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#1510227 - 09/06/10 04:58 PM Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE
Dark Dragon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/10/08
Posts: 97
Loc: ON
I KNEW this was going to happen.

I took in this student 2 years ago, I boosted her marks, helped her win awards she never won before, gave her the confidence she definitely didn't have before. I don't expect much in return except to be paid and to be able to continue my teachings with her.

As many of you know, a new teacher made a move on my student and the father thought it would be ok for his daughter to be taught by 2 different teachers. At first he said not to worry because it was just a few free lessons before her exam.

I spoke with him today, he said "because of your rules, we have decided to go with the other teacher". My rules being - students will not have multiple teachers.

For those of you who gave me grief because I was suspicious that this teacher was making a move, what now? "Ohhhhh, let me give you a couple free lessons, if you like you can come with me!". Wasn't I right to be suspicious?

This is the only time this has ever happened to me in all my years of teaching.

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#1510305 - 09/06/10 06:27 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10349
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Life goes on, move with it.

If you wish to bring this to the attention of your local colleagues, do so. This other teacher may pay a price in the long run.
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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#1510326 - 09/06/10 06:48 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5423
Loc: Orange County, CA
I would hesitate to label the teacher by her nationality; it sounds like the teacher is stealing students _because_ she is Polish. Your post's title comes across as racist, even though I find the content of your post to be acceptable. Can you write a critique of the teacher without mentioning her nationality or country of origin??

On the topic of stealing students: Just move on. You are better off not dealing with colleagues who resort to stealing students or using other non-professional tactics.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1510333 - 09/06/10 06:58 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: AZNpiano]
Dark Dragon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/10/08
Posts: 97
Loc: ON
Oh I don't mean to sound racist at all. I just call her the Polish teacher because that's all I know about her. It was also one of the reasons my client decided to switch to her. They were Polish and she was Polish, so of course they had to switch right? lol

It burns because she was one of my top students, amongst many other reasons.

I'm not so bitter now, but on the off chance that this situation occurs again, I know that I will deal with it swiftly.

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#1510336 - 09/06/10 07:01 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
sarah_elizabeth Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 466
Loc: Texas, U.S.
Yes, you were entirely right to be suspicious.

The frustration must be immense for you, and I have much sympathy for you and your situation. You can't do anything about that student now, though, so let the situation roll off your back. I do believe that the other teacher's actions will probably catch up with him/her. And I'd feel free to say something to other local teachers if the opportunity presents itself, as it's obvious that the other teacher is not acting professionally or ethically.

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#1510338 - 09/06/10 07:07 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
Actually, if you have a clause in your contract that states no multiple teachers, you might have a case in small claims court. I don't know if it would be 'actionable' or not though. smile
_________________________
Play New Age Piano
http://www.quiescencemusic.com

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#1510374 - 09/06/10 08:11 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: eweiss]
MarcoM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/17/10
Posts: 246
not a piano teacher, but chiming in anyways.

Originally Posted By: eweiss
Actually, if you have a clause in your contract that states no multiple teachers, you might have a case in small claims court. I don't know if it would be 'actionable' or not though. smile


If the OP did that it'd probably be the easiest way to lose ALL their students, and the other teacher could easily counter-sue for slander. Honestly I think this is one of those ' ... to accept the things I cannot change' situations, dwelling over it is just a lose/lose proposition.

Also, btw

Originally Posted By: Dark Dragon
I took in this student 2 years ago, I boosted her marks, helped her win awards she never won before, gave her the confidence she definitely didn't have before. I don't expect much in return except to be paid and to be able to continue my teachings with her.


the first expectation is of course correct (being paid for your services), the second is something you might want to work on not expecting, because no matter what (another teacher, moving away, changing economic situation of the parents, loss of interest from the child, ...) nowhere is guaranteed that you'll see any of your student again at lesson, just do your best to help them, of course, but try to take a step back and keep your relationship with them on a professional level.


Edited by MarcoM (09/06/10 08:11 PM)

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#1510449 - 09/06/10 10:06 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: AZNpiano]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19664
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
I would hesitate to label the teacher by her nationality....

I agree. It made me uncomfortable, even though I realized it was only what DD explained it was.
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1510467 - 09/06/10 10:31 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
danshure Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 347
Loc: Massachusetts
Although it is saddening to see a student go, especially one we have worked with for a few years, this is the danger of crossing the line from feeling sad, to feeling like we owned that student. The OP's comments have a tone of ownership, but ultimately they're free to study with whomever they want.

The feeling of another new teacher coming in and taking this student is even worse. But give it time - they may realize they made a mistake and come back to you. (I've seen that happen many times before!)
_________________________
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#1510501 - 09/06/10 11:35 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
Tune Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/04/08
Posts: 49
Loc: Malvern,Pa.
Sorry, I don't buy your explanation mentioning you only know the teacher as Polish. Who cares? So you lost a student. That happens. I'm more concerned of transference. Did you have a teacher who told you that if you were to study with anyone else, you had to tell them? I actually did. He had a HUGE ego. And that was his undoing. He turned down an offer to merge his school with a university. Today he has no school at all. As I see it, a teacher should prepare a student to move on. Mine wanted the opposite, to hang on. I'm glad the students parents got involved which shows they care. Don't take it personal. It's their money. You did your best.

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#1510558 - 09/07/10 01:41 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
+1 Eric and dan, all this ownership stuff gives me the creeps!
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http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1510564 - 09/07/10 01:47 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Tune]
Dark Dragon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/10/08
Posts: 97
Loc: ON
This isn't about my ego. When I am no longer of value or use to the student, I don't see anything wrong at all with them going to another teacher. The thing is, I've only had her 2 years. There was nothing I needed assistance with and there were no problems between us. Each year that she wrote an exam with me her marks went higher and higher. Interesting to note that the final exam she took while taking side lessons from this other teacher, she received her lowest mark ever.
I'm not saying that I own my students, but why can't I be at least upset that some random teacher feels that they can just swoop in and offer their services? Does this mean I can go offer my services to any random student because I feel I can teach them better?

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#1510569 - 09/07/10 02:14 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
It's called competition - what made America great!
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snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1510570 - 09/07/10 02:15 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5903
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: Dark Dragon
I'm not saying that I own my students
Not in so many words, but there's a vibe we're getting.
Originally Posted By: Dark Dragon
but why can't I be at least upset that some random teacher feels that they can just swoop in and offer their services?
I don't think anyone's saying you can't be upset. But whether it's helpful is another question.
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Du holde Kunst...

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#1510581 - 09/07/10 03:15 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: currawong]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Originally Posted By: currawong
I don't think anyone's saying you can't be upset. But whether it's helpful is another question.
Agreed. Emotions and teaching just don't go together.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1510603 - 09/07/10 05:15 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: keyboardklutz]
Dark Dragon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/10/08
Posts: 97
Loc: ON
I'm not from America, but if what this teacher did was in the name of competition, then I'm free to solicit students from any teacher now right? A student is free to roam from teacher to teacher and there is no consequence to taking a student from another teacher...is that what I'm understanding?

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#1510612 - 09/07/10 06:38 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
Exalted Wombat Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1194
Loc: London UK
Originally Posted By: Dark Dragon
I'm not from America, but if what this teacher did was in the name of competition, then I'm free to solicit students from any teacher now right? A student is free to roam from teacher to teacher and there is no consequence to taking a student from another teacher...is that what I'm understanding?


Would you want a system of laws and regulations that made it otherwise? You get gigs, you lose gigs. Live with it.

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#1510627 - 09/07/10 07:07 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
The "no multiple teachers" control freak clause is, besides being creepy, simply bad business. To my ears it screams inferiority complex and insecurity on the part of the teacher who apparently implicitly believes that his or her teaching will only be retained if comparison to potentially superior alternatives is forbidden. Those teachers I know with such clauses around here are the desperate ones begging for students (and tend to be the ones that, as soon as they find a potential student, force them to sign up for a year in advance and to pay for lessons not taken).

Teachers would be smarter to put their efforts into delivering superior value and building deep relationships with their students (and parents) in order to retain them rather than try to control others through onerous -- and ultimately anti-student welfare -- contract terms and conditions.

Perhaps if you did not have that clause, you would still have this student who might soon tire of their Polish adventure. Instead, your inflexible contract terms have cost you a star student.


Edited by theJourney (09/07/10 07:08 AM)

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#1510631 - 09/07/10 07:24 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
LimeFriday Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/02/09
Posts: 303
Loc: Australia
It's funny about this multiple teacher thing - my teacher has in fact suggested I do some lesson with other teachers in order to benefit from what others have to offer in terms of expertise.

I can't understand the idea that to learn you MUST be with one teacher only. Sure... there can be a primary teacher - but supplementary lessons with someone else can only aid learning?

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#1510638 - 09/07/10 07:42 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Originally Posted By: Dark Dragon
I'm not from America, but if what this teacher did was in the name of competition, then I'm free to solicit students from any teacher now right? A student is free to roam from teacher to teacher and there is no consequence to taking a student from another teacher...is that what I'm understanding?
Yes. The student (or their guardian) should be able to tell the more suitable teacher. Jeez, you always go with the same make of car? Should it be illegal to switch?
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1510656 - 09/07/10 08:16 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158
To me, the multiple teacher thing is not about ownership or control.

Instead there are other issues.

First, I would be concerned about the other teacher giving the student conflicting advice and information. For example, if I want my students of that age and level to practice, say, an hour a day, and the other teacher says 15 minutes is fine, then that is a problem. Conflicting advice can only cause confusion for the student.

Sure, a smart and talented student could opt for the best advice, but not all could do that.

One solution is if both teachers know each other, and are familiar with each other's teaching philosophy and style, and feel comfortable with such an exchange.

Second, why is the student wanting to go to another teacher at the same time?

If it is because the other teacher teaches something that I don't, that is fine. For example, I do not teach Jazz, but have had students who study with me and take lessons from a local Jazz teacher.

But if we both teach essentially the same thing, then why is it happening? Am I lacking something...if so, I want to know what that is.

But sometimes some other reason is why.

I did have one student who wanted to get ahead very quickly, and she thought that having multiple teachers would accomplish that. If one teacher is good, 2 is better, and I suppose 20 is even better than that.

She also said that she would practice at least 4 hours a day. She lasted about 6 months and disappeared.

So unless the other teacher has something distinct to offer that I do not, then multiple teachers is at least somewhat of a concern.



_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#1510672 - 09/07/10 08:45 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: rocket88]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3169
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: rocket88
To me, the multiple teacher thing is not about ownership or control.



You make some valid points. There can be practical issues with multiple teachers.

But that wasn't really the case here. The OP suspected immediately that the multiple teacher bit was a prelude to losing the student, and was correct.

We don't know why. The parent involved may have some specific reasons, or may just have a vague desire to change, or some combination. Regardless, they are under no obligation to explain why, and if you attempt to force them they may dissemble to avoid conflict. Most parents do.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#1510693 - 09/07/10 09:37 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10349
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Ownership is a non-starter. I don't think anyone has suggested that idea, even DD. Yes, the vibes suggest that DD is really put out by this situation, but there are many things swirling around besides the silly idea of student possession.

It is a fact that many teacher organizations feel the need to write ethics codicils for their members proscribing certain behaviors. Most professions have codes of conduct for how members are supposed to treat each other. Whether you call it student stealing or 'inappropriate solicitation' is immaterial. Teacher groups try to write language that gives the flavor of what they consider over-the-line attempts to pull students away from their current teacher. The fact that they feel compelled to write this stuff down suggests to me that the temptations are strong, and the behavior is actually occurring as opposed to hypothetical.

I am perfectly happy with these general codes of behavior. As external rules that one can point to, they may even make little societies like teacher organizations function more smoothly. Indeed, no code can be written to describe the full range of bad behaviors, and we can all describe grey areas where rules and 'what is right' may differ. For instance, is it student stealing to suggest to a parent that a particular, and particularly incompetent, teacher is harming the prospects of their child? Who decides that the other teacher is incompetent and is doing harm? If you offer your own services in place of the truly incompetent teacher, are you yourself over the line? (Indeed, you are).

Little teacher societies are not courts. It's hard to denounce bad behavior at a public meeting. The risk-reward tradeoff is all wrong. But frankly, sometimes that may be what is needed within little groups, no matter how uncomfortable it may make you feel. If there are people within the group who are engaging in arguably unethical solicitation of other peoples' students, someone needs to bring a coalition of members to exert moral pressure on the offender or at least to air the issue publicly. That way, everyone is alerted to the poisonous dynamic that is eating at the group.

Arguably, 'student stealing' is not just another form of healthy competition.

Yet switching teachers is absolutely the fundamental right of the family. To think otherwise, no matter how much you think you have helped the student, is to stamp your ego on what is fundamentally a professional relationship. The family is the sovereign decision maker in its own interests. You are only one advisor.

You may feel a twinge of pain if someone leaves, especially if that someone seems to be doing well and/or they leave without giving you what you consider a good reason or a polite exit. Welcome to humanity. Get over it.

Lastly, having multiple teachers is a horribly complex issue. As an advanced student, I think it may be fairly benign in most cases. Older students can compartmentalize better, and the teachers actually can coordinate (you teach classical and I teach lead sheets, for instance). For younger students, the risks of creating confusion and divided loyalty do seem quite a bit greater. It's difficult to lay out hard and fast rules here, and the teachers' own personalities and possible insecurities get mixed into the stew.

My son studied with two teachers for a while, one during the academic year and one over the summer. Did that raise some eyebrows in the little teacher community here? You bet. I've heard that this summer teacher (who is now a close friend) was even reproached for ..... yep, student stealing! smile

Ultimately, I think everybody got with the program. The two teachers didn't tread on each other and having different approaches to learning the instrument was a good idea. And it was MY idea in the first place (no improper solicitation involved at all). The academic year teacher at that point was taking the summer off, and I had no intention of letting the summer slip by with no formal music training. Thus the two-teacher relationship was born and then became routine even once the first teacher began offering some summer lessons.

When I switched my son to his current teacher, the two-teacher format ended. Yes, I did indeed pull a teacher switch, even though the initial primary teacher was doing a fine job. That was my choice and my son's choice. He was actively involved in the decision. I would not have formalized the switch without his positive approval. Although the initial teacher was doing quite well with him, that fact conferred no ownership rights.

Indeed, all teacher switches within a fairly circumscribed local community of teachers is likely to raise some eyebrows. But switching teachers should be a perfectly normal part of musical life.
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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#1510704 - 09/07/10 09:51 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11448
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Dark Dragon
I'm not from America, but if what this teacher did was in the name of competition, then I'm free to solicit students from any teacher now right? A student is free to roam from teacher to teacher and there is no consequence to taking a student from another teacher...is that what I'm understanding?


So, it was wrong for this teacher to steal your student, and now you're asking if it's OK for you to do the same? I understand your feelings are hurt, and you have every right to be upset. No one likes losing a student you've invested so much time and energy into. Yes, you got paid, but there is always an emotional attachment one has to their students - it can't be helped. However, when a student decides to move on (and it ultimately was their decision - right or wrong, influenced by this other teacher or not) it can feel like personal rejection.

The most important thing to learn from this to help you grow as a teacher is to understand that at some point EVERY student will leave you. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but the fact remains you will only have each student for a time. Was the time that you had with this student positive and uplifting for them? It sounds like it. Send the family a thank you card and let them know you enjoyed watching her grow musically and that you'd be happy to work with her in the future. End it on a positive note with the family.

As far as your dealings with this other teacher, do you and this other teacher belong to the local MTNA chapter or some other teacher organization? You may want to consult with other local teachers and see if they've been victimized by this teacher as well. If so, then perhaps the president of the chapter could write a letter to her warning her of actions. If she's not a member, however, there's not much you can nor should do. This sort of thing always catches up with them in the end, so don't think that she will get away with it. However, guard yourself against making yourself look bad or unprofessional by refraining from idle gossip about the teacher. Mention it once at a meeting, and then move on. Chances are if she's done this to you she will do it again to others or already has.


