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#1777933 - 10/27/11 01:13 AM A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Ok, so let's say you have rates at $45 / hour. Your studio get's full. You teach 25 hours and have 35 - 40 students. You now have a huge waiting list of 30 other people and you are advertising in all your local newspapers / websites / google adwords / you get word of mouth - You are basically getting calls every day now.

You run some numbers and you think you can get $60 / hour - but the catch is you will most likely alienate many of your current students. But the waiting list and the new calls / emails every day or so will easily replace the ones that leave if you raise the rates.

What do you do? Raise the rates and risk losing a good portion of your current students while getting new ones that will pay that much - raise them incrementally over a couple years - Or do you keep the rates the same for the current students , weed out some of the ones that are a total hassle and replace them with new students that pay the new rates?

Let's take it a step further. What if you are sure you can get $70/ hour while still having a full studio?



Edited by Dustin Sanders (10/27/11 01:17 AM)
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#1777934 - 10/27/11 01:15 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
Candywoman Online   content
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Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 832
Is this your moral dilemma or a fictional case?

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#1777935 - 10/27/11 01:17 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Candywoman]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: Candywoman
Is this your moral dilemma or a fictional case?


I'm pretty certain that it will become my moral dilemma - So yes, I would appreciate sincere input. smile
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#1777950 - 10/27/11 01:52 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5901
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Let's take it a step further. What if you are sure you can get $70/ hour while still having a full studio?
What would be the reason why you might consider raising your rates from $45ph to $70ph?

Because it's more in line with what other teachers in your area charge?
Because you don't want to undercut other teachers' fees?
Because you consider your qualifications merit it?
Or just because you can?

The impression I get from your post is that it's the latter reason. That may not be accurate, of course, but it would be interesting to hear your reasons.

(btw, $70ph is pretty standard where I am, but I don't know how it is where you are)
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#1777957 - 10/27/11 02:21 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
rxd Offline
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Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
As a piano technician with the same dilema, I have no problem quoting my new price to new clients. My old clients are at the old rate.
I know that clients talk to each other and I have an old client who always asks' is that enough?, thrusting £20 notes into my hands knowing her friends are paying more (friends she recommended to me). I have no problem with this provided everybody knows the situation. Call it a loyalty discount, justify it however you like.

I charge according to what I have to do so I have another rationale to fall back on.

Some of your students are hard work. While the common perception is that a half hour lesson is a half hour lesson, just as a tuning is a tuning. You and I know that some half hours seem longer than others.

Do you keep the old price for students you want to keep? A resounding yes!

Do you charge the new rate for students that are hard work? Therein is the heart of the dilema. But what an incentive for parents to make their kids practice, a $20 discount per lesson!!!

Model your studio on larger institutions and offer bursaries for the better students who may not be able to afford you., for example.

Just a few thoughts.

One story. I went to visit a wind instrument repairer after 20 years. He welcomed me with open arms at the door of his huge music emporium. He told me that he owed all his success to me.

You said, he explained, you said, 20 years ago, if you get too much work, double your prices... You'll lose half your customers but you'll make the same money (I genuinely didn't remember saying that). 'did I say that!? Says I. 'you sure did' sez he. 'I never had the nerve to do it myself' sez me.

Well, I'm doing it now.
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"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#1778024 - 10/27/11 08:23 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11420
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Are there students you really want to keep? It would be a shame to lose the good ones. I agree having a waiting list that long means you aren't charging enough. I think ti is better if you can justify raising your fees - like you finished a degree, or you haven't raised them in x years. Those that can't afford it will tell you, and then you can decide at that point if you want to "grandfather" them in or not. All new students are at the new rate.
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#1778065 - 10/27/11 09:55 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: currawong]
Minniemay Offline
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Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
Originally Posted By: currawong
The impression I get from your post is that it's the latter reason. That may not be accurate, of course, but it would be interesting to hear your reasons


I agree with this and if it's true, I find it a little disturbing. I currently am at the top of what local teachers charge here and have a short waiting list, but I certainly couldn't justify at $15/hr increase.

With a large studio, it gets too confusing to charge different rates. If you really want to raise your rates, do it, but do it incrementally.

The comparison with the piano technician's rate is a faulty one. He doesn't see the same client week to week or even month to month. He can set a new rate and it doesn't have that much of an effect on the customer.
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#1778067 - 10/27/11 09:58 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
Stanny Offline
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Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 1461
I raised my rates substantially one year to new students, and left my old ones at a lower rate. They knew full well that I had done this and allowed them an extra year at the lower rate. This allowed a the older students to continue with me, knowing their rate would increase the next year and give them plenty of time to find a new teacher if need be.
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#1778156 - 10/27/11 12:55 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Stanny]
MsAdrienne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/06
Posts: 283
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Originally Posted By: Stanny
I raised my rates substantially one year to new students, and left my old ones at a lower rate...


What if your studio is full, and you raise your rates for only new students.... who will be paying the new rate? It could be another year before you see any income increase without over-scheduling yourself. I can see Dustin's dilemma. I am in a similar situation and have been hemming and hawing for a few months now... smirk ??
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#1778165 - 10/27/11 01:12 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
Monaco Offline
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Registered: 07/28/11
Posts: 387
Loc: GA
Raise the rates.
If you offer a discount to kids you like, that seems a bit unfair to me.
If you can sell your car for $3000 why would you sell it for $2000.
You don't need to justify your increase. Just do it. As long as you will come out the same or better in the end then do it.
Use the extra time and/or money that you have and donate to needy children. There are plenty of those that could use your time talents and extra income.
No need to undercut yourself.
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#1778170 - 10/27/11 01:16 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13759
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Go with incremental raises over time for everyone. Go too high too fast, and you'll join Netflix in losing your current clIents.
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#1778171 - 10/27/11 01:16 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
christineka Offline
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Registered: 06/29/11
Posts: 329
Loc: Utah
Why not raise the price incrementally? Go to $50 per hour for 2012, then $55 for 2013, and so on?
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#1778229 - 10/27/11 03:11 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17746
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
I like the idea of raising the rates for new students and grandfathering the current students in with a smaller rate increase. This way you will still increase your income, but your current students won't be taken off guard, and in fact will be grateful to you when you explain, e.g., "for new students who begin with me, I'll be charging $xxx, but since you've been a loyal student, I won't impose such a big increase at once and instead will raise you only to $xxx."
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#1778233 - 10/27/11 03:19 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
Stanny Offline
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Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 1461
I can see why one would raise rates for some but not all. Some students take much more energy to teach. You could call it a "loyalty discount" or "scholarship" for students that you really don't want to lose or think may not be able to handle the rate increase.
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#1778286 - 10/27/11 05:10 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Stanny]
TimR Offline
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Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3155
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Stanny
I can see why one would raise rates for some but not all. Some students take much more energy to teach.


Uh, have you considered how the students will take that?

Especially the ones who find out they are getting charged more because they are "hard to teach" or maybe "losers?" (harsh word, but SOME will take it that way)

Not sure I'd want to go there.

Look, you give 100% of your best effort to every student for that hour, seems like you'd charge them all the same.
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#1778403 - 10/27/11 09:23 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: currawong]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: currawong
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Let's take it a step further. What if you are sure you can get $70/ hour while still having a full studio?
What would be the reason why you might consider raising your rates from $45ph to $70ph?

Because it's more in line with what other teachers in your area charge?
Because you don't want to undercut other teachers' fees?
Because you consider your qualifications merit it?
Or just because you can?

The impression I get from your post is that it's the latter reason. That may not be accurate, of course, but it would be interesting to hear your reasons.

(btw, $70ph is pretty standard where I am, but I don't know how it is where you are)


working in the food industry, I learned a lot about how restaurants hijack the customers demands and needs and exorbitantly overprice, let's say ... softdrinks. A softdrink at an average restaurant will charge about $2 - it takes about 10cents for them to make. But nobody can eat with a drink and most people don't like the taste of water with their meal.

So what I'm getting to is that I don't think it really matters for a business to charge 'what they think they are worth' - businesses are about profit - If a family doesn't think I'm worth what I charge, they are free to look elsewhere.

That's just my theory, though.
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#1778404 - 10/27/11 09:25 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Kreisler]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Go with incremental raises over time for everyone. Go too high too fast, and you'll join Netflix in losing your current clIents.


Just because your name is in green, I feel like I should listen to you. laugh
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#1778407 - 10/27/11 09:32 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Minniemay]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: Minniemay
Originally Posted By: currawong
The impression I get from your post is that it's the latter reason. That may not be accurate, of course, but it would be interesting to hear your reasons


I agree with this and if it's true, I find it a little disturbing. I currently am at the top of what local teachers charge here and have a short waiting list, but I certainly couldn't justify at $15/hr increase.

With a large studio, it gets too confusing to charge different rates. If you really want to raise your rates, do it, but do it incrementally.

The comparison with the piano technician's rate is a faulty one. He doesn't see the same client week to week or even month to month. He can set a new rate and it doesn't have that much of an effect on the customer.


Disturbing? In what way?

I live close to Baltimore but the only reason I had lower rates to begin with is because I was forced to live in the middle of nowhere - people have to drive a big distance usually to get to my studio - lots of backroads, etc. Plus I wanted to get a full studio quicker so I could move into a new location closer to people - then my plan was to jack up my rate to where I thin k they should be.
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#1778409 - 10/27/11 09:35 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
ClsscLib Online   content

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1714
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
I don't see a moral issue in this question.
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#1778416 - 10/27/11 09:44 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: ClsscLib]
piano joy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/28/11
Posts: 807
Loc: Florida
Originally Posted By: ClsscLib
I don't see a moral issue in this question.


It's more of a business issue.
As a consumer (of anything), I would gasp at anything greater than 10% increase in price.
I'm not saying that doesn't happen in various services or products , just saying it seems (to me) too much.
A hike such as you mentioned above (from $45 to $70) would probably make me at least look around very seriously for another teacher- unless I thought you were God's gift to piano students....
In which case I would stay, and whine to my husband.... smile
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#1778423 - 10/27/11 09:52 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: piano joy]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: piano joy
Originally Posted By: ClsscLib
I don't see a moral issue in this question.


It's more of a business issue.
As a consumer (of anything), I would gasp at anything greater than 10% increase in price.
I'm not saying that doesn't happen in various services or products , just saying it seems (to me) too much.
A hike such as you mentioned above (from $45 to $70) would probably make me at least look around very seriously for another teacher- unless I thought you were God's gift to piano students....
In which case I would stay, and whine to my husband.... smile



lol, I am not really considering raising it to $70 I don't think, probably to $60 though.

If you want to find out how families and students view me, you can view my testimonial page and check out the 5 different testimonials. smile

Gods Gift To Piano Students Or ... Something Else?
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An Eclectic Piano Teaching Experience







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#1778426 - 10/27/11 09:57 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: ClsscLib]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: ClsscLib
I don't see a moral issue in this question.


You don't have a question there, so of course there wouldn't be any moral issue. wink

Business and Moral Philosophy are somewhat intertwined - Any businessman who says otherwise is probably a pretty shitty businessman.

Running a business is not STRICTLY Demand / Profit / Mathematics. It is Customer Service, How should an ethical business be ran, Is it appropriate to take advantage of your Clients, Is It moral to suck in a full studio with low rates only to raise them later, etc ...
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An Eclectic Piano Teaching Experience







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#1778431 - 10/27/11 10:18 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
ClsscLib Online   content

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1714
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Originally Posted By: ClsscLib
I don't see a moral issue in this question.


You don't have a question there, so of course there wouldn't be any moral issue. wink

Business and Moral Philosophy are somewhat intertwined - Any businessman who says otherwise is probably a pretty shitty businessman.

Running a business is not STRICTLY Demand / Profit / Mathematics. It is Customer Service, How should an ethical business be ran, Is it appropriate to take advantage of your Clients, Is It moral to suck in a full studio with low rates only to raise them later, etc ...


I do see a business question, a question of diplomacy, a question of how (diplomatically and in a businesslike way) to keep the students who are learning and send a message to those who aren't...

But morality? There's no moral issue. Sorry.
_________________________


"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#1778441 - 10/27/11 10:33 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5901
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
...So what I'm getting to is that I don't think it really matters for a business to charge 'what they think they are worth' - businesses are about profit -
I guess that answers my question.
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Du holde Kunst...

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#1778446 - 10/27/11 10:38 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: ClsscLib]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: ClsscLib
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Originally Posted By: ClsscLib
I don't see a moral issue in this question.


You don't have a question there, so of course there wouldn't be any moral issue. wink

Business and Moral Philosophy are somewhat intertwined - Any businessman who says otherwise is probably a pretty shitty businessman.

Running a business is not STRICTLY Demand / Profit / Mathematics. It is Customer Service, How should an ethical business be ran, Is it appropriate to take advantage of your Clients, Is It moral to suck in a full studio with low rates only to raise them later, etc ...


I do see a business question, a question of diplomacy, a question of how (diplomatically and in a businesslike way) to keep the students who are learning and send a message to those who aren't...

But morality? There's no moral issue. Sorry.


I seem to have a more general view of morality encompasses then. I feel a bit strange about jacking up the rates to a significantly higher level for my current students - a feeling that is not strictly about whether or not I'll keep the students, but how will the parents feel towards me ... or if it's an ethical decision.

If that isn't morality, then I don't know what your definition of morality would be.
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#1778449 - 10/27/11 10:43 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders

If you want to find out how families and students view me, you can view my testimonial page and check out the 5 different testimonials. smile


I always believe everything I read on the Internet. Everything! laugh
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#1778460 - 10/27/11 11:02 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: rocket88]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: rocket88
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders

If you want to find out how families and students view me, you can view my testimonial page and check out the 5 different testimonials. smile


I always believe everything I read on the Internet. Everything! laugh


lol ... laugh

I can assure you though, I didn't offer them free lessons for good testimonials or anything!

I mean, you'd have to think I wrote the testimonials myself - If you wanted to take the time and hire a linguist to deconstruct the syntax of the sentences to see if they correlate to my own way of writing, let me know what you find as a result. laugh
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#1778469 - 10/27/11 11:22 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
MsAdrienne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/06
Posts: 283
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
I still think we piano teachers tend to err on the side of being overly altruistic, even if the result is that our own children can't participate in activities that their friends can afford, or will have trouble affording college (that's everyone now, though). Maybe I'm just being pessimistic tonight. smirk

I think we can ameliorate any personal moral concerns we may harbor by participating as a volunteer with non-profit music schools, MusicLink, doing pro bono work, etc....

Can you imagine any other professional group having this discussion about rates? I'm trying to picture it and just can't see it. What's the matter with us? Have we been charging such low rates as a profession for so long, that we just can't change?

I'm saying this as someone who is a complete wimp about raising fees. laugh I should probably stop now and go to bed. smile
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Member MTNA, NGPT Board of Adjudicators
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#1778476 - 10/27/11 11:45 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: MsAdrienne]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: MsAdrienne
I still think we piano teachers tend to err on the side of being overly altruistic, even if the result is that our own children can't participate in activities that their friends can afford, or will have trouble affording college (that's everyone now, though). Maybe I'm just being pessimistic tonight. smirk

I think we can ameliorate any personal moral concerns we may harbor by participating as a volunteer with non-profit music schools, MusicLink, doing pro bono work, etc....

Can you imagine any other professional group having this discussion about rates? I'm trying to picture it and just can't see it. What's the matter with us? Have we been charging such low rates as a profession for so long, that we just can't change?

I'm saying this as someone who is a complete wimp about raising fees. laugh I should probably stop now and go to bed. smile


hah, instead of going to bed, maybe you should raise your fees instead!

