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#1639562 - 03/12/11 12:48 PM Re: "Leave of Absence" Policy? [Re: liszt85]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7417
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: liszt85
Finally, somebody who understands statistics (though there are points in your argument that might oppose both sides of the argument at hand here ;)). I believe you would agree with me though when I say that people who have absolutely no trouble signing up for piano lessons that involve committing to annual tuition with early termination clauses that involve at least a couple of hundred bucks are not people who struggle to make ends meet as John seems to claim his clients do.

Liszt, you constantly put words in other people's mouths. Please stop it. You claimed I said $50k was poverty. I did not and I've already corrected you once on this. Please don't say it again. I also said many families are "struggling to make ends meet" which can happen to people at many income levels, especially if they over-commit. Do you have any idea what expenses face a family with three children, one in college, trying to pay a mortgage on a modest home, replacing a car, etc.? I suspect you don't.
_________________________
"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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#1639567 - 03/12/11 12:58 PM Re: "Leave of Absence" Policy? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
Maybe I don't. I'm only objecting to the following:

Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Originally Posted By: liszt85
Do you have students who come from non-military families and are not rich? What proportion of your total number of students would you estimate that to be?

100%. None of them are rich in any real sense of the word; a few are upper middle class. Most are in the struggling to make ends meet every month. And I assure you, the military families are far, far, far from rich. Quite a few families are splitting tuition between parents and grand-parents. It's really a matter of priorities for each family. Do they spend their available resources on their children's education or on entertainment or on goodies for themselves?


You don't seem to consider 100K any significant amount of money. Assumptions about 3 kids, college, mortgage and everything is exactly that, just assumptions. Anyway, this is a pointless argument. I know what I think is right (if I were in your position) and I'm pretty sure you know what's right for you and your clients, so be 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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#1639586 - 03/12/11 01:34 PM Re: "Leave of Absence" Policy? [Re: liszt85]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7417
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
They are not assumptions. I am well aware of what's happening with my piano families. We talk. Several have older siblings in college. Most families with children have mortgages. People do need transportation, etc.

What I object to first and foremost is your obvious ignorance of economics, especially family economics. An $100k income might seem rich to a bachelor living in tent city, but it's not reality. Do you have any idea what the tax load is for such a family? How about their monthly utilities? What about their mortgage? Their food budget? Clothing for the children? School expenses? Transportation expenses? Insurance, not just auto but life and medical? Savings for retirement? Savings for a rainy day? How about charitable contributions?

You might want to read this for some insights on the subject.
_________________________
"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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#1639590 - 03/12/11 01:39 PM Re: "Leave of Absence" Policy? [Re: sonataplayer]
Stanny Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 1461
A couple of pages back:
Originally Posted By: liszt85
Since people seem to be confused about what I agree with and disagree with, I guess there is no point in continuing this discussion.


A few posts later:
Originally Posted By: liszt85
Its easy to say that when most people taking part in the discussion are piano teachers. Anyway, I'm outta here. I can't stand inconsistencies.


_________________________
~Stanny~

Independent Music Teacher
Certified Piano Teacher, American College of Musicians
Member: MTNA, NGPT, ASMTA, NAMTA

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#1639621 - 03/12/11 02:18 PM Re: "Leave of Absence" Policy? [Re: sonataplayer]
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
Thanks keystring for a sensible post. Its that last part I was alluding to.. some of these people might want to knock at John's doors with all the right intentions but it seems to me like his doors are closed to this particular group of people. He's denied it but I really think its got to do with the fact that he probably teaches in an affluent area with some military people living nearby like you suggested. I'm thankful for all the Economics lessons that some teachers on this forum have been giving me in this thread. However, we don't need Economics lessons here to understand that some sweeping statements that you guys make are unfair: "They prioritize music lessons and so they have no problem with my policy". I prioritize my music too but I would never sign on your policy. So are you implying that I'm not really prioritizing my music? It seems as though you (and some of your fellow teachers here) are and I don't appreciate that. I'm not putting words in your mouth, its just how your statements come across.
_________________________
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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#1639625 - 03/12/11 02:30 PM Re: "Leave of Absence" Policy? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
They are not assumptions. I am well aware of what's happening with my piano families. We talk. Several have older siblings in college. Most families with children have mortgages. People do need transportation, etc.

