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
155 registered (ajames, accordeur, AmateurBob, 43 invisible), 1886 Guests and 24 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
Forum Stats
76977 Members
42 Forums
159223 Topics
2338892 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
Topic Options
#2007539 - 01/01/13 03:48 PM How would you handle this?
catpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/12
Posts: 55
A woman contacted me over the summer for lessons for her 2 children starting in September. The only days she wanted were completely booked so I told her that my schedule would free up a lot in December (because the classes I was taking ended so 2 more days opened up), but that I could also refer her to another teacher. She said that no, she specifically wanted me since I came recommended by a friend of mine who teaches her kids guitar. She even asked if I could recommend a book so she could get them started while they waited to start with me.

At the beginning of December, I emailed her to set up a time. She wanted Mondays, and I said I could start on Monday December 17th for an initial lesson, and then I would be off for the next 2 weeks for the holidays. She wrote back saying that was fine and that she was so excited.

On that Monday I showed up at her house and no one was home. While I sat and waited outside I looked up her number online since we had only communicated via email, and the number that was listed was out of service. I emailed her saying there must have been some miscommunication in the emails, and that I thought we were starting today but let's just start the week after the holidays.

She never wrote back.

I have another potential student who asked for that family's time slot, Mondays at 4:45, and now I'm thinking of just offering it to them without contacting the other family. I just can't deal with people who are disrespectful and irresponsible like that. Am I being unprofessional by just writing them off? What would you do?

Top
(ad) Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
#2007551 - 01/01/13 04:09 PM Re: How would you handle this? [Re: catpiano]
chasingrainbows Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/06
Posts: 1191
Loc: NJ
catpiano, I posted a similar experience under "suspicious reason for student disappearance" thread. I emailed the parent several times to follow up on a "one month break", and received no responses. 4 months later, she calls ready to start lessons back up again. I would fill the slot with someone who you are able to communicate with. Not being home, having an out of service phone number, and not replying to your email could indicate she is not interested. She may have forgotten, or could be away, however, I would be reluctant to pass up a sure student for this student. I've learned to confirm new students start dates to avoid situations like that.

Top
#2007554 - 01/01/13 04:20 PM Re: How would you handle this? [Re: catpiano]
catpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/12
Posts: 55
Yeah. I just find it weird considering how interested she seemed in the first place. Also I'm not sure if she's assuming I'll just come next Monday. Very annoying.

Top
#2007580 - 01/01/13 05:26 PM Re: How would you handle this? [Re: catpiano]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5548
Loc: Orange County, CA
Don't take flakers. They'll just give you one headache after another.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

Top
#2007591 - 01/01/13 05:45 PM Re: How would you handle this? [Re: catpiano]
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1267
Loc: California
Since the incident happened 2 weeks ago and she hasn't responded to your email, I'd let it go and give the time slot to someone else.
_________________________
Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

Top
#2007602 - 01/01/13 06:06 PM Re: How would you handle this? [Re: dumdumdiddle]
Joyce_dup1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/01/02
Posts: 193
Loc: Chicago
It's all about the money. We are running a business. When lessons are scheduled, always get the advance payment. Especially if there is any kind of a time lag - over a vacation period for example. If you do not have their payment in hand, you do not schedule a confirmed lessons slot. This way, if they blow off the lesson, you have already been paid and you have some time to try to resolve issue. If the next payment is not forth-coming, the time slot frees up. It's very simple business.


Edited by Joyce_dup1 (01/01/13 06:07 PM)

Top
#2007620 - 01/01/13 06:50 PM Re: How would you handle this? [Re: catpiano]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4437
Loc: San Jose, CA
There's nothing to handle--- you have an open slot. Fill the slot, if someone else wants it.

That flaky customer will have to do a LOT of begging and show documents that prove up her excuse, if she expects you to even speak to her again--- and it had better be good. A hospital stay, for example.
_________________________
Clef


Top
#2007627 - 01/01/13 07:02 PM Re: How would you handle this? [Re: catpiano]
MaggieGirl Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 492
You have been more than generous. You have the emails showing the dates and times for back up. I'd count the family as flakes and put in the other family.

Top
#2007629 - 01/01/13 07:09 PM Re: How would you handle this? [Re: catpiano]
catpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/12
Posts: 55
Thanks everyone! I just called the other family and let them know that the slot opened up and it's theirs of they want it.

I'm just starting out teaching privately (6 months) and so far everyone has been so reliable about payment and scheduling so this really caught me off guard. I guess I will have to start thinking about putting stricter policies in place, as some of you have mentioned.

Top
#2007682 - 01/01/13 09:09 PM Re: How would you handle this? [Re: catpiano]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12135
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I may also recommend that if she does contact you in the future that you again have no times available. Unless there is a great excuse and you have a good feeling about it, it sounds to me like someone who will continue to waste your time.