Really though, if you run the numbers ... 25 hours of teaching X $60 / hour comes out to be just a hair below 80k a year. Plug in performance money / side job at a church or two (and perhaps not paying your full share of taxes, not judging anyone who doesn't) , that really is in the top 25% of earners in the USA at least ... top 10% if you have two really nice church jobs (organists get paid pretty well I hear.)

How much people make in the US
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#1778478 - 10/27/11 11:52 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
MsAdrienne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/06
Posts: 283
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Dustin, my tech told me I need to be more in the $60/hour range, too. But it still makes me nervous, mostly because my husband and I are both self-employed, and he is a contractor at that, so unless the phone rings, he isn't working. *I* have the stable, reliable income. We are rather odd, I suspect. laugh

I have a family who take lessons on another instrument as well, and that teacher just raises rates on the spot, as in "oh, by the way, here's the new rate" and points to a sheet of paper on the wall. !! I can't imagine feeling secure enough to do that. Maybe after I finally finish this NCTM I will have some courage. Sheesh. smile
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#1778488 - 10/28/11 12:13 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5901
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Really though, if you run the numbers ... 25 hours of teaching X $60 / hour comes out to be just a hair below 80k a year.
That's with teaching 52 weeks a year, though!
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#1778490 - 10/28/11 12:17 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: currawong]
Dustin Sanders Offline
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Originally Posted By: currawong
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Really though, if you run the numbers ... 25 hours of teaching X $60 / hour comes out to be just a hair below 80k a year.
That's with teaching 52 weeks a year, though!


well, do you want the money or not!?

Nobody says you have to take vacations. smile

Even if you took 2 to 4 weeks vacation every year, it wouldn't cut your yearly salary by THAT much to complain about.
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#1778499 - 10/28/11 12:34 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
currawong Offline
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Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Originally Posted By: currawong
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Really though, if you run the numbers ... 25 hours of teaching X $60 / hour comes out to be just a hair below 80k a year.
That's with teaching 52 weeks a year, though!
Nobody says you have to take vacations. smile
Even if you took 2 to 4 weeks vacation every year, it wouldn't cut your yearly salary by THAT much to complain about.
I'm not complaining about my salary at all. But I wonder if you could keep that up - 25 hours pw solid teaching, with no breaks. Just seems an unrealistic estimate. But if that's what you want to do, by all means go for it!
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
well, do you want the money or not!?
My concern about this thread is that that's all it seems to be about. I don't think teachers should hesitate to charge a fee appropriate for their qualifications and experience, and they needn't be apologetic. That's certainly how I operate. But if you want to get rich quick, I'd choose another career.
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#1778525 - 10/28/11 01:29 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: currawong]
rocket88 Offline
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Originally Posted By: currawong
My concern about this thread is that that's all it seems to be about.


Agreed.
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#1778538 - 10/28/11 01:52 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: currawong]
AZNpiano Offline
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Originally Posted By: currawong
But if you want to get rich quick, I'd choose another career.



Also, we had our MTAC meeting a few weeks ago. EVERYONE was in need of more students--even the really good teachers! The economy definitely has not picked up around here.

It got so bad around here, a few "music schools" have decided to branch into offering ballet classes.
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#1778610 - 10/28/11 07:32 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
ClsscLib Online   content

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Staying with the facts of the original question, look at it this way: Your studio is full, and you have a waiting list of 30 applicants...

Under those facts, any economist who ever lived -- whether it's Milton Friedman or Karl Marx -- would tell you that you are UNDERPRICING your lessons.

So imagine that for every student who came in, for every lesson, you actually took out your wallet and handed that student $15 to $25 dollars as a gift.

Would you really do that in real life? If so, stay with the current arrangement, because that's exactly what you're already doing, though the delivery mechanics are slightly different.

If not, charge per lesson the amount that the market is now saying you're worth -- then satisfy your altruistic urges by donating some or all of your increased earnings to whatever charitable cause most tickles your fancy (including discounts or rebates to deserving or needy students, if you like). If you leave things in the status quo, you've made a default decision to make the "donations" of the entire amount of your aggregate underpricing to each student (deserving, needy, or neither) on a lesson-by-lesson basis.

Again, if the facts are as originally stated, it's not a question of morality, but rather of how diplomatically to adjust to the price that the piano student market is ALREADY saying you are worth -- a price that to date you have elected to forego collecting.


Edited by ClsscLib (10/28/11 07:33 AM)
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#1778614 - 10/28/11 07:50 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: TimR]
Stanny Offline
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Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: Stanny
I can see why one would raise rates for some but not all. Some students take much more energy to teach.


Uh, have you considered how the students will take that?

Especially the ones who find out they are getting charged more because they are "hard to teach" or maybe "losers?" (harsh word, but SOME will take it that way)

Not sure I'd want to go there.

Look, you give 100% of your best effort to every student for that hour, seems like you'd charge them all the same.


Are you telling me you think every teacher charges the exact same for every student? No one has any partial scholarship students?
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#1778641 - 10/28/11 08:38 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Originally Posted By: MsAdrienne
I still think we piano teachers tend to err on the side of being overly altruistic, even if the result is that our own children can't participate in activities that their friends can afford, or will have trouble affording college (that's everyone now, though). Maybe I'm just being pessimistic tonight. smirk

I think we can ameliorate any personal moral concerns we may harbor by participating as a volunteer with non-profit music schools, MusicLink, doing pro bono work, etc....

Can you imagine any other professional group having this discussion about rates? I'm trying to picture it and just can't see it. What's the matter with us? Have we been charging such low rates as a profession for so long, that we just can't change?

I'm saying this as someone who is a complete wimp about raising fees. laugh I should probably stop now and go to bed. smile


hah, instead of going to bed, maybe you should raise your fees instead!

Really though, if you run the numbers ... 25 hours of teaching X $60 / hour comes out to be just a hair below 80k a year. Plug in performance money / side job at a church or two (and perhaps not paying your full share of taxes, not judging anyone who doesn't) , that really is in the top 25% of earners in the USA at least ... top 10% if you have two really nice church jobs (organists get paid pretty well I hear.)

How much people make in the US


That's not quite accurate, as it has been discussed on this forum before. We have to be sure to compare apples to apples. Teachers who charge $60/hr and have 25 hours of teaching do NOT make $80k, unless they are employed somewhere. The private music teacher is a freelancer, who has to shoulder their own overhead expenses such as purchase and maintenance of an instrument, continued education, hours worked in prep that are not necessarily paid for (or in your example, 25 hours of teaching = 50 hours of total work including prep time and business-related work), insurance, extra vehicle maintenance if they travel to teach, books, attending seminars, etc. You really can't compare that to someone who works a salaried or hourly job as an employee.
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#1778645 - 10/28/11 08:47 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
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Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders


Let's take it a step further. What if you are sure you can get $70/ hour while still having a full studio?


I think this is where uncertainty and risk comes in. You may guess that you can command higher pay, but it's a change, and you don't really know what will happen.

It may not be so much a question of whether I am worth it as a teacher, but uncertainty about parent responses. What does it take for current students to go elsewhere for lessons, or for inquiring students to be uninterested in enrolling?

If you are already at the top of the range of fees charged by local teachers, you may find that you keep current students, but no longer get as many new ones as you'd like.

If you see raising fees as a moral issue, then it's based on the idea that higher fees are cheating students. Are my new fees "highway robbery"? (to quote an old thread). smile
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#1778648 - 10/28/11 08:53 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Ann in Kentucky]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders


Let's take it a step further. What if you are sure you can get $70/ hour while still having a full studio?


I think this is where uncertainty and risk comes in. You may guess that you can command higher pay, but it's a change, and you don't really know what will happen.

It may not be so much a question of whether I am worth it as a teacher, but uncertainty about parent responses. What does it take for current students to go elsewhere for lessons, or for inquiring students to be uninterested in enrolling?

If you are already at the top of the range of fees charged by local teachers, you may find that you keep current students, but no longer get as many new ones as you'd like.

If you see raising fees as a moral issue, then it's based on the idea that higher fees are cheating students. Are my new fees "highway robbery"? (to quote an old thread). smile


Ann, I appreciate what you're saying, but clearly if he has a waiting list this long, he needs to raise his rates.
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#1778650 - 10/28/11 08:57 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
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Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Originally Posted By: currawong
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Really though, if you run the numbers ... 25 hours of teaching X $60 / hour comes out to be just a hair below 80k a year.
That's with teaching 52 weeks a year, though!


well, do you want the money or not!?

Nobody says you have to take vacations. smile

Even if you took 2 to 4 weeks vacation every year, it wouldn't cut your yearly salary by THAT much to complain about.


You may be willing to teach year round, but you'll find that parents do not want to pay for lessons during school vacations (2 weeks winter break, 1 week spring break) and for part of summer vacation (4 weeks to 8 weeks).

So right off the bat, you have to lower your estimation by 25%. Also many teachers have 30 minute lessons, and even those who want 50 students (to get in 25 teaching hours), find they can get only about half that.

Also when you quote pay per year, it can sound falsely high, since the benefits package you get with good jobs (dental and health insurance, and retirement plan, sick leave, paid continuing education etc) is overlooked. You may say a certain professional earns 30K per year, but you're forgetting the 10K in benefits they also receive.

In other words an independent teacher earning 30K would be more fairly equated with someone earning 20K plus benefits.


Edited by Ann in Kentucky (10/28/11 08:58 AM)
Edit Reason: spelling
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#1778653 - 10/28/11 09:02 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Morodiene]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
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Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders


Let's take it a step further. What if you are sure you can get $70/ hour while still having a full studio?


I think this is where uncertainty and risk comes in. You may guess that you can command higher pay, but it's a change, and you don't really know what will happen.

It may not be so much a question of whether I am worth it as a teacher, but uncertainty about parent responses. What does it take for current students to go elsewhere for lessons, or for inquiring students to be uninterested in enrolling?

If you are already at the top of the range of fees charged by local teachers, you may find that you keep current students, but no longer get as many new ones as you'd like.

If you see raising fees as a moral issue, then it's based on the idea that higher fees are cheating students. Are my new fees "highway robbery"? (to quote an old thread). smile


Ann, I appreciate what you're saying, but clearly if he has a waiting list this long, he needs to raise his rates.


Agreed. He mentioned a hypothetical waiting list. smile
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#1778658 - 10/28/11 09:19 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
Stanny Offline
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In this economy, it would be safer to raise rates incrementally until you find you no longer have much of a waiting list.
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#1778668 - 10/28/11 09:41 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: ClsscLib]
Dustin Sanders Offline
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Originally Posted By: ClsscLib
Staying with the facts of the original question, look at it this way: Your studio is full, and you have a waiting list of 30 applicants...

Under those facts, any economist who ever lived -- whether it's Milton Friedman or Karl Marx -- would tell you that you are UNDERPRICING your lessons.

So imagine that for every student who came in, for every lesson, you actually took out your wallet and handed that student $15 to $25 dollars as a gift.

Would you really do that in real life? If so, stay with the current arrangement, because that's exactly what you're already doing, though the delivery mechanics are slightly different.

If not, charge per lesson the amount that the market is now saying you're worth -- then satisfy your altruistic urges by donating some or all of your increased earnings to whatever charitable cause most tickles your fancy (including discounts or rebates to deserving or needy students, if you like). If you leave things in the status quo, you've made a default decision to make the "donations" of the entire amount of your aggregate underpricing to each student (deserving, needy, or neither) on a lesson-by-lesson basis.

Again, if the facts are as originally stated, it's not a question of morality, but rather of how diplomatically to adjust to the price that the piano student market is ALREADY saying you are worth -- a price that to date you have elected to forego collecting.


Very interesting way of putting it - I am handing them money every time they come to a lesson lol , that makes me feel a bit annoyed thinking of it like that and makes me want to raise my rates more now. smile
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#1778669 - 10/28/11 09:45 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Ann in Kentucky]
Dustin Sanders Offline
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Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Originally Posted By: currawong
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Really though, if you run the numbers ... 25 hours of teaching X $60 / hour comes out to be just a hair below 80k a year.
That's with teaching 52 weeks a year, though!


well, do you want the money or not!?

Nobody says you have to take vacations. smile

Even if you took 2 to 4 weeks vacation every year, it wouldn't cut your yearly salary by THAT much to complain about.


You may be willing to teach year round, but you'll find that parents do not want to pay for lessons during school vacations (2 weeks winter break, 1 week spring break) and for part of summer vacation (4 weeks to 8 weeks).

So right off the bat, you have to lower your estimation by 25%. Also many teachers have 30 minute lessons, and even those who want 50 students (to get in 25 teaching hours), find they can get only about half that.

Also when you quote pay per year, it can sound falsely high, since the benefits package you get with good jobs (dental and health insurance, and retirement plan, sick leave, paid continuing education etc) is overlooked. You may say a certain professional earns 30K per year, but you're forgetting the 10K in benefits they also receive.

In other words an independent teacher earning 30K would be more fairly equated with someone earning 20K plus benefits.


I would drop a student immediately even if they refused to continue lessons throughout summer break simply bc it was summer. They are reserving their time slot with my studio, not paying per lesson, so if they don't want to reserve their slot during the summer, fine. It would go to someone else.

The vacations are a different matter ... if they give me notice ahead of time , then I take it into account.

We can set up our own retirement plans, right? Good jobs don't just give you free money to invest in their plans, you have to use your own money ... granted they might match you, but if you diversify over a long period of time, you'll still have a good amount when you get older. I'm 24 and I plan to start by the end of the year. That's 40 years I'll have to build up a massive amount of money ... as long as the USA economy doesn't go FUBAR smirk
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#1778671 - 10/28/11 09:52 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: AZNpiano]
Dustin Sanders Offline
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Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: currawong
But if you want to get rich quick, I'd choose another career.



Also, we had our MTAC meeting a few weeks ago. EVERYONE was in need of more students--even the really good teachers! The economy definitely has not picked up around here.

It got so bad around here, a few "music schools" have decided to branch into offering ballet classes.


In Cali? Maybe you should start undercutting all the other teachers and soak up the student base like a sponge smile

Near where I am, there isn't much competition at all ... type in 'piano lessons insert city here' and you get more of a trickling of studios .. and all the best private teachers don't have websites. The schools that DO don't rank very high, but are beaten by those 'Take Lessons' and 'Get Lessons Now' and 'Lesson Rating' sites.

I am proud that my website ranks very high for many city searches and I advertise EVERYWHERE that seems profitable - so within a year I have a full studio and within the next year I plan to have a huge waiting list.

Perhaps you or other studios near you are afraid to spend money for advertising? My philosophy on business is you have to spend money to make money ... I only spend about 400 a month on advertising, but I make up for it at least 5 times in the profit I make. Then when I get a full studio, I can cut spending on advertisement and simply make all profit.
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#1778680 - 10/28/11 10:11 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
Monica K. Offline

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Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
We can set up our own retirement plans, right?... I'm 24 and I plan to start by the end of the year. That's 40 years I'll have to build up a massive amount of money ... as long as the USA economy doesn't go FUBAR smirk


Good luck with that one. wink
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#1778750 - 10/28/11 12:25 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
MsAdrienne Offline
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Man, I wish I was 24 again and setting up my studio... Well, sort of. When I was 24 the "economy" was good.

I just turned 40 and I am freaking out. frown frown A lot of good 20 years of teaching experience and two degrees does me if I am earning the equivalent of a $20K job and pay out of pocket for insurance and my IRA. This is why I need to raise my rates. They are not up to par right now. Okay, maybe just slightly above par, but not by much. wink

Retirement?? What's that? Some of us are not retiring, ever. I am sure of it.

