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#1611431 - 02/02/11 07:42 PM Leaving teacher
again Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/22/08
Posts: 6
Loc: St. Paul, MN
After two years with my current teacher I have decided to go with another. Change is good I believe and I needed it.
Any advice as the best way to tell her I am moving on?
Thanks
Again

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#1611448 - 02/02/11 07:58 PM Re: Leaving teacher [Re: again]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10774
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Do it in person if you can, it will mean a lot to her. Be honest, don't say things like, "Money is tight" or "I'm too busy for lessons right now" if that is not the truth. It will hurt her more to find out later you're taking lessons from someone else in spite of those excuses. Keep it short but simple, and be sure to thank her for the things you really appreciate.

Also, be sure to check out her policy on stopping lessons. Many teachers require 30 days notice and it would be good to observe that.
_________________________
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#1611454 - 02/02/11 08:07 PM Re: Leaving teacher [Re: Morodiene]
again Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/22/08
Posts: 6
Loc: St. Paul, MN
Thanks for reply but the reason I'm leaving is that I found another teacher. Should I tell her that?

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#1611462 - 02/02/11 08:16 PM Re: Leaving teacher [Re: again]
bitWrangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 1785
Loc: Central TX
Originally Posted By: again
Thanks for reply but the reason I'm leaving is that I found another teacher. Should I tell her that?


Personally I think it's best to be straight up. Students leaving teachers for other teachers is a normal event. If you try to hide the truth, you risk them finding out anyway and really spoiling the relationship (leave me it's business, lie to me it's personal). Just be prepared to answer the question "why are you going"? Be as up front as possible, esp if it could be useful critique for the teacher (not easy to do if it involves perceived short comings). Like I said, "as possible", such things can often be difficult to maneuver, just be prepared, even if it's just a matter of "it's time to move on". And be sure to thank them for helping you to progress to the point that you are currently at.

Good luck.

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#1611463 - 02/02/11 08:21 PM Re: Leaving teacher [Re: again]
Exalted Wombat Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1183
Loc: London UK
What a strange question! Were you considering not telling her straight away (so she could fill your space) or telling lies? Just tell her! It's OK, you're not married.

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#1611472 - 02/02/11 08:26 PM Re: Leaving teacher [Re: bitWrangler]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158
Originally Posted By: bitWrangler
Originally Posted By: again
Thanks for reply but the reason I'm leaving is that I found another teacher. Should I tell her that?


Personally I think it's best to be straight up. Students leaving teachers for other teachers is a normal event. If you try to hide the truth, you risk them finding out anyway and really spoiling the relationship (leave me it's business, lie to me it's personal). Just be prepared to answer the question "why are you going"? Be as up front as possible, esp if it could be useful critique for the teacher (not easy to do if it involves perceived short comings). Like I said, "as possible", such things can often be difficult to maneuver, just be prepared, even if it's just a matter of "it's time to move on". And be sure to thank them for helping you to progress to the point that you are currently at.

Good luck.


Excellent post.
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#1611478 - 02/02/11 08:40 PM Re: Leaving teacher [Re: Exalted Wombat]
again Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/22/08
Posts: 6
Loc: St. Paul, MN
This is the first time I ever left a teacher for another. I've left teachers before because of time and money issues hence the question.

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#1611479 - 02/02/11 08:40 PM Re: Leaving teacher [Re: again]
Diane... Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/16/06
Posts: 3344
Loc: Western Canada
Originally Posted By: again
After two years with my current teacher I have decided to go with another. Change is good I believe and I needed it.
Any advice as the best way to tell her I am moving on?
Thanks
Again


Well, it's a relationship (teacher/student) and I don't think an explanation is in order! As a student, you are the paying customer, and if you change grocery stores, you don't have to write a letter to one explaining your change! I have moved on from one teacher to another, and just said to the first teacher that I needed a rest from piano! They don't need to know all the things I see wrong with their teaching! If I feel a change is in order, then I think it through, and move to another teacher! If the teacher finds out, then maybe that piano teacher needs to evaluate themselves more carefully!

It would be the same when someone is dating! A break up is never going to be easy, and sitting in front of a crying person and telling all the things wrong with them is hardly a good thing to do!

