Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Gifts and supplies for the musician
SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
Ad (Piano Sing)
How to Make Your Piano Sing
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pianoteq
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
Who's Online
131 registered (A Guy, accordeur, 44 invisible), 1644 Guests and 26 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Quick Links to Useful Piano & Music Resources
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano & Music Accessories
*Music School Listings
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Pianos
Topic Options
#1988839 - 11/20/12 06:23 AM Am I evil for wanting to drop this student?
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
I teach adults and children. I have an adult student, a beginner, who has been taking very occasional lessons for almost a year. At first this suited me, she wanted hour long, fortnightly lessons, and this was fine, but then she took about 5 months off during the summer to go sailing (it's all right for some...).

By the time she came back, I explained that my policies now were such and such, I charge for lessons cancelled at short notice, including illness. What really gets me, was she said, 'so, I need to give you a week's notice if I'm going to be ill?' That really annoyed me.

She does practice, a bit, she has made some progress, I just find teaching her dissatisfying. By contrast I so love teaching students I really feel put effort in. She will find reasons not do do various things I suggest (like learning the notes).

It's just the combination of having lots of things that get in the way, and persistent comments about money, and how expensive it is, that irritate me. And, she won't cut her nails.

Am I evil if I find an excuse to drop her?
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


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

Top
(ad) Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
#1988853 - 11/20/12 08:23 AM Re: Am I evil for wanting to drop this student? [Re: ten left thumbs]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2674
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs

Am I evil if I find an excuse to drop her?


I don't think you need to find an excuse, you have listed some good reasons to drop her.
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

Top
#1988870 - 11/20/12 09:09 AM Re: Am I evil for wanting to drop this student? [Re: ten left thumbs]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12137
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
It's not evil at all, but you may want to have a discussion with her before you do.

It sounds to me like she is resistant to learning. I have encountered this many times over the years, mostly from adults but not always. The snide comment about no last-minute cancellations and exaggerating it to the point of needing a week's notice is not being fair to you. You should let her know how that made you feel, definitely. That is disrespectful and not giving any consideration to why you need a policy to begin with.

Bring up the fact that she is paying you good money to learn piano, but she's not doing her part of the bargain. If you give a student an assignment, it is with the goal that they will do it and improve as a pianist. If they do not do it, they do not improve and no one is happy. Ask her if she's satisfied with her progress. If so, perhaps she needs to find another teacher, because you are obviously one who desires to see her students succeed (I'm the same way). I wouldn't have the discussion with her during her lesson time, or if you do, tell her you can reschedule the lesson for another time, but you need to talk about these issues.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

Top
#1988883 - 11/20/12 09:51 AM Re: Am I evil for wanting to drop this student? [Re: ten left thumbs]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2649
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
What really gets me, was she said, 'so, I need to give you a week's notice if I'm going to be ill?'


Hi ten left thumbs,

I would give a hearty laugh at her response. "Ha Ha! That's a good one. (Pause) No, seriously, what I'm saying is that there are no refunds for missed or cancelled lessons."

Instead of doubting yourself, try writing an affirmation such as "I am a competent teacher..." over and over to help replace the negatives that you've told yourself (about being evil etc).

When I played harp, I'd have adult women say "I'd love to learn to play the harp!". I'd take a look at their long polished nails and say that you have to have very short fingernails to get a good tone on harp (and show them mine). That would be enough information to give them pause. It was clear that clipping nails was way more commitment than they could muster. laugh I just present short nails as a requirement, and then it's up to the adult to decide if they want to do it.

I don't offer lessons less frequently than weekly. Also I have a fee for re-enrolling after stopping lessons. These policies deter those who are not really committed.

Anyway, be clear about your policies. And then the student can quit if she doesn't like it.

When someone arrives with very long nails (8 year old boys do this too), I let them know we will use the time to catch up on theory and do note drills because we can't play piano with long nails. Then when parent picks them up, I tell them the child must have short fingernails to play piano, and tell how we productively used lesson time, but did not play piano. So far that has taken of it.

Top
#1988939 - 11/20/12 12:17 PM Re: Am I evil for wanting to drop this student? [Re: ten left thumbs]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1027
Loc: Irvine, CA
So if your student is sick and give you three hour notice, will he receive a make up lesson in the future?
_________________________
http://ezpiano.org
Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
@ http://bit.ly/Ready123

Top
#1988943 - 11/20/12 12:31 PM Re: Am I evil for wanting to drop this student? [Re: ten left thumbs]
sonataplayer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/09/11
Posts: 64
Loc: New Hampshire
Hi ten left thumbs:

I've learned the hard way that students who are not willing to commit to weekly lessons don't last. So, I now have a strict policy that I only give weekly lessons. People who can't commit to a lesson once a week need to look elsewhere for a teacher. I've lost some potential students as a result of this policy, but I've found that the headaches caused by dealing with the "occasional" student far outweigh the benefits.