Okay, I really need to get in a better mood! laugh Time to practice before lessons...
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#1778789 - 10/28/11 01:09 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
lechuan Offline
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Posts: 180
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
You run some numbers and you think you can get $60 / hour - but the catch is you will most likely alienate many of your current students. But the waiting list and the new calls / emails every day or so will easily replace the ones that leave if you raise the rates


Are you sure that any of your current students and those on your waiting list are willing to pay $60 an hour? Or are they currently on your waiting list because they know you are $45 an hour?

I'd stagger it incrementally if I were you. Try a $5 jump to begin with and see the reaction to that. You can use that to gauge if you want to do a bigger jump in a year.

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#1779590 - 10/29/11 08:54 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
luvs2teach Offline
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Undercutting fellow piano teachers to soak up their student base is not only unethical, but reflects poorly on our profession. Here in California, many of us have never had to worry about spending a lot of money advertising to maintain a full studio. I certainly haven't. Just word of mouth has done it for me. I do have a website, which I believe is a great tool for keeping my name out there. I can't imagine spending $400/month on advertising! Maybe you haven't heard about the economic difficulties that states like California, Nevada and Florida have been experiencing these past several years. Sadly, there is no good news on the horizon, either. In spite of the downturn in our studios, many of us continue to attend professional development opportunities, such as MTAC & MTNA conferences, workshops, and branch meetings to further our education. We're not taking this lying down. But the reality is parents don't have the money to spend on piano lessons when they're losing their jobs and/or their houses. That's great your studio is thriving. But then again, it sounds like you're working hard and not making very much money, either.

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#1779852 - 10/30/11 11:07 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: luvs2teach]
Dustin Sanders Offline
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Originally Posted By: luvs2teach
Undercutting fellow piano teachers to soak up their student base is not only unethical, but reflects poorly on our profession. Here in California, many of us have never had to worry about spending a lot of money advertising to maintain a full studio. I certainly haven't. Just word of mouth has done it for me. I do have a website, which I believe is a great tool for keeping my name out there. I can't imagine spending $400/month on advertising! Maybe you haven't heard about the economic difficulties that states like California, Nevada and Florida have been experiencing these past several years. Sadly, there is no good news on the horizon, either. In spite of the downturn in our studios, many of us continue to attend professional development opportunities, such as MTAC & MTNA conferences, workshops, and branch meetings to further our education. We're not taking this lying down. But the reality is parents don't have the money to spend on piano lessons when they're losing their jobs and/or their houses. That's great your studio is thriving. But then again, it sounds like you're working hard and not making very much money, either.


A highly subjective phrase you used ... "But then again, it sounds like you're working hard and not making very much money, either."

I'll just say that I am 24, have no kids and no girlfriend that I need to pamper like a princess. smile

So I only need about 2500 to live on my own with my own studio , all bills paid for by myself.

So with my current number of 20 hours of teaching plus my church job which pays pretty well plus rehearsals here and there plus 5 hours left I wish to fill up in my studio ... comes out to $50 X 20 hours plus some more for the other things listed and more to come. When I run the numbers for the past few months, I am coming out very much ahead even after the advertising and like I said, when my studio get's jam packed, I will stop the advertising so that will be another $400 profit.

I don't need a lot to live well and I don't consider myself working 'very hard'. I get to sleep in until whenever the heck I wish, make my own hours and I have no stress of listening to some idiot boss telling me what they want me to do because their boss told them and their boss told them, ad nauseum.

I love my situation right now and I like the profit I make.

I would love to use word of mouth, but my studio has gotten filled up within a year and I really don't think a year is much time to get word of mouth going. I am confident that it will take effect just like it does with other studios, but right now my advertising is the only way I get more students and I'm getting them VERY fast and keeping them as well.
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#1779960 - 10/30/11 02:55 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: luvs2teach
Maybe you haven't heard about the economic difficulties that states like California, Nevada and Florida have been experiencing these past several years. Sadly, there is no good news on the horizon, either ... But the reality is parents don't have the money to spend on piano lessons when they're losing their jobs and/or their houses.


Having just moved to FL I am now realizing just what this statement means! On the bright side I was able to buy a beautiful home here for a reasonable price as the housing market gets to what it is in other parts of the country. But the downside is that people are suffering and while they want their kids involved in things, they have less discretionary funds available to do it all. They are more likely I think to sign up for something that is for a short time like a camp, rather than lessons which is a long-term activity. That's just my assessment from having moved here. Of course, those who are already taking lessons are making it work, but those who are just getting to the age of lessons might look elsewhere instead.
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#1779997 - 10/30/11 04:13 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
LeaC Offline
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Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Originally Posted By: piano joy
Originally Posted By: ClsscLib
I don't see a moral issue in this question.


It's more of a business issue.
As a consumer (of anything), I would gasp at anything greater than 10% increase in price.
I'm not saying that doesn't happen in various services or products , just saying it seems (to me) too much.
A hike such as you mentioned above (from $45 to $70) would probably make me at least look around very seriously for another teacher- unless I thought you were God's gift to piano students....
In which case I would stay, and whine to my husband.... smile



lol, I am not really considering raising it to $70 I don't think, probably to $60 though.

If you want to find out how families and students view me, you can view my testimonial page and check out the 5 different testimonials. smile

Gods Gift To Piano Students Or ... Something Else?


Anybody can get the publics (laypersons) support. I've got a ton of testimonials, but it is my portfolio of professional references I am proud of. You need to use this money to continue your education. What you need is credentials from objective professionals. That's the proof of a person's qualifications, IMO. Are you going to use the extra money to further you own education? IMO, that is the only justification for charging a rate that is higher than the teachers I know that have Doctoral degrees.


Edited by LeaC (10/30/11 04:16 PM)
Edit Reason: grammar
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#1780022 - 10/30/11 05:13 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: LeaC]
Dustin Sanders Offline
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Originally Posted By: LeaC
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Originally Posted By: piano joy
Originally Posted By: ClsscLib
I don't see a moral issue in this question.


It's more of a business issue.
As a consumer (of anything), I would gasp at anything greater than 10% increase in price.
I'm not saying that doesn't happen in various services or products , just saying it seems (to me) too much.
A hike such as you mentioned above (from $45 to $70) would probably make me at least look around very seriously for another teacher- unless I thought you were God's gift to piano students....
In which case I would stay, and whine to my husband.... smile



lol, I am not really considering raising it to $70 I don't think, probably to $60 though.

If you want to find out how families and students view me, you can view my testimonial page and check out the 5 different testimonials. smile

Gods Gift To Piano Students Or ... Something Else?


Anybody can get the publics (laypersons) support. I've got a ton of testimonials, but it is my portfolio of professional references I am proud of. You need to use this money to continue your education. What you need is credentials from objective professionals. That's the proof of a person's qualifications, IMO. Are you going to use the extra money to further you own education? IMO, that is the only justification for charging a rate that is higher than the teachers I know that have Doctoral degrees.


Well, just because someone has a doctoral degree doesn't mean they are great with children or they inspire children to want to learn. Or they are willing to venture into pop music and braodway / movie themes instead of drilling Scarlatti and Mozart all day long. (Although children do enjoy classical music if it's the right kind of pieces.)

It also depends on what the parents want out of lessons. I am not running a studio to create competition winners, I am running it to do what I love and to inspire all ages to enjoy piano and have fun with it.
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#1780023 - 10/30/11 05:15 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
LeaC Offline
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Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 413
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: currawong
But if you want to get rich quick, I'd choose another career.



Also, we had our MTAC meeting a few weeks ago. EVERYONE was in need of more students--even the really good teachers! The economy definitely has not picked up around here.

It got so bad around here, a few "music schools" have decided to branch into offering ballet classes.


In Cali? Maybe you should start undercutting all the other teachers and soak up the student base like a sponge smile

Near where I am, there isn't much competition at all ... type in 'piano lessons insert city here' and you get more of a trickling of studios .. and all the best private teachers don't have websites. The schools that DO don't rank very high, but are beaten by those 'Take Lessons' and 'Get Lessons Now' and 'Lesson Rating' sites.

I am proud that my website ranks very high for many city searches and I advertise EVERYWHERE that seems profitable - so within a year I have a full studio and within the next year I plan to have a huge waiting list.

Perhaps you or other studios near you are afraid to spend money for advertising? My philosophy on business is you have to spend money to make money ... I only spend about 400 a month on advertising, but I make up for it at least 5 times in the profit I make. Then when I get a full studio, I can cut spending on advertisement and simply make all profit.



Dustin, I happen to know most of the teachers around where you speak of, and it is hard not to feel irritated when I see you writing things like this. There are some very good teachers in Baltimore, and if you plan to move your business closer to Baltimore, I hope you are prepared for some competition. You get closer to Peabody, and those brilliant students are happy to teach for less. Plus, there are some oustanding teachers who I recommend based on their consistent and earnest efforts to be good teachers , not only good business persons. (On the other hand, I know of a few people off the top of my head who have absolutely NO qualifications at all and are making thousands of dollars a year based on personality alone. When I say no qualifications, I mean they can hardly play out of a book two level.)

Anyway, why don't you take a look at the front page of the MSMTA web site and read their code of ethics. It is wise, I think, to remain within that code, whether or not you are in the group.

You also need to consider taking that pretty bad jab at "certain" teachers on your web site down, as that is not going to do well for your reputation. You may feel safe by using the Internet, but your personal reputation and how you treat fellow teachers does matter. I think it's pretty low of you to stoop to cater to those who want to bad mouth their previous teacher. That certainly is the lowest form of advertising I can think of. Not cool. Let me tell you, there is a lot you don't know about that area.
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#1780026 - 10/30/11 05:21 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: LeaC]
Dustin Sanders Offline
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Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: LeaC
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: currawong
But if you want to get rich quick, I'd choose another career.



Also, we had our MTAC meeting a few weeks ago. EVERYONE was in need of more students--even the really good teachers! The economy definitely has not picked up around here.

It got so bad around here, a few "music schools" have decided to branch into offering ballet classes.


In Cali? Maybe you should start undercutting all the other teachers and soak up the student base like a sponge smile

Near where I am, there isn't much competition at all ... type in 'piano lessons insert city here' and you get more of a trickling of studios .. and all the best private teachers don't have websites. The schools that DO don't rank very high, but are beaten by those 'Take Lessons' and 'Get Lessons Now' and 'Lesson Rating' sites.

I am proud that my website ranks very high for many city searches and I advertise EVERYWHERE that seems profitable - so within a year I have a full studio and within the next year I plan to have a huge waiting list.

Perhaps you or other studios near you are afraid to spend money for advertising? My philosophy on business is you have to spend money to make money ... I only spend about 400 a month on advertising, but I make up for it at least 5 times in the profit I make. Then when I get a full studio, I can cut spending on advertisement and simply make all profit.



Dustin, I happen to know most of the teachers around where you speak of, and it is hard not to feel irritated when I see you writing things like this. There are some very good teachers in Baltimore, and if you plan to move your business closer to Baltimore, I hope you are prepared for some competition. You get closer to Peabody, and those brilliant students are happy to teach for less. Plus, there are some oustanding teachers who I recommend based on their consistent and earnest efforts to be good teachers , not only good business persons. (On the other hand, I know of a few people off the top of my head who have absolutely NO qualifications at all and are making thousands of dollars a year based on personality alone. When I say no qualifications, I mean they can hardly play out of a book two level.)

Anyway, why don't you take a look at the front page of the MSMTA web site and read their code of ethics. It is wise, I think, to remain within that code, whether or not you are in the group.

You also need to consider taking that pretty bad jab at "certain" teachers on your web site down, as that is not going to do well for your reputation. You may feel safe by using the Internet, but your personal reputation and how you treat fellow teachers does matter. I think it's pretty low of you to stoop to cater to those who want to bad mouth their previous teacher. That certainly is the lowest form of advertising I can think of. Not cool. Let me tell you, there is a lot you don't know about that area.


Didn't you just make a jab at those teachers who can't play out of level 2 and only make thousands of dollars with their personality?

Hmmm. I like my jab because it's true. There are in fact many awful teachers out there, not JUST in music.

So if one of those awful teachers dislikes me for my comment, I am happy to let them dislike me. I won't be dealing with them and also won't be hiring them if I increase my studio's throughout the area.

I am not moving directly to Baltimore, but in a place called Cockeysville - then most likely to Towson later on. I've already done tons of research on the competition and none of them have any Google status. None. Except the Peabody Prep and also one other private teacher who ranks in the top 2 for piano lesson in Baltimore searches.

I don't have a degree, but I have experience and passion to better myself through my life. I still plan to study privately and prepare for competitions. Not having a degree doesn't automatically mean someone is a failure. It's really only a degree after all ...



Edited by Dustin Sanders (10/30/11 05:25 PM)
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#1780027 - 10/30/11 05:23 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
Dustin Sanders Offline
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Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Oh and Lea, my comment about undercutting other teachers was a joke if that's one thing you were irritated about.
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#1780048 - 10/30/11 06:11 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
LeaC Offline
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Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 413
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Originally Posted By: LeaC
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: currawong
But if you want to get rich quick, I'd choose another career.



Also, we had our MTAC meeting a few weeks ago. EVERYONE was in need of more students--even the really good teachers! The economy definitely has not picked up around here.

It got so bad around here, a few "music schools" have decided to branch into offering ballet classes.


In Cali? Maybe you should start undercutting all the other teachers and soak up the student base like a sponge smile

Near where I am, there isn't much competition at all ... type in 'piano lessons insert city here' and you get more of a trickling of studios .. and all the best private teachers don't have websites. The schools that DO don't rank very high, but are beaten by those 'Take Lessons' and 'Get Lessons Now' and 'Lesson Rating' sites.

I am proud that my website ranks very high for many city searches and I advertise EVERYWHERE that seems profitable - so within a year I have a full studio and within the next year I plan to have a huge waiting list.

Perhaps you or other studios near you are afraid to spend money for advertising? My philosophy on business is you have to spend money to make money ... I only spend about 400 a month on advertising, but I make up for it at least 5 times in the profit I make. Then when I get a full studio, I can cut spending on advertisement and simply make all profit.



Dustin, I happen to know most of the teachers around where you speak of, and it is hard not to feel irritated when I see you writing things like this. There are some very good teachers in Baltimore, and if you plan to move your business closer to Baltimore, I hope you are prepared for some competition. You get closer to Peabody, and those brilliant students are happy to teach for less. Plus, there are some oustanding teachers who I recommend based on their consistent and earnest efforts to be good teachers , not only good business persons. (On the other hand, I know of a few people off the top of my head who have absolutely NO qualifications at all and are making thousands of dollars a year based on personality alone. When I say no qualifications, I mean they can hardly play out of a book two level.)

Anyway, why don't you take a look at the front page of the MSMTA web site and read their code of ethics. It is wise, I think, to remain within that code, whether or not you are in the group.

You also need to consider taking that pretty bad jab at "certain" teachers on your web site down, as that is not going to do well for your reputation. You may feel safe by using the Internet, but your personal reputation and how you treat fellow teachers does matter. I think it's pretty low of you to stoop to cater to those who want to bad mouth their previous teacher. That certainly is the lowest form of advertising I can think of. Not cool. Let me tell you, there is a lot you don't know about that area.


Didn't you just make a jab at those teachers who can't play out of level 2 and only make thousands of dollars with their personality?

Hmmm. I like my jab because it's true. There are in fact many awful teachers out there, not JUST in music.

So if one of those awful teachers dislikes me for my comment, I am happy to let them dislike me. I won't be dealing with them and also won't be hiring them if I increase my studio's throughout the area.

I am not moving directly to Baltimore, but in a place called Cockeysville - then most likely to Towson later on. I've already done tons of research on the competition and none of them have any Google status. None. Except the Peabody Prep and also one other private teacher who ranks in the top 2 for piano lesson in Baltimore searches.

I don't have a degree, but I have experience and passion to better myself through my life. I still plan to study privately and prepare for competitions. Not having a degree doesn't automatically mean someone is a failure. It's really only a degree after all ...



Yes, I did make a negative comment about several teachers who should not be teaching. But that is here on a teaching forum, and not to the public as an angle to get students. Big difference. The thing is to highlight what you have to offer, and not to put down teachers publically to potential students and their parents. That is unethical. There was a time when I would listen to a student or parent complain, and jump right into their argument against said teacher. Now I know better. Specifically, your comments about a teacher(s) who was purported to have stopped their students frequently while they were playing at their lessons I find to be one-sided and unfair. For all I know, that could be me you are talking about, you know? I can tell you about the bad transfer students I have had, too. So can many teachers.

Dustin, there are a lot of positive aspects to your teaching and to your studio. Your statements are often provocative, however.

I didn't say you needed a degree to teach, but, on-going education is expected of teachers, in some form. And a few pedagogy courses are necessary, in my mind. Due to financial hardship, I've apprenticed with friends of mine even, to learn what they learned in their pedagogy classes at times. Is your motivation to learn your craft as strong as your motivation to make money? That's what I'm left thinking after all of this.
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#1780054 - 10/30/11 06:26 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
Dustin Sanders Offline
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Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Yes, but what I have to offer is directly connected to what others do not. So if other teachers are awful teachers and should not be teaching, why should one not be able to use that as a reason to choose my studio?

My statements are provocative cause I'm a provocative person - It's my personality. My students like me for my personality and it just so happens I can at least play in books a wee bit past level 2. smile

I do think that teachers who make it a rule to stop their students mid flight are not doing them justice. Sure, do it sometimes, but it's important that the student get's to have fun.

But I admit, it is one sided. I stop my students mid flight as well, but I vary it up. I know some other teacher styles where they stop immediately the student makes a mistake. This is what I was referring too. It makes the student feel tense and they can't relax because they will become very conscious and afraid of trying.

Do you like my teaching philosophy at least? Many parents compliment me on that page and say that's the reason they chose my studio. Not because of other 'provocative' things I may say because I'm 24 and brash. smile
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#1780061 - 10/30/11 06:39 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11420
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Yes, but what I have to offer is directly connected to what others do not. So if other teachers are awful teachers and should not be teaching, why should one not be able to use that as a reason to choose my studio?

My statements are provocative cause I'm a provocative person - It's my personality. My students like me for my personality and it just so happens I can at least play in books a wee bit past level 2. smile

I do think that teachers who make it a rule to stop their students mid flight are not doing them justice. Sure, do it sometimes, but it's important that the student get's to have fun.

But I admit, it is one sided. I stop my students mid flight as well, but I vary it up. I know some other teacher styles where they stop immediately the student makes a mistake. This is what I was referring too. It makes the student feel tense and they can't relax because they will become very conscious and afraid of trying.

Do you like my teaching philosophy at least? Many parents compliment me on that page and say that's the reason they chose my studio. Not because of other 'provocative' things I may say because I'm 24 and brash. smile


I've had some students who will keep playing no matter what the mistakes, and so each time they play a song it's different. One boy in particular had started doing this at some point and I asked him why he wouldn't try fixing his mistake when he made it and he said he was trying to play it like a performance. I commended him on this as it should be done, but *after* you've worked a piece to the point where you reduce the amount of mistakes. After this conversation, I had to stop him at each mistake so he would listen to his playing and become more aware of how it sounded vs. how it should sound. This took quite some time and I would probably stop him after the first note sometimes.

Was that bad teaching? I don't feel it was, and it was for a specific purpose. But you wouldn't know that if you asked my student, "How did you previous teacher go through your pieces with you?" and he answered about me stopping him all the time to fix mistakes. It's that sort of thing. There are always two sides (at least), and you can certainly address concerns a parent might have while not ragging on the previous teacher.

In my previous town I knew of many of the teachers and I would withhold judgment on those transfers from teachers I didn't know until I saw what the student was doing. Even if it later was proven that the previous teacher didn't really know what they were doing, I would let the student arrive at that conclusion in comparison to what they were learning with me. There ARE charlatans out there, but my qualifications more than speak out against them, and my results do as well.
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#1780088 - 10/30/11 07:11 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Morodiene]
LeaC Offline
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Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 413
Loc: USA
Dustin and Morodiene,

Let me make it clear that the teachers (in Baltimore) that I am talking about are nothing like either of you, or anyone else on PW. These teachers would not have the slightest inclination to do anything like this. Absolutely no comparison was meant at all!
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#1780093 - 10/30/11 07:17 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Morodiene]
LeaC Offline
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Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 413
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Yes, but what I have to offer is directly connected to what others do not. So if other teachers are awful teachers and should not be teaching, why should one not be able to use that as a reason to choose my studio?

My statements are provocative cause I'm a provocative person - It's my personality. My students like me for my personality and it just so happens I can at least play in books a wee bit past level 2. smile

I do think that teachers who make it a rule to stop their students mid flight are not doing them justice. Sure, do it sometimes, but it's important that the student get's to have fun.

But I admit, it is one sided. I stop my students mid flight as well, but I vary it up. I know some other teacher styles where they stop immediately the student makes a mistake. This is what I was referring too. It makes the student feel tense and they can't relax because they will become very conscious and afraid of trying.

Do you like my teaching philosophy at least? Many parents compliment me on that page and say that's the reason they chose my studio. Not because of other 'provocative' things I may say because I'm 24 and brash. smile


I've had some students who will keep playing no matter what the mistakes, and so each time they play a song it's different. One boy in particular had started doing this at some point and I asked him why he wouldn't try fixing his mistake when he made it and he said he was trying to play it like a performance. I commended him on this as it should be done, but *after* you've worked a piece to the point where you reduce the amount of mistakes. After this conversation, I had to stop him at each mistake so he would listen to his playing and become more aware of how it sounded vs. how it should sound. This took quite some time and I would probably stop him after the first note sometimes.

Was that bad teaching? I don't feel it was, and it was for a specific purpose. But you wouldn't know that if you asked my student, "How did you previous teacher go through your pieces with you?" and he answered about me stopping him all the time to fix mistakes. It's that sort of thing. There are always two sides (at least), and you can certainly address concerns a parent might have while not ragging on the previous teacher.

In my previous town I knew of many of the teachers and I would withhold judgment on those transfers from teachers I didn't know until I saw what the student was doing. Even if it later was proven that the previous teacher didn't really know what they were doing, I would let the student arrive at that conclusion in comparison to what they were learning with me. There ARE charlatans out there, but my qualifications more than speak out against them, and my results do as well.


This is a perfect example of what I am talking about. It will be the exceptional student (maybe someone with certain limitations, for example), who may turn to another teacher and place blame on the previous teacher.

Of course, it's a good idea to allow students to play through their pieces. There are specific goals that must be achieved, too, and that sometimes means playing in sections, and repeating certain areas in a piece. Students may balk at what they don't have patience for, but that doesn't mean the teacher is wrong.
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#1780123 - 10/30/11 08:03 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5901
Loc: Down Under
Dustin, some of what you say is just not adding up for me, nor is it fitting with what you've said in other threads elsewhere on PW.
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
So I only need about 2500 to live on my own with my own studio , all bills paid for by myself.
("by myself" - haha - Who else would be likely to pay them for you?)

But do you mean $2500 a month? And this includes rent, business expenses, taxation, educational expenses, household expenses, transport, maintenance of your piano??
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#1780124 - 10/30/11 08:06 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
Minniemay Offline
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Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
I wondered about the tax portion, too. Taxes are a huge part -- somewhere between 15%-25% of income.
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#1780159 - 10/30/11 09:18 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: currawong]
Dustin Sanders Offline
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Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: currawong
Dustin, some of what you say is just not adding up for me, nor is it fitting with what you've said in other threads elsewhere on PW.
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
So I only need about 2500 to live on my own with my own studio , all bills paid for by myself.
("by myself" - haha - Who else would be likely to pay them for you?)

But do you mean $2500 a month? And this includes rent, business expenses, taxation, educational expenses, household expenses, transport, maintenance of your piano??


$2,500 a month, yes. And why would it be so funny that I included the 'by myself' part? Some people have significant others that help pay the bills. Or they might have inherited a lot of money that helps them. Or if they are young like me, one of their parents could be continuing to agree to pay part of some bills. I know a few people my age that still have their parents helping them.

Also, in regards to the other comments, it is a different story when you make the agreement ahead of time to stop the student at every pause / wrong note / wrong rhythm / wrong styling, etc. If THAT is the case, then the student is prepared for it and if the teacher / student relationship is comfortable , then it shouldn't be any problem.

I suppose what I am referring to are the teachers who do this beginner students and don't make it a point to explain what they are doing or who ALSO don't let the student simply play and enjoy themselves once in a while.

I see how my comment can be confused as bashing more teachers than I originally wanted. I'll think to revise it. Thanks for the comments.
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#1780165 - 10/30/11 09:23 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Minniemay]
Dustin Sanders Offline
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Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: Minniemay
I wondered about the tax portion, too. Taxes are a huge part -- somewhere between 15%-25% of income.


Oh, so it's only ok for churches and big dog corporations and millionaires to evade taxes? laugh

Anyway, 20% tax of 5,000 is 1,000. 5,000 - 1,000 is 4,000. 4,000 - 2,500 is 1,500. 1,500 profit before I raise my rates and before I add an additional 5 hours of students into my open slots.

I don't know about others, but I am comfortable with that when other people are losing their houses and becoming homeless in this economy.
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#1780186 - 10/30/11 09:51 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
LeaC Offline
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Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 413
Loc: USA
Very mature of you.
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#1780194 - 10/30/11 10:04 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: LeaC]
Dustin Sanders Offline
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Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: LeaC
Very mature of you.


Wait a second, is this sarcasm or sincerity? My detector is in in the 'confused' zone!
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#1780224 - 10/30/11 10:47 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
LeaC Offline
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Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 413
Loc: USA
Sincere! I can see where you might wonder as I can be that way at times.
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#1780247 - 10/30/11 11:30 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders

Oh, so it's only ok for churches and big dog corporations and millionaires to evade taxes? laugh


Churches do not "evade taxes". The tax law is written so they are not taxed. They are following the tax law as written.


Edited by rocket88 (10/31/11 12:20 AM)
Edit Reason: clarity
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#1780281 - 10/31/11 01:26 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: LeaC]
AZNpiano Offline
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Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5418
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: LeaC
Anyway, why don't you take a look at the front page of the MSMTA web site and read their code of ethics. It is wise, I think, to remain within that code, whether or not you are in the group.

Dustin was referring to my previous post (in another thread) that certain teachers--even ones in my MTA--who keep their rates so low, that it's impossible for other piano teachers in the area from attaining full studios. These teachers "hog up" all the students and have waiting lists longer than the Great Wall of China. What's worse? These teachers are long past retirement age--they are older than my grandparents!! And piano teachers live forever, you know? They just keep teaching until they drop dead in their studio one day.

So, what can I say about these teachers? Nothing. If I complain to MTAC heads of state, they'll just brush it off. What really bothers me is that these teachers also let their students take our state test, CM. You can just imagine how poorly their students do. But what I don't understand is how they manage to KEEP so many freakin' students, despite such poor performances!?

Meanwhile, responsible teachers are losing students left and right. This makes no sense.
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#1780438 - 10/31/11 11:25 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
Luke in ChiTown Offline
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Registered: 03/07/11
Posts: 96
Loc: Chicago, Illinois, USA
It's amazing how LOW the expectation level is of many (maybe most) parents regarding their child's music instruction.

Now there are plenty of exceptions to the statements I am about to make, but I've learned from many years of teaching that...

• Many (most) parents, deep down, really don't believe that their child is going to succeed at the piano. This is confirmed by their sincere expressions of shock when the child actually begins to. And this is because that, on the whole, most children don't.

• Many (most) parents have no concept of the training and experience that goes into becoming a really great teacher. It always cracks me up when parents say something to me in the middle of a lesson like, "Wow, you really do know a lot about music." And they are completely genuine about it! Or, when I sit down to the keyboard to demonstrate a little bit myself and they are so impressed! Almost like they are surprised that their child's piano teacher can actually play the instrument. And this is because there are many who practically can't.

I've come to accept that what I do and the professionalism that I bring to it will always be something that is valued by a minority of the population. When I lived in a small suburb outside of a small midwestern city with a failing economy, this was a problem. I had to keep rates fairly low and take whatever I could get.

Here in Chicago, the situation is a bit different. Out of a city of 2.9 million people and a metropolitan area of nearly 10 million, I need to find forty or fifty families who really get what I'm about as a teacher, who appreciate what I have to offer, and are willing to pay accordingly for it. Those are the kind of students I want. It takes a while for you to find each other, but it is much better in the long run.

Now, back to the topic of the original post, I think one of the biggest mistakes that new teachers make starting out is to price themselves too low. Once you enter the market at a certain rate, you are limited to incremental increases unless you want to pretty much start over. Families who had grown accustomed to paying $45 for your services are not going to be happy about now having to pay $60 an hour, even if it turns out they were getting a deal before and are now paying you more appropriately.

It takes more time to build up a studio in the beginning if your rate is on the higher side, but you will attract a more dedicated calibre of student. You will also be in a position to offer partial scholarships to those students who value your services but can legitimately not afford them. Also, if you command a higher rate, you will not feel as obligated to fill every waking hour of your schedule with students to get by, and are therefore more likely to greet each teaching day with patience, nurturing, and a smile on your face. You and your students both benefit.
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#1780464 - 10/31/11 12:04 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: rocket88]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: rocket88
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders

Oh, so it's only ok for churches and big dog corporations and millionaires to evade taxes? laugh


Churches do not "evade taxes". The tax law is written so they are not taxed. They are following the tax law as written.


Ok, so private jets and multi million dollar homes that are untaxed from the filthy rich mega church Pastors is quite moral.

Or is simply breaking the law immoral and anything you do outside of that is moral?

Also, using my tax money for many things that are quite absurd such as the United States desperate need to police the world and go on trillion dollar wars might make some people not feel their tax money is being used properly.

Not really important anyway, I don't want to go on a rant about this lol - But There are many things in the US lawbooks that I would consider to be immoral.
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#1780465 - 10/31/11 12:07 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: AZNpiano]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: LeaC
Anyway, why don't you take a look at the front page of the MSMTA web site and read their code of ethics. It is wise, I think, to remain within that code, whether or not you are in the group.

Dustin was referring to my previous post (in another thread) that certain teachers--even ones in my MTA--who keep their rates so low, that it's impossible for other piano teachers in the area from attaining full studios. These teachers "hog up" all the students and have waiting lists longer than the Great Wall of China. What's worse? These teachers are long past retirement age--they are older than my grandparents!! And piano teachers live forever, you know? They just keep teaching until they drop dead in their studio one day.

So, what can I say about these teachers? Nothing. If I complain to MTAC heads of state, they'll just brush it off. What really bothers me is that these teachers also let their students take our state test, CM. You can just imagine how poorly their students do. But what I don't understand is how they manage to KEEP so many freakin' students, despite such poor performances!?

Meanwhile, responsible teachers are losing students left and right. This makes no sense.


Do you have concrete numbers? Are the teachers still charging what they were charging from the 1950's? Or is it only a 10$ an hour difference?
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#1780471 - 10/31/11 12:19 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Originally Posted By: rocket88
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders

Oh, so it's only ok for churches and big dog corporations and millionaires to evade taxes? laugh


Churches do not "evade taxes". The tax law is written so they are not taxed. They are following the tax law as written.