In my opinion!
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Diane
Jazz/Blues/Rock/Boogie Piano Teacher


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#1611513 - 02/02/11 09:41 PM Re: Leaving teacher [Re: Diane...]
ando Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3340
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: Diane...
[quote=again]After two years with my current teacher I have decided to go with another. Change is good I believe and I needed it.
Any advice as the best way to tell her I am moving on?
Thanks
Again


Well, it's a relationship (teacher/student) and I don't think an explanation is in order! As a student, you are the paying customer, and if you change grocery stores, you don't have to write a letter to one explaining your change! I have moved on from one teacher to another, and just said to the first teacher that I needed a rest from piano! They don't need to know all the things I see wrong with their teaching! If I feel a change is in order, then I think it through, and move to another teacher! If the teacher finds out, then maybe that piano teacher needs to evaluate themselves more carefully!
Quote:

It would be the same when someone is dating! A break up is never going to be easy, and sitting in front of a crying person and telling all the things wrong with them is hardly a good thing to do!


Is that the way you would handle the break up of a relationship? I tend to think that a gentle explanation is in order. Even if you dumb it down a bit, it's just basic respect and acknowledgement of another's feelings to offer some kind of explanation for why you are moving on. If somebody left you, you would like to have some idea why, rather than scratching your head wondering what happened. It doesn't have to be all nasty and accusatory. Just a basic, gentle as possible, yet honest as possible, explanation. We all owe that to each other because if we don't do that, we don't learn and grow.

All of that applies to a student/teacher relationship too.

PS- When did people become so cowardly? Most people do the difficult things by text-message or email these days. Can't stand that.

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#1611549 - 02/02/11 10:50 PM Re: Leaving teacher [Re: Diane...]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5834
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: Diane...
I have moved on from one teacher to another, and just said to the first teacher that I needed a rest from piano! They don't need to know all the things I see wrong with their teaching!
I agree that you don't need to tell them every little thing you don't like about their teaching. But if there was one particular thing you were unhappy with, it would have been sensible to have talked it over with the teacher at some stage, which would have given him/her a chance to address the problem.

As for the "I need a rest from piano" when you're heading straight off to another teacher, I think I'd say "I need a change, maybe a different approach" rather than telling an outright lie.
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#1611570 - 02/02/11 11:22 PM Re: Leaving teacher [Re: again]
MsAdrienne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/06
Posts: 283
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
This is just food for thought, as it relates to leaving a teacher.

<$.02> I once had a student's mom tell me the dad insisted the daughter drop piano to focus on school and another instrument she studies. They tried to talk him into letting her continue, blah blah blah . . . She told me this in front of the daughter.

A year later, I found out they transferred to a colleague (who I didn't know at the time), and basically never missed a lesson -- one week here for a last lesson, next lesson with new teacher (had given me 30-days notice just after meeting with the other teacher). Had I known anything was up, I could have or would have adjusted if it was within my control. Now it's just . . . awkward. I tell myself she might have been allergic to my cats. But the lie, especially blaming poor ol' Dad . . . FWIW I think it's best to stick with the truth (but kindly of course). What goes around comes around, you know?

We teachers tend to look back and question what we did "wrong" in these situations, even over-analyze. </$.02>
_________________________
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#1611598 - 02/03/11 12:32 AM Re: Leaving teacher [Re: currawong]
Diane... Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/16/06
Posts: 3344
Loc: Western Canada
Originally Posted By: currawong
Originally Posted By: Diane...
I have moved on from one teacher to another, and just said to the first teacher that I needed a rest from piano! They don't need to know all the things I see wrong with their teaching!
I agree that you don't need to tell them every little thing you don't like about their teaching. But if there was one particular thing you were unhappy with, it would have been sensible to have talked it over with the teacher at some stage, which would have given him/her a chance to address the problem.

As for the "I need a rest from piano" when you're heading straight off to another teacher, I think I'd say "I need a change, maybe a different approach" rather than telling an outright lie.


Well, I can see why from my statement that it would look like I lied, but the truth was that I needed a rest from her! I needed a "rest" from piano, WITH HER! And it wasn't just one thing, it was many things! So she didn't take me leaving well because she yelled at me that if I were to leave, she would never allow me to EVER come back! She later did call me on the phone and apologize for her nasty behaviour, but as I said, I thought about it long and hard before making such an important decision! Teachers can be crushed because of a student leaving, and just like in dating relationships, telling someone that your relationship is over by discussing more can bring out the best or worst in people! You never really know how someone is going to react and writing a essay on why you are leaving that piano teacher is not really going to make either of us feel good! Short and sweet conversation, then stage left! As a student, I'm not in the business of "fixing" the piano teachers!