What I object to first and foremost is your obvious ignorance of economics, especially family economics. An $100k income might seem rich to a bachelor living in tent city, but it's not reality. Do you have any idea what the tax load is for such a family? How about their monthly utilities? What about their mortgage? Their food budget? Clothing for the children? School expenses? Transportation expenses? Insurance, not just auto but life and medical? Savings for retirement? Savings for a rainy day? How about charitable contributions?

You might want to read this for some insights on the subject.


Like I said, I appreciate your lessons on Economics. I'm not a bachelor living in a tent city. You seem to make assumption after assumption after requesting me not to put words in your mouth. I'm married. My wife is on a dependent visa that doesn't let her work. She has insurance through my university that I pay for. We don't have any life insurance. We just recently bought a 10 year old used car. I get $1400 a month after taxes (so that brings down my annual earning to $16800). After rent, utilities, car insurance, groceries, etc we barely have $100 left. I spend $70 of that on my monthly one hour lesson. So if I express a reservation when asked to sign on a policy such as yours that states that I have to shell out another $200 to get out of your lessons in the event of an emergency (even the slightest one would render me incapable of paying that $70), and if you were to categorize that as an "unwillingness to prioritize music lessons with you" based on whatever limited experience you have with a limited geographical and socio-economic area that your business operates in, that's just ignorance speaking. I wanted to point that out to you. Trust me, there's a huge population out there that's in a similar situation and I'm sure there are talented piano students who would like to have the opportunity to study with good teachers as well. If all of you teachers decide that these policies are fair and absolutely necessary for you to have a steady income (which I don't really believe, blame that on my lack of knowledge of Economics), that again is nothing but personal choice based on personal goals. It has nothing to do with general "facts" that you seem to believe in. You can justify it all you want using examples of phone contracts and what not. I will not be convinced by any of that.
_________________________
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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#1639628 - 03/12/11 02:32 PM Re: "Leave of Absence" Policy? [Re: sonataplayer]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11851
Loc: Canada
Sorry, Liszt85, I deleted it. I try not to post when upset because it's hard to know if the post is rational.

My general impression is that people are writing from their local personal perspective, and forgetting that this is a broad international forum, and their statements will be seen that way. And then there is a problem of people getting their back up, and writing accordingly.

A lot of things written here may be true locally for a small group of people, but otherwise it makes you wonder whether we all live on the same planet. I have had an intriguing image for the last couple of days, and not only about this thread. You've got this huge expanse of land stretching for thousands of miles. There these little dots far away from each other: each one is a person. They're all looking into these narrow holes directly before their feet and saying "This is what the world is." Hardly anyone sees how wide and varied it actually is. Assumptions, tunnel vision, distorted understanding. It's sort of too bad. I think I'm out of here.

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#1639632 - 03/12/11 02:37 PM Re: "Leave of Absence" Policy? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11851
Loc: Canada
Going back to some original premises, and hopefully more practical.

There was the idea of committing to a new teacher for an entire year, with punitive measures if that is broken. Teaching is unregulated, and it may be impossible to regulate since it is such a mix of knowledge, skill, and an extra something that is part instinct, part creative, which can't be measured (for both music and teaching). There are a lot of people teaching who shouldn't be. Some are neglectful, some don't know enough - either a student won't get the tools, or the student can actually be harmed. Signing up with any teacher is risky. It is foolish to commit to any teacher right off the bat. If you know about yourself that you are a solid good teacher, then you will know (assume) that you don't pose such a risk. But you have to be aware that this forum is for all students approaching all teachers in the whole world. This idea is not practical. It is unwise. In that perspective.

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#1639633 - 03/12/11 02:37 PM Re: "Leave of Absence" Policy? [Re: sonataplayer]
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
No problem keystring.. I didn't need back up. I'm glad to know though that there exists people here that have the opposing views as John and some other teachers here do. That hopefully will help them see other points of view as well. I certainly can understand where their comments come from. I understand that their policies work well for them. I understand that they enjoy having a steady income with strict policies to keep them going. I understand all of that. However, I do take exception to statements like the one I've quoted in my most recent post about how these guys think that people who can prioritize music lessons will sign on their policy or that everybody who signs their policies do because they prioritize music lessons.
_________________________
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)

Top
#1639635 - 03/12/11 02:44 PM Re: "Leave of Absence" Policy? [Re: liszt85]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7417
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
There you go again, putting words in people's mouths. I didn't say you were a bachelor living in a tent city. You made a leap.