Ok, so private jets and multi million dollar homes that are untaxed from the filthy rich mega church Pastors is quite moral.



We are not talking about morality...you began this with an allegation that churches "evade" taxes. They do not, so your point is based on a legal issue, not a moral one. Don't mix terms.

But I agree with you...filthy rich pastors are odious, and in my view, immoral.

But what you need to know is that they are abberations, a tiny minority of church people, and an embarrassment indeed to the majority of churches and pastors who are anything but rich.

Why would you use them as your example, rather than the majority who are not rich, do not have private jets or multi million dollar homes?

I was the church pianist for a while in a small church, and the pastor worked a full-time job in a hardware store. I never got a chance to see his jet plane! laugh

BTW, the same not-for-profit tax-exempt laws that religious organizations operate under also apply to many other organizations, such as Symphonies and music colleges.

Quote:
Not really important anyway, I don't want to go on a rant about this lol - But There are many things in the US lawbooks that I would consider to be immoral.


I certainly agree with you there!


Edited by rocket88 (10/31/11 12:37 PM)
Edit Reason: clarity
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#1780485 - 10/31/11 12:48 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
pianomommy1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/10/09
Posts: 54
Loc: Florida
I have been holding my tongue on this topic but I can't seem to do that anymore. I own a music school and I must say ... I didn't even KNOW that you could have comments put up on the "place page" on Google until today. "Google Status" does not a studio make! With that said, we have NO comments (either positive or negative) about our school on that page. Does that make ME or my teachers "bad" teachers? No -- maybe it means that I don't "ask" my parents to go to that site and comment.... maybe it means that my parents are too busy to "worry" about commenting on that site. To make a "blanket" statement about the ability/personality/etc about a teacher/school based on "comments" alone, is a bit bold.

I have been teaching for 30+ years and I have never "advertised" until a few years ago -- only to see what would happen. When you are good, it doesn't take long for word of mouth to fill up your studio. I had a full studio when I decided to advertise so it really "was" just to see what would happen. What happened? I had to find more time. Then a bigger space. Then hired teachers ... because I was/am good and my personality is calming and vivacious (yes -- it can be both). I do NOT spend $400 per month on advertising. That (in my opinion) is insane!

My own children are your age and they have discovered that they they will earn more money without being "brash" and "provocative". They are loved by their students because they are demanding but gentle. That is the way it is with ALL my teachers. My teachers have upper level degrees but that DOES NOT MEAN that they are not good with children, etc. All of our teachers have degrees and are still learning because we can never learn it all. They still study with others, they still have round-table discussions.

I would just ask you to be careful in your remarks. You ARE only 24 and you have no degree. Yes, real life experience counts for something but please know that there are MANY on here and "out there" who have much more life experience and more knowledge and more business sense and more training and more time on their side, than you. Please ... be careful about making general statements that can not be proven.

Personally -- if I was in need of a teacher, I would not be going to someone who was "bashing" others on their website. Let your own abilities speak for themselves. Maybe I am a fuddy-duddy, and old-fashioned, but where is the respect for others? I make sure my teachers respect the student and family and I expect my teachers to NEVER bash another teacher. There is NO need for that. (with or without knowing names of teachers)

I agree with many other posters here -- don't disrespect another teacher (no matter how bad you think they are) because you don't know the underlying circumstances and situations.

Ok -- I am done here -- I know I might be banned for some of my remarks and if so... so be it... but I do implore you to be respectful of others -- either in person or on your website -- it will go a LONG way later in life.

To answer your original question -- when you raise your rates more than the market can bear, you will price yourself OUT of a job. Don't worry about the money end so much. If you teach because you love it, then it will show and you will have a full studio and you won't be "worried" so much about raising your rates. You can "expect" to have a waiting list, but be advised, that some on a waiting list don't STAY on a waiting list -- they go elsewhere. Just chill and keep your prices acceptable for your experience, ability and knowledge.
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#1780510 - 10/31/11 01:20 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5418
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Do you have concrete numbers? Are the teachers still charging what they were charging from the 1950's? Or is it only a 10$ an hour difference?


I have no idea when these teachers started teaching, but I can tell you the difference between their fees and my fee is anywhere between $15 and $40 per hour. I have had several students transferring from these teachers, and it's obvious to me which ones are solid teachers who just have no business sense and which ones are the charlatans.

I didn't include two music schools several miles away in two different cities. They keep their fees low because of the local demographics. One of these institutions is run by a very capable piano teacher--it's not every day that you get to hear piano students play popular music well. I'm just glad they found their niche and can serve their student populations.
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#1780547 - 10/31/11 02:23 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: pianomommy1]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: pianomommy1
I have been holding my tongue on this topic but I can't seem to do that anymore. I own a music school and I must say ... I didn't even KNOW that you could have comments put up on the "place page" on Google until today. "Google Status" does not a studio make! With that said, we have NO comments (either positive or negative) about our school on that page. Does that make ME or my teachers "bad" teachers? No -- maybe it means that I don't "ask" my parents to go to that site and comment.... maybe it means that my parents are too busy to "worry" about commenting on that site. To make a "blanket" statement about the ability/personality/etc about a teacher/school based on "comments" alone, is a bit bold.

I have been teaching for 30+ years and I have never "advertised" until a few years ago -- only to see what would happen. When you are good, it doesn't take long for word of mouth to fill up your studio. I had a full studio when I decided to advertise so it really "was" just to see what would happen. What happened? I had to find more time. Then a bigger space. Then hired teachers ... because I was/am good and my personality is calming and vivacious (yes -- it can be both). I do NOT spend $400 per month on advertising. That (in my opinion) is insane!

My own children are your age and they have discovered that they they will earn more money without being "brash" and "provocative". They are loved by their students because they are demanding but gentle. That is the way it is with ALL my teachers. My teachers have upper level degrees but that DOES NOT MEAN that they are not good with children, etc. All of our teachers have degrees and are still learning because we can never learn it all. They still study with others, they still have round-table discussions.

I would just ask you to be careful in your remarks. You ARE only 24 and you have no degree. Yes, real life experience counts for something but please know that there are MANY on here and "out there" who have much more life experience and more knowledge and more business sense and more training and more time on their side, than you. Please ... be careful about making general statements that can not be proven.

Personally -- if I was in need of a teacher, I would not be going to someone who was "bashing" others on their website. Let your own abilities speak for themselves. Maybe I am a fuddy-duddy, and old-fashioned, but where is the respect for others? I make sure my teachers respect the student and family and I expect my teachers to NEVER bash another teacher. There is NO need for that. (with or without knowing names of teachers)

I agree with many other posters here -- don't disrespect another teacher (no matter how bad you think they are) because you don't know the underlying circumstances and situations.

Ok -- I am done here -- I know I might be banned for some of my remarks and if so... so be it... but I do implore you to be respectful of others -- either in person or on your website -- it will go a LONG way later in life.

To answer your original question -- when you raise your rates more than the market can bear, you will price yourself OUT of a job. Don't worry about the money end so much. If you teach because you love it, then it will show and you will have a full studio and you won't be "worried" so much about raising your rates. You can "expect" to have a waiting list, but be advised, that some on a waiting list don't STAY on a waiting list -- they go elsewhere. Just chill and keep your prices acceptable for your experience, ability and knowledge.


You're definitely not going to get banned for your comments. I take no offense to them.

Click through rate for google places listing is much much higher when you are listed number ESPECIALLY if you have the 5 star rating next to you with positive reviews.

Now, the thing about advertising in my area. I live in the middle of nowhere. It takes me more than 10 minutes to get to anything you could call 'civilization' - gas pump, grocery store, a restaurant.

I wasn't advertising $400 / month for the entire last year. I was doing about $200 / month simply using google adwords. That got me most of my students because my website wasn't listed high at that time. Craigslist brought me some as well. Then within the past 3 months, I've been doing about $400 to push really hard to max out my studio.

This word of mouth you speak of doesn't get you 30 students within a years time during the FIRST year you start teaching. I would find that to be insane if anyone attempted to argue it IS possible. Unless you get lucky and have another teacher send you all their students after they move or they retire.

I had to spend money to get my students. Many of my students travel a big distance to reach me. I had lots of families pass me up because I lived too far away from them.

So , yeah - within a year, advertising between 200 and 400 a month , I have gotten together 30 students within a year.

If anyone could explain to me how spending $400 a month when the advertising costs are quite well paid for with the income of my lessons is a bad idea ...

As for my 'bashing' of other teachers, I have heard horror stories about the two sites I do list on my website as having none or negative reviews. I also listed another studio that I think has exceptional reviews and said I would recommend that studio because of the happy clients.





Edited by Dustin Sanders (10/31/11 02:26 PM)
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#1780554 - 10/31/11 02:39 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: rocket88]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: rocket88
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Originally Posted By: rocket88
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders

Oh, so it's only ok for churches and big dog corporations and millionaires to evade taxes? laugh


Churches do not "evade taxes". The tax law is written so they are not taxed. They are following the tax law as written.


Ok, so private jets and multi million dollar homes that are untaxed from the filthy rich mega church Pastors is quite moral.



We are not talking about morality...you began this with an allegation that churches "evade" taxes. They do not, so your point is based on a legal issue, not a moral one. Don't mix terms.

But I agree with you...filthy rich pastors are odious, and in my view, immoral.

But what you need to know is that they are abberations, a tiny minority of church people, and an embarrassment indeed to the majority of churches and pastors who are anything but rich.

Why would you use them as your example, rather than the majority who are not rich, do not have private jets or multi million dollar homes?

I was the church pianist for a while in a small church, and the pastor worked a full-time job in a hardware store. I never got a chance to see his jet plane! laugh

BTW, the same not-for-profit tax-exempt laws that religious organizations operate under also apply to many other organizations, such as Symphonies and music colleges.

Quote:
Not really important anyway, I don't want to go on a rant about this lol - But There are many things in the US lawbooks that I would consider to be immoral.


I certainly agree with you there!


When I see the mega churches and million dollar private jets publically frowned upon by the majority of other churches and pastors or Christians - instead of them preaching hate towards homosexuals and atheists, then I might agree with your point.

I was also under the impression that many small churches have to give a portion of their rakings to their parent churches and organizations who are all part of the entire chain of command - which eventually leads to the megachurches and high profile church leaders who are making quite a lot of money.

I also admit you are correct about the term 'evade' as being the wrong choice.

errrr, and the music colleges and symphonies do not lay guilt trips on their members or hint that you may not be a proper member if you do not donate 10% of your income. An argument could also be made that they actually teach things that are beneficial to society, rather than a church for instance where it isn't an academic institution, but a place for a few to tell the many what they believe is the true interpretation of ONE book, but without actually teaching the mainstream textual criticism of the majority of new testament scholars. So churches are not there to teach, but to preach. I think that's a notable difference.

Symphonies and music schools also do not discriminate based off sexual orientation or belief system.
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#1780561 - 10/31/11 02:48 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders

When I see the mega churches and million dollar private jets publically frowned upon by the majority of other churches and pastors or Christians...


That information exists, but you would have to study the issue to find out that information, because it is not controversial or sensational, and thus the media will not broadcast it.

Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders

I was also under the impression that many small churches have to give a portion of their rakings...


Rakings? Nice.

Bye, Dustin...have a nice day!

ps...Do you realize that now all the religious people in your area who google your name for piano lessons will potentially see this thread and read your thoughts about the church. (not just the Christian church...other faiths also collect "rakings")

Is insulting large portions of the population a component of your business plan?


Edited by rocket88 (10/31/11 03:19 PM)
Edit Reason: clarity
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#1780604 - 10/31/11 03:52 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
Dustin, I find your general attitude hard to swallow. You have a lot to learn.
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#1780681 - 10/31/11 05:22 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: pianomommy1]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5418
Loc: Orange County, CA
I agree with everything you wrote in your post, except for this statement:
Originally Posted By: pianomommy1
If you teach because you love it, then it will show and you will have a full studio and you won't be "worried" so much about raising your rates.

Plenty of piano teachers truly love their jobs, but their studios are not full, and if they raise their rates at all, they'll end up with fewer and fewer students.

I think THAT is the real "moral dilemma" of being a piano teacher.
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#1780719 - 10/31/11 06:59 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: rocket88]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: rocket88
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders

When I see the mega churches and million dollar private jets publically frowned upon by the majority of other churches and pastors or Christians...


That information exists, but you would have to study the issue to find out that information, because it is not controversial or sensational, and thus the media will not broadcast it.

Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders

I was also under the impression that many small churches have to give a portion of their rakings...


Rakings? Nice.

Bye, Dustin...have a nice day!

ps...Do you realize that now all the religious people in your area who google your name for piano lessons will potentially see this thread and read your thoughts about the church. (not just the Christian church...other faiths also collect "rakings")

Is insulting large portions of the population a component of your business plan?


Oh, so I am not allowed to voice my opinions on any matters other than what you think is appropriate? If someone wants to pass my studio up because of my personal views on religion, then that is up to them. I'll still have a full studio either way.

And not that is should need to be said, but my name will only come up if someone is searching for my religious affiliation. Google uses contextual searches, not searches primarily based off the name alone. You would need to type in my name + church or + religion ... and you'll probably find an atheist forum that I frequent often. Have at it! I do not hide my name or my views because others may be (gasp!) offended!

If you go searching for public officials in office that speak hate against Atheists you won't have to look hard and they are not publically criticized. You know, George W. Bush senior saying that he doesn't think you are an American if you don't believe in God.
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#1780723 - 10/31/11 07:02 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Minniemay]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: Minniemay
Dustin, I find your general attitude hard to swallow. You have a lot to learn.


general attitude? Are you referencing my criticism on religion? I'd be happy to provide my real thoughts on it if you so desired.
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#1780739 - 10/31/11 07:25 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
pianomommy1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/10/09
Posts: 54
Loc: Florida


I was also under the impression that many small churches have to give a portion of their rakings to their parent churches and organizations who are all part of the entire chain of command - which eventually leads to the megachurches and high profile church leaders who are making quite a lot of money.

--

"Most" and /or "many" churches have a personnel committee - or deacon body - which decides what to pay the preacher so most of them do NOT get paid mega bucks. (Granted -- there are some out there who make the decision themselves and that is where the "problem" lies). IF a church is part of a larger organization (ie: Southern Baptist Convention) then they CAN give part of their "rakings" (as you put it) to the organization. They are NOT required to by any stretch of the imagination (well -- I speak for the SBC and a few others but not all religious organizations) This organization does NOT just pay their "high profile leaders" -- this group (I will stick with SBC) pays missionary's, HUGE relief efforts (look into them -- they are some of the first responders with VOLUNTEERS), helping small churches pay their mortgage, etc, etc, etc --
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#1780741 - 10/31/11 07:27 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
pianoeagle Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 218
Loc: Texas
It seems like you have an important business decision to make here.

I am in a very similar situation to yours. I hired a professional graphic designer to design my studio website, and I did a web marketing campaign on Google. Shortly after, I had a full studio and a small but growing wait list (note: I only have 11 students, all of whom take one-hour lessons, since I work full-time).

I don't see an issue with raising your rates incrementally. However, as you say in your original post, you will likely alienate many of your current students.

I don't know of any products or services that raise their fee by 33% at one time. Would you continue using your cell phone, electricity, mortgage payment, etc. if the price went up 33%? To me, 3-5% per year is expected and reasonable.

You put yourself at risk for pricing yourself too high if you do this. Plus, you'll be a less reliable teacher since parents are going to feel extremely susceptible to further heavy rate increases. Part of my corporate job is contract negotiations, and I mandate the inclusion of clauses about capping rate increases at 5% over the term of the contract.