You are not evil for deciding to drop her; you're a good business person for deciding to drop her and you're preserving your mental health.

Top
#1988944 - 11/20/12 12:32 PM Re: Am I evil for wanting to drop this student? [Re: ten left thumbs]
wouter79 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 3603
Quote:
I charge for lessons cancelled at short notice, including illness. What really gets me, was she said, 'so, I need to give you a week's notice if I'm going to be ill?' That really annoyed me.


It is a good question though so I guess something else was troubling you.

Quote:
She does practice, a bit, she has made some progress, I just find teaching her dissatisfying. By contrast I so love teaching students I really feel put effort in. She will find reasons not do do various things I suggest (like learning the notes).


AH, I think you should check her on this, instead of putting up new requirements. And this might be a good reason to drop someone I think.

Quote:
It's just the combination of having lots of things that get in the way, and persistent comments about money, and how expensive it is, that irritate me. And, she won't cut her nails.


Did you tell her to stop that money discussion?

Quote:
Am I evil if I find an excuse to drop her?

Why would you need an excuse? Just consider the facts. Check the contract and what is the norm for this kind of situations.
_________________________

Top
#1989028 - 11/20/12 05:23 PM Re: Am I evil for wanting to drop this student? [Re: ezpiano.org]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
So if your student is sick and give you three hour notice, will he receive a make up lesson in the future?


Make up lessons are strictly on a Saturday afternoon (this seems to be the time no one wants piano lessons, so it is my only free time).

The thing with this student is she has never committed to a weekly slot. All my other students have. When I took her on I was desperate for students, and would have taught anything anytime. I have got much busier. I can teach her during the day, in school hours, which is the only reason I have allowed this to continue.

My students pay for 4 lessons at a time, on the first lesson. Today was the last of 4. We had pencilled in another lesson in December, though she did ask if she would need to pay for all 4, I said yes. Her problem was she won't take the other lessons until next year. So today she cancelled that lesson as she didn't want the extra expense, it being so near to Christmas. It wasn't till she'd gone, I thought, I want a Christmas too.

So I am not due to teach her till January, though I may see her at the piano party in December, I had offered to play a duet with her then. So if I quit with her now she will feel aggrieved about that, I'm sure.

I do like the idea of an enrolment fee, I was thinking of starting that next year, to cover the costs of venues for the piano parties, etc.

I told her today I thought she needed weekly lessons, she agreed to weekly lessons in January and Feb, not sure about March... I want to build up clients during the day, am trying to get some home-educated kids, and offering discounts for school-time lessons. We'll see how that goes.

So, after agreeing this at today's lesson, I thought that was OK, then after the lesson it just all got on top of me, the various things I was annoyed about, and that maybe I should just quit.

Sorry this is all so jumbled.

The other thing that is influencing me is I lost a couple of rubbish students over the summer, and life is *so* much better for it. It's really like some students just drag me down far more than their proportion of my schedule should allow.

And in answer to another question, I want to make an excuse to drop her, precisely because I don't want to have a conversation with her about the things that really annoy me. Partly I just want her to go look for another teacher that will do half the things I've done, and then appreciate me in some way.
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


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

Top
#1989058 - 11/20/12 06:57 PM Re: Am I evil for wanting to drop this student? [Re: ten left thumbs]
toejamfutbol Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/04/09
Posts: 124
Loc: MI
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs


And in answer to another question, I want to make an excuse to drop her, precisely because I don't want to have a conversation with her about the things that really annoy me. Partly I just want her to go look for another teacher that will do half the things I've done, and then appreciate me in some way.


You keep talking about these policy violations as if they are just little pet peeves of yours. I don't think your student will take you or those policies seriously if you refer to them this way. It's really simple, actually. Just bring it up to her professionally by saying: "This is what it takes to be a piano student in my studio. Period." In a nicer way, maybe... smile But stand your ground! If you take your policy seriously, your students will take you more seriously and will value their lessons more. (As a side note, I would definitely get rid of your makeup policy altogether. You would be amazed how fewer lessons students will miss when they know they won't be able to make it up. I take the "snooze you lose" approach.)