Edited by Morodiene (09/07/10 10:01 AM)
_________________________
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MTNA member
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#1510707 - 09/07/10 09:57 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: theJourney]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11448
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: theJourney
The "no multiple teachers" control freak clause is, besides being creepy, simply bad business. To my ears it screams inferiority complex and insecurity on the part of the teacher who apparently implicitly believes that his or her teaching will only be retained if comparison to potentially superior alternatives is forbidden. Those teachers I know with such clauses around here are the desperate ones begging for students (and tend to be the ones that, as soon as they find a potential student, force them to sign up for a year in advance and to pay for lessons not taken).

Teachers would be smarter to put their efforts into delivering superior value and building deep relationships with their students (and parents) in order to retain them rather than try to control others through onerous -- and ultimately anti-student welfare -- contract terms and conditions.

Perhaps if you did not have that clause, you would still have this student who might soon tire of their Polish adventure. Instead, your inflexible contract terms have cost you a star student.


I don't see anything wrong with this clause. A teacher can put whatever they want in their policy, and if the student agrees then there's no problem. In this case, the student did not agree and decided to choose this other than rather than the OP. Again, no problem there, because you're right, they have the right to study with whomever they want. It doesn't prevent a student from going elsewhere at all.

While I do not have such a clause in my policy, I agree with the concept of not studying with multiple teachers at one time. This is not the same as going to a master class, music camp, taking a lessons or two with a teacher recommended by me, etc. I think that if a student has two teachers that they meet with on a weekly basis, however, they can often be given conflicting information if they are studying the same pieces/style of music with them (a classical student going to study with someone for jazz would not be a problem).

Some parents may not understand this, however, and may perceive this as an odd thing to put in a policy. Sometimes these things are better dealt with in person on an as-needed basis.
_________________________
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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#1510748 - 09/07/10 11:17 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11448
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Dark Dragon

I spoke with him today, he said "because of your rules, we have decided to go with the other teacher". My rules being - students will not have multiple teachers.


I have a question: were these "rules" in your policy in writing, or just something that you spoke to them about? I had previously made the assumption that this was in your policy.
_________________________
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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#1510807 - 09/07/10 01:04 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
Lollipop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 820
Loc: Georgia
I do have a clause in my student letter (not part of the policy that they sign, but part of the "welcome to my studio" portion) that explains that I do not want to be part of a two-teacher situation unless the other teacher is aware and approves. Just a couple times I've had students who come to me with the idea that they might like me better, but aren't willing to cut the strings with the previous teacher just in case. I'm not interested in these kinds of trial periods, and after the introductory meeting, when I learn this, I ask them to contact me when and if they decide to end lessons elsewhere.

In my experience, it is just good manners (and politic) to talk to the first teacher about lessons with another. My kids never studied with two teachers at once, but they did take summers to study elsewhere, or to have single lessons with other teachers. They did this to expand their experience and their network. To experience different teaching styles, and to get feedback from other than the usual source. It was valuable.

But each time, my son would go to his primary teacher and say, "What would you think about me taking a few lessons from so and so?" The teacher was actually very helpful - sometimes making contact on our behalf. And sometimes steering us in a different direction all together.

My nephew takes from two teachers. The "fun" teacher knows about the "classical" teacher but not vice versa. I don't know that the classical teacher has said no doubling up, only that they are afraid she will. It makes me angry that my relatives put their son in this situation, teaching deceit. And he is a busy kid, and guess which music falls by the wayside when he doesn't have time for both?
_________________________
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#1510826 - 09/07/10 01:48 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
I wouldn't take it personally. Things happen that make us sad sometimes. I would attribute the change due to the fact that the family was Polish as well.
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#1510829 - 09/07/10 01:58 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Piano*Dad]
TimR Offline
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Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad


For instance, is it student stealing to suggest to a parent that a particular, and particularly incompetent, teacher is harming the prospects of their child? Who decides that the other teacher is incompetent and is doing harm? If you offer your own services in place of the truly incompetent teacher, are you yourself over the line? (Indeed, you are).



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.
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#1510842 - 09/07/10 02:27 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Perhaps, Tim, the question we ought to be asking is: "What business is it of Teacher A how student of Teacher B is doing?"

Why should they be commenting to a parent in the first place?

If the parent(s) didn't solicit the information, then the motivation of the teacher comes into question.

I see hundreds of piano students each year. I keep my comments positive and my criticisms to myself. I am not the judge of other teachers in the community.

Further, if a student is playing poorly, whose fault is it? The teacher, the student, the parent, or the learning environment? How can you possibly know?

We have auditions, adjudications, and competitions for judging the quality of students' playing. That, it seems to me, is the proper place for criticism. Not off the cuff remarks by a teacher who is suddenly feeling they are another Hanslick and can critique the playing and teaching of others. And which, oh, by the way, they are certain they can do a better job if only the student switches to them.
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#1510845 - 09/07/10 02:33 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: TimR]
sarah_elizabeth Offline
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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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
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@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
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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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#1510908 - 09/07/10 04:19 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
John v.d.Brook Offline
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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."
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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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BTW, the most recent "student nabbing" teacher I met was a legend in her own mind.
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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
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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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#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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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
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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
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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
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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!
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#1511034 - 09/07/10 07:22 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
Dark Dragon Offline
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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
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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!
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#1511046 - 09/07/10 07:33 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
Piano*Dad Offline
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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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#1511049 - 09/07/10 07:37 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
John v.d.Brook Offline
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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.
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#1511059 - 09/07/10 07:51 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
Jeff Clef Offline
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"...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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And I was trying to make the point that bitterness doesn't help you, regardless of what other people do.
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.
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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
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Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5423
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
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Registered: 02/22/07
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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
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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
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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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#1511335 - 09/08/10 08:43 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: theJourney]
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7314
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Quote:
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.

Interesting strawman argument.

Our teachers association publishes a listing of member teachers and there locations. As I have noted here before, three of us live within a block of each other, and several more within a mile radius. We do put out signs advertising our services! However, going to their studios and handing out fliers as their students leave lessons would border on unethical behavior. Doing so while bad mouthing them would be over the line. Talking up your positives is one thing, talking down your competition can be libelous and as most of us are not lawyers, knowing where that fine line is, it becomes an activity to be avoided.

And as you brought up supermarkets, we have two nearby, across the street from each other. Both send out weekly advertising fliers with their specials. Neither sends an agent into the parking lot of the other, to hand out coupons. Both toot their virtues, neither says anything bad about their competition.

Individual teacher's recitals are not public recitals, nor are our group recitals, in the sense that the general public is invited. The audience doesn't pay for admission. The recitals are by invitation. That doesn't mean the event is "top secret." It is possible to find out when they are and invite yourself.

Competition is fine, but unethical behavior is not.
_________________________
"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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#1511336 - 09/08/10 08:45 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
Nikolas Offline
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Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5223
Loc: Europe
Heh...

I currently have 7 composition students, and hoping for the 8th! Blooming business! LOL! It's through the internet, so things are rather... more 'flexible' than a private piano lesson face to face, but still.

6/7 students actually study composition in a uni or conservatory, but simply feel the need to push more and seem quite happy with what I do. I have never made any 'ownership' rules, as is stated in some of the above posts. I do feel that they are free to roam about, however they wish.

STILL: I would feel somewhat hurt for a few of my students (especially the 'older' ones) where I have given all I have and much more than I should have based on what I'm getting. It somehow feels that they 'owe' me for being a good teacher. This is a rubbish thought, I know, but I can't help it. I'm doing a good job (as I should be doing) and they owe me because of that?!?!?! What the heck!?!?!? But this is how I feel and how it works out in my head.

So the OP has a right, apart from the practical points of view (sharing a student will eventually create issues, and I have little doubt to that), to feel hurt.

Down with Polish teachers! YAY! (only kidding here of course...)
_________________________
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#1511343 - 09/08/10 08:54 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Piano*Dad]
theJourney Offline
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Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
QUESTION:

Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
TJ,

Are you arguing that there is absolutely no [consumer benefiting] economic case at all for professional codes of conduct?

ANSWER:
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad

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.



IMO teacher's associations such as the EPTA and MTNA, etc are primarily aimed at promoting cartel-like behavior by promulgating standard terms and conditions, specifying minimum honoraria and restricting competition while providing few or no benefits to consumers such as guaranteeing minimum standards of competence, providing information on quality, etc.

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#1511345 - 09/08/10 08:57 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Piano*Dad]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7314
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Quote:
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.

The teacher I referenced a while back is no longer a member of our association. It was kind of self-correcting situation. No one would talk to her - we didn't collude to do this. Members became POd as they became "victims." It's possible, I'm sure, that some members mentioned to other members, "Watch out for so and so if she shows up at one of your student recitals" type thing. At this point, I have no idea whether they moved on, are still in the community, or are still teaching. Their students cannot participate in any of the community events, in any of the area competitions, etc.

We had another incident about 8 years ago, where a student went to a competition at a regional university and was solicited by one of the professors to become a private student. This was brought up in our meeting and while we voted no action (the vote was something like 55-45 to inform the university. No one, at the time, thought to have a vote to just condemn the action and encourage members not to participate), what happened was the sudden drying up of entries from our service areas, as teachers began to rethink the issue from their personal perspective.
_________________________
"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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#1511352 - 09/08/10 09:04 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: theJourney]
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7314
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Quote:
IMO teacher's associations such as the EPTA and MTNA, etc are primarily aimed at promoting cartel-like behavior by promulgating standard terms and conditions, specifying minimum honoraria and restricting competition while providing few or no benefits to consumers such as guaranteeing minimum standards of competence, providing information on quality, etc.

You're entitled to your opinion, but in this case, it's not supported by the facts. MTNA does not, nor do the chapters, discuss fees, allow members to discuss fees, etc. We do encourage professional development and certification, including the undertaking of more coursework and continued studies. Providing a public listing, both in print form and on the internet, of member teachers allows the public a chance to comparison shop. We provide group activities for students which would be beyond the financial means of individual teachers. There is no way that any private studio could afford recital hall rental on a near monthly basis, yet member students, if they avail themselves of all performance opportunities could be performing monthly. That is a giant benefit to students.
_________________________
"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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#1511363 - 09/08/10 09:28 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
theJourney Offline
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Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Just because MTNA does not do every single thing that EPTA or KNTV or other organizations do is beside the point.

The MTNA providing a listing only provides a place for potential customers to find members of the MTNA without indication of relative quality, etc. Beginning students or families with tight budgets might be better off starting with teachers who offer better value (such as college students or part-time mother teachers) and advanced students are likely to find their teacher through word of mouth (or as in the case of this thread have their teacher find them) So, in fact the MTNA listing provides less information than one can garner from the internet or the yellow pages.

As to recital halls, at least in this neck of the woods there are legions of opportunities for individual teachers to organize regular recitals at low or no cost without having to cooperate with a teachers' association.

In your previous post you gave an example (illustrating my earlier point) of the MTNA considering taking action against another teacher irrespective of the interests of the student. Do you have examples of how the MTNA has stepped in to protect consumers irrespective of the interests of MTNA memebers?


Edited by theJourney (09/08/10 09:29 AM)

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#1511377 - 09/08/10 10:01 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: John v.d.Brook]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
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Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
We had another incident about 8 years ago, where a student went to a competition at a regional university and was solicited by one of the professors to become a private student. This was brought up in our meeting and while we voted no action (the vote was something like 55-45 to inform the university. No one, at the time, thought to have a vote to just condemn the action and encourage members not to participate), what happened was the sudden drying up of entries from our service areas, as teachers began to rethink the issue from their personal perspective.
Now that does sound like a Cartel. I'm very afraid. Imagine if the 'professor' were another Lechetitsky!
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#1511380 - 09/08/10 10:06 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: keyboardklutz]
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Registered: 03/18/06
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Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
We had another incident about 8 years ago, where a student went to a competition at a regional university and was solicited by one of the professors to become a private student. This was brought up in our meeting and while we voted no action (the vote was something like 55-45 to inform the university. No one, at the time, thought to have a vote to just condemn the action and encourage members not to participate), what happened was the sudden drying up of entries from our service areas, as teachers began to rethink the issue from their personal perspective.
Now that does sound like a Cartel. I'm very afraid. Imagine if the 'professor' were another Lechetitsky!

So if you go to a restaurant, have a bad meal, you're acting like a cartel when you tell friends and neighbors? Okay.
_________________________
"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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#1511382 - 09/08/10 10:09 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
keyboardklutz Offline
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What's so bad about this meal?
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#1511387 - 09/08/10 10:11 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: theJourney]
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Registered: 03/18/06
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Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: theJourney
Just because MTNA does not do every single thing that EPTA or KNTV or other organizations do is beside the point.


Originally Posted By: theJourney
IMO teacher's associations such as the EPTA and MTNA, etc are primarily aimed at promoting cartel-like behavior by promulgating standard terms and conditions, specifying minimum honoraria and restricting competition while providing few or no benefits to consumers such as guaranteeing minimum standards of competence, providing information on quality, etc.

You specifically called out MTNA; I responded to correct your assertions.
_________________________
"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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#1511393 - 09/08/10 10:16 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
keyboardklutz Offline
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In fact that 'professor' may just have a legal case against the MTNA just as any restauranter would if an organization were bad mouthing his restaurant without grounds.
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#1511397 - 09/08/10 10:24 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
Piano*Dad Offline
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No, TJ, I don't think I answered myself in quite the manner you suppose. All I pointed out was that there are many prisoners' dilemmas floating around. Weakness of a code's enforcement mechanism is not identical with uselessness of a code.

Often a professional organization will have an executive board and other committees, one of whose purposes is to enable action that individual members would not choose to undertake on their own. The member informs the organization of what they think is unprofessional behavior. The committee investigates and issues a ruling.

Another benefit of an organization is that it can at least publicize things to its members. One of those things could be a notice that certain non-members are behaving in unprofessional ways in the community.

Being publicly thrown out of your MTNA chapter might be an effective form of discipline. MTNA sponsors lots of goodies like conventions and competitions that are of value to the teacher and to their students. I'll warrant that the student stealing behavior comes more from non-members than from members.

In the end, the physician example may offer a stronger case than a music teacher's situation. The sanctions that the medical societies can bring to bear may be a stronger discipline than any sanctions that MTNA could bring to the table. We tend not to see physicians engaging in the FUD behavior I described earlier. Fear of sanction may not be the only reason, but it could be an important one.
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#1511409 - 09/08/10 10:40 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Another benefit would seem they can hound university professors. Watch out P*Dad!
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#1511418 - 09/08/10 10:47 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
danshure Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 347
Loc: Massachusetts
I don't think this is all that complicated.

If you're a teacher - get business by doing the best damn job you can. Focus on the things you can do something about, not things out of your control like impolite students and slimy teachers.

If you're a student - communicate with your teacher. Tell them what's on your mind, what's working, what's not working. That's the best way we can help you.

It's OK to be upset when a student leaves on you - but don't dwell on it and don't let those emotions take a hold of your actions. EVERYONE has emotions, that's what makes us human. But when we're RUN by them that's where we get into trouble. The more quickly you can get beyond that and focus on the students you HAVE and do your best job with them, the better off you'll be for sure.
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#1511423 - 09/08/10 10:55 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: danshure]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted By: danshure
EVERYONE has emotions, that's what makes us human.
Do they? I thought it was just hormones. What's it like?
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#1511424 - 09/08/10 10:56 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Piano*Dad]
keystring Online   content
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Loc: Canada
Any professional organization runs on two premises. One is ethical behavior of members toward each other. The other is that the professionals do in fact possess the knowledge and skill needed to practice their profession, and that they are also doing so. Public confidence and trust rides on the assumption that the second is also true.

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#1511428 - 09/08/10 11:01 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10349
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Quote:
The teacher I referenced a while back is no longer a member of our association. It was kind of self-correcting situation. No one would talk to her - we didn't collude to do this. Members became POd as they became "victims." It's possible, I'm sure, that some members mentioned to other members, "Watch out for so and so if she shows up at one of your student recitals" type thing. At this point, I have no idea whether they moved on, are still in the community, or are still teaching. Their students cannot participate in any of the community events, in any of the area competitions, etc.


And this is a virtue of the communication process within the organization. Yes, this protects the interests of the members. But it can also protect the public.
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#1511446 - 09/08/10 11:28 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: danshure]
AZNpiano Offline
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Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5423
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: danshure
I don't think this is all that complicated.
Actually, it is complicated.
I'm part of MTAC, which is the "union" or "cartel" or whatever (insert your own derogatory name here) that basically has California cornered. And it's not necessarily a bad thing. MTAC actually has hired a lawyer on its staff. At first I thought was that even necessary? Then I hear all sorts of legal hoop-la that happened in the last two years. This is when I'm happy to have a lawyer representing the association, so we're not bankrupted by some crazy lawsuits.
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#1511456 - 09/08/10 11:43 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Piano*Dad]
theJourney Offline
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Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
No, TJ, I don't think I answered myself in quite the manner you suppose. All I pointed out was that there are many prisoners' dilemmas floating around. Weakness of a code's enforcement mechanism is not identical with uselessness of a code.

Often a professional organization will have an executive board and other committees, one of whose purposes is to enable action that individual members would not choose to undertake on their own. The member informs the organization of what they think is unprofessional behavior. The committee investigates and issues a ruling.

Another benefit of an organization is that it can at least publicize things to its members. One of those things could be a notice that certain non-members are behaving in unprofessional ways in the community.

Being publicly thrown out of your MTNA chapter might be an effective form of discipline. MTNA sponsors lots of goodies like conventions and competitions that are of value to the teacher and to their students. I'll warrant that the student stealing behavior comes more from non-members than from members.

In the end, the physician example may offer a stronger case than a music teacher's situation. The sanctions that the medical societies can bring to bear may be a stronger discipline than any sanctions that MTNA could bring to the table. We tend not to see physicians engaging in the FUD behavior I described earlier. Fear of sanction may not be the only reason, but it could be an important one.


It is a bit of a stretch IMO to compare piano teachers with physicians. There are very strict education and licensing requirements to become a physician and there are both professional standards and very specific laws and rules regulating the behavior of physicians. Physicians also can have a life or death impact on their patients.

The legal profession in the US has been allowed to advertise, poach clients, chase ambulances, work speculatively on no cure-no pay basis, etc. for some time now resulting sometimes in three law firms all showing up at the hospital bed of plane crash victims pen in hand. They make the Polish teacher look like Mother Teresa.

In most countries anyone at all can hang out a shingle and call themselves a piano teacher. Membership in an organization such as EPTA or MTNA is not required and also does not make sense for some/(many) teachers. Consumers receive no guarantee of quality, etc. just because a teacher is a member of the association. There are no laws and state licensing requirements to give anything the association might do have any real teeth, etc. The kinds of enforcement actions we have heard about on this thread and others are all about protecting the financial interests of members of the guild, i.e. the teacher, and are often at odds with or indifferent to the interests of the student and paying customer to be able to choose the teacher they prefer.

If an accountant, lawyer or physician acts in a truly unethical way, they can be disbarred or prevented from working at all in the profession, in or out of the association. In the case of piano teachers, (or real estate brokers in some countries, or house painters, or gardeners, etc.) sometimes the very best are the ones that don't think they need or want to be part of herd in the association. A consumer can't tell from the fact that a teacher is not on the association list is because the teacher is too good for the association or not good enough...

As to notifying members of the kind of asocial and unethical predators such as our Polish teacher, I am sure that word of mouth would travel with or without an association. On the other hand, if he or she is as good as they think they are and the get real results, then they will probably do just fine. The very best teachers have to say no to those they can't accommodate rather than beat the bushes looking for students.


Edited by theJourney (09/08/10 11:55 AM)

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#1511457 - 09/08/10 11:44 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: keystring]
AZNpiano Offline
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Originally Posted By: keystring
The other is that the professionals do in fact possess the knowledge and skill needed to practice their profession, and that they are also doing so. Public confidence and trust rides on the assumption that the second is also true.

Here lies the problem: How do you weed out the bad/inept teachers from the association? And what criteria constitute "bad" teaching?
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#1511465 - 09/08/10 11:55 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: theJourney]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted By: theJourney

The legal profession in the US has been allowed to advertise, poach clients, chase ambulances, work speculatively on no cure-no pay basis, etc. for some time now resulting sometimes in three law firms all showing up at the hospital bed of plane crash victims pen in hand. They make the Polish teacher look like Mother Teresa.
Don't forget, ol' Mother T worked for the mother-of-all cartels!
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#1511466 - 09/08/10 11:56 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: AZNpiano]
keystring Online   content
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Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: keystring
The other is that the professionals do in fact possess the knowledge and skill needed to practice their profession, and that they are also doing so. Public confidence and trust rides on the assumption that the second is also true.

Here lies the problem: How do you weed out the bad/inept teachers from the association? And what criteria constitute "bad" teaching?

It is impossible to do so for the same reason that it is impossible in my own profession: as soon as something is both an art and science, with more than one way of achieving something and more than one set of goals, you can't. But I'm guessing that teachers also need to make judgment calls rather than just blindly following rules. Supposing, for example, that a student is on the way to injury or is already injured and it is absolutely clear that the way he is being taught is doing it, do you leave the student in the dark because an ethics code forbids it? That kind of thing which has got to be a delicate matter as well a a hornet's nest.

[edit] Except that none of that applies to this thread.


Edited by keystring (09/08/10 12:25 PM)

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#1511469 - 09/08/10 12:06 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: keystring]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted By: keystring
Supposing, for example, that a student is on the way to injury or is already injured and it is absolutely clear that the way he is being taught is doing it, do you leave the student in the dark because an ethics code forbids it? That kind of thing which has got to be a delicate matter as well a a hornet's nest.
Sadly, that's too common to be at all exceptional.
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#1511470 - 09/08/10 12:07 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: keyboardklutz]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
In fact that 'professor' may just have a legal case against the MTNA just as any restauranter would if an organization were bad mouthing his restaurant without grounds.


Emphasis on "without any grounds." One can certainly talk about a bad meal they had or poor service to friends and family, and that is not slander. The restaurant owner would not have a case against the person speaking.

I don't see what problems people are having with organizations. They exist to provide a standard of ethics (and they *do* enforce them when necessary with its members or those claiming to be members), support for the independent music instructor, and continuing education for teachers including certification. MTNA only lists certified members on their website, by the way, so they only promote those who have proven a level of competence according to their standard.
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#1511473 - 09/08/10 12:12 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Morodiene]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted By: Morodiene

I don't see what problems people are having with organizations. They exist to provide a standard of ethics
Yes, the members' ethics, however good or bad they may be. A restaurant serving poorly cooked meals is one thing, a piano teacher who is outside of any association being harangued by that association whilst engaged in their livelihood is totally another.
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#1511476 - 09/08/10 12:18 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: John v.d.Brook]
landorrano Offline
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Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook


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.


Just to be clear, nothing that DarkDragon has written about the villainous Polish teacher suggests that she has been acting in this manner.

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#1511488 - 09/08/10 12:32 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: landorrano]
theJourney Offline
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Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook


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.


Just to be clear, nothing that DarkDragon has written about the villainous Polish teacher suggests that she has been acting in this manner.


No, but what good is scandalous gossip if it is not embellished, exaggerated and made juicy for the telling?

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#1511508 - 09/08/10 01:11 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: theJourney]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: theJourney
Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook


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.


Just to be clear, nothing that DarkDragon has written about the villainous Polish teacher suggests that she has been acting in this manner.


No, but what good is scandalous gossip if it is not embellished, exaggerated and made juicy for the telling?


No harm if said teacher's identity remains anonymous, which it has. And I do not think DD's purpose was to gossip, do you?
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#1511535 - 09/08/10 02:03 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Morodiene]
theJourney Offline
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Originally Posted By: Morodiene

No harm if said teacher's identity remains anonymous, which it has. And I do not think DD's purpose was to gossip, do you?


It wasn't DD who was embellishing and exaggerating.

Imagine if a teacher's reputation or even ability to work is dependent on gossip from other teachers who are playing the game of whispering into each others' ear, every time adding a bit every time beyond the actual facts in order to build outrage similar to the behavior we have seen here.

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#1511546 - 09/08/10 02:29 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: theJourney]
AZNpiano Offline
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Originally Posted By: theJourney
No, but what good is scandalous gossip if it is not embellished, exaggerated and made juicy for the telling?


TJ--

Even though I disagree with 99.9999% of what you write, I do enjoy the occasions when you use clear logic and make intelligent references for your arguments. But when you degenerate into innuendo and name-calling, it's just not cool. tiki
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#1511551 - 09/08/10 02:41 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: AZNpiano]
theJourney Offline
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Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: theJourney
No, but what good is scandalous gossip if it is not embellished, exaggerated and made juicy for the telling?


TJ--

Even though I disagree with 99.9999% of what you write, I do enjoy the occasions when you use clear logic and make intelligent references for your arguments. But when you degenerate into innuendo and name-calling, it's just not cool. tiki


I didn't name names, the previous poster did. I corrected them.

If you like logic rather than emotion, then you will love this post from another poster:

Originally Posted By: landorrano
Just to be clear, nothing that DarkDragon has written about the villainous Polish teacher suggests that she has been acting in this manner.


Do you disagree with it as well?

None of us were there, but when any of us start adding details to the account of the OP out of our own imagination, it is not constructive. Before we know it the Polish teacher will be reported to have kidnapped students leaving the auditorium and brainwashing them to only take lessons from the true heirs to Chopin's legacy.

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#1511589 - 09/08/10 04:01 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: keystring]
D4v3 Offline
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Originally Posted By: keystring
Any professional organization runs on two premises. One is ethical behavior of members toward each other. The other is that the professionals do in fact possess the knowledge and skill needed to practice their profession, and that they are also doing so. Public confidence and trust rides on the assumption that the second is also true.


Adam Smith's invisible hand is making me type this (I have a degree in Economics). I would argue that a third premise exists and that is greed.




Let's assume you and I are thwe only two in the Oil business. Let's also assume that we respect each other for the big companies we are ( we wouldnt have gotten here unless we knew what we were doing ).

Let's assume that we have share holders that expect a return on their investment.

Greed will dictate that I go into a price war with you to win more marketshare and possibly put you out of business because I will be better off for it, and so will my investors. Notice how I am not bad mouthing you but at the same time your pain is my gain to some degree.

In a similar way piano teachers are individual businesses and it is in thier best interests to find those students who seem to be steady cash cows (long-term serious students). In doing so they increase their market share AND increase the return potential to their shareholders (thier families).

I doubt the OP would be upset if the Polish person took a student who was flakey. The OP is upset and is acting out of greed (self preservation) because a beloved student/cash-cow (yes,it can be both) is no longer there.

Thus we see that greed is a third premise, greed on the part of the teacher poaching and greed on the part of the teacher preserving.

This "greed" back and forth may not be good for the teachers involved but it can be good for the student because over a long enough period of time the more advanced teacher will probably win out causing the less advanced teacher to leave or to sharpen their skills to stay competitive(a benefit to the students).

I dont need a circut city and a best buy for me to be happy. They may be in the same business and respect each other but I the consumer dont need both to be happy if they both do the same thing. I will take the more professional one that can offer me the most and maybe at a discount. The two stores realize this and thus compete for my business ("greed" on their part) and I win.

But having only one company will mean they can be a monopoly and be unfair with prices; fine, enter a similar teacher with similar skills and that monopoly goes away, but the greed will always be there to keep each of the remaining businesses in check.


Edited by D4v3 (09/08/10 04:08 PM)
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#1511754 - 09/08/10 08:33 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
keystring Online   content
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There is something essentially wrong with this theory. The parent was willing to pay both teachers and have his child study with both teachers. Since the first teacher was not facing any loss of income, greed cannot be involved.

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#1511923 - 09/09/10 12:57 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Speaking personally, I had a series of duffers - all highly qualified. I got sent to a specialist teacher for a couple of lessons and stayed. Couldn't believe my luck! My life changed forever. If she'd had a non-snatch agreement I'd be working in an office today.
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#1511929 - 09/09/10 01:17 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
Mark_C Offline
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BTW: Good job by whomever, changing the TITLE of the thread. smile
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#1511976 - 09/09/10 03:26 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
Dark Dragon Offline
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Every time I come back to this thread, its 4 pages longer lol.
I've worked over the years to develop my roster of students from nothing to where it is today, as many of you have. I guess I believe in advertising like normal people. I've never even thought about sniping off any other teachers current students. I'm not so angry of the "polish" teacher as much anymore. I'm equally as frustrated with the parents of the student (the father in particular). He was obviously interested in having his daughter be successful. I remember there were issues with him not accepting my advice at first about extending the lesson time. I remember when I first found out about these "free" lessons during my lesson with the student. I was not a happy camper, even though she was one of my best students.

There have been a number of posts talking about how if I was like a store, what does it matter what store they go to if they get similar product (results)? She knew the holes that she needed to plug. She knew that there was a lot more for her to learn, but now...not from me.

One other thing.

If this teacher sniped one of my less advanced students, I would still be upset. A LOT of people say "its all about the students". For me, this is still a business. My entire income is based on what I earn from teaching. I get to be somewhat bummed out by that loss of income no? Sure I'll find a replacement for the time slot, but geez....I really enjoyed my sessions with that girl. I'm pretty sure I care "too" much

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#1511989 - 09/09/10 04:15 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
theJourney Offline
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Perhaps the lesson learned here is that the relationship you develop with the parents (or those who are actually paying the bill) can be as much or more important than the one that you develop on the piano bench with the student in terms of retaining students.

Relationships are built in part on mutual understanding, trust and face-to-face exposure and experience with each other. If the father was not willing to take your advice then something was clearly missing in the trust or relationship department. Or, perhaps he interpreted the request to extend lesson time as a sign of weakness or of not being able to get the job done rather than understanding the fact that the kind of progress possible and desired meant more teaching/coaching time. Any reasonable person when evaluating this kind of one-way request from you to extend the lesson length or frequency would ask themselves questions like: Do we need more of the same? Or do we need something supplementary? Or do we need something different?

How much time do you spend with the parents? Do you know what motivates them and makes them tick? Do you understand their relationship with their children and their motivations? Do you have regular telephone conferences and base touching on progress? Do you plan some serendipity time between lessons to allow you to interact with the parent before or after the lesson? Do you meet with them formally at least once per year to really listen to them and to discuss objectives and determine plans together? Do you organize social time before and after recitals to build relationships with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine?


Edited by theJourney (09/09/10 04:17 AM)

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#1512631 - 09/10/10 02:54 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: theJourney]
Dark Dragon Offline
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I spent quite a bit of extra time with this family. I heard their requests and I informed them of what we needed to do to make that happen. Although a very good student, she did need to realize that practicing hard just leading up to her exam did not make up for the lack of effort the few months prior. She had talent, so maybe she could have thought that she could put it off.

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#1512684 - 09/10/10 06:59 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
theJourney Offline
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I would still maintain contact with her and/or the family demonstrating your sincere personal interest in her further development. Wouldn't surprise me if you have her again as a student in future. Who knows if the new teacher will even stay in town or will truly meet the family's needs?