I applaud your business acumen in seeing an opportunity for rate increases, but I feel that such a large raise would reflect more greed than business sense. I value my students' and parents' loyalty, so my loyalty back to them is a reasonable rate increase. My policy protects both my students and me by stating that I can implement a rate increase at any time, but must provide 90 days' written notice. I have stuck to 5% per year (rounded to the nearest dollar) for rate increases, and I haven't lost students for that.

Even though you have a waitlist, you don't know a) if the students are actually going to start piano b) how long they will last. What if their availability doesn't match yours? What if they've already found other teachers? What if they come for an interview and decide that you're not the best fit for them? Or what if they quit 4 months later? The grass looks greener on the other side, but is it?
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#1780742 - 10/31/11 07:29 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: AZNpiano]
pianomommy1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/10/09
Posts: 54
Loc: Florida
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
I agree with everything you wrote in your post, except for this statement:
Originally Posted By: pianomommy1
If you teach because you love it, then it will show and you will have a full studio and you won't be "worried" so much about raising your rates.

Plenty of piano teachers truly love their jobs, but their studios are not full, and if they raise their rates at all, they'll end up with fewer and fewer students.

I think THAT is the real "moral dilemma" of being a piano teacher.


ANZ - I think you misunderstood my position and what I was saying === I know that there are many studios which are NOT filled and they love what they do. I have also been in the position where I don't feel like I can raise rates (FL here) and I am STILL in that position (we are priced low in order to provide quality lessons to most anyone who wants lessons). I was speaking more towards Dustin -- if HE taught because he LOVED it (instead of "worrying" over the huge amounts he can make) then his studio would be full and he wouldn't be having this conversation. If HE wants to price himself high - I say "go for it!" -- see what happens.
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#1780748 - 10/31/11 07:36 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
pianomommy1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/10/09
Posts: 54
Loc: Florida
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Originally Posted By: Minniemay
Dustin, I find your general attitude hard to swallow. You have a lot to learn.


general attitude? Are you referencing my criticism on religion? I'd be happy to provide my real thoughts on it if you so desired.




I think Minnie is implying that (as you said) you are only 24 with no degree and you seem to "value" yourself above all other teachers (ok -- most). That said, I agree with Minnie -- you have a lot to learn over the years when you get to be 45, 55, 65, and you have LIFE under you and you have a degree (maybe) and you have a better sense of business, and you have been teaching longer. Please respect those who have been at "this" a lot longer than you and who treat others with the respect they deserve.

In our 20's, most of us thought that we knew better than others too, and then we realized later that we didn't know as much as we thought we did.
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#1780760 - 10/31/11 07:59 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
Gary D. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4741
Loc: South Florida
I am not agreeing or disagreeing with Dustin. But I think that using his age against him, just because he mentioned it, is unfair.

Arguing for OR against his points on the merit of the points seems fair to me. The rest is not.
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#1780762 - 10/31/11 08:02 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
LeaC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 413
Loc: USA
Here's some gossip, and once said, I won't repeat:

Dustin, In a studio near you I shared with another teacher, my partner was reading The Da Vinci Code and happened to leave her book out where it could be seen. One mother saw it and flew into a rage! My friend meekly put her book away, never to be seen again. Yes, there are those types around, for sure.

Now I can say pretty much what I want to because I have retired from the younger students (people like that parent are partly why), however, I still refrain from expressing my very liberal views on religion because I still work with people who may have me in their church sometime. Maybe not right, but, it's work, and those paying may decide to hold it against one. I have hinted at this, and I will say it again. That area you are in has some of the most viscious people I have ever seen anywhere in my life. Hopefully the current group is growing older and will be phased out. These women even gang up on school children they think should not get what they have earned. Want to know more? PM me sometime.

I do like the way you have your policies set, and I think they will evolve as you gain further experience. It's good to be confident, but it's nice to learn from other teachers, too, don't you think?

I have not checked into these studios on your site, however, I will. Also, know this from someone who has seen it all in this area, the teachers that I mentioned earlier who cannot so much as play a sonatina, have wonderful, outgoing personalities. Unfortunately, this is what draws an unsuspecting public to them, not their abilities. They usually do have great testimonials. Some people can be very misguided when seeking lessons, and have no idea what to look for in a teacher. One of these "teachers" gives out huge piles of material gifts after recitals (in which nothing is played!), getting big smiles all around from happy kids and happy parents. Having seen her students play, I was appalled to see that they didn't even know how to lift a finger up and down from a key. All the fingers pressed at once, and this was a student in a later book. I had to listen to this woman stand up to her students parents, who were rapt as she lectured on Robert Schubert, who, she claimed "was a good one" (whatever that means), and that he was very successful and had lots of money and friends. Well, it doesn't take much to find that this is total crap, and Schubert died penniless and very young, only supported by his close friends. But, she's outgoing, so what does it matter? I truly believe this is robbery by deception. I don't mean to throw a wet blanket on those who have testimony from parents/students, only to be careful at what appears to be good because of testimony. I know of two other just like her. One is online and his claim to fame is his testimonies. Same as previously mentioned woman. I know these people quite well, and this man may have taken a few lessons , but he can't play much at all. Looks good with his suit and pointer sticking out of his pocket, though.

Lastly, on the topic of testimony, I also know a number of professors who have told me that they, and all the good, demanding teachers get the complaints. I've had certain mothers (from guess where?) huff off and threaten to boycott me if I didn't keep rescheduling their lessons. They canceled too much, and I refused. One woman who didn't want to use the swap list, but demanded resheduling actually took my swap list and CALLED others on the list to incite them against me. Another mother from this group went to war with me because I insisted that her daughter cut her nails. I know, unbelievable. But, my point is, complaints can be used as a form of vengeance by some, and others may have glowing testimony who don't deserve it. Things are not always what they appear. That's what I've learned from getting older. Try to associate with those who maintain their integrity through honest, hard work.
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#1780780 - 10/31/11 08:37 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
Stanny Offline
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I don't know if you can raise your rates by 33% or not, but one year I raised mine by 25%. No one quit.
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#1780787 - 10/31/11 08:48 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Stanny]
currawong Offline
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Originally Posted By: Stanny
I don't know if you can raise your rates by 33% or not, but one year I raised mine by 25%. No one quit.
Whether 25% (or 33%) is too much depends on how low they actually were to start with, I guess. smile
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#1780855 - 10/31/11 11:24 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: pianomommy1]
Minniemay Offline
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Originally Posted By: pianomommy1
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Originally Posted By: Minniemay
Dustin, I find your general attitude hard to swallow. You have a lot to learn.


general attitude? Are you referencing my criticism on religion? I'd be happy to provide my real thoughts on it if you so desired.




I think Minnie is implying that (as you said) you are only 24 with no degree and you seem to "value" yourself above all other teachers (ok -- most). That said, I agree with Minnie -- you have a lot to learn over the years when you get to be 45, 55, 65, and you have LIFE under you and you have a degree (maybe) and you have a better sense of business, and you have been teaching longer. Please respect those who have been at "this" a lot longer than you and who treat others with the respect they deserve.

In our 20's, most of us thought that we knew better than others too, and then we realized later that we didn't know as much as we thought we did.


+1
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#1781013 - 11/01/11 09:42 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
Pogorelich. Offline
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Um, it's not about how young someone is. Off the top of my head, I can think of one incredible 25-year-old that that is an amazing pianist and can be an unbelievable coach. He's better than most teachers here as both a pianist and teacher, I can almost guarantee that.. And some people here are 40+. So age does NOT matter - what matters is what you actually know and your experiences...... Just saying.
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#1781014 - 11/01/11 09:47 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
bmbutler Offline
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Wow. Just finished reading this thread. Amazing how we let this person drag us down into a "discussion" of churches and the United States (which BTW, if you don't like it here, please leave. I will be happy to buy you a one way ticket! Sorry.....just sick and tired of the syncophant brats who do nothing (including work) but sit around and complain and listen to the national news without getting the facts!). Why not leave this where its lays and move on to more relevant teaching topics!
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#1781027 - 11/01/11 10:05 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Pogorelich.]
kevinb Offline
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Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.
So age does NOT matter - what matters is what you actually know and your experiences...... Just saying.


Surprising as it may seem, I tend to agree. Many people do little with their allocation of years but grow older. I doubt I'm substantially wiser or more competent than I was thirty years ago -- I've just got a whole lot more cynical.

It's all about quality, rather than quantity.

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#1781028 - 11/01/11 10:07 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
apple* Offline


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just remembering that we used to pay $2.75 for lessons when i was a kid.. (i'm not that old really).
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#1781034 - 11/01/11 10:14 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
Pogorelich. Offline
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Yes apple, and I bet rent didn't use to be so high.
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#1781070 - 11/01/11 11:47 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders

I wasn't advertising $400 / month for the entire last year. I was doing about $200 / month simply using google adwords. That got me most of my students because my website wasn't listed high at that time. Craigslist brought me some as well. Then within the past 3 months, I've been doing about $400 to push really hard to max out my studio.

This word of mouth you speak of doesn't get you 30 students within a years time during the FIRST year you start teaching. I would find that to be insane if anyone attempted to argue it IS possible. Unless you get lucky and have another teacher send you all their students after they move or they retire.

I had to spend money to get my students. Many of my students travel a big distance to reach me. I had lots of families pass me up because I lived too far away from them.

So , yeah - within a year, advertising between 200 and 400 a month , I have gotten together 30 students within a year.

If anyone could explain to me how spending $400 a month when the advertising costs are quite well paid for with the income of my lessons is a bad idea ...


I don't have a problem with advertising at all..whatever works. But, you've only been teaching for a year?? That statement in bold is what I'm referring to, and perhaps I misunderstand your meaning. I just find it odd, if that's the case, why you are touting experience as being more important than education when it comes to being a good teacher, and yet you have neither?
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#1781081 - 11/01/11 12:07 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
Keith D Kerman Offline
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I think this is a moral question because the OP may feel that he is not worth what he is charging regardless of whether or not he is able to fill his studio at that rate.

There are piano teachers who charge $200 per lesson and are a bargain, and there are piano teachers who charge $20 per hour who are worse than a rip off.

So, to the OP, you have to define what makes a credible piano teacher worthy of what you are charging, and if you are living up to that definition, then you will not be troubled by what you are charging.
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#1781082 - 11/01/11 12:07 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders


When I see the mega churches and million dollar private jets publically frowned upon by the majority of other churches and pastors or Christians - instead of them preaching hate towards homosexuals and atheists, then I might agree with your point.


Interesting you don't feel upset by people who making prejudicial sweeping statements about churches. FYI, there are many churches who don't follow this model, some of which you don't even see because they meet in homes and decide not to spend money on a building, but rather donate their funds toward the community and individuals as they are needed.

Quote:
I was also under the impression that many small churches have to give a portion of their rakings to their parent churches and organizations who are all part of the entire chain of command - which eventually leads to the megachurches and high profile church leaders who are making quite a lot of money.


This is sometimes the case, but not always. There are many non-denominational churches that do no have to pay any money to a larger organization.

You seem to have an incorrect view that the smaller churches pay for the mega churches. Many mega churches in the US are not a part of a denomination at all, and churches are not funded by the denomination, they are funded by donations from the church goers. They don't donate money and then pass that up the chain and then the larger churches get the money. It's not some Ponzi scheme. The mega churches and the small churches alike are mainly funded by those that attend. As far as I know, church organizations do not give money to its members, at least from the ones I've seen, no matter what the size is.

As far as a church belonging to a denomination and pays some sort of dues to that organization. How is this bad? I pay dues to be a part of MTNA because there are benefits that I get as being a member. What's wrong with wanting to put one's money toward something important to them? The same goes for an organization. If a person has a problem with how their church uses their funds, they can certainly serve on the finance committee, or go to a church that handles things in a way they agree with.

Quote:
errrr, and the music colleges and symphonies do not lay guilt trips on their members or hint that you may not be a proper member if you do not donate 10% of your income.


Many churches also do not do this. How can you make such statements with confidence when you are obviously so clueless about reality? Just because you know of one or two places like this does not mean they are all like this. And of course, to imply that all or most of organizations do something you'd have to know all or most of them to be correct.

Quote:
An argument could also be made that they actually teach things that are beneficial to society, rather than a church for instance where it isn't an academic institution, but a place for a few to tell the many what they believe is the true interpretation of ONE book, but without actually teaching the mainstream textual criticism of the majority of new testament scholars. So churches are not there to teach, but to preach. I think that's a notable difference.

Symphonies and music schools also do not discriminate based off sexual orientation or belief system.


Sounds like you have a lot of personal issues with regards to a church. I'm sorry that you've been hurt, but please do not assume everyone is like your experience. And please stop bashing those that do belong to churches (or churches themselves). That would be akin to a person hating piano teachers because they had a bad piano teacher, and believing that all piano teachers are like that.
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#1781086 - 11/01/11 12:14 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
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To think that a minister might earn as much as a basketball coach! Outrageous! laugh
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#1781090 - 11/01/11 12:20 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
jotur Online   blank
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Morodiene - +1. I was just trying to think of ways to say much the same thing, with emphasis on church finances and reporting issues. I've been a bookkeeper for several religious organizations, of different faiths, and they vary all over the map. While I do have some thoughts about the way churches are treated differently from other non-profits, their actual tax structure isn't different from the local animal shelter except in the housing allowance for the minister. It would be nice, I think, if the OP had more facts in his command before making such broad and obviously negative-opinion statements. JMO, of course.

And by-the-way, I don't think of myself as either Christian, Jewish, or atheist smile There's all kinds of folks out here.

Cathy
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#1781105 - 11/01/11 12:49 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: jotur]
piano joy Offline
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Dustin, back to your original question:

"What do you do? Raise the rates and risk losing a good portion of your current students while getting new ones that will pay that much - raise them incrementally over a couple years - Or do you keep the rates the same for the current students , weed out some of the ones that are a total hassle and replace them with new students that pay the new rates?

Let's take it a step further. What if you are sure you can get $70/ hour while still having a full studio?"


Obviously, the teachers on this forum would take various approaches; the Greeks have a saying that goes (translated) "all five fingers are not equal" - ha, appropriate for Piano World, right?
The real question is- what would YOU do?
I'm betting you already know the answer to this, you were just curious as to the other responses.
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#1781108 - 11/01/11 01:00 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
keystring Online   content
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Back to the topic. Most entrepreneurs are probably familiar with the sales techniques presented here since so many how-to articles mention them: web-site with key words leading search engines to your site, a list of popular things attracting customers such as "101 ways to". I think, though, that if your business is also a profession then you have to tweak it a bit from the way that a seller of baubles and trinkets might do things. People also want to engage a professional who knows what he is doing, and keeps the interest and well-being of his customer in mind at all times. And unlike the bauble-seller, you are building long-term relationships so you don't just want to attract customers - you want to attract customers who will work with you.

I looked at a couple of the "attractive" sites as if I was shopping for a teacher. The comments were not informative: that teachers were nice, friendly, that kind of thing. The fact that somebody was able to sing in tune for the first time was actually significant. One of the sites has a clip on minor and major scales, followed by a guitar teacher floundering around about what a minor scale might actually be and then dashing off a couple of fast runs before settling down to the fact that you can keep the same hand position for this particular scale (whichever it was). Would that clip induce me to study with that teacher, regardless of how "friendly" he is?

Dustin, your site has two items that I find attractive. One is where you have the two flowers and discuss a philosophy blending know-how and an inner something. It shows a teacher who is thinking about his craft. The other is where you talk about your inner world of practicing. Somehow none of that caring about your craft or your students come across in these "marketing type" posts. They seem one-sided, needlessly.