And if she does contact you and you want to start up lessons, I would first suggest you talk on the phone, not email, and then you arrange a meeting, not a lesson. Then after you have met you can decide if you want to teach them. You'll get a good idea if it will work once you meet them - which is why I do interviews before signing students up for lessons.
_________________________
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
#2007687 - 01/01/13 09:19 PM Re: How would you handle this? [Re: catpiano]
catpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/12
Posts: 55
I will definitely do that. Thanks for the advice.

Top
#2007772 - 01/02/13 01:17 AM Re: How would you handle this? [Re: catpiano]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1027
Loc: Irvine, CA
Quote:
Monday December 17th for an initial lesson


So they missed their initial lesson, you only email each other and you never met them in person, is that right?
_________________________
http://ezpiano.org
Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
@ http://bit.ly/Ready123

Top
#2008099 - 01/02/13 05:09 PM Re: How would you handle this? [Re: Morodiene]
Barb860 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 1646
Loc: northern California
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
I may also recommend that if she does contact you in the future that you again have no times available. Unless there is a great excuse and you have a good feeling about it, it sounds to me like someone who will continue to waste your time.

And if she does contact you and you want to start up lessons, I would first suggest you talk on the phone, not email, and then you arrange a meeting, not a lesson. Then after you have met you can decide if you want to teach them. You'll get a good idea if it will work once you meet them - which is why I do interviews before signing students up for lessons.


+1

Cat, you might want to consider a reminder phone call a day or 2 prior to the first lesson with future new students. I'm finding this helps me.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

Top
#2008205 - 01/02/13 08:51 PM Re: How would you handle this? [Re: catpiano]
riley80 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/03/08
Posts: 386
Loc: Florida
Consider the case closed. If they ever contact you again, You are 'booked solid'. End of story.

Top
#2008283 - 01/02/13 11:54 PM Re: How would you handle this? [Re: catpiano]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4437
Loc: San Jose, CA
I like Morodine's technique of letting them have it with both barrels before accepting them into the studio (and it would be on 90-day parole after the interviews, if it were me). Phone interview--- if they don't seem too scary right out of hand, and if what they say they want in a teacher and for goals pretty much makes sense, then they get an in-person interview. Maybe in a Starbucks, mid-afternoon.

"...I would first suggest you talk on the phone, not email, and then you arrange a meeting, not a lesson. Then after you have met you can decide if you want to teach them. You'll get a good idea if it will work once you meet them - which is why I do interviews before signing students up..."

Yes, then the meeting. Examine teeth, breath, and personal hygiene (odors; visible grime; evidence that they wash the hands after visiting the toilet). Personality check. Does their clothing suggest they can pay the bill? Are they dragging around a pit bull with a spiked, black leather collar? Bring out the printed studio policy, go over the points, see what questions or reservations they have: [1] hourly cost, [2] proper notice of missing a lesson,(especially, if the student is ill: don't come) [3] make-ups, if you offer them, [4] the yearly schedule- holidays, etc.,[4a] the summer schedule, [5] monthly billing; advance deposit of the first month's tuition, [6] 30-day's notice for cancellation, except for cause [7] cost of books and materials, when to bring them, where to get them, [8] how you use the computer for: (a) messaging,(b) assignments,(c) sending invoices,(d) educational materials in printed form for outside the lesson time, [9] how many hours (at least) to practice weekly, [10] failure to thrive during the 90 day parole period = amicable parting, [11] recitals, if you offer them, [12] field trips to see great artists in concert (and to explore opportunities and venues in the music field, if you offer them). [13] rules regarding excessive use of scents, comfortable but modest attire, proper footgear, etc. [14] Explicit statement regarding non-tolerance for sexual harassment, or any other disrespectful, inappropriate, or illegal behavior, [15] lateness ≠ staying later: end of lesson = go home.

Ok, I'm running out of gas--- and that doesn't even address the application form and contract, including [1] student's experience, [2] interests and goals, etc (many questions), [3] available time slots, [4] name/address/phone/e-mail/emergency contact.

Despite the incompleteness of the printed materials, if it feels right, you could sign, accept the deposit and offer a receipt, and assign them a slot on parole. Or, you and they could take them home, think it over, and see what you thought.

It is a process with a couple of choke-points, if they are needed, and if it goes through, you're begun on a footing that at least doesn't give the impression that you fell off the turnip truck last week.
_________________________
Clef


Top
#2008404 - 01/03/13 08:14 AM Re: How would you handle this? [Re: Jeff Clef]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2649
Quote:
I like Morodine's technique of letting them have it with both barrels before accepting them into the studio


I like her idea too. But I think it's an equal opportunity for the client to let the teacher have it with both barrels prior starting lessons.