Some teachers don't care whether their students are progressing or getting the most bang for their buck, they're just happy to take the money. You're obviously not one of them, so let the half-committed students go off to the half-committed teachers rather than waste your time. Don't let this lady boss you around! If she really wanted to learn how to play the piano she would make it a bigger priority!
_________________________
"Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured and far away." -Thoreau

Top
#1989130 - 11/20/12 09:50 PM Re: Am I evil for wanting to drop this student? [Re: toejamfutbol]
emilypianist89 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/07/12
Posts: 82
Originally Posted By: toejamfutbol


Some teachers don't care whether their students are progressing or getting the most bang for their buck, they're just happy to take the money. You're obviously not one of them, so let the half-committed students go off to the half-committed teachers rather than waste your time. Don't let this lady boss you around! If she really wanted to learn how to play the piano she would make it a bigger priority!


Very well said! I never thought of it this way before!


Edited by emilypianist89 (11/20/12 09:50 PM)
_________________________
Pianist
Private Piano Teacher

Top
#1989136 - 11/20/12 09:55 PM Re: Am I evil for wanting to drop this student? [Re: ten left thumbs]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2674
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
She's complicated; it sounds like you neither need her as a student nor want her as a student.

A way to soften the situation (and avoid the issues that bug you) is to recommend another teacher (or two) and tell her that you are reducing the size of your studio.
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

Top
#1989176 - 11/21/12 12:02 AM Re: Am I evil for wanting to drop this student? [Re: ten left thumbs]
rlinkt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/08/12
Posts: 320
Loc: CA
I would recommend separating the sickness policy from all the other things. If you do not want to continue teaching this student, that's your decision and you can communicate that many different ways.

The no refund policy even for sickness is harsh. Things happen. My daughter had an accident a couple of hours before her piano lesson once, and had to get her scalp stitched up. I would have been pretty unhappy if the teacher enforced a no refund policy due to the short notice. You have to make a judgment call on the sickness clause.


Edited by rlinkt (11/21/12 12:04 AM)

Top
#1989202 - 11/21/12 02:55 AM Re: Am I evil for wanting to drop this student? [Re: ten left thumbs]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5550
Loc: Orange County, CA
Just dump the student. Unless you are really strapped for cash.

I have had several non-weekly students. The great majority of them are just terrible students with really noncommittal parents and absolutely zero practice. I do have one good bi-weekly student, but her progress is (for obvious reasons) at 50% rate of her peers.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

Top
#1989206 - 11/21/12 03:06 AM Re: Am I evil for wanting to drop this student? [Re: ten left thumbs]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Overall I'm happy with how my 'refunds' policy goes - no refunds. Students, and students' parents understand I get paid whether they show or not. I do not do make-up lessons, except for sickness, and, since offering the make-ups for sickness, not many of those who were sick have actually taken me up on it. I originally offered the make-up lessons to encourage those who were sick to actually cancel - as I was being asked to teach sick children. It is working well now.

Thankyou all for your posts on dealing with this student. I have decided not to do anything rash. I will keep her on just now, let her play, or not play at the upcoming recital, and give her the weekly lessons in Jan-Feb as planned. I will start 'studio' fee for all students, and make it clear that she would pay it again if she takes a break. She won't like that, she may decide to quit at that point. I am still free to drop her later, and I'm fairly clear in my own mind I'm not evil.

Thinking on this some more (and I don't know if this is really relevant - to me) but she may be coming under some pressure from her husband about money. Judging by where they live, and the holidays they take, they are not poor. But I hear stories about his comments to her about her playing, and I just think he may be undermining her at every opportunity, and the money it takes may well be a part of that.
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


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

Top

Moderator:  Ken Knapp 
What's Hot!!

Trade Regrets:
Barry "Bear" Arnaut

(ad) Yamaha
Yamaha
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Knabe Pianos
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
(ad) Piano Music Sale - Dover Publications
Piano Music Sale
Sheet Music Plus (125)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Intro and a question re: Elton's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"
by OnlyLivingBoy
11/22/14 05:09 PM
Are there usually dp sales in holiday in the US
by linghu224
11/22/14 04:37 PM
Intro and a question re: Elton's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"
by OnlyLivingBoy
11/22/14 03:33 PM
Can reburbishing eliminate mold?
by amateur101
11/22/14 03:21 PM
Kawai CA-65 bench in North American market
by Pierrerion
11/22/14 02:59 PM
Forum Stats
77008 Members
42 Forums
159269 Topics
2339713 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
Gift Ideas for Music Lovers!
Find the Perfect Gift for the Music Lovers on your List!
Visit our online store today.

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
|
Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission