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#2028420 - 02/06/13 10:33 PM Why parents expect piano activities will change time when ..
ezpiano.org Offline
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Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1002
Loc: Irvine, CA
Why parents expect piano activities will change time when there is a conflict?

Example 1:
CM test is coming soon. Back in September, I ask if Saturday or Sunday works better for each student, then make the request accordingly. This mom1 choose Saturday then now emailing me asking if she can change it to Sunday because something comes up. I told her I cannot change the time.

Example 2:
My studio recital is coming soon too, I have two recitals in one day: 3pm and 4:30pm. I announce the recital time 1 month ago. Then today I receive an email from mom2 saying she would prefer 3pm than 4:30pm. I already printed the program and this is 3 days before my recital! I am just refusing her. I told her that if she make the request one month ago when I make the announcement, I would have change it for her, this is just too late.

Questions:
Is this type of behavior common in your studio? Parents always expect piano activities will change time when there is a conflict?

I am just curious if this happen to all piano teachers or just me because I looked I can be toyed around? (maybe I used a wrong word, please suggest a word)
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#2028427 - 02/06/13 10:57 PM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: ezpiano.org]
Nikolas Online   content
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Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5210
Loc: Europe
It kinda is common with me, but the thing is that I'm getting paid monthly, so if they loose a lesson then it's their loss, not mine (from a monetary sense).

Other than that, I think that all lessons get pushed around, so I'm not feeling too bad about this. Unless it's something that a family/parent does continuously in which case I have to step up a bit!
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#2028447 - 02/06/13 11:50 PM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: ezpiano.org]
MaggieGirl Offline
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Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 470
The Saturday to Sunday thing I understand (with notice) and IF it's available. The saying no because you're upset would just hurt you if they decide to quit or switch to a teacher with an opening.

The time change for the recital is ridiculous. I doubt there is anything that just showed up on the calendar 3 days prior that they can't miss. I would have never asked!

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#2028458 - 02/07/13 12:02 AM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: ezpiano.org]
Kimsie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/29/08
Posts: 95
Loc: Arlington, WA
Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org

I am just curious if this happen to all piano teachers or just me because I looked I can be toyed around? (maybe I used a wrong word, please suggest a word)

I am just curious if this happens to all piano teachers or just to me because I look like I can be toyed with.

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#2028485 - 02/07/13 01:18 AM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: ezpiano.org]
AZNpiano Offline
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Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5415
Loc: Orange County, CA
No, I don't have that issue in my studio. If students can't come to recital, so be it--it's their loss. If they want to change CM day, my branch will charge them $25 extra. I'm not affected in any way.

The type of problems I used to get is scheduling around the schools' idiotic athletic departments. This is why I stopped accepting athletes, and strongly discourage students from taking sports. There are some coaches who think they are the center of the universe, and all the world revolves around them.
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#2028502 - 02/07/13 02:24 AM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: ezpiano.org]
Chris H. Offline
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Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2845
Loc: UK.
Yes it happens to me all the time too. I get the feeling that most parents think I only teach their child and so can fit them in anytime it's convenient for them. My policy states that missed lessons will be charged for but some of them really push this with requests for refunds and make ups even months afterwards.

The most frustrating thing for me is exam appointments. Whenever my students enter exams I tell them that I have no control over the date or time and they are only informed about three weeks in advance. In fact I now give each candidate a letter with this information before they decide to enter. And still when the dates come through I have all sorts of complaints about clashes with other activities. One of the best ones was when a teenage girl wanted to change her exam because she had booked to get her nails done that morning for a party in the evening!
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#2028517 - 02/07/13 03:00 AM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: ezpiano.org]
AZNpiano Offline
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Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5415
Loc: Orange County, CA
I think it's too easy for piano teachers to take these issues personally. Over time, I've come to distance myself from these scheduling issues IF they don't affect me. If these problems affect my income, or inconvenience me and my other students, then I'll put my foot down and take a stance. For example, if a student decides to show up for Recital B rather than Recital A--even if they just show up to the wrong recital--I'll just put them in the end and announce their name and pieces. No big deal. Nobody lost a finger or a toe.

But for kids who would rather get their nail done than taking an exam? Good grief! Just tell them to skip the test. They are probably not going to pass, anyway, given their casual attitude and lack of dedication.
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#2028521 - 02/07/13 03:19 AM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: AZNpiano]
Chris H. Offline
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Posts: 2845
Loc: UK.
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano

But for kids who would rather get their nail done than taking an exam? Good grief! Just tell them to skip the test. They are probably not going to pass, anyway, given their casual attitude and lack of dedication.


Well she passed okay but then quit about a month later!
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#2028581 - 02/07/13 07:50 AM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: AZNpiano]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
I think it's too easy for piano teachers to take these issues personally. Over time, I've come to distance myself from these scheduling issues IF they don't affect me. If these problems affect my income, or inconvenience me and my other students, then I'll put my foot down and take a stance. For example, if a student decides to show up for Recital B rather than Recital A--even if they just show up to the wrong recital--I'll just put them in the end and announce their name and pieces. No big deal. Nobody lost a finger or a toe.