Btw, I agree with the idea of ongoing education or self-improvement of the teacher (or any professional), but I don't know if that has to happen necessarily in institutions. People improve by honing their craft after finishing studies, and they might also study with a master teacher without there being paper records of the fact. Just a thought that cropped up.

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#1781111 - 11/01/11 01:11 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: bmbutler]
Dustin Sanders Offline
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Loc: US
Originally Posted By: bmbutler
Wow. Just finished reading this thread. Amazing how we let this person drag us down into a "discussion" of churches and the United States (which BTW, if you don't like it here, please leave. I will be happy to buy you a one way ticket! Sorry.....just sick and tired of the syncophant brats who do nothing (including work) but sit around and complain and listen to the national news without getting the facts!). Why not leave this where its lays and move on to more relevant teaching topics!


Imagine Atheists or Homosexuals publically telling Christians who speak out against them to 'leave the country'. What an absolutely bigoted statement you just wrote. Sycophant brat? Because I am liberal on my views of organized religion?

Or Simply because you don't agree with me!?
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#1781120 - 11/01/11 01:19 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: LeaC]
LeaC Offline
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My post should read "vicious" not "viscious". Ever wake up in the middle of the night and realize bad spelling or grammar? blush
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#1781123 - 11/01/11 01:21 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Morodiene]
Dustin Sanders Offline
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Registered: 12/11/10
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Originally Posted By: Morodiene
[quote=Dustin Sanders]
Sounds like you have a lot of personal issues with regards to a church. I'm sorry that you've been hurt, but please do not assume everyone is like your experience. And please stop bashing those that do belong to churches (or churches themselves). That would be akin to a person hating piano teachers because they had a bad piano teacher, and believing that all piano teachers are like that.


Ahh, the common fallacy that people use to degrade the actual views someone might show about religion.

I was never part of a church and I was never 'hurt' by any church.

You may inform a Moderator about my diverging discussion which doesn't have any relevance to the OP, but what you should not do is attempt to modify the way I speak and what I speak about just because it might not agree with your own personal views.
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#1781128 - 11/01/11 01:27 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: jotur]
Dustin Sanders Offline
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Originally Posted By: jotur
Morodiene - +1. I was just trying to think of ways to say much the same thing, with emphasis on church finances and reporting issues. I've been a bookkeeper for several religious organizations, of different faiths, and they vary all over the map. While I do have some thoughts about the way churches are treated differently from other non-profits, their actual tax structure isn't different from the local animal shelter except in the housing allowance for the minister. It would be nice, I think, if the OP had more facts in his command before making such broad and obviously negative-opinion statements. JMO, of course.

And by-the-way, I don't think of myself as either Christian, Jewish, or atheist smile There's all kinds of folks out here.

Cathy



I did say 'It was my impression' .. I didn't really intend to state that bit as fact as I am not well informed as to how the church structures work. But not knowing the exact details to every church denomination and how it works does not negate other views I may have expressed. It simply means I am ignorant on one specific sub topic in regards to organized religion as a whole.
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#1781131 - 11/01/11 01:28 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: piano joy]
Dustin Sanders Offline
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Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: piano joy
Dustin, back to your original question:

"What do you do? Raise the rates and risk losing a good portion of your current students while getting new ones that will pay that much - raise them incrementally over a couple years - Or do you keep the rates the same for the current students , weed out some of the ones that are a total hassle and replace them with new students that pay the new rates?

Let's take it a step further. What if you are sure you can get $70/ hour while still having a full studio?"


Obviously, the teachers on this forum would take various approaches; the Greeks have a saying that goes (translated) "all five fingers are not equal" - ha, appropriate for Piano World, right?
The real question is- what would YOU do?
I'm betting you already know the answer to this, you were just curious as to the other responses.


You're sort of right, I already had in mind incremental increases, but wasn't sure the distance I should put between them.
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#1781139 - 11/01/11 01:35 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Ann in Kentucky]
Dustin Sanders Offline
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Registered: 12/11/10
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Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
To think that a minister might earn as much as a basketball coach! Outrageous! laugh


I am consistent in that I don't think professional athletes or the team coaches should be earning multiple millions each year either. smile

But it is not quite the same analogy, as the Prosperity Gospel is quite real and a very large portion of church goers are under the impression that if they tithe more, they will be higher up in some sort of hierarchy when it comes time to claim their place in Heaven. Or that they and their children will be blessed during their times on Earth.

Pro coaches don't generally make those sort of statements.

"It is easier for a rich man to pass through the eye of a needle than to enter the Kingdom of God."

So, the Pastors are not following the same thing they are asking their congregational members and supporters to follow - in essence, they are hypocrites of the highest order, unlike the Coaches and Athletes.
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#1781141 - 11/01/11 01:36 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Keith D Kerman]
Dustin Sanders Offline
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Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: Keith D Kerman
I think this is a moral question because the OP may feel that he is not worth what he is charging regardless of whether or not he is able to fill his studio at that rate.

There are piano teachers who charge $200 per lesson and are a bargain, and there are piano teachers who charge $20 per hour who are worse than a rip off.

So, to the OP, you have to define what makes a credible piano teacher worthy of what you are charging, and if you are living up to that definition, then you will not be troubled by what you are charging.



very well put, sir. Thank you for the thoughtful comment.
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#1781163 - 11/01/11 01:57 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Morodiene]
Dustin Sanders Offline
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Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders

I wasn't advertising $400 / month for the entire last year. I was doing about $200 / month simply using google adwords. That got me most of my students because my website wasn't listed high at that time. Craigslist brought me some as well. Then within the past 3 months, I've been doing about $400 to push really hard to max out my studio.

This word of mouth you speak of doesn't get you 30 students within a years time during the FIRST year you start teaching. I would find that to be insane if anyone attempted to argue it IS possible. Unless you get lucky and have another teacher send you all their students after they move or they retire.

I had to spend money to get my students. Many of my students travel a big distance to reach me. I had lots of families pass me up because I lived too far away from them.

So , yeah - within a year, advertising between 200 and 400 a month , I have gotten together 30 students within a year.

If anyone could explain to me how spending $400 a month when the advertising costs are quite well paid for with the income of my lessons is a bad idea ...


I don't have a problem with advertising at all..whatever works. But, you've only been teaching for a year?? That statement in bold is what I'm referring to, and perhaps I misunderstand your meaning. I just find it odd, if that's the case, why you are touting experience as being more important than education when it comes to being a good teacher, and yet you have neither?



Are you kidding me? Just because I have acquired 30 students in the last year does NOT mean I haven't taught BEFORE that year. You're doing everything you can to see only black and white here based off some words.

I ran tennis group clinics from the age of 15 to 18 , dealing with children and adults of all ages. My mentor at the time was somebody who had a degree in psychology and had over a dozen years of experience in teaching kids and adults and I learned a lot from him.

I also read things. You know, get differing opinions, even if I disagree with them ...

I also have been teaching piano since I was 16 on and off, acquiring students here and there.

I also have more passion and drive which has to at least count for something.

Quite contrary, I would say that old age is not at all a factor to how good someone is. They could be old, have more 'experience', but experience means nothing at all if you are aren't improving. The term 'experience' just means you've done it more than someone else, it doesn't specify how WELL you do it or if you have gotten WORSE due to lack of passion and interest.



Edited by Dustin Sanders (11/01/11 01:58 PM)
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#1781166 - 11/01/11 02:03 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
Dustin Sanders Offline
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Loc: US
Oh, and just if anyone is concerned, I have finally taken into account others views on so called teacher or studio slandering in advertising methods. So I have decided to change website so that It does not reflect so much on this issue. Not saying I'll get rid of every mention of this issue, but I'll revise it so it won't be so offensive to others that have made a strong case.

I also promise to not post anything more in response to my comments on religion. I see that issue has really derailed the thread!
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An Eclectic Piano Teaching Experience







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#1781180 - 11/01/11 02:47 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
pianomommy1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/10/09
Posts: 54
Loc: Florida
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Originally Posted By: bmbutler
Wow. Just finished reading this thread. Amazing how we let this person drag us down into a "discussion" of churches and the United States (which BTW, if you don't like it here, please leave. I will be happy to buy you a one way ticket! Sorry.....just sick and tired of the syncophant brats who do nothing (including work) but sit around and complain and listen to the national news without getting the facts!). Why not leave this where its lays and move on to more relevant teaching topics!


Imagine Atheists or Homosexuals publically telling Christians who speak out against them to 'leave the country'. What an absolutely bigoted statement you just wrote. Sycophant brat? Because I am liberal on my views of organized religion?

Or Simply because you don't agree with me!?


Dustin -- I do NOT this this person was saying for "you" or someone like you to leave the country. She/He was making the statement in regards to one who would be complaining about the United States -- THAT is what she was referring to. Please don't make this into more than what it is.
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#1781183 - 11/01/11 02:51 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
pianomommy1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/10/09
Posts: 54
Loc: Florida
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
To think that a minister might earn as much as a basketball coach! Outrageous! laugh


I am consistent in that I don't think professional athletes or the team coaches should be earning multiple millions each year either. smile

But it is not quite the same analogy, as the Prosperity Gospel is quite real and a very large portion of church goers are under the impression that if they tithe more, they will be higher up in some sort of hierarchy when it comes time to claim their place in Heaven. Or that they and their children will be blessed during their times on Earth.

Pro coaches don't generally make those sort of statements.

"It is easier for a rich man to pass through the eye of a needle than to enter the Kingdom of God."

So, the Pastors are not following the same thing they are asking their congregational members and supporters to follow - in essence, they are hypocrites of the highest order, unlike the Coaches and Athletes.


Dustin -- I would ask you to refrain from speaking of this of which you do not know. You have said yourself that you don't go to church and haven't and therefor when you make statements like the one above, it shows that you don't know of what you speak.
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#1781184 - 11/01/11 02:55 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
LeaC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 413
Loc: USA

"20.) If you get completely desperate after trying the above 19, try this for a little edge. Post the most unwelcoming and heartless reviews on any and all competition sites within 50 miles. Those potential clients may look elsewhere and find your site instead!"

Dustin, am I reading this correctly or are my eyes playing tricks on me? As outspoken as I am, I find this to be shocking. Dear, I am beginning to think that you are very self destructive. Think about that.

Also, if you are moving your studio up to Church Lane (my former studio) do be aware that St. Joe's is where many conservative Catholics go to school and take lessons there. The head Mother there is a no-nonsense person who will openly speak against you if she gets wind of your views. You should know that. That's the way it is over there.
_________________________
Working on: Reworking Bartok's Suite Opus 14, Chopin's Polonaise Op.40, The Military (so much fun!)

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#1781188 - 11/01/11 02:59 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
pianomommy1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/10/09
Posts: 54
Loc: Florida
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders

I wasn't advertising $400 / month for the entire last year. I was doing about $200 / month simply using google adwords. That got me most of my students because my website wasn't listed high at that time. Craigslist brought me some as well. Then within the past 3 months, I've been doing about $400 to push really hard to max out my studio.

This word of mouth you speak of doesn't get you 30 students within a years time during the FIRST year you start teaching. I would find that to be insane if anyone attempted to argue it IS possible. Unless you get lucky and have another teacher send you all their students after they move or they retire.

I had to spend money to get my students. Many of my students travel a big distance to reach me. I had lots of families pass me up because I lived too far away from them.

So , yeah - within a year, advertising between 200 and 400 a month , I have gotten together 30 students within a year.

If anyone could explain to me how spending $400 a month when the advertising costs are quite well paid for with the income of my lessons is a bad idea ...


I don't have a problem with advertising at all..whatever works. But, you've only been teaching for a year?? That statement in bold is what I'm referring to, and perhaps I misunderstand your meaning. I just find it odd, if that's the case, why you are touting experience as being more important than education when it comes to being a good teacher, and yet you have neither?



Are you kidding me? Just because I have acquired 30 students in the last year does NOT mean I haven't taught BEFORE that year. You're doing everything you can to see only black and white here based off some words.

I ran tennis group clinics from the age of 15 to 18 , dealing with children and adults of all ages. My mentor at the time was somebody who had a degree in psychology and had over a dozen years of experience in teaching kids and adults and I learned a lot from him.

I also read things. You know, get differing opinions, even if I disagree with them ...

I also have been teaching piano since I was 16 on and off, acquiring students here and there.

I also have more passion and drive which has to at least count for something.

Quite contrary, I would say that old age is not at all a factor to how good someone is. They could be old, have more 'experience', but experience means nothing at all if you are aren't improving. The term 'experience' just means you've done it more than someone else, it doesn't specify how WELL you do it or if you have gotten WORSE due to lack of passion and interest.



You are right -- experience does not equate with how WELL you teach. Maybe you need to focus on letting people know WHAT KIND of experience you have teaching. I would venture to say that most of the people on this forum have a LOT of experience teaching PIANO and most of them are very good at it (regardless of how their google status is, etc). I do know that there are some teachers who are not very well versed or not very good teachers, but that is NOT the majority.

And to make a blanket statement that experience means nothing at all if you are not improving, seems to be a "dig" at those of us who are older than you and have more experience. You seem to THINK we are not improving when you don't know us at all.
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#1781200 - 11/01/11 03:20 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: LeaC]
Stanny Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 1461
Originally Posted By: LeaC

"20.) If you get completely desperate after trying the above 19, try this for a little edge. Post the most unwelcoming and heartless reviews on any and all competition sites within 50 miles. Those potential clients may look elsewhere and find your site instead!"

Dustin, am I reading this correctly or are my eyes playing tricks on me? As outspoken as I am, I find this to be shocking. Dear, I am beginning to think that you are very self destructive. Think about that.

I'm pretty sure those were mostly tongue-in-cheek. Thus the little winking smiley at the end of the article.
_________________________
~Stanny~

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

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#1781214 - 11/01/11 03:34 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Stanny]
LeaC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 413
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Stanny
Originally Posted By: LeaC

"20.) If you get completely desperate after trying the above 19, try this for a little edge. Post the most unwelcoming and heartless reviews on any and all competition sites within 50 miles. Those potential clients may look elsewhere and find your site instead!"

Dustin, am I reading this correctly or are my eyes playing tricks on me? As outspoken as I am, I find this to be shocking. Dear, I am beginning to think that you are very self destructive. Think about that.

I'm pretty sure those were mostly tongue-in-cheek. Thus the little winking smiley at the end of the article.


Of course, I considered that. But I still find it shocking. I can be a little rambunctious here on PW as a unidentified poster, but I am conservative and thoughtful about everything that I produce in relation to my persona as a public figure. Do you think any of us can afford the same eccentricities as say Glenn Gould, or Mozart or any outstanding personality? There are some teachers at Peabody who exhibit somewhat uninhibited behavior, but, even then, it's generally frowned upon in reality.
_________________________
Working on: Reworking Bartok's Suite Opus 14, Chopin's Polonaise Op.40, The Military (so much fun!)

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#1781228 - 11/01/11 03:59 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
luvs2teach Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/21/11
Posts: 15
I'm just curious to see how things are going for you next year, five years, ten years from now, Dustin. Sure you have a full studio now, but how many of those same students will you have a year or even two years from now? What will your reputation around town be like? Maybe it will be fine, since there aren't any other piano teachers there and a lot of parents don't know any better. But eventually, people will start seeing through all the bravado. You have a lot of energy and a lot of passion (for what, I'm still uncertain). If you can channel that into continuing your music education and focusing less on what the rest of us are or are not doing, I think you have the makings of a wonderful piano teacher. But you don't need to alienate other piano teachers on the way up. It will catch up with you. There's been a lot of wonderful advice given here. Please give it some serious thought.

