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#1578229 - 12/16/10 07:15 PM Re: Very strict policy? [Re: Ben Crosland]
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
Originally Posted By: Ben Crosland
Originally Posted By: liszt85


Your contract says "the remainder of the fees is due if the student withdraws for ANY reason". That's too vague for me. What if I relocate? No lessons made up even if I'm sick and cannot make it to the lessons?


Actually, it's fairly standard for music teachers not to guarantee make up lessons for when the student is sick. It may seem harsh, but most illness comes on fairly suddenly, and there is often very little notice given, hence little chance to fill the slot.

Similarly, when we signed our children up for pre-school, we didn't get any refunds or make-up days when they were ill and had to miss a day, or even a week - funnily enough, we didn't presume to even ask, and neither did any of the other parents wink


Fair enough. How about when you have to relocate (lets say the parent lost a job, and had to move to a different place to work a new job)? I'm sure the pre-school didn't ask for the entire year's fees. I'm sure they just ask for what's owed to them currently or am I mistaken? It just seems very unfair to me.

How about if the family wants to go on vacation for a month and they give the piano teacher 3 months' notice? Is it justified to still demand payment for that month?
_________________________
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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#1578250 - 12/16/10 07:32 PM Re: Very strict policy? [Re: Smallpiano]
Ben Crosland Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/10
Posts: 419
Loc: Worcester, UK
Oh, I agree that the idea of signing up for a year with no get out clause is borderline ridiculous. I find it somewhat amusing that my contract took quite a lot of stick when I posted it on here, yet we only ask for a term at a time, and require 7 lessons notice to quit.

If a student gives me plenty of notice of absence, say for a mid-term holiday, then I'll try and sort out some alternative slots for them before the end of the term - this isn't something I can guarantee, however.
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#1578264 - 12/16/10 07:45 PM Re: Very strict policy? [Re: liszt85]
Ben Crosland Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/10
Posts: 419
Loc: Worcester, UK
Originally Posted By: liszt85


How about if the family wants to go on vacation for a month and they give the piano teacher 3 months' notice? Is it justified to still demand payment for that month?


Depends on how the fees are worked out regarding holidays - nobody can reasonably expect their students to come for 52 lessons a year, so there should be allowances made for seasonal breaks. However, it isn't fair to expect a teacher to reserve your time slot if you're not prepared to pay for it, so if you're talking about a long break out of season, then you shouldn't expect the fees to be waived.
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#1578269 - 12/16/10 07:48 PM Re: Very strict policy? [Re: bitWrangler]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2893
Loc: UK.
Originally Posted By: bitWrangler
Personally there'd be no way on earth I'd sign it. Your teacher ends up being a flake, oops, too bad, the contract says "any reason". Lose your job, too bad. Little Johnny/Janie hates piano, too bad. As a rule, I never sign contracts like this that bind you into a term and creates a situation where you still owe them funds even if services aren't rendered (no refunds for missed classes for _any_reason_, it doesn't say reasons that are your fault, but _any_reason_).


I can understand this point of view but at the end of the day it's really no different than things like gym membership. You can almost guarantee that some people will sign up and then drop out when the going gets tough so it's just a way of safeguarding income for the year.

It is a bit too formal for me because I like to offer a more personal service but to be honest I do often wonder why I bother. This week a parent (who has become a friend after I have taught her daughter for years) informed me that they will be on holiday for the first two weeks of January. She would like one lesson made up next week (during my holiday) and the other missed lesson deducted from her January lesson fees.

Unfortunately you either take a hard line or suck up the loss of income:(
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#1578286 - 12/16/10 08:07 PM Re: Very strict policy? [Re: Smallpiano]
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17770
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
A long time ago Betty P. started a thread (the infamous "can of worms" thread) in which she asked if she should institute a similar policy because she was tired of students dropping out of her studio. The prevailing sentiment in that thread was that such a policy would not be wise to implement unless one had a long waiting list and wanted to be more selective in enrolling students.

It could be a fine policy for a higher-level conservatory kind of place that attracts established piano students, I suppose, but if you are a teacher whose bread and butter is the beginning student, primarily in the 6-10 age range, I think asking for an iron-clad year-long commitment is a foolish move. I would not enroll my children in any activity with those terms.
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#1578298 - 12/16/10 08:17 PM Re: Very strict policy? [Re: Monica K.]
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
Originally Posted By: Monica K.