However, by your own admission, you have no children (I primarily teach children - my adults have a completely different set of policies than students enrolled for the school year - and they pay more for the flexibility they receive) and it appears you're in the academic community, perhaps as a teaching assistant/grad student???

Did you bother to read the article? Do you get that in the USA, the economic middle class family income, roughly 1 standard deviation (67%) from the mean, is roughly from $40k to $200k?

My policies for children signing up for lessons are designed to keep parents committed, and to prevent me from holding the bag if they decide to quit before the school year is finished. You are an adult student, and none of the discussion on cancellations apply to you. Most likely, your teacher is providing lessons on an "if available" basis, which is why you're paying $70 each.
_________________________
"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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#1639641 - 03/12/11 02:49 PM Re: "Leave of Absence" Policy? [Re: sonataplayer]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11851
Loc: Canada
My hunch is that whatever may be stated publicly, that if such a teacher sees a genuine situation, that this teacher will respond accordingly in a suitable manner. I run a business myself, and did so badly for quite a few years since I was not demanding enough - in fact John's stance was something that helped me stop feeling "grateful" for getting paid for my work. You have to present yourself in a certain way so that people will take you seriously and not walk all over you. Because people will do so. But regardless of policy, I do respond to individuals.

The thing that bugs me in these forums are these quick statements about what the attitude of students is supposed to be. Since nobody is a mind reader, it would be good for the attempt not to be made - about anyone, whether student or teacher.

I would have also liked to see professional reasoning, rather than economic reasoning. A professional will recommend certain things because it gives results. A dentist wants to see you twice a year in order to prevent cavities. She doesn't say "I need the steady income that your regular attendance gives me." Continual lessons for at least a year is needed for any real progress to happen. Why not say that, and demonstrate professional interest in your student's growth, which is probably your priority in the first place? I bet that teachers and non-teachers would be on the same page immediately. This strife is needless.

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#1639645 - 03/12/11 02:51 PM Re: "Leave of Absence" Policy? [Re: sonataplayer]
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
John, like I said earlier (a quote from wiki probably by somebody well versed in Economics, more so than you or I), everybody wants to be in the middle class, and that has stretched the definition of the middle class to nonsensical limits. So its only natural that you would observe so much variability in income when you go probing the "middle class". Those statistics mean nothing.

Also, don't try to put down my argument based on my not having children or my belonging to any specific community. Keystring for example does seem to have kids, but they seem to have a similar view.. the ad hominem route or the appeal to authority route is never healthy for a discussion.
_________________________
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)

Top
#1639648 - 03/12/11 02:54 PM Re: "Leave of Absence" Policy? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
There you go again, putting words in people's mouths. I didn't say you were a bachelor living in a tent city. You made a leap.


Seriously, was that such an unimaginable leap for me to make? You were arguing against me, who at that time was about the only person here who seemed to have an opposing view, and you came up with that to open a post. Lets not feign so much innocence here John. I'm pretty sure you thought it was quite likely that I was a bachelor. There's no way I can prove it of course. So it will eventually be judged as me putting words in your mouth.
_________________________
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)

Top
#1639657 - 03/12/11 03:03 PM Re: "Leave of Absence" Policy? [Re: liszt85]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7417
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
There you go again, quoting out of context. In my original quote, I said: An $100k income might seem rich to a bachelor living in tent city. The implication should be clear - if you have no expenses/overhead, then $100K is a lot of disposable income.
_________________________
"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

Top
#1639661 - 03/12/11 03:06 PM Re: "Leave of Absence" Policy? [Re: keystring]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7417
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: keystring
Going back to some original premises, and hopefully more practical.

There was the idea of committing to a new teacher for an entire year, with punitive measures if that is broken. Teaching is unregulated, and it may be impossible to regulate since it is such a mix of knowledge, skill, and an extra something that is part instinct, part creative, which can't be measured (for both music and teaching). There are a lot of people teaching who shouldn't be. Some are neglectful, some don't know enough - either a student won't get the tools, or the student can actually be harmed. Signing up with any teacher is risky. It is foolish to commit to any teacher right off the bat. If you know about yourself that you are a solid good teacher, then you will know (assume) that you don't pose such a risk. But you have to be aware that this forum is for all students approaching all teachers in the whole world. This idea is not practical. It is unwise. In that perspective.

