a fashion they are familiar with, in a language they want their child to become fluent in.

Many, many times when I interview students who parents have immigrated, I hear that "you don't teach the way they do back home." Well, my unspoken thought is why the heck did you move here if everything is so great back home, but I realize this is more of a question of being not comfortable on the part of the parent, not a criticism of our teaching. But parents who are not totally comfortable with a new style of teaching is going to drift towards using a teacher from the "old" country. What is quite ironic is that their children are learning "new" ways in school and would actually be more comfortable with a piano teacher following the same general pedagogy.
_________________________
"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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#1511242 - 09/08/10 02:51 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: TimR]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5461
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: TimR
What if you advertise on the internet, showing your star students performing in videos, with the promise that this is how any child should be performing at six months lessons, two years lessons, whatever?

Ostensibly you are trying to recruit new students to your studio.

Several music schools in my part of the world do post videos of their students, but there are no "promises" of anything. They know better. If they fail to live up to these "promises," they can get sued.
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#1511246 - 09/08/10 03:03 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: John v.d.Brook]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Good question...

Standing outside the auditorium door, nabbing parents as they walk out, telling them that their current teacher is no good, is beyond bad form, it's totally unethical.


How about a supermarket that opens their doors right next to another supermarket or a women's clothing store that opens their doors right next to another women's clothing store, thereby effectively and literally standing right outside the door of the competitor, nabbing customers as they walk out? Or perhaps a piano teacher that moves next door to you and puts a "Proper Piano Lessons from Prized Polish Princess - First Month Free" sign in their front yard? Unethical?

Effective marketing is all about generating demand for your product or service and then finding, converting and retaining long-term, profitable customers in the most effective and efficient way possible. If you are new to town, have nothing to lose and everything to gain and are looking for the best piano students now rather than later, what better place to find them then at a public recital?

It is more than fascinating that often the most gung ho and vocal supporters of so-called "free enterprise" only want to see no-holds-barred competition in someone else's business or industry rather than their own.

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#1511248 - 09/08/10 03:22 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: John v.d.Brook]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
... Advertising is very general in nature. It is, or usually is, putting out general information for the public about your services, qualifications, achievements, etc. You might be able to focus the advertising down to families with children, perhaps, but much narrower than that is probably difficult(I'm kind of guessing here. How would you compile a list of families with pianos, for example?).


Actually, in the US which has no effective privacy protections or rules and regulations about what information can be compiled and retained about people and households, where detailed private information on everybody is available on the street and for sale, it is much, much easier than you might think to easily compile a list of families with pianos, a certain number of kilometers from your studio, with children aged 4 - 14, earning a certain income, driving a certain kind of car, having a certain kind of ethnic heritage or any other criteria you might want to specify. You can obtain their home addresses, their telephone numbers, their email addresses, etc. which you can then use to do targeted marketing campaigns to those households that match the criteria that you specify in your predictive model of which households would be likely to purchase your services.

You could, for example, send your newsletter highlighting the success of your young students (now at recitals or exams and later when ex-students have graduated from Ivy League colleges or prestigious Conservatoria thanks to their early piano lessons) to young Asian, Jewish or Software Millionaire families (using a banal example) with children who are turning 3, 4 and 5. On their 6th, 7th or 8th birthday you could send an invitation for a free trial lesson series.

Of course, if you are new to town and want to teach to high-intermediate students or advanced students, it is highly unlikely that you are going to want to start with six year olds and wait ten years. Any students are per definition going to come from other teachers. With a stack of recital programs and the phone book it would take no time to put together a database of all the promising students in a given area who can then be approached by mail or phone, the same way that BMW sends direct mail pieces to Mercedes and Audi owners.

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#1511329 - 09/08/10 08:35 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10356
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
TJ,

Are you arguing that there is absolutely no economic case at all for professional codes of conduct? That they are nothing more than devices to protect incompetence within the profession?

I can imagine circumstances in which they could be a restraint of trade and a reduction in the amount of information available, but as a general rule they seem designed to make professionals behave more like professionals and less like hucksters. The more professionals behave like hucksters, the lower the signal to noise ratio faced by consumers who are not experts as deciphering what is true from what is nonsense. This may not be important in the grocery store business. A relatively costless trip inside the building is usually sufficient to sort out the truth from the BS.

If anything, over time the professional codes have become less restrictive and more open to advertising and other forms of information dissemination. And I think that is generally good. There was a time when lawyers and doctors could not advertise except in the Yellow Pages. That is long gone. But I don't think there would be much social gain from having doctors cherry pick negative statistics about their competitors to broadcast publicly in order to drum up business for themselves.

"Come see Dr. Fud for your next colonoscopy. He has never had a mishap! Dr. Slipowitz, however, punctured a bowel last week. He is error prone."

The single fact may be true, but it may be deliberately stripped of context. Dr. Slipowitz was doing an emergency procedure on a 400 pound 5'2" sixty year old, and has done thousands of procedures with a 99.99% success rate, while Dr. Fud is new and has done precisely ten.

Dr. Slipowitz responds with a radio advertisement advising patients to avoid Dr. Fud because he is new, and thus you "take your life in your hands if you see him." All ten of Fud's cases went perfectly, however, and he trained at the best GI residency program under the best of teachers.

I don't think patient welfare is enhanced in a world in which 'anything goes' is the way professionals treat each other. Both physicians may be fine, but if they start slinging mud at each other in the often zero sum game of attracting patients they will succeed only in making all patients more anxious about seeing physicians. If some patients who need care choose not to get it because they have been frightened by all the negative 'information,' then social welfare declines because of this form of competition.

A piano teacher who trolls for business outside of someone else's recital is just plain rude. If I were a potential 'customer' of that teacher, I would run in the other direction. I want a professional to work with me, not a bare knuckled economic brawler. That rudeness would be very off putting to me.


John,

If you have evidence that certain teachers within the organization have been behaving in ways contrary to your organization's professional code of conduct, why has no one ever moved to expel them?

Actually, this shows the weakness of all such codes. Very few people will want to initiate an action against the violators. All the cost is on the person taking action, and the benefits (if any) will be spread over the rest of the teachers. Standard prisoner's dilemma.

These professional rules are less like law and more like basic ethical guidelines anyway. The Pirates' Code, so to speak.
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https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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