So I was not lying! I needed a "rest" from piano . . . WITH HER!
_________________________
http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/goldsparkledress.jpg
Diane
Jazz/Blues/Rock/Boogie Piano Teacher


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#1611605 - 02/03/11 12:45 AM Re: Leaving teacher [Re: Diane...]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5834
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: Diane...
You never really know how someone is going to react and writing a essay on why you are leaving that piano teacher is not really going to make either of us feel good!
I agree that an essay is not necessary. smile
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#1611630 - 02/03/11 02:58 AM Re: Leaving teacher [Re: again]
casinitaly Offline

Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 4668
Loc: Italy
This is interesting - I would tell the teacher I was moving on , but I would be brief.
I while it is true that student's pay for a teacher's services, there is no doubt that it is a relationship and I really don't think you can compare it to shopping at a grocery store.

The store is an institution, the teacher is a person. Even if you think they aren't going to react well, they deserve the courtesy of the truth. "I want to move on, try a new approach".

What is interesting is that my teacher told me after six months that she fully expects me to move on to another teacher in a few years - she feels it is not a good idea to stick with the same teacher for a long time. I can't imagine wanting to study with someone else, but find it interesting that she was the one who brought it up.
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#1611927 - 02/03/11 01:48 PM Re: Leaving teacher [Re: casinitaly]
Lollipop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 820
Loc: Georgia
Originally Posted By: casinitaly
This is interesting - I would tell the teacher I was moving on , but I would be brief.
I while it is true that student's pay for a teacher's services, there is no doubt that it is a relationship and I really don't think you can compare it to shopping at a grocery store.

The store is an institution, the teacher is a person. Even if you think they aren't going to react well, they deserve the courtesy of the truth. "I want to move on, try a new approach".

What is interesting is that my teacher told me after six months that she fully expects me to move on to another teacher in a few years - she feels it is not a good idea to stick with the same teacher for a long time. I can't imagine wanting to study with someone else, but find it interesting that she was the one who brought it up.


I tell my students the same thing - that we will re-evaluate progress and goals regularly, and that there will come a time when I feel those goals can be better met with a different teacher. My own kids ended up switching music teachers regularly, mostly not by choice (us moving, the teacher moving, etc) but I learned to see the advantages of multiple teachers.

As far as leaving a teacher, I think a brief but true statement is the best. One that remains fairly generic, rather than personal. I would prefer one that says something like, "I'm going to be switching teachers, because I think I've found an approach that is going to fit me better." If applicable, feel free to be a tad more specific. When my son switched teachers, we told him that my son wanted to also study composition, and since we couldn't afford the time or money for two separate teachers, we were going to be looking for a teacher with experience teaching both. (We did not have a teacher already lined up. Took about 2 months to find what we were looking for, but she was worth the wait.)

I could also see explaining other non-personal issues - like wanting to work on a specific type of rep, or wanting to do more festival/competition/recital performances (why I switched teachers, way back when.)

I think you should steer clear of personal issues, such as personality, way studio is run, or whatever.
_________________________
piano teacher

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#1611996 - 02/03/11 03:08 PM Re: Leaving teacher [Re: Diane...]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10774
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Diane...
Originally Posted By: currawong
Originally Posted By: Diane...
I have moved on from one teacher to another, and just said to the first teacher that I needed a rest from piano! They don't need to know all the things I see wrong with their teaching!
I agree that you don't need to tell them every little thing you don't like about their teaching. But if there was one particular thing you were unhappy with, it would have been sensible to have talked it over with the teacher at some stage, which would have given him/her a chance to address the problem.

As for the "I need a rest from piano" when you're heading straight off to another teacher, I think I'd say "I need a change, maybe a different approach" rather than telling an outright lie.


