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#1656278 - 04/07/11 12:01 PM Loooong piano lessons - need advice from teachers
piano joy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/28/11
Posts: 807
Loc: Florida
Hi, all!
Just finished another wonderful piano lesson with my teacher- whom I adore and respect tremendously. We have a good relationship and have developed a bit of a friendship (I'm an adult, similar in age to her). OK, I am feeling really guilty about this: because my lesson is mid-morning (while the kids are in school), we usually approach 1 hour, not the 30 minutes I technically pay for (she charges per month, regardless if there are 4 or 5 lessons during that month). She gives me a lot to work on- and I love it- and as a result, we just don't get it all in during 30 minutes- plus there's a bit of friendly chatting going on, too! Now, after about 40 minutes or so, I look at the clock and say " we're going over, let's wrap this up" and she just waves me on with her hand and continues. She really doesn't seem to mind and has told me just consider myself lucky that there is no lesson scheduled immediately after mine (darn those summers, ha!).
I have taken her out to lunch (my treat) and plan on a generous gift card when we hit our "teaching anniversary" and will continue with impromptu gifts like this- but am still FEELING GUILTY and don't want to take advantage of her! Having said that, I sure do LOVE the longer lessons! I do think she's fine with it b/c she has told me it's a joy to have a student who loves piano so much, works hard and wants all the constructive criticism she can provide. The guilt still lives on..... frown
Comments from teachers, please ? Thanks!
_________________________
I don't care too much for money. For money can't buy me love.
-the Beatles




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#1656294 - 04/07/11 12:33 PM Re: Loooong piano lessons - need advice from teachers [Re: piano joy]
Akira Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/27/07
Posts: 1645
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
I'm not a teacher, but it seems to me...

That the teacher is aware of the time, but chooses to allow the lesson to go into overtime. I don't think that could be construed as you taking advantage of the situation. Maybe s/he is not counting the 'chit chat' time that is spent or maybe doesn't care if more time is spent, given your connection seems to go beyond the traditional student-teacher relationship. As a gesture of reciprocation, I would offer to pay for the extra time spent or perhaps give a small token of appreciation (baked goods, bottle of wine, etc.).

If its bothering you, maybe you should just talk to the teacher about it. I think it's likely s/he will say, "Don't worry about it." It seems apparent that if the teacher thought you "should" feel guilty about the situation, that s/he would just end the lesson at the scheduled time.

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#1656309 - 04/07/11 12:57 PM Re: Loooong piano lessons - need advice from teachers [Re: piano joy]
Lollipop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 820
Loc: Georgia
I agree with Akira. If the long lesson is interfering with your day, then by all means say so. Say up front, I need to leave at exactly 10:30 today, and then do it.

But it you have the time, and don't mind, then I don't see a problem. You do not need to pay the teacher in any way beyond what you've already agreed to. Sounds like the teacher is getting paid in other ways. (There are days when I would PAY to have a student who practices!)

I admit, I tend to go longer with my adult student. We do chit chat, discuss her child (also my student) or other things. In a long day of one on one with children, it is refreshing to me to have an adult to talk to. With my adult student, she does tend to cancel a lot due to Mom duties (time for which she is charged anyway) so I don't mind the longer lessons.
_________________________
piano teacher

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#1656314 - 04/07/11 01:06 PM Re: Loooong piano lessons - need advice from teachers [Re: piano joy]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Time management is a teacher's responsibility. Simple.
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


www.justfingers.co.uk
www.babysinging.co.uk

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#1656324 - 04/07/11 01:21 PM Re: Loooong piano lessons - need advice from teachers [Re: piano joy]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11845
Loc: Canada
My thought is that if this teacher is extending the time, it means she really likes the interaction with the student, what the student is doing, the kind of progress that is being made. It seems like a very good thing. smile

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#1656339 - 04/07/11 01:36 PM Re: Loooong piano lessons - need advice from teachers [Re: piano joy]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12206
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I have done this, especially with students who I may have a conversation with that is non-piano related. Sometimes I'll extend the lesson if I don't think it is inconveniencing them (I usually ask if it's ok to go over time). If I feel that we talk too much, however, then I will set up a time to meet for coffee or lunch to chit-chat and then try to schedule a student right after them so that I'm sure to end on time, or like another poster suggested, I tell them I have to finish up ontime that day.

I've also been on the receiving end of this, but usually what it amounted to was a lot of chit-chat and very little learning going on. Teachers would tell me about their personal problems and use up all my regular time for that and then we might finally get around to singing, so then they'd tack on more time. The problem was I was paying a lot for the lessons and I was on a tight schedule. Even if I would say it was time to go, they'd dismiss it. That was very inconsiderate and I often left feeling as though I really didn't know if I got my 30 minutes of lesson in or not.

It sounds like this teacher is fine with giving you the extra time, and as long as you are able to take it without setting your whole schedule off it's OK. If you want to go out to lunch once in a while, that might be a good way to feel free to chit-chat, and then in lessons you can focus on piano stuff.
_________________________
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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#1656356 - 04/07/11 02:06 PM Re: Loooong piano lessons - need advice from teachers [Re: piano joy]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11845
Loc: Canada
I am entertaining the thought that deep and real learning is going on, that it is possible that chitchat is the smaller part of it, and that something exciting and effective may be happening. I keep hearing from teachers that not that many students apply themselves, and that when one comes along that actually does, it's seen as a real treasure. That would also motivate the teacher to give more than usual. As student I would see this as a rare opportunity, and I definitely would not treat it as an "inconvenience". I'd make room in my schedule for unpredictable extra time just in case however I could.