These may occur at an initial meeting:

No show or 30 minutes late for appointment.
A call to reschedule the appointment (with flimsy excuse).
Demand for lesson time that is not available.
Parent bringing old books someone gave to her and insisting that she's not buying books you recommend.
Parent can't answer basic questions like what school does your child attend.
Find out kid has learning problems that will likely prevent success in lessons.
Find out kid has no interest in learning to play piano.
Parent shouting at teacher for any reason.

Each teacher can then decide how many or which bullets to overlook. And decide if any of the bullets just killed the potential for a relationship.

The interview in person is a time for questions and answers. It's about looking before you leap for both teacher and student/parent.

It's only reasonable to meet in person prior to accepting a new student or choosing a teacher.

Top
#2008419 - 01/03/13 08:46 AM Re: How would you handle this? [Re: catpiano]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12135
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Jeff, I cannot tell if you are being serious or if you are poking fun at my suggestion. Sarcasm doesn't carry very well in written form.

I see no problem with insisting on meeting a family before signing them up, however, I do meet them at the studio, and give the student a little lesson to see how we work together. I do not charge for this, but I do make it clear that we are both getting a feel for one another to see if lessons would be beneficial for all involved. I have on occasion met with a family where I knew it was not going to work out, with the child running around misbehaving and the doting mother just letting the child knock over things and pound on the piano, etc. In such instances I politely suggest the parent wait a few years before signing them up.
_________________________
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
#2008519 - 01/03/13 01:03 PM Re: How would you handle this? [Re: catpiano]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1027
Loc: Irvine, CA
In my studio, when new family inquiries for piano lessons, they usually contact me with three different paths:
1. Parents call me on the phone to find out
2. Parents email me to find out
3. Parents sign up at my http://bit.ly/EZSignUp right away.

If they call me on the phone to find out, I will chat with them a few minutes to find out how old is the kid, if they play piano before and mention that you could come for one time free appointment. Then I ask for email address then send them my policy and link to sign up.
If they email me, then I will send them my policy back and also the sign up link.

If they sign up at my link without email or call me, then I will email them back with studio policy and schedule our first free appointment.
If they sign up at my link, and also read the studio policy that I email them, they should know everything that JEFF covers in his long response (19 items)

My sign up link is very details, if a parent cannot take time to complete the form, he or she is not ready to work with me and be serious in taking piano lesson, in return, I will not offering my free time for first free consultation appointment.

At my first free consultation appointment, I do not need to go over the policy, make up lesson, how it works? Schedule, when are you free for piano lesson, no, I do not need to waste my time. I concentrate in teaching the student a tiny piece, or even a phrase, just to get the feeling of how this student work, and let the parents observes my “sample of teaching”. You know if you go to Costco, they give out sample of food just to lure you to buy the product, yes, I am giving out a “sample of my teaching” for free so that they can taste it and finally agree to commit for piano lesson.

Ten minutes to the end of the free consultation appointment, I usually ask the parents if they have questions. At that point, they usually ask question about my policy, if any part is not clear to them. They confirm the monthly tuition fee and also ask for my opening.
In conclusion, there is a lot of things to cover at the first meeting, but with the help of nowadays technology, 90% of them could be covered by emails and sign up link.

This is just me, I understand that we piano teacher run our business differently.
_________________________
http://ezpiano.org
Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
@ http://bit.ly/Ready123

Top
#2008624 - 01/03/13 04:13 PM Re: How would you handle this? [Re: catpiano]
trillingadventurer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/28/08
Posts: 304
Loc: San Diego
Missing the initial lesson is a biggie for me especially if you have traveled to their home. Not responding to your subsequent email is blowing you off. Even with a family emergency, she could have given you a quick call or email to let you know.

I would not under any circumstances give this family a second chance.

I have noticed also that like seem to refer like. Flaky families refer other flaky families. Consistent families refer other consistent families. Leave space in your studio for solid students.

By the way, I have experienced this too...where they are excited to start, can't wait and then backing out at the last minute. Until I have the first check in hand I have learned to not have any sort of expectation with a new student.

I really, really don't like being surprised like that. I have learned that this is unacceptable. I used to give second and third chances and it's true: they become bigger headaches down the line. EVERY TIME!


Edited by trillingadventurer (01/03/13 04:15 PM)
_________________________
M. Katchur

Top
#2008701 - 01/03/13 07:53 PM Re: How would you handle this? [Re: Morodiene]
catpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/12
Posts: 55
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
I may also recommend that if she does contact you in the future that you again have no times available. Unless there is a great excuse and you have a good feeling about it, it sounds to me like someone who will continue to waste your time.

And if she does contact you and you want to start up lessons, I would first suggest you talk on the phone, not email, and then you arrange a meeting, not a lesson. Then after you have met you can decide if you want to teach them. You'll get a good idea if it will work once you meet them - which is why I do interviews before signing students up for lessons.