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#1781230 - 11/01/11 04:01 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: pianomommy1]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: pianomommy1
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
To think that a minister might earn as much as a basketball coach! Outrageous! laugh


I am consistent in that I don't think professional athletes or the team coaches should be earning multiple millions each year either. smile

But it is not quite the same analogy, as the Prosperity Gospel is quite real and a very large portion of church goers are under the impression that if they tithe more, they will be higher up in some sort of hierarchy when it comes time to claim their place in Heaven. Or that they and their children will be blessed during their times on Earth.

Pro coaches don't generally make those sort of statements.

"It is easier for a rich man to pass through the eye of a needle than to enter the Kingdom of God."

So, the Pastors are not following the same thing they are asking their congregational members and supporters to follow - in essence, they are hypocrites of the highest order, unlike the Coaches and Athletes.


Dustin -- I would ask you to refrain from speaking of this of which you do not know. You have said yourself that you don't go to church and haven't and therefor when you make statements like the one above, it shows that you don't know of what you speak.


'going to church' is not the same thing as being in a church. It is a term that people usually use to say they attend the church service and a part of the ritual and believe in it as well.

I never said I don't or have never listened to church services, in fact I am the pianist for a Lutheran Church and I listen to the sermons every Sunday. I am not 'part of that church' as I Do not participate in any other rituals, I don't take communion, I don't sing the Jesus Birthday song, I don't stand up or sing hymns, I don't donate any money to the church and I have never participated in any of it's extra activities unless I am specifically paid to play the piano. I play piano for the church as a paid professional.

(This isn't anything to do with my opinions on religion, just clarifying that you are in fact wrong about your original accusation.)

Also, it doesn't quite matter if what you say is true, as that is a bad argument to begin with.

For instance, I don't have to have ever studied martial arts to know it helps a person in self defense. I also do not need to be part of a church in order to know what doctrine is or what sermons are about or about what is taught in a church.
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An Eclectic Piano Teaching Experience







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#1781232 - 11/01/11 04:07 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: LeaC]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: LeaC

"20.) If you get completely desperate after trying the above 19, try this for a little edge. Post the most unwelcoming and heartless reviews on any and all competition sites within 50 miles. Those potential clients may look elsewhere and find your site instead!"

Dustin, am I reading this correctly or are my eyes playing tricks on me? As outspoken as I am, I find this to be shocking. Dear, I am beginning to think that you are very self destructive. Think about that.

Also, if you are moving your studio up to Church Lane (my former studio) do be aware that St. Joe's is where many conservative Catholics go to school and take lessons there. The head Mother there is a no-nonsense person who will openly speak against you if she gets wind of your views. You should know that. That's the way it is over there.


woah woah woah, that was obviously not meant to be taken seriously, the entire list of advertising ideas was a total joke and it was quite obviously satire.

The fact that I wrote number 20 in that context shows that I believe in the exact opposite, I would never do such a thing and would never honestly recommend this to someone else.

Black hat tactics are a very real thing and I do not participate in this and thing anyone who does is misguided.

I hope that clarifies things.

I also look forward to any Catholic church speaking out against me, it will get me publicity and I will speak out against them as well. Thanks for the heads up, though.
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An Eclectic Piano Teaching Experience







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#1781237 - 11/01/11 04:12 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: pianomommy1]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: pianomommy1
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders

I wasn't advertising $400 / month for the entire last year. I was doing about $200 / month simply using google adwords. That got me most of my students because my website wasn't listed high at that time. Craigslist brought me some as well. Then within the past 3 months, I've been doing about $400 to push really hard to max out my studio.

This word of mouth you speak of doesn't get you 30 students within a years time during the FIRST year you start teaching. I would find that to be insane if anyone attempted to argue it IS possible. Unless you get lucky and have another teacher send you all their students after they move or they retire.

I had to spend money to get my students. Many of my students travel a big distance to reach me. I had lots of families pass me up because I lived too far away from them.

So , yeah - within a year, advertising between 200 and 400 a month , I have gotten together 30 students within a year.

If anyone could explain to me how spending $400 a month when the advertising costs are quite well paid for with the income of my lessons is a bad idea ...


I don't have a problem with advertising at all..whatever works. But, you've only been teaching for a year?? That statement in bold is what I'm referring to, and perhaps I misunderstand your meaning. I just find it odd, if that's the case, why you are touting experience as being more important than education when it comes to being a good teacher, and yet you have neither?



Are you kidding me? Just because I have acquired 30 students in the last year does NOT mean I haven't taught BEFORE that year. You're doing everything you can to see only black and white here based off some words.

I ran tennis group clinics from the age of 15 to 18 , dealing with children and adults of all ages. My mentor at the time was somebody who had a degree in psychology and had over a dozen years of experience in teaching kids and adults and I learned a lot from him.

I also read things. You know, get differing opinions, even if I disagree with them ...

I also have been teaching piano since I was 16 on and off, acquiring students here and there.

I also have more passion and drive which has to at least count for something.

Quite contrary, I would say that old age is not at all a factor to how good someone is. They could be old, have more 'experience', but experience means nothing at all if you are aren't improving. The term 'experience' just means you've done it more than someone else, it doesn't specify how WELL you do it or if you have gotten WORSE due to lack of passion and interest.



You are right -- experience does not equate with how WELL you teach. Maybe you need to focus on letting people know WHAT KIND of experience you have teaching. I would venture to say that most of the people on this forum have a LOT of experience teaching PIANO and most of them are very good at it (regardless of how their google status is, etc). I do know that there are some teachers who are not very well versed or not very good teachers, but that is NOT the majority.

And to make a blanket statement that experience means nothing at all if you are not improving, seems to be a "dig" at those of us who are older than you and have more experience. You seem to THINK we are not improving when you don't know us at all.


lol, that wasn't supposed to be a dig at all, I would let you know if it was, but it was not. I was just speaking honestly about experience and age. Nothing at all to do with you... not everything I write is supposed to be fanatical and argumentative.
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#1781255 - 11/01/11 04:40 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
pianomommy1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/10/09
Posts: 54
Loc: Florida
I am over this conversation. I have too much to do with my own music school to worry about this anymore.

You have been given good advice and I would implore you to take some of it.

As to your original questions == Do as you please -- only time will tell what will happen to your students and a raise in your pay. What works now may not work well in the future. You could raise your rates and be blown away with an increase but later they may all leave. You may choose to stay at your current rates and build your studio up with those and no change and you still may loose all them. Not a single person knows what the future holds.

Go with your gut and deal with the consequences either good or bad (I am not making a prediction here -- just saying what we all have to do)

Other than that--

I am done with this conversation (and NO -- I do not think that I am defeated in anyway nor do I think you have "won" this round -- I am just tired of dealing with petty things dealing with someone I don't know and never will.)
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#1781344 - 11/01/11 07:16 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
MaryBee Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 1207
Loc: Cleveland, OH
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
But it is not quite the same analogy, as the Prosperity Gospel is quite real and a very large portion of church goers are under the impression that if they tithe more, they will be higher up in some sort of hierarchy when it comes time to claim their place in Heaven. Or that they and their children will be blessed during their times on Earth.

Pro coaches don't generally make those sort of statements.

"It is easier for a rich man to pass through the eye of a needle than to enter the Kingdom of God."

So, the Pastors are not following the same thing they are asking their congregational members and supporters to follow - in essence, they are hypocrites of the highest order, unlike the Coaches and Athletes.
Why do you even care? No one is being forced to do this. And if you're not a part of this organization, you are not being asked to tithe.
_________________________
Mary Bee
Current mantra: Play outside the box.
XVI-XXXIV

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#1781381 - 11/01/11 08:16 PM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: MaryBee]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: MaryBee
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
But it is not quite the same analogy, as the Prosperity Gospel is quite real and a very large portion of church goers are under the impression that if they tithe more, they will be higher up in some sort of hierarchy when it comes time to claim their place in Heaven. Or that they and their children will be blessed during their times on Earth.

Pro coaches don't generally make those sort of statements.

"It is easier for a rich man to pass through the eye of a needle than to enter the Kingdom of God."

So, the Pastors are not following the same thing they are asking their congregational members and supporters to follow - in essence, they are hypocrites of the highest order, unlike the Coaches and Athletes.
Why do you even care? No one is being forced to do this. And if you're not a part of this organization, you are not being asked to tithe.


Must ... not ......... comment .... must resist .... the urge ..... the .. urge.....
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#1781542 - 11/02/11 03:02 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
Arctic_Mama Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/30/09
Posts: 379
Loc: Alaska
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Originally Posted By: bmbutler
Wow. Just finished reading this thread. Amazing how we let this person drag us down into a "discussion" of churches and the United States (which BTW, if you don't like it here, please leave. I will be happy to buy you a one way ticket! Sorry.....just sick and tired of the syncophant brats who do nothing (including work) but sit around and complain and listen to the national news without getting the facts!). Why not leave this where its lays and move on to more relevant teaching topics!


Imagine Atheists or Homosexuals publically telling Christians who speak out against them to 'leave the country'. What an absolutely bigoted statement you just wrote. Sycophant brat? Because I am liberal on my views of organized religion?

Or Simply because you don't agree with me!?


Seriously? You think more highly of yourself than you ought, and it makes you sound like a fool. This is a piano forum, and that is what unites the members when all the rest of our lives are very obviously diverse.

You're making enemies on here needlessly, because of carelessly spoken words.

As for your OP, raising a rate is entirely up to the teacher, but I'd caution against more than 10-15% increases in one year, if only because of the burden it places on the students. Most families have budgets for music lessons and changes can be difficult to assimilate - I would not personally want to alienate or unnecessarily burden the families trying to work with me by demanding significantly more than what they agreed to when they came into your service. Charge what you're worth and begin as you mean to go on (don't underprice yourself initially, of course).

There is nothing wrong with raising rates a bit, especially if your qualifications have changed or your costs of operation have increased. But huge leaps can be the straw that breaks the camels' back for many students who might love learning with you but can't just absorb another $20 or $50 a month for lessons. I know such a change would certainly burden my family, especially if we didn't have a few months to readjust the budget and come up with the extra.

That is reality for many families, and I think it is the most compassionate thing to consider in charging for lessons. Charge what you are worth, but do it in a way that takes into account the financial realities of the people you work with. Smaller increases are easier to swallow.
_________________________
Starting over after a decade-long hiatus from playing!
Yamaha CLP320

Burgmuller - Inquietude

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#1781562 - 11/02/11 04:32 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
For instance, I don't have to have ever studied martial arts to know it helps a person in self defense. I also do not need to be part of a church in order to know what doctrine is or what sermons are about or about what is taught in a church.


I rather suspect that your understanding of both martial arts and religious communities are pretty superficial. With both these things you have to take part, and to be immersed in the culture, for a significant time, fully to understand what they're about. There's more to martial arts than 'helping with self-defense' (and it's questionable to what extent that's even true), and I suspect there's more going on in religious services than you perceive.

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#1781635 - 11/02/11 09:29 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Arctic_Mama]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: Arctic_Mama
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Originally Posted By: bmbutler
Wow. Just finished reading this thread. Amazing how we let this person drag us down into a "discussion" of churches and the United States (which BTW, if you don't like it here, please leave. I will be happy to buy you a one way ticket! Sorry.....just sick and tired of the syncophant brats who do nothing (including work) but sit around and complain and listen to the national news without getting the facts!). Why not leave this where its lays and move on to more relevant teaching topics!


Imagine Atheists or Homosexuals publically telling Christians who speak out against them to 'leave the country'. What an absolutely bigoted statement you just wrote. Sycophant brat? Because I am liberal on my views of organized religion?

Or Simply because you don't agree with me!?


Seriously? You think more highly of yourself than you ought, and it makes you sound like a fool. This is a piano forum, and that is what unites the members when all the rest of our lives are very obviously diverse.

You're making enemies on here needlessly, because of carelessly spoken words.

As for your OP, raising a rate is entirely up to the teacher, but I'd caution against more than 10-15% increases in one year, if only because of the burden it places on the students. Most families have budgets for music lessons and changes can be difficult to assimilate - I would not personally want to alienate or unnecessarily burden the families trying to work with me by demanding significantly more than what they agreed to when they came into your service. Charge what you're worth and begin as you mean to go on (don't underprice yourself initially, of course).

There is nothing wrong with raising rates a bit, especially if your qualifications have changed or your costs of operation have increased. But huge leaps can be the straw that breaks the camels' back for many students who might love learning with you but can't just absorb another $20 or $50 a month for lessons. I know such a change would certainly burden my family, especially if we didn't have a few months to readjust the budget and come up with the extra.

That is reality for many families, and I think it is the most compassionate thing to consider in charging for lessons. Charge what you are worth, but do it in a way that takes into account the financial realities of the people you work with. Smaller increases are easier to swallow.


Carelessly spoken words? Enemies? Puhhhllleeaaaseeee.

I mean if a Christian wants to become an enemy of me because express a few strong opinions, then that is none of my concern.

Jesus did the same to the religious leaders of his time - They were corrupt and Jesus tried to talk sense into them. I have read the new testament front to back more than twice and have studied it far deeper than 90% of Christians on the planet and that is a fact. I have also read the vast majority of the Old Testament - You know, all that weird stuff in Leviticus about the burning flesh of the sacrifices pleasing the Lord and the mass genocide and rape that is commanded by Yahweh (You know, the name of the Christian God.)

I find both testaments to be moral abominations, and I am anything BUT uninformed.

If you are going to act like it's careless words, why don't you do some research and find out what Thomas Jefferson has said about Christianity and the New Testament. Surely you would disagree with him and say that HIS words are also careless and that he is making enemies ... this is almost laughable, really. Enemies???

Besides, That's like saying during Martin Luther King Jr's day, that he was carelessly speaking and making enemies of white people.

Or that advocating on behalf of women's rights was careless speak and making enemies of the male populations.

You're now putting yourself in a group called 'Religion' and saying that you will make enemies of that group if you show dissidence towards their shared beliefs.

It's a pack mentality, another reason why I am so vocal against Religious belief.
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#1781638 - 11/02/11 09:35 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: kevinb]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: kevinb
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
For instance, I don't have to have ever studied martial arts to know it helps a person in self defense. I also do not need to be part of a church in order to know what doctrine is or what sermons are about or about what is taught in a church.


I rather suspect that your understanding of both martial arts and religious communities are pretty superficial. With both these things you have to take part, and to be immersed in the culture, for a significant time, fully to understand what they're about. There's more to martial arts than 'helping with self-defense' (and it's questionable to what extent that's even true), and I suspect there's more going on in religious services than you perceive.


Silence on a topic is not proof of ignorance, sir. You know this, why are you making the argument?

This is like saying taking piano lessons doesn't help with learning piano. Of COURSE studying martial arts helps with self defense.

Or are you saying that you would have no preference if you were forced to choose to fight between a piano teacher and a martial arts expert?

Please tell me, which would you choose?


Edited by Dustin Sanders (11/02/11 09:43 AM)
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#1781648 - 11/02/11 10:02 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
MomOfBeginners Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 114
Loc: California, USA
Dustin,

I'm not a piano teacher. I'm a parent who was searching for piano teachers and came upon this forum. There are different ways to express views. You give me the impression that you want to be offensive - rather than opening up views for discussion. As a parent, this lack of tact makes me want to avoid you as a teacher.
_________________________
Mom of Two Girls Who Used to Be Beginners

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#1781653 - 11/02/11 10:13 AM Re: A moral Dilemma of a possibly Real Situation [Re: Dustin Sanders]
BB Player Online   content


Registered: 11/17/06
Posts: 2553
Loc: Not in Texas
This thread has long since outlived its usefulness and is closed.
_________________________
Greg

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