In our materialistic world we are not used to generosity - hence the feeling of guilt that can overcome us when we encounter it.

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#1656363 - 04/07/11 02:17 PM Re: Loooong piano lessons - need advice from teachers [Re: piano joy]
KurtZ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/13/10
Posts: 991
Loc: The Heart of Screenland
My teacher flat out said, "I'm going to give you hour lessons for the 45 minute rate because I like having an adult student and you take your lessons in non prime time hours." I think you're lucky that you have a teacher who likes teaching, obviously likes teaching you and isn't a clock watcher. Accept it graciously. The wave off is her way of telling you the same. The others are right, she'll tell you if a change is needed. The occasional lunch or other small gifts are nice tokens of friendship and appreciation. My teacher enjoys significant professional courtesy at our music related business or any benefit I can pass along to her because of my relationships in that business. She would get those regardless not because of a $15 dollar discount on an hour lesson.

Kurt
_________________________
I just wanted to be just "a" guy. That's enough of a life.

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#1656410 - 04/07/11 03:55 PM Re: Loooong piano lessons - need advice from teachers [Re: piano joy]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7417
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
As a general rule, if I can extend the lesson of a very well prepared student, I will. Doubling lesson times, though, is over the top.

IMO, your teacher ought not to be giving you a 30 min lesson - it is way too short for serious adult learning. The fact that she routinely stretches it out to an hour speaks for itself. Ask to have your lesson officially extended to 45 min or longer and pay her for her time. She may not be very business savvy, and may not know how to deal with her "mistake" in accepting you for such a short lesson.
_________________________
"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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#1656413 - 04/07/11 03:59 PM Re: Loooong piano lessons - need advice from teachers [Re: keystring]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3187
Originally Posted By: keystring
I keep hearing from teachers that not that many students apply themselves, and that when one comes along that actually does, it's seen as a real treasure. That would also motivate the teacher to give more than usual.


Thats it in a nutshell. I absolutely love to teach, and students who actually work hard and are hungry and thirsty for knowledge are fairly rare. If I can give them a little extra, and our schedules allow it, I always go for it.

I always ask if its ok to go overtime.

It is always with late teens or adults, and I only do it occasionally, but if we are on a roll, why stop because the hour hand is on a certain place on the clock, but the student and I have the time?

Once, an adult student who has been the occasional beneficiary of this came for the lesson, and I was late due to coming in late from a doctor's appointment, and thus our lessons could only be about 15 minutes on that day. I told him that I would not count the extra short lesson on his payment, and he waved me off saying that I had given him so much extra here and there that this was fine to count as a full lesson.
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#1656458 - 04/07/11 05:16 PM Re: Loooong piano lessons - need advice from teachers [Re: piano joy]
kck Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 269
I'm not a teacher either, just a parent of piano playing kid. My son is lucky to have no one after his time slot either (homeschooled), so he almost always gets an hour instead of 45 minutes. And the teacher has told me in private my kid is well prepared every week, advancing rapidly, and is a joy to teach for him. He happily gives those 15 precious minutes a week to him. And paying him for those extra 15 minutes really would be painful considering his rates. One of these years, he will ask us to take a longer lesson.

I think going overboard with gift cards or in some other way is a great way to thank her.
_________________________
Amateur musician, piano and violin parent

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#1656578 - 04/07/11 10:13 PM Re: Loooong piano lessons - need advice from teachers [Re: kck]
piano joy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/28/11
Posts: 807
Loc: Florida
Thanks all for your comments !

Note to keystring: I love your vision of my piano lessons and I like to think it's accurate smile
_________________________
I don't care too much for money. For money can't buy me love.
-the Beatles




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#1656644 - 04/08/11 01:08 AM Re: Loooong piano lessons - need advice from teachers [Re: piano joy]
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4981
Loc: boston north
John beat me to my suggestion! I think you should just say something like, it looks like half hour is too short a time for my lesson. I would like to schedule it for 45 minutes please.

Then you won't feel so guilty.

BTW, 45 min is about the time that an adult lesson should be IMO.
_________________________
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

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#1656655 - 04/08/11 02:04 AM Re: Loooong piano lessons - need advice from teachers [Re: lilylady]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5587
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: lilylady
John beat me to my suggestion! I think you should just say something like, it looks like half hour is too short a time for my lesson. I would like to schedule it for 45 minutes please.


I'd like to endorse this idea, too. I think your teacher deserves to be paid more.

My students just took their CM exam. It's that time of the year when I ask some students to take longer lessons. One cheap parent said no, one parent said yes (with some hesitation), and one parent--before I said anything--asked me to extend lessons for both of her kids. Guess which parent is the most supportive?
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1656716 - 04/08/11 06:47 AM Re: Loooong piano lessons - need advice from teachers [Re: piano joy]
Nannerl Mozart Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/08
Posts: 732
Loc: Australia, Melbourne
Now, as a full time music student, I am finding that I spend a lot of time talking to my teacher on musical matters ... Our views are generally the same, there is the odd thing or two that he feels strongly with or against, with good reasoning but I like to sit on the fence on... but we do talk about it a lot (the boundaries and 'restraints' of interpretation - performance practice and history etc) we can talk for ages but I find it's always so fascinating and interesting and I feel like I get a lot out of it. My teacher goes over but compensates chit chat for extra time ... we have an agreement, but I dont know if people see it that way ... that chit chat can be helpful to piano progress!
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http://colouredsilence.wordpress.com/


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