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#1512717 - 09/10/10 08:34 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: Dark Dragon
I spent quite a bit of extra time with this family. I heard their requests and I informed them of what we needed to do to make that happen. Although a very good student, she did need to realize that practicing hard just leading up to her exam did not make up for the lack of effort the few months prior. She had talent, so maybe she could have thought that she could put it off.


Perhaps this other teacher will tell her the same thing in time and the parents will then realize the lack of progress this girl was making when compared with her potential was due to her daughter not putting forth the effort - and not her teacher at the time!
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#1512746 - 09/10/10 09:56 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
acortot Offline
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Maybe the parents and the student percieved that the other teacher might have helped the student in a way which you cannot, and thus were leaning towards the other teacher

maybe they were trying to be nice when they wanted to continue lessons with you, but were seriously considering changing teachers.

was the student under contract? were you paying the student to be tied exclusively to you?

especially in the arts one should be free to collaborate and 'dump' with anyone they wish to.

I realize that modern classical music is often the other way around: the students are tied-down to their teachers who will push the students via political connections.. but in ART this sort of thing should never happen IMO
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#1512757 - 09/10/10 10:13 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: acortot]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: acortot
Maybe the parents and the student percieved that the other teacher might have helped the student in a way which you cannot, and thus were leaning towards the other teacher

maybe they were trying to be nice when they wanted to continue lessons with you, but were seriously considering changing teachers.

was the student under contract? were you paying the student to be tied exclusively to you?

especially in the arts one should be free to collaborate and 'dump' with anyone they wish to.

I realize that modern classical music is often the other way around: the students are tied-down to their teachers who will push the students via political connections.. but in ART this sort of thing should never happen IMO


If you read the previous topic when this first came up, you'd know that the OP is not claiming the student, but simply stating that having two teachers at once can be detrimental. I agree. Also, they were objecting to the teacher actively pursuing the student, knowing full well that they already study with someone else. This practice is unethical. It is one thing if the parent or student seeks someone else out for whatever reason, and quite another if they are not looking and are convinced by another teacher to study with them by offering free lessons.
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#1512783 - 09/10/10 11:02 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Morodiene]
theJourney Offline
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Originally Posted By: Morodiene
If you read the previous topic when this first came up, you'd know that the OP is not claiming the student, but simply stating that having two teachers at once can be detrimental. I agree. Also, they were objecting to the teacher actively pursuing the student, knowing full well that they already study with someone else. This practice is unethical. It is one thing if the parent or student seeks someone else out for whatever reason, and quite another if they are not looking and are convinced by another teacher to study with them by offering free lessons.


First, stating that you only work with a student if they have no other teachers and it is your way or the highway IS claiming a student.

Secondly, at the very least there is the belief and perception by a number of posters on this forum that teachers targeting other teachers' students is unethical if they do so by inviting themselves to recitals and approaching students directly or by making disparaging remarks about teachers or students' progress.

However, some believe that targeting students through, for example, advertising for students (where clearly advertisements are going to also reach students and parents who already have teachers) is not unethical. Sending mail to piano owners or lists of students obtained from legal sources has not been called out as unethical here either.

The question is: where do you draw the line? The idea that it is unethical for one studio to target the students of another studio is understandable from the point of view of the teacher whose students are being targeted who wants to protect their student under monopolistic conditions. However, it seems unfair to students that some cabal of teachers organized around their own benefit might make it impossible for students to explore options or move to another teacher by threatening teachers who take on new transfer students with banning or blacklisting as has been suggested upthread.

I am curious if teachers who believe that targeting students is unethical also believe that the various coupons, mail offers and personal promotions that they receive every day of the week are also unethical. If they receive a personalized offer from one mobile phone company to switch from their current provider (with six months free or at a lower rate plan) does that make the mobile phone company making the offer "unethical" and should they be prevented from competing for customers knowing full well that you already have a mobile phone provider?

If you buy high blood pressure medicine from one pharmacy, should it be considered unethical if another pharmacy calls you up and offers to fulfill your prescriptions at a discount? After all, they are targeting customers of another pharmacy that already has built a relationship with you for years.


Edited by theJourney (09/10/10 11:04 AM)

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#1512811 - 09/10/10 11:58 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
keystring Online   content
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Nobody has ever responded to what I put out on the topic of "stealing" students - I forget which thread. Namely: informed students and parents.

True unethical stealing involves false claims, promises of things that are not necessary or that are actually detrimental. Stating that you have the one and only true solution and cure-all for everything that ails is a false claim - this does not exist. Showing that your students advance faster through the grades may also mean that essential skills are being missed. A parent who is informed will know what things are actually desireable, and will also be able to spot hocum.

Secondly, an informed parent or older student will be able to talk to the teacher and problems will be more readily identified. Supposing that the teacher is taking the time to build foundations and the child is not zipping through the grades like the neighbour's kids. An informed parent will appreciate this. Supposing that an adult student's teacher thinks that fast results are desired and the adult has a nagging feeling that something is missing. If you don't know much and if you have misgivings, you will not be able to verbalize that to the teacher who is the first recourse for resolving issues. It also lays you wide open for anyone wanting to take advantage of the situation.

Does no teacher have thoughts about parents and students being informed, and also communicating with them first? We may be your source of income. But we are not like a farmer's cattle, a real estater's property, or a grocer's brand name Ketchup. We are not unthinking objects that can be grabbed for profit. We are a thinking part of the equation and have a say in what happens to us or our children in these dealings. If we are uninformed, then we *are* more like a wheat field or a herd of cattle. What do you think?

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#1512829 - 09/10/10 12:19 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: theJourney]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: theJourney
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
If you read the previous topic when this first came up, you'd know that the OP is not claiming the student, but simply stating that having two teachers at once can be detrimental. I agree. Also, they were objecting to the teacher actively pursuing the student, knowing full well that they already study with someone else. This practice is unethical. It is one thing if the parent or student seeks someone else out for whatever reason, and quite another if they are not looking and are convinced by another teacher to study with them by offering free lessons.


First, stating that you only work with a student if they have no other teachers and it is your way or the highway IS claiming a student.

Secondly, at the very least there is the belief and perception by a number of posters on this forum that teachers targeting other teachers' students is unethical if they do so by inviting themselves to recitals and approaching students directly or by making disparaging remarks about teachers or students' progress.

However, some believe that targeting students through, for example, advertising for students (where clearly advertisements are going to also reach students and parents who already have teachers) is not unethical. Sending mail to piano owners or lists of students obtained from legal sources has not been called out as unethical here either.

The question is: where do you draw the line? The idea that it is unethical for one studio to target the students of another studio is understandable from the point of view of the teacher whose students are being targeted who wants to protect their student under monopolistic conditions. However, it seems unfair to students that some cabal of teachers organized around their own benefit might make it impossible for students to explore options or move to another teacher by threatening teachers who take on new transfer students with banning or blacklisting as has been suggested upthread.

I am curious if teachers who believe that targeting students is unethical also believe that the various coupons, mail offers and personal promotions that they receive every day of the week are also unethical. If they receive a personalized offer from one mobile phone company to switch from their current provider (with six months free or at a lower rate plan) does that make the mobile phone company making the offer "unethical" and should they be prevented from competing for customers knowing full well that you already have a mobile phone provider?

If you buy high blood pressure medicine from one pharmacy, should it be considered unethical if another pharmacy calls you up and offers to fulfill your prescriptions at a discount? After all, they are targeting customers of another pharmacy that already has built a relationship with you for years.


First of all, I do not do marketing directly to anyone that I know is studying with someone. Putting an ad in a paper is not targeted marketing, and so I do that when I need students. I draw the line where someone approaches a student of someone else regarding studying with them. If the student initiates the contact, then fine, or if the teacher approaches and finds out that the student is studying with someone and backs off, fine. But if they persist in soliciting, then it's not fine in my book.

I do not appreciate direct marketing by other businesses either. I throw out all junk mail solicitations without reading them (although I shred the credit card offers), but I don't think they are unethical. No matter how targeted they want to be, it still leaves the impetus in the solicitee's hand to act or not. When approaching someone in person or on the phone, however, a solicitor can handle arguments and try to convince the person to buy what they're selling. All solicitors are taught how to do this, and many people will give in especially when there's a "free" something to be gained from it. Some will simply agree to get the person off their back about it. I don't know how persistent this other teacher was, but obviously enough to convince them to try her services.

There was a gentleman who handled our retirement portfolio at our bank and had left the bank on bad terms. He then sent letters to all his former clients telling them that he had moved and offered to continue handling our portfolio. This seemed very odd and I spoke to our banker and she explained that he had done that with all the clients when he left. Apparently bankers think this is unethical too. I know of a man who owns a landscaping business, and his employee left and took with him the list of clients and contacted all of them when he left offering to do work for them. This is also unethical in the landscaping world I guess.

If you don't think it's unethical, then I suppose you'd be the inclined to do these things as the above people were. However, music organizations like MTNA and NATS have very clearly outlined that they deem this behavior unethical and do discipline their members who cross that line.
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#1512837 - 09/10/10 12:43 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: theJourney]
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Quote:
I am curious if teachers who believe that targeting students is unethical also believe that the various coupons, mail offers and personal promotions that they receive every day of the week are also unethical. If they receive a personalized offer from one mobile phone company to switch from their current provider (with six months free or at a lower rate plan) does that make the mobile phone company making the offer "unethical" and should they be prevented from competing for customers knowing full well that you already have a mobile phone provider?

When I send out mailers, advertise in the paper, etc., and am contacted by a potential student, one of the first questions asked is to the effect: "Are you studying with another teacher now?"

If the answer is affirmative (it seldom is), then I either politely decline further discussion or try steer the conversation to explore reasons they want to leave their current teacher. In other words, I happened to be a target of opportunity for them - they were preparing to leave anyway. Even so, I would be extremely uncomfortable accepting them as a student, and at least to this point in time, have not done so. I have helped literally dozens and dozens of students find an appropriate teacher other than myself.

Although I get my share of transfer students, to be real honest with everyone, most transfers come with tremendous baggage and it's often hard work and frustrating correcting ingrained problems. It is so much preferable to search for new students and have a blank sheet to work with.


Edited by John v.d.Brook (09/10/10 05:52 PM)
Edit Reason: correct really bad typo!
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#1512844 - 09/10/10 01:03 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: John v.d.Brook]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook

Although I get my share of transfer students, to be real honest with everyone, must transfers come with tremendous baggage and it's often hard work and frustrating correcting ingrained problems. It is so much preferable to search for new students and have a blank sheet to work with.
There's the nub - there shouldn't be such 'tremendous baggage' and teachers shouldn't be allowed to get away with such a poor product. What exactly does it say on the label anyway?
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#1512846 - 09/10/10 01:10 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Quote:
I am curious if teachers who believe that targeting students is unethical also believe that the various coupons, mail offers and personal promotions that they receive every day of the week are also unethical. If they receive a personalized offer from one mobile phone company to switch from their current provider (with six months free or at a lower rate plan) does that make the mobile phone company making the offer "unethical" and should they be prevented from competing for customers knowing full well that you already have a mobile phone provider?

When I send out mailers, advertise in the paper, etc., and am contacted by a potential student, one of the first questions asked is to the effect: "Are you studying with another teacher now?"

If the answer is affirmative (it seldom is), then I either politely decline further discussion or try steer the conversation to explore reasons they want to leave their current teacher. In other words, I happened to be a target of opportunity for them - they were preparing to leave anyway. Even so, I would be extremely uncomfortable accepting them as a student, and at least to this point in time, have not done so. I have helped literally dozens and dozens of students find an appropriate teacher other than myself.

Although I get my share of transfer students, to be real honest with everyone, must transfers come with tremendous baggage and it's often hard work and frustrating correcting ingrained problems. It is so much preferable to search for new students and have a blank sheet to work with.


If a student approaches me about lessons and they currently study with someone else, I will certainly explore the reasons for leaving. However, they approached me, and if they want to study with me, then I have no problem with that itself. If I do not feel that we would be a good match, however, then I do not take them in my studio just as I would do for a new student.
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#1512873 - 09/10/10 01:56 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Morodiene]
landorrano Offline
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Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Also, they were objecting to the teacher actively pursuing the student, knowing full well that they already study with someone else. This practice is unethical.


I want to draw attention to the fact that nothing that Dark Dragon has written permits one to assert that the villainous Polish teacher actively pursued the student with the objective to convince her to abandon Dark Dragon and to join her villainous Polish studio.

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#1512921 - 09/10/10 03:49 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Morodiene]
theJourney Offline
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Originally Posted By: Morodiene
First of all, I do not do marketing directly to anyone that I know is studying with someone. Putting an ad in a paper is not targeted marketing, and so I do that when I need students.

As soon as you decide to put an ad in the local music store or church newsletter instead of the Wasau Daily Herald or an ad in the Herald instead of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, that is targeting. It is simply a matter of degree. Presumably you put your ads where you think they will reach the most promising prospects as students, which means that you are, wittingly or not, targeting the students of other teachers with your advertisements. It doesn't matter that you don't address them "personally" by name.
Originally Posted By: Morodiene

I draw the line where someone approaches a student of someone else regarding studying with them. If the student initiates the contact, then fine, or if the teacher approaches and finds out that the student is studying with someone and backs off, fine. But if they persist in soliciting, then it's not fine in my book.

Yet you yourself admit to soliciting. If someone (whether or not they are or were studying with another teacher) reacts to your advertisement, they are reacting to your initiation of contact. Isn't that the idea of the advertisement?

Wouldn't it be fairer if you put under your telephone number in the advertisement "If you already had or have a teacher, even if you are unsatisfied or are serious about making a change, please do not contact me because that would be unethical and the association might decide to make me wear a scarlet letter and be banned."


Originally Posted By: Morodiene

I do not appreciate direct marketing by other businesses either. I throw out all junk mail solicitations without reading them (although I shred the credit card offers), but I don't think they are unethical. No matter how targeted they want to be, it still leaves the impetus in the solicitee's hand to act or not.

Precisely. Which is why I find it difficult to understand why you are saying something 180 degrees the opposite regarding piano teachers. Why are they a special exception to all the other rules?
Originally Posted By: Morodiene

When approaching someone in person or on the phone, however, a solicitor can handle arguments and try to convince the person to buy what they're selling. All solicitors are taught how to do this, and many people will give in especially when there's a "free" something to be gained from it. Some will simply agree to get the person off their back about it. I don't know how persistent this other teacher was, but obviously enough to convince them to try her services.

So, what you find unethical is when your competitors have persuasive communications skills and are able to market themselves effectively?
Originally Posted By: Morodiene

There was a gentleman who handled our retirement portfolio at our bank and had left the bank on bad terms. He then sent letters to all his former clients telling them that he had moved and offered to continue handling our portfolio. This seemed very odd and I spoke to our banker and she explained that he had done that with all the clients when he left. Apparently bankers think this is unethical too. I know of a man who owns a landscaping business, and his employee left and took with him the list of clients and contacted all of them when he left offering to do work for them. This is also unethical in the landscaping world I guess.

These would seem to be completely different examples as they have to do with an employee/employer relationship. In general, any restrictions on soliciting business from customers from one's previous employer is covered by the employment and severance contract. If there is no mutual agreement, then it is quite common that clients leave with key employees. Even if there is a contract, then there are also laws in most countries against allowing employers to force employees to sign away the rest of their lives and lose their ability to make a living just because they happened to work for someone else for a period of time. The days of indentured slavery and serfdom are supposed to be behind us.

Originally Posted By: Morodiene

If you don't think it's unethical, then I suppose you'd be the inclined to do these things as the above people were. However, music organizations like MTNA and NATS have very clearly outlined that they deem this behavior unethical and do discipline their members who cross that line.


It is not about what I think, but what is reasonable in the circumstances.