I really object to your use of the term "punitive" when discussing a cancellation fee. When you sign up for an activity, then back out part way through the program, you really cannot, in fairness, expect the other party to hold the bag because you changed your mind. Most contracts in this world have some kind of cancellation policy, which is clearly set forth at the beginning of the agreement. For example, you buy a house, you put down earnest money. If you back out, regardless of reason, you lose that money (yes, I know you can write exceptions into the earnest money contract).

If you, as a parent, want to check out a teacher, ask for a small set of trial lessons. I actually give parents a 30% discount on a 13 week trial package. This gives them a chance for a fair evaluation of not only me as a teacher, but to discover whether they really want piano lessons at all.

Another big problem: This is a teachers' forum and most teachers here teach school-aged children, not adults. If we teach adults, it's an extra, not a primary source of income. Generally, we have completely different parameters for adults, recognizing that they have inflexible schedules, at times, and other obligations they cannot avoid. Adults, who are most welcomed here, still need to keep in mind that as students, they represent a very small fraction of piano students. Perhaps 1% or less.

Better teachers, even if forced by economic circumstances, to teach out of home studios, are going to operate professionally and in a business-like manner. They are not going to accept a group of lookie-loos in September, only to see them fade away in March or April when Spring fever sets in and mom & dad are too busy to set priorities. This is just common sense.
_________________________
"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

Top
#1639664 - 03/12/11 03:15 PM Re: "Leave of Absence" Policy? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook

Did you bother to read the article? Do you get that in the USA, the economic middle class family income, roughly 1 standard deviation (67%) from the mean, is roughly from $40k to $200k?


I probably believe in numbers more than most people on this forum do. However, precisely because of that, I also know what numbers to believe with a grain of salt. The problem with standard statistics is that all of it relies on the assumption that the underlying distribution is normally distributed (if you don't understand this term, look up wiki. Its a bell shaped curve). Only then do you talk about means and standard deviations based on samples and only then do you talk about generalizing to the entire population.

In these studies, what was N (sample size)? What is the total population of North America? These are all important considerations. Since you seem to be bent on discussing statistics, I thought you could use a lesson on statistics just as you think I need lessons in Economics.

So sometimes when you see numbers, you need to understand what kind they belong to. There is the c = 299,792,458 m/s kind and then there is the "67% of the middle class family income lies in the range 40-200K" kind. You need to use common sense with the latter kind to put things in perspective whereas you need not use anything else to interpret the meaning of c. It speaks for itself. Statistics, unfortunately, cannot speak for itself. It needs interpretation and that's where common sense steps in.

You guessed right, I'm some kind of graduate assistant.. My Professor and his wife together earn about $200K a year. They send their kid to a school that charges $12-15K or so annually (tuition). That is almost equal to my annual income. Lets forget the comparison with me. Lets compare this with his postdoc who earns about $30-35K a year. So here's somebody earning $200K a year and sends his kid to a private school that charges $15K a year and here's this other person who earns $35K a year. Your statistics say that both of these people come under the same category: economic middle class.

So much for statistics. Statistics can be very useful... WHEN APPLIED SENSIBLY.

P.S: Btw, many grad students my age have kids. One of my friends has 3 kids. the oldest is 6. So would you still say that its lack of commitment/interest that would lead such a person to say no to your contract? So I'm not arguing for my own sake here. I might be an adult student, and you might have a different set of policies for adult students. Lets talk about this particular policy for kids.


Edited by liszt85 (03/12/11 03:20 PM)
_________________________
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)

Top
#1639684 - 03/12/11 03:45 PM Re: "Leave of Absence" Policy? [Re: keystring]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5593
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: keystring
A professional will recommend certain things because it gives results.

So, by this argument, would a teacher be "not professional" if his/her student continually play poorly at exams, stumble in the middle of recitals, and fail to win competitions?

I think "results" differ in the eyes of different clients. Some parents just want their kids to have fun at the piano. Some are more serious and want their kids to do tests. And there there are some parents who won't be pleased with second place at competitions.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1639687 - 03/12/11 03:47 PM Re: "Leave of Absence" Policy? [Re: liszt85]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7417
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
The study size was the population of the USA, as they used US Census data. Hope that helps.

Let's discuss having a cancellation fee for children who enroll in a year long study of piano.