I'm not sure I would do initial meetings at no charge only because I drive to people's houses and in some cases I drive pretty far. I'm on a tight budget and wouldn't want to "waste" the gas money. If I'm ever in a situation where I'm able to teach from home I'll do that with every student.

Top
#2008714 - 01/03/13 08:27 PM Re: How would you handle this? [Re: catpiano]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12135
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: catpiano
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
I may also recommend that if she does contact you in the future that you again have no times available. Unless there is a great excuse and you have a good feeling about it, it sounds to me like someone who will continue to waste your time.

And if she does contact you and you want to start up lessons, I would first suggest you talk on the phone, not email, and then you arrange a meeting, not a lesson. Then after you have met you can decide if you want to teach them. You'll get a good idea if it will work once you meet them - which is why I do interviews before signing students up for lessons.


I'm not sure I would do initial meetings at no charge only because I drive to people's houses and in some cases I drive pretty far. I'm on a tight budget and wouldn't want to "waste" the gas money. If I'm ever in a situation where I'm able to teach from home I'll do that with every student.


And yet you wasted time by going to their house expecting to get paid and did not.
_________________________
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
#2008743 - 01/03/13 09:23 PM Re: How would you handle this? [Re: trillingadventurer]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5548
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: trillingadventurer
I have noticed also that like seem to refer like. Flaky families refer other flaky families. Consistent families refer other consistent families. Leave space in your studio for solid students.

I actually don't see any correlations.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

Top
#2012713 - 01/11/13 10:47 AM Re: How would you handle this? [Re: catpiano]
catpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/12
Posts: 55
Ummm....

Just got a voicemail from the mom saying "Just wanted to touch base on when we're going to start lessons. I'm hoping it's this Monday!"

What on earth?

I could give her the benefit of the doubt in assuming that she never got my last email, but I don't think that's the case.

Top
#2012722 - 01/11/13 11:01 AM Re: How would you handle this? [Re: catpiano]
bmbutler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/15/10
Posts: 226
Loc: North Carolina
I would drop her like a hot potato.
_________________________
Bachelor of Music (church music)
Master of Church Music (organ, music education)
Piano Teacher since 1992
Church Musician since 1983

Top
#2012897 - 01/11/13 03:14 PM Re: How would you handle this? [Re: catpiano]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5548
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: catpiano
I could give her the benefit of the doubt in assuming that she never got my last email, but I don't think that's the case.

How desperate are you? If you are in dire need of students (for financial reasons), then go ahead and see where it leads. But be aware that parents/students like this come with a huge baggage, one that will create a lot of headache down the line.

I have some students like this who give me a lot of grief, but I can't afford to fire them, not at the moment, anyway.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

Top
#2013097 - 01/11/13 09:27 PM Re: How would you handle this? [Re: AZNpiano]
catpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/12
Posts: 55
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: catpiano
I could give her the benefit of the doubt in assuming that she never got my last email, but I don't think that's the case.

How desperate are you? If you are in dire need of students (for financial reasons), then go ahead and see where it leads. But be aware that parents/students like this come with a huge baggage, one that will create a lot of headache down the line.

I have some students like this who give me a lot of grief, but I can't afford to fire them, not at the moment, anyway.


At this point, every new student makes a huge difference in my income. I can't afford to not take a new student just to avoid future headaches, unfortunately.

As it turned out, I spoke with the mom, and she was VERY apologetic. She said the whole family had been "sick" and she just assumed that we were starting after the new year. The lesson I learned in this is to not rely so much on email when communicating with parents.

I'm starting her kids on Monday, and we'll see where it leads.

Top
#2013162 - 01/12/13 12:52 AM Re: How would you handle this? [Re: catpiano]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1374
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
During the holidays, I'd say all bets are off for schedules and especially for starting new students. This family might be prove to be just fine.

Top

Moderator:  Ken Knapp 
What's Hot!!
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
Forums Rules & Help
-------------------
ADVERTISE
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
-------------------
PIANO BOOKS
Interesting books about the piano, pianists, piano history, biographies, memoirs and more!
(ad) Piano Music Sale - Dover Publications
Piano Music Sale
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Seiler Pianos
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Pianos
Sheet Music Plus (125)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
New Topics - Multiple Forums
What music do play for your partner/husband/wife
/sweetie?

by Johan B
6 minutes 45 seconds ago
One for you soundboard gurus...
by RonTuner
Today at 03:08 PM
Yamaha YDP-S51 or Roland F130R?
by Vetyver
Today at 02:35 PM
Musical Neighborhood?
by DancerJ
Today at 02:01 PM
Dream Piano Search & Purchase
by Miguel Rey
Today at 01:00 PM
(ads by Google)

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