I agree that teacher's unions take the stance that competitive behavior between teachers is bad for teachers. Just like the airlines have convinced the government that competition between airlines is bad for airlines and health insurance companies have lobbied that competition is bad for health insurance companies. The point is that competition and mobility between teachers is not necessarily bad for piano students -- nor their teachers. What some are calling "unethical" here is rather "inconvenient" and "challenging" for the teacher.

I think that the question upthread about "how much are you paying the student for your claim of exclusivity" is a good one.


Edited by theJourney (09/10/10 03:53 PM)

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#1513053 - 09/10/10 08:06 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: landorrano]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Also, they were objecting to the teacher actively pursuing the student, knowing full well that they already study with someone else. This practice is unethical.
I want to draw attention to the fact that nothing that Dark Dragon has written permits one to assert that the villainous Polish teacher actively pursued the student with the objective to convince her to abandon Dark Dragon and to join her villainous Polish studio.

I didn't think so either, but I figured I must have missed some stuff.

This thread has spurred some great and interesting discussion, but I've thought that much of it is unrelated to DD's situation.
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#1513065 - 09/10/10 08:24 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
Elissa Milne Offline
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Competition between mentors in a child's life is almost always damaging. Just sayin'.
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#1513072 - 09/10/10 08:36 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Mark, you're correct. The discussion broke into several branches. DD's immediate situation, which was a continuation from a previous thread; a general discussion on the propriety of trolling for other teachers' students, the right of a student to change teachers and several other peripheral issues. Several posters used clever rhetorical techniques, including rationalization, equivocation and building straw man arguments, to try to legitimize bad behavior some teachers exhibit and which our professional organizations try to minimize, for the benefit of both student and teacher.
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#1513095 - 09/10/10 09:43 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
Stanny Offline
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Very concisely and well stated, John. thumb
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#1513097 - 09/10/10 09:51 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: landorrano]
wavelength Offline
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Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Also, they were objecting to the teacher actively pursuing the student, knowing full well that they already study with someone else. This practice is unethical.


I want to draw attention to the fact that nothing that Dark Dragon has written permits one to assert that the villainous Polish teacher actively pursued the student with the objective to convince her to abandon Dark Dragon and to join her villainous Polish studio.


I was just thinking the same thing. The only factual story I could find was as follows:

The parents/student wanted to study with two teachers.

DD placed a condition on his willingness to teach the student, i.e. no other teachers, as is his right.

The parents/student were not willing to meet that condition, and stopped lessons with DD, as is their right.

DD is angry at the parents and the other teacher.

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#1513148 - 09/10/10 11:48 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: wavelength]
theJourney Offline
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Originally Posted By: wavelength
I was just thinking the same thing. The only factual story I could find was as follows:

The parents/student wanted to study with two teachers.

DD placed a condition on his willingness to teach the student, i.e. no other teachers, as is his right.

The parents/student were not willing to meet that condition, and stopped lessons with DD, as is their right.

DD is angry at the parents and the other teacher.


Those are the facts as I understand them as well.

The emotions and the subsequent labeling of the cause of the self-protection oriented emotions as a "breach of ethics" seems to be unreasonable and, in particular, unprofessional.

For me one of the key differentiators between a service provider and a professional is a that a professional is able to put emotions aside and act in the interest of their clients before and instead of succumbing to conflicts of interest or acting in their own interest.




Edited by theJourney (09/10/10 11:52 PM)

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#1513155 - 09/11/10 12:08 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Elissa Milne]
theJourney Offline
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Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
Competition between mentors in a child's life is almost always damaging. Just sayin'.


You are saying quite a lot here, actually.

Could you elaborate?

I have some specific questions as well:

What kinds of damage do you have in mind?

When and how do piano teachers act like mentors and when and why are they seen, appreciated and accepted as mentors by others?

Who are the other mentors in a child's life that a piano teacher would be "competing" with?

Is it appropriate for mentors to possessively "stake claim" to their mentees?

Is the relationship between the self-proclaimed mentor and their mentee more important than the wishes of the student and their parent?

Is competition between mentors only "almost always demaging" for children but not for (young) adults?

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#1513209 - 09/11/10 02:20 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
keystring Online   content
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Nobody has yet ever addressed my point about parents or older students becoming or being informed, so that they interact with teachers, and respond to offers (lures) from a place of knowledge. Is this totally discounted?

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#1513243 - 09/11/10 05:43 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: keystring]
Elissa Milne Offline
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Originally Posted By: keystring
Nobody has yet ever addressed my point about parents or older students becoming or being informed, so that they interact with teachers, and respond to offers (lures) from a place of knowledge. Is this totally discounted?

Maybe these points have not been addressed in this thread because the better informed a parent (or student) is the less likely they will be 'lured' away, but rather they will seek their own new path. Admittedly, it is possible that the teacher who is being left behind might experience the change as 'poaching' or 'stealing' but from my experience I very much doubt it.

Parents and students who are well-informed and are making choices about musical education from knowledge rather than from hope (!) will tend to go about things in a different way. That is to say, the teacher will experience the change as being based on the needs of the students rather than the promises of another teacher.

Further, informed parents will not find teachers who make promises particularly convincing - good teachers simply cannot promise a specific result (they know that their good teaching is only one part of the equation), but good teachers can promise specific processes or approaches. If a parent tells the current teacher that they are transferring to a teacher who works in a different way then the current teacher will rarely feel that the student has been 'stolen' - the parent/student is genuinely seeking a new approach.
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#1513246 - 09/11/10 06:19 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: theJourney]
Elissa Milne Offline
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Originally Posted By: theJourney
Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
Competition between mentors in a child's life is almost always damaging. Just sayin'.


You are saying quite a lot here, actually.
Stuff that is followed by "just sayin'" is frequently quite loaded, in my experience, so I can't disagree with your commentary!!

Quote:
Could you elaborate?

I have some specific questions as well:

What kinds of damage do you have in mind?
When a child or adolescent is trying to please or meet the expectations of two different authority or role model figures who disagree or even compete the child/adolescent finds themselves having to make decisions as to which person to please more, and the educational opportunities become subsumed into this complex interpersonal no-win situation in which the student finds themselves.

This happens sometimes when parents divorce in bitter circumstances, and the parenting becomes competitive rather than collaborative. This can also happen between parents and school teachers, between two teachers at the same high school, between a coach and a choir director, between any two people the young person looks up to and is accountable to in a power relationship (such as a parent, teacher or boss).

The kind of damage this causes will vary from one child to the next, but competitive behaviour between mentors fundamentally diverts the child's attention away from learning and creates emotional instability.

Quote:
When and how do piano teachers act like mentors and when and why are they seen, appreciated and accepted as mentors by others?
Maybe some parents see piano lessons as glorified babysitting, and I suppose that those parents would not necessarily expect the child to look to the teacher as a mentor. On the other hand, I expect the babysitters I employ to look after my 3 and a half year old son to behave as mentors!! It's the one-on-one nature of piano lessons that leads the relationship to quickly develop into a mentoring relationship, with the piano teacher taking a genuine interest in far more than the child's progress as a pianist. This is part of what makes being a piano teacher very rewarding, but of course it happens to a different extent with different students.

From a professional point of view I would say that piano teachers should always act as mentors whether or not there is a parental expectation. That is, they should be modeling positive behaviours across a range of criteria - this isn't just about good posture at the keyboard, it's about living life well. If parents perceive this as being important

Quote:
Who are the other mentors in a child's life that a piano teacher would be "competing" with?
Answered in examples given above.

Quote:
Is it appropriate for mentors to possessively "stake claim" to their mentees?
Staking claim to another human being is never healthy. I'm not sure that this thread is necessarily about 'staking claim' so much as feeling that the unfolding of events has not been without subterfuge.

Quote:
Is the relationship between the self-proclaimed mentor and their mentee more important than the wishes of the student and their parent?
Self-proclaimed mentors are self-exposed frauds! There is no need to self-proclaim one's mentorship if it exists. Further, the relationship is only as important as everyone agrees it to be. You can't mentor someone who does not respect your opinion. Similarly, respect cannot be demanded.

Quote:
Is competition between mentors only "almost always demaging" for children but not for (young) adults?
You could say that anyone who finds themselves in a situation where they have mentoring-like relationships with a number of people will find that those relationships are most helpful when the mentor-figures are not in competition. Aside from that, it's a continuum - the less you need a mentor the less it will matter what crazy behaviour your mentors display.
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#1513363 - 09/11/10 01:22 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: theJourney]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: theJourney

Is it appropriate for mentors to possessively "stake claim" to their mentees?


This is always a very fine line a piano teacher must tread. What's the difference between having a teacher-student relationship - where the teacher cares about the student's overall well-being as well as their progress in the subject matter being taught/learned - and "staking a claim" on a student?

There have been times when I have felt that the best thing for a particular student is to quit lessons or go with another teacher. I also happen to agree that in most cases, having two teachers on the same subject matter at the same time is detrimental to the development of the student. I do not feel that this is "staking a claim" as if the student is property to be had or lost, but thinking solely of the welfare of the student. In which case, the OP should be glad that the student did make a choice as to who they wanted to study with, rather than trying to please two teachers who may have conflicting suggestions.
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#1513370 - 09/11/10 01:32 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Elissa Milne]
keystring Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne

Maybe these points have not been addressed in this thread because the better informed a parent (or student) is the less likely they will be 'lured' away, but rather they will seek their own new path. Admittedly, it is possible that the teacher who is being left behind might experience the change as 'poaching' or 'stealing' but from my experience I very much doubt it.

Parents and students who are well-informed and are making choices about musical education from knowledge rather than from hope (!) will tend to go about things in a different way. That is to say, the teacher will experience the change as being based on the needs of the students rather than the promises of another teacher.

Further, informed parents will not find teachers who make promises particularly convincing - good teachers simply cannot promise a specific result (they know that their good teaching is only one part of the equation), but good teachers can promise specific processes or approaches. If a parent tells the current teacher that they are transferring to a teacher who works in a different way then the current teacher will rarely feel that the student has been 'stolen' - the parent/student is genuinely seeking a new approach.


Thank you, Elissa, that is exactly what I was after.

An additional thought: At this stage, the teacher (or any professional) who says "I don't know." about something may in my eyes be much more knowledgeable than the one who says "I know everything and I can do everything."

If we, "the market" wink , lack knowledge and awareness, that skews "the market place". Teachers are then forced to show "results" when musicianship is actually a process - the virtuoso-seeming performance with its flashiness, high grades in exams which may not mean much, zipping through the grades. The teacher who seems to lag while building foundations so that the student will eventually have the makings of a musician is doing work that is largely invisible. Say a student is encouraged to come up with her own interpretation - it will not be as polished and impressive as what the teacher can patch together by rote. Or say the student is learning to read: does not show up in competitions. Teachers are forced to compete in this "marketplace" and we are "the market". If as a group we are uninformed, the whole system would be skewed I would think.


Edited by keystring (09/11/10 01:33 PM)
Edit Reason: got the wink to wink

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#1807786 - 12/17/11 06:58 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
music32 Offline
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#1807823 - 12/17/11 08:13 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: music32]
currawong Offline
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Sorry, maybe I'm a bit slow - but what is this for? Is this an update on the OP's thread (quite old)? Is the blog the OP's? Or yours? Are you just drawing attention to your blog? (nothing necessarily wrong with that, but why dig up a whole very long, old thread to do it?) I'm not being critical, just a bit puzzled. I'm certainly not going to trawl through the whole original thread again! laugh
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#1807976 - 12/18/11 08:17 AM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: currawong]
music32 Offline
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I wanted this as a reference of other teachers who had experienced this problem and therefore linked to the URL of the thread.

I have seen this problem play out (not frequently) thank goodness in my own experience and that of others. And I wondered how teachers handled it.

In our Association, we have the Ethics Code, but it really doesn't address specific behaviors such as I described. In a lot of cases, the parent is the driving force not the outside pressure bearing teacher who wants the student.

I can only say that in these local competitions there could be teachers sniffing around. When students don't win, a very invested parent, often a stage mother (and I know this is a cliche) will feel a desperation about the loss, and think it's the teacher's fault. This launches into a discussion about judges at these events, and their decisions.. a slippery slope.
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#1808028 - 12/18/11 11:36 AM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
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M32, I read the excerpt in your blog, and would like to address the situation where a parent or student (if old enough) explores the possibility of changing teachers through an interview with (a) teacher/s. I intend this to be general, and not about anyone's particular student. This is not a simple thing that can be reduced to questions of loyalty.

First, there would have to be some kind of concern on the parent's part. If there are concerns, then the first step is to talk it out with the existing teacher. There may actually be a problem and in some ways parent & teacher work together anyway. Supposing the child is doing badly because he isn't practicing (like the blog child). Does the parent know this? Is there a reason that the parent knows about which the teacher is in the dark about? Or you could have the parent actually undermining the child without meaning to. Another scenario is where the parent has a wrong idea of "proper advancing", has been told wrong things by other parents. Or the piano's beside the t.v. which is always on, or the child has too many activities, or the family doesn't know how to organize time... Point is: If a problem is perceived, the first step is to go after it with the present teacher to see if there is cause and solution.

Supposing that a parent does go see other teachers because he is uneasy about something. Maybe he did talk to the existing teacher but didn't understand the answer. It may be that the other teacher(s) see signs of not practicing, or some underlying problem which they can word differently. It may be that the parent comes away with a different perspective which can lead to greater collaboration with the existing teacher. In any case, sometimes we need to get another perspective somehow. Working with a teacher when you have almost no knowledge is like looking down a narrow tube hoping that the rest of the picture makes sense. Getting the perspective of other teachers may broaden that picture.

It can also bring confusion. There are conflicting views, poorly understood advice, lack of knowledge that each teacher's view of a specific thing is in the context of a broad approach etc. Taking advice from different sides can create a mess. Changing teachers means that the student has to get used to a different way of doing things (which can be good), work with different material, get used to a different teaching style, and adjust to all that.

If a parent were contemplating teachers, he may still change his mind after interviewing a few. Telling the existing teacher that he is talking to other teachers could create a lot of anxiety and tension in the teacher, and hurt the atmosphere in lessons. It makes more sense to not say anything, quietly listen to what is said. Then if the parent does decide to change teachers, he must courteously inform the teacher way ahead in time, and hopefully thank that teacher.

Students/parents have a right to choose teachers and change teachers and consult teachers, with all the precautions written above that it may be unwise and create confusion. It is not a "betrayal". However the act of changing teachers is a serious step which can have consequences for the student. If there is a problem with the student not practicing or other negative attitudes, then it's running away from the problem and nothing gets fixed.

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#1808059 - 12/18/11 12:25 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: keystring]
music32 Offline
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I appreciate your thoughtful and conscientious response. In my blog I was spotlighting two true to life situations that were to the extreme. A little insight about the first. That parent had abruptly left another teacher at the University, NOT informing him, came to the next teacher, who thought the student had informed the prior teacher that she had transferred, only learn to learn a year later that he was outraged by what happened and was ignorant. A pattern set in motion? The parent then did the same thing with the new teacher.. but I must say, the teacher who showed up at the competition knew how upset the parent was by the loss at the event. And capitalized on it. The parent laid blame on the teacher without rhyme or reason.
The former teacher, frankly was even in the dark for a number of MONTHS as to why the student left.. but as it played out this was a very inconsiderate mother with an enabling teacher. There are unethical behaviors by teachers, that cause many people a lot of duress, but yes, often the parents are participants.

In the second anecdote.. money was owed the former teacher.. and the manipulation of the prospective one was glaring. I happened to have been the teacher who did some investigating of the situation, and the former teacher was grateful to know what was going on.