Well, I can see why from my statement that it would look like I lied, but the truth was that I needed a rest from her! I needed a "rest" from piano, WITH HER! And it wasn't just one thing, it was many things! So she didn't take me leaving well because she yelled at me that if I were to leave, she would never allow me to EVER come back! She later did call me on the phone and apologize for her nasty behaviour, but as I said, I thought about it long and hard before making such an important decision! Teachers can be crushed because of a student leaving, and just like in dating relationships, telling someone that your relationship is over by discussing more can bring out the best or worst in people! You never really know how someone is going to react and writing a essay on why you are leaving that piano teacher is not really going to make either of us feel good! Short and sweet conversation, then stage left! As a student, I'm not in the business of "fixing" the piano teachers!

So I was not lying! I needed a "rest" from piano . . . WITH HER!


I have always appreciated when a student or parent tells me that they have decided to quit. When they do so, I listen to their reasons. I remind them of my policy (in case they seem to not remember) and in some cases, I try to use the last lessons to help them prepare for their new teacher, or their time away from lessons, or whatever. If there is an issue that is raised that is something that I can fix, then we discuss it....if the first time I hear a complaint about something is when they tell me they're quitting, that is not entirely fair, and so I let them know if it is fixable or not.

At any rate, I have never gotten angry at someone for telling me their reasons. I appreciate them because they allow us to both clear the air and end things on a positive note if that is the outcome. Otherwise, it results in problem-solving, which is a win-win.

It sounds, Diane, as though your teacher was abusive/manipulative. I don't know her of course, but from her reaction, I would never ever think to say that. In fact, I always say, "Well, if you change your mind, please do not hesitate to contact me." Often when a student leaves, it was something that I anticipated after many attempts at resolving the issue. And often, I agree it's best for them to move on. Speaking about it openly like adults shows how being honest and straight forward isn't a bad thing.
_________________________
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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#1612788 - 02/04/11 05:49 PM Re: Leaving teacher [Re: again]
Akira Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/27/07
Posts: 1645
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
My suggestion would be to list down ALL of the reasons you are leaving on a piece of paper (other teacher closer, cheaper, better piano, current teacher impatient, too expensive, too far, gets on my nerves, etc).

Then pick the ones that are the least personal. In the non-sugar-coated version, the teacher is essentially being fired. I think it is just basic courtesy to give them a reason why you are leaving. They are no doubt wondering why.

Try to keep it brief and do not belabor the subject. If the teacher presses you to elaborate, its up to you whether you wish to do so.

Remember everyone is human and will react differently. Some may willingly accept your reason for leaving as being reasonable and plausible, while others may break down into tears (or somewhere inbetween) and may take it very personally (which is the reason I suggested using the most delicate non-personal reason for leaving).

My suggestion is the most respectful (for the both of you) way I can think of severing the relationship.

Good luck on whatever you decide.

---------

As a side note, I am a very big fan of open and honest communication with my teacher. If there is something he is doing that is making me angry or frustrated, I'm pretty straightforward about letting him know. This way, I minimize the risk of small problems turning into big ones, big enough to leave him over. I have a lot invested with him and 'don't' want to start all over again with a new teacher. I would encourage teachers to create an environment which fosters open communication. It just may save you from unncessarily losing a student one day.

My two cents. smile

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#1612919 - 02/04/11 10:30 PM Re: Leaving teacher [Re: currawong]
Andromaque Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 3885
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: currawong
I agree that an essay is not necessary. smile


smile

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#1613533 - 02/05/11 09:26 PM Re: Leaving teacher [Re: again]
Ken Knapp Online   content



Registered: 04/18/06
Posts: 2129
Loc: Pennsylvania
Long story short...

Topic took a twist with a PM being posted that should have been left private. Entire topic turned to criticism and defense of what was said. All those posts are removed so we can concentrate on the question.

To those who approve, thanks. To those who don't, sorry.. laugh
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Piano Organ Depot
http://www.pianoorgandepot.com
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#1613549 - 02/05/11 09:50 PM Re: Leaving teacher [Re: Ken Knapp]
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
Originally Posted By: Ken Knapp
Long story short...

Topic took a twist with a PM being posted that should have been left private. Entire topic turned to criticism and defense of what was said. All those posts are removed so we can concentrate on the question.

To those who approve, thanks. To those who don't, sorry.. laugh


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#1613595 - 02/05/11 11:12 PM Re: Leaving teacher [Re: again]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
Thanks for stepping in, Ken.
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