Let's begin by using your institution's policies as a point of departure. I'm sure they are fair and just. So, what is their policy on course cancellation? How far into the term/semester does your institution give an 100% rebate? If it's like most I'm familiar with, you must pay 100% tuition up front, or if you elect delayed payments, you are still committed to 100% of tuition. Is that the way your university works? If you drop a course after 5 classes, with 10 classes remaining, do you get a 67% rebate?
_________________________
"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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#1639691 - 03/12/11 04:05 PM Re: "Leave of Absence" Policy? [Re: sonataplayer]
Smallpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/14/10
Posts: 270
Loc: California
I have an idea, this is just an idea, it has not been used by me yet.

Student sign up for piano lesson with commiting to the whole year of tuition. Signing up works like membership. As long that student is coming, they are paying lets say $100 per month.

After sign up for lesson, two situations will happen:
1. Termination of lesson when student dislike piano, move away, desire to transfer to a better teacher etc.
2. Taking some time off such as 2 to 5 weeks of vacation etc.

I am suggesting that if......
If student terminate before the school year end, they have to pay early termination fee of one month value.
If student desire to take only one month off with reserving the timeslot, they have to pay 30% of the monthly tuition.
If stident want to take only one month off without reserving the timeslot, they have to pay 15% of the monthly tuition.

Making sense? Is this sound fair to both parents and the teacher?
_________________________
English is my 4th languages, please excuse my grammar. Thanks

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#1639694 - 03/12/11 04:12 PM Re: "Leave of Absence" Policy? [Re: sonataplayer]
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
I have many different arguments against your misplaced analogy but I'm tired of arguing against these analogies with universities, phone plans, and what not. You want to use these analogies for your students who are children. When it comes to adults, you say you have different policies because you seemingly understand the need for flexibility. Now you're asking me what I do with my university policy. How does any of this make any sense? I'm lost here.

Also, the census does not use the entire population. It reveals a huge flaw in how you think of those numbers. http://www.census.gov/acs/www/methodology/sample_size_data/

The population is currently around 310,000,000. It was probably around 280,000,000 in 2009. If you click on that link, you will find that the census involved data from 1,917,748 housing units and 146,716 quarters in 2009. Unless 200 people lived in each housing unit, the data uses about a hundredth of the total population. (I believe a housing unit means a household. So a more realistic estimate of the number of people in a household would be about 4 or 5, the average could be lower!). So it looks to me that the estimate of the sample size being close to about a hundredth of the size of the population is not too far from the mark.
_________________________
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)

Top
#1639695 - 03/12/11 04:12 PM Re: "Leave of Absence" Policy? [Re: sonataplayer]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11851
Loc: Canada
John,

Whatever name it may be given, if a person must pay something which is not for a service or goods, and if it is for such reasons, then this punitive. That is what it is, without calling it good or bad. We have late payers as a problem, and tacking on interest for late payments has been suggested in my corner - this is also punitive. That doesn't make it bad.

Quote:
Another big problem: This is a teachers' forum and most teachers here teach school-aged children, not adults. If we teach adults, it's an extra, not a primary source of income. Generally, we have completely different parameters for adults, recognizing that they have inflexible schedules, at times, and other obligations they cannot avoid. Adults, who are most welcomed here, still need to keep in mind that as students, they represent a very small fraction of piano students. Perhaps 1% or less.


You addressed this to me. (?) First off, I had a child taking lessons for years every single week of the year. None of the nonsense you experience came from us: there was regular practice, coming in prepared, regular attendance, prompt payment, and more than meeting the teacher's expectations. I can easily write in as a parent, and mostly I did so.

Secondly, as adult student, at least the same demands were made of me as of any child student: regular attendance, practice, same program etc. If this is so, is there actually a difference between adult and child students? If you can put a 5 year old and 15 year old in the same basket policy-wise, isn't it the same for the 17 year old ("child") and 27 year old ("adult")?

Is this about age groups, or about special wishes? What about your over-stretched child student taking ballet, horse riding, calligraphy, piano, guitar, and water colors while trying to be a straight A student - misses lessons and comes in unprepared and exhausted. Isn't that child your "adult student" as per your definition?

What about redefining this between regular committed students, and irregular special-wish student? In any case, responding to me in terms of adult vs. child makes no sense.

Quote:
Better teachers, even if forced by economic circumstances, to teach out of home studios, are going to operate professionally and in a business-like manner.


That is music to my ears. Let's hope more and more teachers do.