The point being that everyone deserves respect and consideration on both sides of the spectrum..
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#1808074 - 12/18/11 12:51 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: music32]
music32 Offline
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Just to add, that many music teachers experience bouts of disrespect not just from some parents, but from other teachers who might behave unethically. Most of this discussion is shared privately among colleagues and swept under the rug. The kind of duress it causes can be significant. I think it needs airing.

Transfers occur all the time, but the respect accorded the teacher being left should be taken seriously.

To diverge a bit, I had an experience where a student just didn't show up for her scheduled lesson. And time passed with no word from the parents. Meanwhile the next student had called, and asked if he could come earlier, which naturally could not be explored because of the up in the air situation with the prior student. One thing led to another and the day passed, with still no word from parent. This was not the first time such happened.

And I'm sure other teachers have experienced the same.
When I finally e mailed the parents, I was handed a flimsy excuse wrapped up with it's really no big deal. "We'll try to notify you next time."

Where's the respect for a teacher's time.

Now all this led to a conflict between myself and mom. Her solution was getting another teacher, despite the great progress the child had made, particularly in the past few months.

Come easy go easy.. just passing through.

Until and when there is more respect for what we do, these rifts are going to play out..

I haven't had this experience with my adult students or with mothers who are very involved with their children's studies and make it their business to have a positive dialog with the teacher.
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#1808249 - 12/18/11 05:40 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: music32]
Gary D. Offline
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Originally Posted By: music32

In the second anecdote.. money was owed the former teacher.. and the manipulation of the prospective one was glaring. I happened to have been the teacher who did some investigating of the situation, and the former teacher was grateful to know what was going on.

I took a look at your link and would have ignored it except for your writing style, which gave me a few chuckles.

Because of that, I got as far as someone owing $300, then "moving on" to a new teacher, who I assume was about to get "played".

The answer is, as you say, "respect on both sides". There usually is. As always it is a tiny minority of people who cause almost 99% of almost all the problems.
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#1808251 - 12/18/11 05:40 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: keystring]
music32 Offline
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It's funny you should mention the issue of a parent or prospective student telling the teacher she is considering that there are other interviews in progress. A few years ago a beginning adult piano student made it a point, before she came for a consult with me, to tell me how many other teachers she was interviewing, and that she would ultimately let me know of her decision after we met and she compared all the other teachers. The obvious response from me was I was not interested. Imagine if the roles were reversed and we told a beginning student that we had a bunch of others to interview, yadda..
That's different than meeting with the student and making a decision to accept, etc.
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#1808253 - 12/18/11 05:45 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: music32]
Gary D. Offline
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Originally Posted By: music32
It's funny you should mention the issue of a parent or prospective student telling the teacher she is considering that there are other interviews in progress. A few years ago a beginning adult piano student made it a point, before she came for a consult with me, to tell me how many other teachers she was interviewing, and that she would ultimately let me know of her decision after we met and she compared all the other teachers. The obvious response from me was I was not interested.

When students think they are "trying me out", I explain to them that *I* am deciding whether or not *I* want to work with *them. laugh
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#1808279 - 12/18/11 06:34 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
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I always assume that students that interview with me are also exploring other teachers. It has to be the right fit on both sides. When I conclude an interview and I think we would be a good fit, I tell them what times I have available, but then tell them to discuss it at home and contact me by a certain date to let me know if they would like to start lessons with me. That gives them private time to discuss any issues they might have.

However, if I perceive they wouldn't be a good fit, I say so then and there and give them the names of several other teachers if they don't already have them.
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#1808324 - 12/18/11 08:31 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: music32]
liszt85 Offline
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Originally Posted By: music32
It's funny you should mention the issue of a parent or prospective student telling the teacher she is considering that there are other interviews in progress. A few years ago a beginning adult piano student made it a point, before she came for a consult with me, to tell me how many other teachers she was interviewing, and that she would ultimately let me know of her decision after we met and she compared all the other teachers. The obvious response from me was I was not interested.


I don't understand the huge egos on display here. Just as much the teacher needs to have the right to decide whether or not to accept the student, the student has the same right to decide whether or not this teacher is a good fit (you're not offering to teach the student for free, are you? If so, I can understand the sentiment "beggars can't also be choosers" but that is most certainly not the case here, I would think). The only way that can be done is to take demo lessons with a certain number of teachers and then make the decision.
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#1808403 - 12/18/11 11:30 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: liszt85]
Gary D. Offline
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Originally Posted By: liszt85

I don't understand the huge egos on display here.

Be specific. WHICH are the huge egos? If you have a bone to pick with a teacher, name the teacher. smile
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#1808445 - 12/19/11 12:59 AM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Minniemay]
AZNpiano Offline
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Originally Posted By: Minniemay
However, if I perceive they wouldn't be a good fit, I say so then and there and give them the names of several other teachers if they don't already have them.

How quickly can you tell if the student is not a good fit? There are some students that I took within the past year who I thought would be perfectly matched with my teaching style. A couple of them didn't last a month! I think some subtle problems really don't surface until several months into lessons. And just recently I'm seeing more and more problems with bad parents (poor discipline, lack of organization, lack of punctuality) than bad students.
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#1808448 - 12/19/11 01:04 AM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
Minniemay Offline
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I score way off the deep end on personality tests in the category of intuition. I just have a sixth sense. It has much less to do with teaching style (that I can adapt) than with sheer personality. I've rarely misjudged it.
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#1808449 - 12/19/11 01:07 AM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: liszt85]
AZNpiano Offline
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Originally Posted By: liszt85
I don't understand the huge egos on display here.

Really? I don't feel that way at all.

In my experience, these "teacher shoppers" are also "teacher hoppers." They are never satisfied with any teacher. When I interview a student and her parents tell me that they've gone through seven other teachers before reaching me, that would most definitely raise a red flag for me.

Either that, or steady students have become rare. Maybe I should be glad that I have students who have been studying with me for 7 or more years continuously.
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#1808515 - 12/19/11 08:39 AM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
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If my student wants to study with someone else, they can go for it. If they don't wanna be there, I don't want 'em there.

Student has two teachers, me and another? Ok, then that student will still play by my rules while in my studio. Good luck juggling those two chain saws, lol


And I'm a big fan of resurrected threads. cool
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#1808526 - 12/19/11 08:58 AM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
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There was a specific scenario:
An adult beginner was preparing to take piano lessons for the first time. She wanted to meet with several teachers in order to decide who she would study with. She was honest and said this was her intention, and because of it she was denied an interview. If she was willing to pay each of the teachers for that interview, it seems both reasonable and prudent. Lessons involve a long term commitment, a fair amount of money over several years, and a close interaction with one professional weekly over that time. Furthermore, the student has to make a daily commitment. An hour of her time every single day is governed by what that teacher will have her do, and her success or failure is largely contingent on those instructions. That is quite an investment.

You don't throw yourself at things like that. Someone who steps into lessons with care, making a firm decision on who to work with which is based on something is also likely to commit because they know why they are there. Acting on impulse, or going with the first teacher that you see and then feeling obligated to go ahead with it because you had that one lesson, I don't see this as leading to as strong a commitment.

In any case I don't see anything unreasonable. If there was something in the tone of voice or manner over the phone that suggested that teachers are a commodity and the customer is king, that would be something else. But I also find that when lay people call me for my services, they can be pretty awkward. If you have never taken lessons before, and especially being an adult and maybe feeling weird about it, that us awkwardness-plus.

Do teachers here really feel it is wrong for a prospective student to want to see several teachers (paid interview / first lesson) before committing to lessons with one? I am not talking about taking lessons with several teachers at once, or "teacher hopping", but as part of the decision making process.

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#1808558 - 12/19/11 10:27 AM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
Minniemay Offline
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I think it's the smart thing to do. I actually don't charge for my interviews -- never occurred to me. I have taken single lessons from various teachers over the years (made it clear this was a one-time coaching thing), but I definitely know which one of those I would choose for a longer-term commitment.
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#1808613 - 12/19/11 12:40 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Gary D.]
music32 Offline
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thumbs up to that--
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#1808616 - 12/19/11 12:45 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: AZNpiano]
music32 Offline
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Amen! In many instances the child is basically punished by the parent.. just as an example.. where he or she can't get the 8 or 9 year old to the lessons on time. . or the parent FORGETS there's a lesson at all. I have seen everything.


Edited by music32 (12/19/11 12:45 PM)
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#1808641 - 12/19/11 01:29 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: music32]
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Originally Posted By: music32
Amen! In many instances the child is basically punished by the parent.. just as an example.. where he or she can't get the 8 or 9 year old to the lessons on time. . or the parent FORGETS there's a lesson at all. I have seen everything.

It's a three-party proposition, and if any corner of the triangle is mooshy - student, parent, or teacher - then it can't hold its shape. smile

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#1808661 - 12/19/11 01:59 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
D4v3 Offline
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Here's what I think happened. The Dad thought that the other teacher was as good as or better than you. If he thought they were better than you, then you need to do more about displaying your value. I had a piano teacher who had pictures of her performing with orchestras in the room she taught. Very effective. Im not talking about throwing it in their face every day but ... I hope you get my point.

If he thought you were equal to the other teacher then you could work more on creating more of a personal relationship with the parents and kids; more small talk, personal interest to make them sticky. Otherwise when someone they percieve to be the same value as you, has a more personal magnetic pull to them, you will be shown the door.

Also, if you have rules that parents think are really restrictive they may see taht as a detractor and go for someone of the same value who is more customer friendly.


Edited by D4v3 (12/19/11 02:02 PM)
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#1808675 - 12/19/11 02:27 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: keystring]
Gary D. Offline
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Originally Posted By: keystring

Do teachers here really feel it is wrong for a prospective student to want to see several teachers (paid interview / first lesson) before committing to lessons with one? I am not talking about taking lessons with several teachers at once, or "teacher hopping", but as part of the decision making process.

I think that any student should be free to pick me or not pick me as a teacher. I also think that I should have the right to decide not to work with a student.

However, where do we draw the line between who is and who is not a "teacher-hopper"?
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#1808695 - 12/19/11 02:43 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Gary D.]
D4v3 Offline
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Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Originally Posted By: keystring

Do teachers here really feel it is wrong for a prospective student to want to see several teachers (paid interview / first lesson) before committing to lessons with one? I am not talking about taking lessons with several teachers at once, or "teacher hopping", but as part of the decision making process.

I think that any student should be free to pick me or not pick me as a teacher. I also think that I should have the right to decide not to work with a student.

However, where do we draw the line between who is and who is not a "teacher-hopper"?


I suspect that you may know what I will answer, but I say it anyway. Personal preference. For me it would be when I try to teach something and the child then counter's with what the other teacher is telling them to do and how it does not fit with your method. Then thats when I tell them they need to decide which method is best.
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#1808698 - 12/19/11 02:45 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Gary D.]
liszt85 Offline
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Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Originally Posted By: liszt85

I don't understand the huge egos on display here.

Be specific. WHICH are the huge egos? If you have a bone to pick with a teacher, name the teacher. smile


I have no bone to pick with any teacher here. I'm only surprised at the opinion expressed here that students shouldn't interview many teachers and if they tell you that you are one of the many teachers they have been trying out, you immediately tell them that you aren't interested. This view is absurd to me! It really does reflect a huge ego problem. Maybe I understood you guys wrong? If so, please clarify if this is not what you meant.

PS: I am not talking about maintaining two teachers simultaneously without telling either teacher. I don't agree with that. However, I absolutely think that the student has the right to shop for teachers just as much right the teacher has to accept/reject the student based on perceived fit.


Edited by liszt85 (12/19/11 02:46 PM)
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#1808708 - 12/19/11 02:58 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: music32]
Opus_Maximus Offline
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Originally Posted By: music32
A few years ago a beginning adult piano student made it a point, before she came for a consult with me, to tell me how many other teachers she was interviewing, and that she would ultimately let me know of her decision after we met and she compared all the other teachers. The obvious response from me was I was not interested.


I don't really understand this attitude. I think it is absolutely essential to meet with a variety of teachers and take your pick amongst them. Music study is a very precarious thing, and you are putting your artistic growth in the hands of one individual, so you had better take care to be meticulous in your screening process. So what if another teacher happens to be more compatible with the student than you? How would they have know that unless they played for both you you? At Juilliard, for instance, students are usually assigned TWO teachers, and there is a "trial" period at the beginning of each semester for students to have lessons with several teachers. As a matter of fact, I would go as far to say that I would be more skeptical of the student who was *not* considering several teachers. It sounds like the adult student was just being honest about it.

This is, of course, completely different from playing for other people after you have already started studying with somebody behind their back...


Edited by Opus_Maximus (12/19/11 02:59 PM)

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#1808717 - 12/19/11 03:09 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: D4v3]
music32 Offline
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I wish I could agree with these statements, but it does not always follow that having CDs, videos, concert performances, pics on stage, will impress parents. If you teach in a less cosmopolitan area, some of the parents are more interested in whether you can give the flavor of the week piece to their kids, like rock, popular, you name it. In some cases it's a social connection. The friends have this or that teacher.. so let's get in with the network. Some teachers with 50 wall to wall students may not be nearly as skilled as players or even teachers as someone with the fancy credentials. Sad, but true.
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#1808720 - 12/19/11 03:10 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
AZNpiano Offline
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I think folks are confusing the issues here. The OP is talking about a beginner who is shopping for a piano teacher. This is very different than a Juilliard student picking a better match for a professor. The Juilliard student would be in a much better position to know which teacher is a better fit for him/her. The beginner student would just go with the intangibles like "I like her better" or "he looks mean" or "she sounds too strict."
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#1808725 - 12/19/11 03:14 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: AZNpiano]
music32 Offline
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yes, that's true in most cases. I find that parents of many beginning students are not sure what they want. And often they will come with a 61-key bell and whistle keyboard.

I have to agree that when a beginning student has to keep telling you how many teachers he's going to interview it is just not going start the ball rolling in the right direction.

I will safely bet that if you said to the beginning student.. "Just to let you know that I have five other people who want this slot," the student would not show up for the consult.


Edited by music32 (12/19/11 03:15 PM)
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#1808731 - 12/19/11 03:25 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
Minniemay Offline
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I disagree. I inform people that call that I do have a waiting list and that I don't accept students without a live interview. I've never had anyone not show for the interview.

Why are you so threatened by being compared to other teachers? Parents of beginners know their children and understand how they interact with others. That's very important with a child. If they are uncomfortable with your style, they are right to go elsewhere.
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#1808759 - 12/19/11 04:00 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Gary D.]
keystring Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Gary D.

However, where do we draw the line between who is and who is not a "teacher-hopper"?

Somebody who has never had a lesson with anyone in their life, by all logic, cannot possibly be a teacher-hopper. smile

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#1808773 - 12/19/11 04:15 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: music32]
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Originally Posted By: music32

I have to agree that when a beginning student has to keep telling you how many teachers he's going to interview it is just not going start the ball rolling in the right direction.

I will safely bet that if you said to the beginning student.. "Just to let you know that I have five other people who want this slot," the student would not show up for the consult.

I have already written my reasoning and put some thought into it - has it even been read?

Your analogy does not work because a teacher has many students, and a student works with only one teacher. You will be filling various slots. Additionally, I expect a good teacher to have a waiting list so there would be nothing wrong with being told that.

It is normal and prudent to be very sure about your decision, especially when embarking on unfamiliar territory. It is a courtesy to tell the teacher that you will interview more than one person before coming to a decision. That decision, after that, is a commitment. It is not an insult to a teacher, is not meant as a threat, and is not a put-down.

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#1808786 - 12/19/11 04:32 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
keystring Online   content
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I had a feeling that this is actually advice given, so I googled:

"Take time and, if you feel the need to interview more than one teacher, do so, until you feel truly comfortable with the choice you have made."
PEP site

"Try to interview several teachers from your list."
link to advice by a teacher

"[you will need] Some time to research and interview different teachers."