It could be a fine policy for a higher-level conservatory kind of place that attracts established piano students, I suppose, but if you are a teacher whose bread and butter is the beginning student, primarily in the 6-10 age range, I think asking for an iron-clad year-long commitment is a foolish move. I would not enroll my children in any activity with those terms.


+1. This is exactly what I meant. The teacher is free to choose his/her studio policy but don't expect a lot of people to sign up. If that's not a concern, go ahead by all means!
_________________________
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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#1578326 - 12/16/10 08:57 PM Re: Very strict policy? [Re: Smallpiano]
childofparadise2002 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/04
Posts: 542
Missed lessons are less of a concern here than the clause that if a student is to terminate piano study he/she still needs to pay for the whole year. The preschool example that Ben gave above is not a good analogy in that most preschools, if not all, do allow you to withdraw in the middle of the year if you give notice a month or two ahead. As Monica said, such policy will likely work in programs such as pre-college divisions at conservatories, but if this is just a music school for little kids, I would think there aren't many parents who are willing to make the commitment--unless the quality of the school is so high that people push and shove to get in...

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#1578344 - 12/16/10 09:26 PM Re: Very strict policy? [Re: Smallpiano]
GlassLove Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/10
Posts: 769
Loc: Michigan
As a university professor, I have hundreds of students sign up to take my classes every semester, and once they are there, (beyond some very short time period, my memory fails me but I believe it is 4 weeks), they are there, period. They can choose to no longer attend (and receive an F on their transcript because they don't do the work), or they can appeal to the dean of their college with extenuating circumstances and thereby be allowed to drop without an F (but they get no monetary refund, and trust me, this is a herculean effort).
Perhaps I am being grouchy (it is finals week and in the last few days I have heard every story in the book), but, piano is a serious commitment and you cannot expect a piano teacher to juggle her/his schedule about to accommodate a child's athletic schedule. Essentially this is equivalent to a student telling me that they have decided to take up an activity mid semester that will prevent them from attending my class (happens every semester....guess what?...they get an F and they don't get their money back). It would be unheard of for me to create a private tutoring time for them so that they might have access to the material I present in lecture. You have a standing appointment with your piano teacher and this appointment should be regarded as the most important when scheduling other appointments. If some other opportunity arises, why should your piano teacher be forced to maneuver their schedule to fit yours?

I am all for this contract, I think that the person who created it is very smart and quite honestly, if they are a good teacher with a fine reputation, they will have no difficulty finding eager, motivated, and serious students to sign it.
Why should I enjoy my salary regardless of who drops my class while an equally devoted and educated piano teacher cannot do the same?
_________________________
Christine











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#1578353 - 12/16/10 09:37 PM Re: Very strict policy? [Re: GlassLove]
bitWrangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 1787
Loc: Central TX
Originally Posted By: GlassLove
Why should I enjoy my salary regardless of who drops my class while an equally devoted and educated piano teacher cannot do the same?


Because not all piano teachers are as devoted, educated, or frankly good at teaching piano. The contract as stated gives the consumer no recourse financially. And I'd argue that the university/strip mall music school comparison doesn't fit here.

Originally Posted By: GlassLove
... I think that the person who created it is very smart and quite honestly, if they are a good teacher with a fine reputation, they will have no difficulty finding eager, motivated, and serious students to sign it.


When all is said and done, this is pretty much the bottom line.

The OP asked for opinions and they've certainly received a few, both for and against. They will have to now take that into account, look at themselves, their studio, and their targeted clientele, and decide if such a clause is something that will likely work for them.

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#1578463 - 12/17/10 01:13 AM Re: Very strict policy? [Re: GlassLove]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11648
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: GlassLove
As a university professor, I have hundreds of students sign up to take my classes every semester, and once they are there, (beyond some very short time period, my memory fails me but I believe it is 4 weeks), they are there, period.......
I am all for this contract,

Your semesters last 12 months?

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#1578480 - 12/17/10 01:53 AM Re: Very strict policy? [Re: Smallpiano]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
No, but neither does this policy. It's September-June.
_________________________
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

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#1578492 - 12/17/10 02:19 AM Re: Very strict policy? [Re: Smallpiano]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1482
The contract is strict in a way to shy uncommited people from coming and out from the school.

If I know that I won't be able to commit my time, I would not want to go to this school, because it is a legal contract. I have to pay.

This school may have more demand than they can handle, therefore, they can be strict.

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