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#1639701 - 03/12/11 04:20 PM Re: "Leave of Absence" Policy? [Re: keystring]
LimeFriday Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/02/09
Posts: 303
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: keystring

The thing that bugs me in these forums are these quick statements about what the attitude of students is supposed to be. Since nobody is a mind reader, it would be good for the attempt not to be made - about anyone, whether student or teacher.

I would have also liked to see professional reasoning, rather than economic reasoning. A professional will recommend certain things because it gives results. A dentist wants to see you twice a year in order to prevent cavities. She doesn't say "I need the steady income that your regular attendance gives me." Continual lessons for at least a year is needed for any real progress to happen. Why not say that, and demonstrate professional interest in your student's growth, which is probably your priority in the first place? I bet that teachers and non-teachers would be on the same page immediately. This strife is needless.


I think you are right in assuming that teachers have their student's growth as a priority... and that is the major reason they got into this kind of work in the first place - the driving motivation.

But there is also the economic reality in that to have any kind of financial stability - a teacher need to be able to rely on filling a number of hours each week with full paying students.

Speaking about the economic realities doesn't not mean that the teacher has lost focus his/her main priority - providing a quality music education to students. Part of this being a teachers forum is the ability to talk about all aspects of teaching - including how to make full time teaching into a viable career.

In addition to teaching music - I also work as a therapist in private practice. The reality is - I care deeply about my clients and about supporting them to do the work they need to do. But I also know that to continue in this work - I need to ensure that I see a certain number of clients per week - and if they fail to show up - then they need to pay for their sessions. Yes... the 'results' conversation would be that regular therapy is much better than dropping in and out... but I also have to talk about economic realities when chatting with other therapists... and that I care about my clients is assumed by those I'm chatting with.

Long story short... teachers have to balance both their love for teaching and for watching their students grow... and making a viable living from teaching. Surely we need to allow teachers to discuss both aspects of their job without challenging their need to do so?

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#1639702 - 03/12/11 04:20 PM Re: "Leave of Absence" Policy? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
There you go again, quoting out of context.


That accusation was inevitable as I pointed out when I made that comment. I have no way of proving that what I thought was right. Common sense should tell people what to believe and what not to. This is not a court of law where you are allowed to interpret based only on hard evidence, via precise written statements or whatever. If you feel you've been quoted out of context and are sincere about it, I do apologize. However, there is absolutely no way for me to prove it and its your word that we will have to take ultimately. So if you say so, fine, I quoted you out of context, my apologies.
_________________________
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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#1639704 - 03/12/11 04:24 PM Re: "Leave of Absence" Policy? [Re: LimeFriday]
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
Originally Posted By: LimeFriday
[quote=keystring]

But there is also the economic reality in that to have any kind of financial stability - a teacher need to be able to rely on filling a number of hours each week with full paying students.


In addition to teaching music - I also work as a therapist in private practice. The reality is - I care deeply about my clients and about supporting them to do the work they need to do. But I also know that to continue in this work - I need to ensure that I see a certain number of clients per week - and if they fail to show up - then they need to pay for their sessions. Yes... the 'results' conversation would be that regular therapy is much better than dropping in and out... but I also have to talk about economic realities when chatting with other therapists... and that I care about my clients is assumed by those I'm chatting with.



Do you charge a termination fee if your client wants to see somebody else and wants to stop coming to you? If you wanted to use the argument that I've marked in bold at the beginning of your post in your own profession, then you would have to charge a termination fee (if you're defending this policy).

Failing to show up is a different matter altogether. That's a specific time reserved for them and you pay for a reservation, its as simple as that. So lets not confuse matters as people seem to be confused already by throwing about analogies that make no sense whatsoever.
_________________________
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)

Top
#1639715 - 03/12/11 04:35 PM Re: "Leave of Absence" Policy? [Re: LimeFriday]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11851
Loc: Canada
LimeFriday - I was talking about teachers explaining their reality to clients, i.e. responding to those who are not music teachers. You do not explain to a client that you want them to commit to x months because you need the income. You explain to the client that it is for his benefit, and it must also be true. Shop talk is another matter.