I could go on. The point is that the advice given to parents and prospective students overwhelmingly is to interview more than one teacher. How, then, can a student be faulted for doing just that?

The advice given out there is to become informed, then do the steps you need to choose a teacher. That will not produce the type of person who pops in with a toy instrument. How many teachers here get dread "transfer students" because they didn't do their homework first time round, and now they get to undo the damage if that is even possible?

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#1808804 - 12/19/11 04:58 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: keystring]
AZNpiano Offline
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Originally Posted By: keystring
I could go on. The point is that the advice given to parents and prospective students overwhelmingly is to interview more than one teacher. How, then, can a student be faulted for doing just that?


I think the problem with beginners and parents of beginners is that they are ill-equipped to make such decisions. That's why I get all these crappy transfer students.
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#1808809 - 12/19/11 05:05 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: AZNpiano]
keystring Online   content
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Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: keystring
I could go on. The point is that the advice given to parents and prospective students overwhelmingly is to interview more than one teacher. How, then, can a student be faulted for doing just that?


I think the problem with beginners and parents of beginners is that they are ill-equipped to make such decisions. That's why I get all these crappy transfer students.

Yet it's crucial. How do we solve this?

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#1808854 - 12/19/11 06:28 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Minniemay]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
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Originally Posted By: Minniemay


Why are you so threatened by being compared to other teachers? Parents of beginners know their children and understand how they interact with others. That's very important with a child. If they are uncomfortable with your style, they are right to go elsewhere.


I've never had a prospective student announce to me that they are interviewing other teachers. I think it would be wise for the student to ask for an interview, gather information, but not point out that they are trying to interview 5 other teachers.

Declining an interview may not be about insecurity. It may be a decision that the interview is not worth the teacher's time. I do not charge a fee for the initial interview. If someone announced they have 5 teachers to interview, I would suggest that the student asks their questions over the phone, and reads info on my website. With a 20% chance of being "chosen", it may not be worth my time. I'd at least wait until they'd narrowed it down to 3. Maybe suggest that the student checks out the other teachers, and if they don't find what they're looking for to contact me then.

OTOH, if the student really could accept an opening time that I have available and I really do want another student, I may just go ahead with the meeting.

Also I have found that people almost always come to me by word of mouth, and already know they want in my studio. Having someone contact me with no referral from a parent or another teacher is unusual. The other selling point is location, and parents insist they want in my studio due to location.

I find the scenario of 5 or more face to face interviews to be a stretch of the imagination. Especially for an adult student. To find even one teacher with an suitable opening for an adult may be difficult, much less finding 5. If you've got so many teachers you want to choose from, I think a phone interview would be a realistic way to begin to narrow the field.
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#1808873 - 12/19/11 07:20 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: keystring]
music32 Offline
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Loc: Berkeley, California
I'm glad that you bring up teacher hopping. I've seen it first hand.

Here's the thing about people interviewing other teachers. That's all well and good and of course that's part of the process of finding a good match.. BUT I don't need to have someone call me and go on and on about their teacher tryouts. It's not necessary. You do what you have to do and not announce to each and every teacher that you are shopping around. (I've had two adult beginners contact me with that preliminary and frankly I had no interest in going through the hoops with them..To be very psychodynamic about it, it registers the control issue.. or puts it front and center. The student who has to tell the teacher about her other tryouts is basically wanting to have CONTROL of the prospective teacher.. I could write pages on this, but the people who would recognize themselves would only respond with anger.. so there's my Music Therapy Degree showing.
At the risk of being redundant it's like the teacher telling the student, beginner or not, that five other pupils will be interviewed for the slot.. How insensitive to the student's feelings would that be.


Edited by music32 (12/19/11 07:25 PM)
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#1808876 - 12/19/11 07:31 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Opus_Maximus]
music32 Offline
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exactly, but the student should be tactful enough to do her or his business and interview as many teachers as he or she pleases without sharing all that with me or any other teacher prospect.. Similarly I have the right to decline a particular interview for my own reasons. It runs both ways. The issue here, is that the student should do what he needs to .. and not have to invite the prospective teacher into his own selection process.
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#1808877 - 12/19/11 07:32 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: music32]
Opus_Maximus Offline
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Registered: 11/27/04
Posts: 1480
Originally Posted By: music32
I wish I could agree with these statements, but it does not always follow that having CDs, videos, concert performances, pics on stage, will impress parents. If you teach in a less cosmopolitan area, some of the parents are more interested in whether you can give the flavor of the week piece to their kids, like rock, popular, you name it. In some cases it's a social connection. The friends have this or that teacher.. so let's get in with the network. Some teachers with 50 wall to wall students may not be nearly as skilled as players or even teachers as someone with the fancy credentials. Sad, but true.


I don't see what that this to do with the argument at hand; It seems that what you are implying is that a lot of parents don't necessarily care about the quality or credentials of a teacher, but only about if the teacher is popular and can agree to fulfill short-term goals. (I've seen this before and agree it's unfortunate.) But wouldn't somebody who took the time and effort to interview five prospective teachers not fit in this category?

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#1808888 - 12/19/11 08:15 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: keystring]
AZNpiano Offline
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Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: keystring
I could go on. The point is that the advice given to parents and prospective students overwhelmingly is to interview more than one teacher. How, then, can a student be faulted for doing just that?


I think the problem with beginners and parents of beginners is that they are ill-equipped to make such decisions. That's why I get all these crappy transfer students.

Yet it's crucial. How do we solve this?


I don't have the answer for that. Fire all the inept teachers? Get MTNA or MTAC to screen their teachers more carefully?

I got two transfer students from a reputable local teacher. These kids nearly failed their last CM test (theory). With me, their theory scores both went up above 95% (Level 3 and Level 7). Now I'm tutoring theory for kids from other studios.

This is precisely the reason I seriously doubt most parents and beginners know how to pick piano teachers. They can interview all the teachers they want, like I said before, but they are still relying on the intangibles.

I think I'm quite intuitive, yet I freely admit sometimes it takes me months to figure out a student and/or for certain problems to surface. It strikes me as extremely counterintuitive that some parents or beginners can "figure out" a teacher after one lesson.
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#1808916 - 12/19/11 09:37 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: AZNpiano]
music32 Offline
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Loc: Berkeley, California
Yes, what you say makes a lot of sense.. Certainly from a teacher's perspective one lesson is a snapshot, at best.
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#1808929 - 12/19/11 10:29 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Minniemay]
liszt85 Offline
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Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
Originally Posted By: Minniemay

Why are you so threatened by being compared to other teachers? Parents of beginners know their children and understand how they interact with others. That's very important with a child. If they are uncomfortable with your style, they are right to go elsewhere.


I almost thought what music32 expressed was the general attitude of teachers. I'm glad it is not.
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#1808930 - 12/19/11 10:35 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: AZNpiano]
liszt85 Offline
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Posts: 3159
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: keystring
I could go on. The point is that the advice given to parents and prospective students overwhelmingly is to interview more than one teacher. How, then, can a student be faulted for doing just that?


I think the problem with beginners and parents of beginners is that they are ill-equipped to make such decisions. That's why I get all these crappy transfer students.

Yet it's crucial. How do we solve this?


I don't have the answer for that. Fire all the inept teachers? Get MTNA or MTAC to screen their teachers more carefully?

I got two transfer students from a reputable local teacher. These kids nearly failed their last CM test (theory). With me, their theory scores both went up above 95% (Level 3 and Level 7). Now I'm tutoring theory for kids from other studios.

This is precisely the reason I seriously doubt most parents and beginners know how to pick piano teachers. They can interview all the teachers they want, like I said before, but they are still relying on the intangibles.

I think I'm quite intuitive, yet I freely admit sometimes it takes me months to figure out a student and/or for certain problems to surface. It strikes me as extremely counterintuitive that some parents or beginners can "figure out" a teacher after one lesson.


If that other teacher is "reputable", he/she is reputable for a reason. You bad mouthing your students' former teachers only speaks about you. The purpose behind the interview is not to figure out everything about the teacher but to make a determination if it is going to be easy to work with you. From what you say here about how the other "reputable" teacher couldn't achieve what you did, I'd be inclined to say that you would probably fail quite a few interviews and if that is true, I certainly understand why you take exception to students interviewing teachers. I certainly wouldn't work with a teacher who tells me (or gives me the vibes) that everything that my previous teachers did was wrong. Sorry to be harsh, just stating what I think are valid observations. You can take all the months you want to figure out a student but when the student is paying you by the hour, they have every right to make sure they do the best they can to make the best decision they can about the teacher that they choose to work with. It is not your job to determine whether or not they are capable of making that decision. The fact remains that if you think you have the right to accept/reject students, they have equal rights as you do in that they should be able to accept/reject you as their teacher.
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Next in line:
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Debussy: Le vent dans la plaine (Prelude 3, Book 1)
Debussy: Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir (Prelude 4, Book 1)

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#1808948 - 12/19/11 11:29 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: liszt85]
AZNpiano Offline
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Originally Posted By: liszt85
If that other teacher is "reputable", he/she is reputable for a reason. You bad mouthing your students' former teachers only speaks about you. The purpose behind the interview is not to figure out everything about the teacher but to make a determination if it is going to be easy to work with you. From what you say here about how the other "reputable" teacher couldn't achieve what you did, I'd be inclined to say that you would probably fail quite a few interviews and if that is true, I certainly understand why you take exception to students interviewing teachers. I certainly wouldn't work with a teacher who tells me (or gives me the vibes) that everything that my previous teachers did was wrong. Sorry to be harsh, just stating what I think are valid observations. You can take all the months you want to figure out a student but when the student is paying you by the hour, they have every right to make sure they do the best they can to make the best decision they can about the teacher that they choose to work with. It is not your job to determine whether or not they are capable of making that decision. The fact remains that if you think you have the right to accept/reject students, they have equal rights as you do in that they should be able to accept/reject you as their teacher.


Wow, now who has an ego problem??

Please re-think what you wrote and we'll talk when you can write without resorting to name-calling.
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#1808949 - 12/19/11 11:36 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
liszt85 Offline
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Who has an ego problem? The answer is quite simple. Where is the name calling? I don't see any unless it is something you introduced into the equation to avoid answer the question posed to you. Why do you think you have the right to accept/reject a student but that the student does not have equal rights as you?
_________________________
Current:
Beethoven: Sonata Op.31, No.2 ("Tempest")
Debussy: Danseuses de Delphes (Prelude 1, Book 1)
Next in line:
Chopin: Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op.23
Debussy: Le vent dans la plaine (Prelude 3, Book 1)
Debussy: Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir (Prelude 4, Book 1)

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#1808954 - 12/19/11 11:44 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
liszt85 Offline
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Btw it is funny to me that university professors who "interviewed" me made it clear that it was as much an interview for them as it was for me and that I had to tell them if I thought we would be a good match and that I shouldn't feel compelled to study with them if I didn't like the demo lesson. These are teachers of the highest quality and greatest humility. It would do the rest of us a whole world of good if we could adopt the same kind of humility about ourselves. What this thread is about (or rather, what it was turned into with music32's blog post and the flurry of posts that followed) makes no sense to me.
_________________________
Current:
Beethoven: Sonata Op.31, No.2 ("Tempest")
Debussy: Danseuses de Delphes (Prelude 1, Book 1)
Next in line:
Chopin: Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op.23
Debussy: Le vent dans la plaine (Prelude 3, Book 1)
Debussy: Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir (Prelude 4, Book 1)

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#1808956 - 12/19/11 11:50 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: liszt85]
AZNpiano Offline
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Originally Posted By: liszt85
Who has an ego problem? The answer is quite simple. Where is the name calling? I don't see any unless it is something you introduced into the equation to avoid answer the question posed to you. Why do you think you have the right to accept/reject a student but that the student does not have equal rights as you?


Okay, I gave you a way out and you didn't take it. I don't think you and I will be able to carry on a civil discussion.

Let's leave it at that and move on. We'll agree to disagree.
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#1808966 - 12/20/11 12:18 AM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: AZNpiano]
liszt85 Offline
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Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano

Okay, I gave you a way out and you didn't take it. I don't think you and I will be able to carry on a civil discussion.

Let's leave it at that and move on. We'll agree to disagree.


Absolutely. Thanks for being magnanimous enough to offer me "a way out". Something reeks of ego here..can't place my finger on it.
_________________________
Current:
Beethoven: Sonata Op.31, No.2 ("Tempest")
Debussy: Danseuses de Delphes (Prelude 1, Book 1)
Next in line:
Chopin: Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op.23
Debussy: Le vent dans la plaine (Prelude 3, Book 1)
Debussy: Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir (Prelude 4, Book 1)

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#1808971 - 12/20/11 12:31 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Opus_Maximus]
music32 Offline
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Loc: Berkeley, California
The student I referred to was in her 40s, had never taken lessons, and had planned to interview lots of teachers.
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#1809004 - 12/20/11 02:17 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: music32]
liszt85 Offline
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Registered: 08/26/08
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Originally Posted By: music32
The student I referred to was in her 40s, had never taken lessons, and had planned to interview lots of teachers.


So what age and musical experience are required (by you) for you to graciously accept when somebody tells you that they're also looking at a couple of other options before they make a final decision just as you were free to make a decision whether or not to accept them? I'm REALLY curious.

Frankly, if I saw credentials like "schoolmate of Murray Perahia" (and other very impressive degrees) and saw the teacher predominantly post (their performances of) early-intermediate pieces like "fur elise" and "Bach prelude in C" on their blog (multiple performances, in fact, of the same easy pieces), I would very much want to interview them first before I decide if I want to take lessons with them because I would want to know why the discrepancy between credentials and level of playing (its perfectly acceptable though because many teachers no longer get the time to practice, etc but I'd still want to make sure by interviewing them in person). Now do you mean to say that its alright for me to do that because I've been playing for 20 years and its not alright for a 40 year old beginner to do that just because they are 40 years old and haven't taken a lesson? Please explain the logic behind this.


Edited by liszt85 (12/20/11 02:18 AM)
_________________________
Current:
Beethoven: Sonata Op.31, No.2 ("Tempest")
Debussy: Danseuses de Delphes (Prelude 1, Book 1)
Next in line:
Chopin: Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op.23
Debussy: Le vent dans la plaine (Prelude 3, Book 1)
Debussy: Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir (Prelude 4, Book 1)

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#1809040 - 12/20/11 04:34 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
Gary D. Offline
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Registered: 08/30/08
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Loc: South Florida
Sometimes this piano teachers's forum is simply disgusting. Pathetic.

171 freakin' posts with half the people flaming the other half. OK, an exaggeration, because there are thoughtful, reasonable posts in between the flaming. But as always THEY get ignored.

To you teachers who are going on and on about how unfair other teachers are:

GET OVER IT.

Students have every right to choose from as many teachers as they wish, using any manner they like. Students have the right to change teachers. If they make unwise decisions, that's life.

Teachers have the right to choose which students they will work with, and how long they want to continue working with students.

And if teachers spent as much time learning to be better teachers as they do whining about how students are not good enough students, everyone would benefit.
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#1809068 - 12/20/11 06:49 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Gary D.]
music32 Offline
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Loc: Berkeley, California
thank you.. I think that sums it up...
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#1809070 - 12/20/11 06:53 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
music32 Offline
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Let whomever wants to consult other teachers do so.. and let the teachers make decisions that work for them.
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#1809158 - 12/20/11 11:03 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Gary D.]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Registered: 04/12/05
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Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Sometimes this piano teachers's forum is simply disgusting. Pathetic.

171 freakin' posts with half the people flaming the other half. OK, an exaggeration, because there are thoughtful, reasonable posts in between the flaming. But as always THEY get ignored.

To you teachers who are going on and on about how unfair other teachers are:

GET OVER IT.

Students have every right to choose from as many teachers as they wish, using any manner they like. Students have the right to change teachers. If they make unwise decisions, that's life.

Teachers have the right to choose which students they will work with, and how long they want to continue working with students.

And if teachers spent as much time learning to be better teachers as they do whining about how students are not good enough students, everyone would benefit.





This thread had served its useful purpose a long time ago. Its resurrection seems less than useless.
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#1809268 - 12/20/11 01:46 PM Re: Teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
keystring Online   content
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**Music32, often people will write thinking about a particular experience, but it comes across as a generalization. Members will then think that they are reading an overall opinion on how things are. It may have happened in this instant. I imagine that you got a call from someone who sent out vibes that made you cautious because of how (not just what) things were presented, maybe tone of voice or who knows what. What came across in the forum or at least how I read it is that you were against students interviewing more than one teacher before choosing how they would like to work with. Your particular experience turns into a generalization, see?

This part concerned me, because people check these sections to get an idea of how to do things. This includes prospective parents or students who have never taken lessons and want to learn more. The advice out there often includes visiting more than one teacher. Therefore to read that it is unacceptable would be confusing. This is why I was addressing it.

**AZN, for me the answer is for parents or older students to learn something about learning an instrument, and have a better understanding of their own goals, before visiting a teacher for a trial lesson/interview. Otherwise you go in there, get the impressions, but don't know what to do with them. You have to be sufficiently informed yet open minded.

Unfortunately there is also a lot of nonsense out there in terms of advice, and attempts to woo customers that also misinform through false priorities. I don't know what teachers can do to turn around this side of it. My favorite site for information is this one (below) because it is comprehensive, and it also outlines the difference between lessons for teaching a process, and lessons for receiving a product.

the site in question

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#1809272 - 12/20/11 01:51 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Piano*Dad]
Tararex Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/27/11
Posts: 408
Loc: Middle Georgia, USA
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad

This thread had served its useful purpose a long time ago. Its resurrection seems less than useless.


Well, thank you for making that decision for all of us.

Up to this moment I found the teacher vs. student information and individual concerns voiced on this thread quite interesting. Now that I know that these matters are less than useless I won't bother with personal needs and will select my teacher by picking a number out of a hat. A one-size-fits-all hat.
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#1809364 - 12/20/11 03:49 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
Piano*Dad Offline
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You're most welcome!

And thank YOU for taking umbrage and giving it such voice. I hope you feel better.

I'll just reiterate my agreement with Gary D.

Perhaps you would care to flame him next.
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#1809369 - 12/20/11 03:56 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Piano*Dad]
Gary D. Offline
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Registered: 08/30/08
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Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
You're most welcome!

And thank YOU for taking umbrage and giving it such voice. I hope you feel better.

I'll just reiterate my agreement with Gary D.

Perhaps you would care to flame him next.


I welcome the flames. Bring it on!!! laugh
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#1809414 - 12/20/11 04:45 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Piano*Dad]
Tararex Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/27/11
Posts: 408
Loc: Middle Georgia, USA
Gary D's whine was also pitiful, but for heaven's sake if you don't care for the discussion perhaps not participating is the correct answer. If not moderating for reason, participating only to kill further commenting promotes what common good? With the current dearth of PW comments perhaps this isn't the time to pronounce "last word on a subject" in disregard of others wishing to continue.

As someone soon in search of piano teacher I've learned here that I should both review more than one possibility but keep what I'm doing to myself. I probably would have been a member of the "I'm interviewing a number of teachers" camp , thinking a teacher would interpret this as a student practicing due diligence - hence someone likely to take their piano instruction seriously. How wrong I would have been!

The hugely differing opinions are precisely what makes this thread important and interesting. Too often we forget the human foibles we all bring to the table. A healthy ego is a good thing and this type of give and take is how we learn to moderate our activities to prevent harming others. Or take over the universe. It works both ways.

Piano*Dad & Gary D., I totally enjoy the great majority of your forum contributions. However, a bit more restraint in the lightning-from-heaven thread blasts for those of us interested in a conversation would be appreciated. Both of you are better than that.

To put it another way: If you've heard the joke before either smile and hold your tongue or or move on to another more interesting thread. Please don't ruin the punchline for the rest of us!
_________________________

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#1809433 - 12/20/11 05:04 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11587
Loc: Canada
Tararex, finding a teacher is a side issue. The main topic in this thread involves teachers "stealing" students from other teachers. I rather like the advice of looking for self-improvement rather than complaining about students, and would reverse it as a student to include self-improvement rather than complaining about teachers.

Have you actually slogged through those 171 posts? It's a miserable trip and those of us who went through it are not all too thrilled to see it resurrected.

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#1809443 - 12/20/11 05:12 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
Tararex, like you, I would have thought that teachers would interpret this as a student practicing due diligence. I also know for a fact that my current teacher (a professor of piano at a big state university here) would agree with me (he pretty much made sure that I didn't feel compelled to study with him just because he agreed to teach me). So don't let certain opinions on this forum keep you from being frank with the teachers that you plan to interview. I favor the transparency route over anything else almost all the time and it has worked well for me so far. I hope it does for you too if you do decide to go that route. I was completely frank with my previous teacher when I decided to leave her and go to this new teacher. The reasons had to do with frequency of lessons that were possible with her and she was completely understanding. We are still in touch by email (I even entered a masterclass on her recommendation AFTER I had left her for a new teacher). So being honest has worked really well for me!
_________________________
Current:
Beethoven: Sonata Op.31, No.2 ("Tempest")
Debussy: Danseuses de Delphes (Prelude 1, Book 1)
Next in line:
Chopin: Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op.23
Debussy: Le vent dans la plaine (Prelude 3, Book 1)
Debussy: Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir (Prelude 4, Book 1)

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#1809451 - 12/20/11 05:25 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: keystring]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4750
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: keystring
Tararex, finding a teacher is a side issue.

Exactly. As I have said many times before, getting that near-perfect "fit" between student and teacher is VERY difficult. I would want any student of mine to feel comfortable with me both as a human being and a teacher. If a student of mine does not feel I am the best teacher s/he can find, at the moment, then there is a poor fit. And if that changes in the future, I have no right to feel injured, cheated, slighted, insulted, etc.
Originally Posted By: keystring

The main topic in this thread involves teachers "stealing" students from other teachers.

Exactly.
Originally Posted By: keystring

I rather like the advice of looking for self-improvement rather than complaining about students, and would reverse it as a student to include self-improvement rather than complaining about teachers.

Wise words. smile
Originally Posted By: keystring

Have you actually slogged through those 171 posts? It's a miserable trip and those of us who went through it are not all too thrilled to see it resurrected.

Not only is it a miserable "trip", it is also an endless round-and-round debate with nothing agreed upon...
_________________________
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#1809460 - 12/20/11 05:34 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
BeccaBb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/11
Posts: 905
Loc: Thunder Bay, On Canada
I have, insanely, read every single post in this thread. It was very informative. I liked that I got both sides to the issues of stealing or not stealing a student, governing bodies of piano teachers, different attitudes and approaches from teachers and to interview or not to interview and whether or not to tell a teacher that is what students are doing. That's quite the list!

It's actually given me a very good idea of what type of teacher I would be looking for and what to look for. I do prefer to read the more informative posts versus the finger pointing ones or grand exclamations of whatever point of view. To each their own I guess.
_________________________
Becca
Began: 01-12-11


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#1809502 - 12/20/11 06:29 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Gary D.]
Tararex Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/27/11
Posts: 408
Loc: Middle Georgia, USA
There is always more than one level of interaction in any conversation.

Stealing a student may have been the overt opening topic but it wasn't the underlying reason for the original post. The OP provided an emotionally driven response to a situation that was not parsed using reason. As such, the various responses to the OP are extremely valuable in that they likely reflect thoughts from a similar emotional level. Humans tend to respond in emotional kind.

Yes, I read through the entire thread. After 30+ years experience in IT research including 15 deconstructing engineering papers to develop educational systems this sort of review barely registers as more than a trivial skim. Just because one person doesn't find bungee jumping fun doesn't mean all bungee cords must be cut to prevent use by others!
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#1809509 - 12/20/11 06:39 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: liszt85]
Tararex Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/27/11
Posts: 408
Loc: Middle Georgia, USA
Originally Posted By: liszt85
Tararex, like you, I would have thought that teachers would interpret this as a student practicing due diligence. I also know for a fact that my current teacher (a professor of piano at a big state university here) would agree with me (he pretty much made sure that I didn't feel compelled to study with him just because he agreed to teach me). So don't let certain opinions on this forum keep you from being frank with the teachers that you plan to interview. I favor the transparency route over anything else almost all the time and it has worked well for me so far. I hope it does for you too if you do decide to go that route. I was completely frank with my previous teacher when I decided to leave her and go to this new teacher. The reasons had to do with frequency of lessons that were possible with her and she was completely understanding. We are still in touch by email (I even entered a masterclass on her recommendation AFTER I had left her for a new teacher). So being honest has worked really well for me!


Liszt85, that's good to know. I will be open in interviews, but also now realize there is an underlying "maestro" psychology that could occasionally rear up without warning.

(Note to those identifying as "maestros", I'm not judging this point of view as positive or negative.)
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#1809533 - 12/20/11 07:24 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
Tararex, I would very much welcome the "maestro" psychology to show up if it is present because I would certainly not study with someone who's got the maestro complex and believes in unequal rights. I certainly view it as a negative. This is subjective though because I just don't work well with that type. Some others might work well with this group of people, I don't know.
_________________________
Current:
Beethoven: Sonata Op.31, No.2 ("Tempest")
Debussy: Danseuses de Delphes (Prelude 1, Book 1)
Next in line:
Chopin: Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op.23
Debussy: Le vent dans la plaine (Prelude 3, Book 1)
Debussy: Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir (Prelude 4, Book 1)

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#1809543 - 12/20/11 07:50 PM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: liszt85]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11587
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: liszt85
Tararex, like you, I would have thought that teachers would interpret this as a student practicing due diligence.

Which almost every single teacher has.

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#1809739 - 12/21/11 01:16 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: liszt85]
Tararex Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/27/11
Posts: 408
Loc: Middle Georgia, USA
Originally Posted By: liszt85
Tararex, I would very much welcome the "maestro" psychology to show up if it is present because I would certainly not study with someone who's got the maestro complex and believes in unequal rights. I certainly view it as a negative. This is subjective though because I just don't work well with that type. Some others might work well with this group of people, I don't know.


Exactly. We're all different. I wouldn't have a problem working with that sort of personality. In addition to an expected level of expertise my main concern is finding a teacher I won't eventually make cry. This thread has added perspective and proper approach guidance for interviewing the various piano-teaching types.
_________________________

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#1809745 - 12/21/11 01:24 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Tararex]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
Originally Posted By: Tararex
my main concern is finding a teacher I won't eventually make cry.


Hahahaha! smile I don't think a student has ever made me cry (out of frustration). Pull out some of my hair, maybe . . .
_________________________
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

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#1809790 - 12/21/11 04:09 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Gary D.]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5423
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
As I have said many times before, getting that near-perfect "fit" between student and teacher is VERY difficult. I would want any student of mine to feel comfortable with me both as a human being and a teacher. If a student of mine does not feel I am the best teacher s/he can find, at the moment, then there is a poor fit. And if that changes in the future, I have no right to feel injured, cheated, slighted, insulted, etc.


I think part of problem is that teachers are probably better equipped than beginners or parents of beginners to form a decision, simply because the teacher has more experience in dealing with this, and most beginners are doing this for the first time.

Another problem is that some teachers may feel "cheated" by being evaluated after one interview-lesson. Without an extended trial period, the teacher won't get a good feel for the student, and the student won't get a good feel for the teacher.

When I was teaching at the school district, I was evaluated formally three times a year and informally throughout the year at random times. Unless the teacher is totally inept (non-tenured teachers can be fired at any time without cause), it takes an entire year to evaluate one teacher. Now, that's an extended trial period we don't ever get with piano students.
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Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1809847 - 12/21/11 09:20 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: AZNpiano]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11587
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
[quote=Gary D.]
I think part of problem is that teachers are probably better equipped than beginners or parents of beginners to form a decision, simply because the teacher has more experience in dealing with this, and most beginners are doing this for the first time.


That does not help with the problem of a parent or older beginner needing to choose a teacher.

I see no other way than to start of by becoming informed and, while becoming informed, getting a first idea of goals. By goals I don't mean favorite pieces, but things like acquiring skills at the piano. For example, because of what I know, if I were to start piano for the first time with a new teacher I'd want:

- technical instruction on how to play, like how to sit, use my body efficiently at the piano
- learn to read music
- gradually get understanding of music so that eventually I can develop a piece on my own and turn it into music

If a teacher promised to advance me or my child umpteen grades in one year, play impressive sounding pieces, and not be concerned about reading at all, I might be impressed at this fast advancing and grandiose music. My ego might be flattered. But if I know something I would have another view. Likewise if kids are playing impressively at a recital, but it is their one and only piece and they can't read, then that's a minus. We don't need to have taken lessons for an entire year to see this. In fact, you don't want to take lessons for an entire year and then have you or your child become the dread transfer student.

There is a danger of going overboard. We can go into it with a list of rules of "what they say at PianoWorld", and if a teacher doesn't do the same thing then he must be wrong. If your particular child happens to sit naturally at the piano and is forming a decent hand in the teacher's eyes, then maybe what a competent new teacher sees shouldn't be interfered with. Then you don't go "Gasp! He didn't talk about posture at the piano!"

I think that what a teacher does at an interview or first sample lesson can tell you a lot. Whether you or your child feel comfortable with this person may also be a factor. If there is a poorly maintained piano, no means of adjusting the stool to a proper height - that tells important things.

My contention is that if you go to an interview or first lesson informed, then it will be more than seeing if this teacher seems nice. I've never quite gotten the "good fit" idea. Teachers are not socks. It has to do with their teaching and what needs to be learned.

And if we're informed maybe teachers will be under less pressure to compete under such things as being the fastest to "advance" students up the grades and win loads of competitions at the expense of other things.

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#1809874 - 12/21/11 10:27 AM Re: Polish teacher stealing my student - UPDATE [Re: Dark Dragon]
childofparadise2002 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/04
Posts: 540
The best anyone can do is to make “the best decision under the circumstances”, with “circumstances” in the case of choosing piano teachers being parents’ own background and what teachers are available. Parents of beginning piano students may not have much knowledge about piano study, they may not know how to identify a good teacher, but they need to choose a teacher nonetheless. Whatever criteria they CAN use, be it friendliness, convenience, promises that a teacher makes, would still be better than randomly choosing a name from a list. It is quite possible that they become more educated about piano study later and realize that the choice of the first teacher is not the right one. In that case they have every right to switch to a different teacher. Parents and students don’t need to be loyal to a teacher. Instead, parents, students and teachers should all be loyal to the student’s development.

(Interviewing multiple teachers does seem to be the standard advice that I have seen on websites and parenting books.)

Should parents tell teachers that they are interviewing more than one teacher? I think it’s a rather personal decision. Some parents think it’s good not to keep teachers in the dark, others don’t think it’s the teacher’s business. Some teachers want to know about this because they want to know what to expect; others would rather not know that they are being compared with others. I don’t think there is right or wrong in this. But it is important to find “the right match”. If the parent thinks it is important to keep the teacher “in the loop” but the teacher thinks it is offensive, then it probably means that a working relationship between these two parties will be hard to come by anyways, and it might be better that the parent picks a different teacher.

I completely agree with Gary D.’s comments. Parents have the right to choose; teachers also have the right to choose. There are so many teachers and so many piano students out there, hopefully everyone will find a good match!

As for “stealing” students. As long as “the other teacher” does not actively solicit other teachers’ students, then it will simply be “teacher switching”. Parents do have the right to do so.

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