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#1639724 - 03/12/11 04:47 PM Re: "Leave of Absence" Policy? [Re: sonataplayer]
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
There was a brief period when I offered lessons. I clearly mentioned in my advertisement that I was only taking students who would stick around for longer than just a couple of months because it takes a while before you begin to see results. A few did end up leaving after 3 months. Most did stay though. I accepted them only after an interview. However, I would never stop them from leaving by forcing a termination fee on them. People can have different reasons to leave. They might, at the end of 3-4 months decide that their goals are slightly different and can be achieved better by going to another teacher. Who knows? In my case, they were beginners. They thought they were committed to it in the beginning. However, people do lose interest due to various reasons, often not within their control. Sometimes it the fault of the teacher too. I probably was guilty of having them do more exercises than actual musical pieces. The ones who did stick around progressed a lot by the end of the year. However, I do not blame the ones who left. Similarly John, you might have 100% confidence in your abilities and that your lessons are the most interesting lessons in the world and that students might never lose interest due to anything that you might be doing wrong. Unfortunately, that might not be true. For all we know, the parents, due to the huge amounts of money they've pledged to you, might be forcing some of these kids to continue even if they express a desire to quit. You wouldn't know if that were happening, would 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)

Top
#1639728 - 03/12/11 04:52 PM Re: "Leave of Absence" Policy? [Re: keystring]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7417
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: keystring
Quote:
Another big problem: This is a teachers' forum and most teachers here teach school-aged children, not adults. If we teach adults, it's an extra, not a primary source of income. Generally, we have completely different parameters for adults, recognizing that they have inflexible schedules, at times, and other obligations they cannot avoid. Adults, who are most welcomed here, still need to keep in mind that as students, they represent a very small fraction of piano students. Perhaps 1% or less.


You addressed this to me. (?)

No. It was primarily addressed to Liszt.
_________________________
"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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#1639729 - 03/12/11 04:53 PM Re: "Leave of Absence" Policy? [Re: liszt85]
LimeFriday Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/02/09
Posts: 303
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: liszt85
Originally Posted By: LimeFriday
[quote=keystring]

But there is also the economic reality in that to have any kind of financial stability - a teacher need to be able to rely on filling a number of hours each week with full paying students.


In addition to teaching music - I also work as a therapist in private practice. The reality is - I care deeply about my clients and about supporting them to do the work they need to do. But I also know that to continue in this work - I need to ensure that I see a certain number of clients per week - and if they fail to show up - then they need to pay for their sessions. Yes... the 'results' conversation would be that regular therapy is much better than dropping in and out... but I also have to talk about economic realities when chatting with other therapists... and that I care about my clients is assumed by those I'm chatting with.



Do you charge a termination fee if your client wants to see somebody else and wants to stop coming to you? If you wanted to use the argument that I've marked in bold at the beginning of your post in your own profession, then you would have to charge a termination fee (if you're defending this policy).

Failing to show up is a different matter altogether. That's a specific time reserved for them and you pay for a reservation, its as simple as that. So lets not confuse matters as people seem to be confused already by throwing about analogies that make no sense whatsoever.


OK... in order to avoid confusing people... let me put it a different way. When I run a group program that runs for 6 months or a year - participants can pay the fee up front - or they can pay monthly. If they decide a few weeks into the program that they are going to drop out (for reasons other than ill health or family emergency) then yes - they pay a termination fee. It's part of what they agree to upfront. This might be because they decide that the program is not for them and they want to go elsewhere... see someone else.

My analogy is more about the number of clients/students being spoken about in economic terms... and putting in place various policies in order to maintain a viable living. No therapy clients wants to know about the economic realities of their therapist... and what seems to be going on here in part is an objection to students and families being exposed to these realities.

We are in total agreement about some things... but I think your arguments against a policy such as a termination fee is a denial of the economic reality that teachers running a business as their only source of income face.

Top
#1639730 - 03/12/11 04:57 PM Re: "Leave of Absence" Policy? [Re: keystring]
LimeFriday Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/02/09
Posts: 303
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: keystring
LimeFriday - I was talking about teachers explaining their reality to clients, i.e. responding to those who are not music teachers. You do not explain to a client that you want them to commit to x months because you need the income. You explain to the client that it is for his benefit, and it must also be true. Shop talk is another matter.


Keystring - I'm in total agreement with you here. Sorry - I took your post in order to speak primarily to Liszt85.

Top
#1639742 - 03/12/11 05:04 PM Re: "Leave of Absence" Policy? [Re: LimeFriday]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7417
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Thank you for a thoughtful and insightful post. Of course, music is our primary product, but the OP brought up the issue of what to do about leaves of absence and early departures. When I am teaching, I am totally focused on the student and their musicianship, not worrying about whether they are going to quit next month.
_________________________
"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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