But for kids who would rather get their nail done than taking an exam? Good grief! Just tell them to skip the test. They are probably not going to pass, anyway, given their casual attitude and lack of dedication.


I agree. If you can accommodate the request to change, then do so. You can be offended and hurt all you want, but lessons are not about you, they are about the student. Sometimes things come up, sometimes parents fail to plan, sometimes the kids fail to tell the parents of something coming up. I seriously doubt they are trying to be difficult. If your local CM charges to change the day, let the parent know and let them decide. And like AZN said, if the student wants to come to a different recital time, just announce at the beginning that the student will be playing after so-and-so and put them in an appropriate spot.


Edited by Morodiene (02/07/13 07:51 AM)
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#2028636 - 02/07/13 09:32 AM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: Chris H.]
malkin Offline
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Registered: 04/18/09
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Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Originally Posted By: Chris H.
Yes it happens to me all the time too. I get the feeling that most parents think I only teach their child and so can fit them in anytime it's convenient for them...


Parents may be caught in the middle. Little Molly's soccer coach/choir director/or drill team captain may have called a special practice that involves 30 kids for a time that conflicts with a music lesson.
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#2028643 - 02/07/13 09:49 AM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: ezpiano.org]
Chris H. Offline
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Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2845
Loc: UK.
I don't have a problem with people needing to cancel lessons. It's more the assumption that the lesson can easily be rescheduled.
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#2028648 - 02/07/13 10:00 AM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: Chris H.]
Morodiene Offline
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Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Chris H.
I don't have a problem with people needing to cancel lessons. It's more the assumption that the lesson can easily be rescheduled.


Offering less-than-ideal times as alternatives or simply saying "No, I'm sorry, I don't have that time available" usually does the trick.

Personally, I try to be accommodating since I am also a performer and have to ask them to reschedule sometimes to fit rehearsal schedules. It works both ways smile .
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#2028752 - 02/07/13 01:08 PM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: ezpiano.org]
rada Offline
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Registered: 09/07/06
Posts: 1124
Loc: pagosa springs,co
I think much of life has to do with flexibility. It works for me because I choose not to get angry over these issues. All parents are different...what works for one... ie..prepayment, sorry no re-scheduling etc....won't work for another. It is very hard when this is your income. I do try to always consider the student first. Hopefully you will get enough of a student load that things could perhaps be easier...if its financial.

rada

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#2028770 - 02/07/13 01:32 PM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: ezpiano.org]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
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Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Loc: Kentucky
Lately, I've had two short notice requests to reschedule lessons (two different families). And in both cases the parent wanted their kid to attend a make-up lesson from another activity which happened to be offered during their piano lesson time.

I declined a request on lesson day to reschedule and the parent kept saying "But can't I just bring him later?". I end lessons at 7:30pm and the parent asked the same insisting question at least 3 times. I would clearly tell him that would not work for me, and like a broken record he kept asking. And like a broken record I gave my answer again.

The other request was short notice, but the parent emailed open times she hoped to use to reschedule, and it worked fine for me.

I do feel annoyed by this kind of request, but I'm doing my best to be flexible if it works for my schedule. I do my best to handle this professionally and not show my initial annoyance. I think acting skills come in handy as a piano teacher. smile


Edited by Ann in Kentucky (02/07/13 01:34 PM)
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#2028774 - 02/07/13 01:41 PM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: malkin]
AZNpiano Offline
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Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5415
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: malkin
Parents may be caught in the middle. Little Molly's soccer coach/choir director/or drill team captain may have called a special practice that involves 30 kids for a time that conflicts with a music lesson.

I'm not the only piano teacher in my area who is affected by the crazy scheduling of sports! The word got out that "regular P.E." looks bad on a college application, so the entire school went out for sports--even if the kids have ZERO athletic ability!!!!!!!!!!!!! And, as a result of being inundated with inept athletes, the athletic department retaliates by calling for unnecessary practice sessions and making crazy schedules that change on a DAILY basis.
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#2028775 - 02/07/13 01:44 PM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: ezpiano.org]
Jeff Clef Offline
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Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4414
Loc: San Jose, CA
"...I am just curious if this happen to all piano teachers or just me because I looked I can be toyed around? (maybe I used a wrong word, please suggest a word)..."

I like what the other people said. The only thing I would add is, that you don't give the impression of being someone who can be pushed around (or toyed with). People will very often try to push the boundaries (like kids do, trying to find out what the rules really are), or to find the point of least resistance when a conflict arises. You stated the situation, pointed out that the time to make changes had passed, and said, "No---" I hope, with a polite and apologetic smile. If there was some other reason the recital day change couldn't be accommodated (the length of time the hall was rented for, maybe), I hope you explained it pleasantly.

There is no need to take these things as a personal affront or challenge. It's not that you look like a pushover, it's just how people are; they consult their own convenience. If it's reasonably possible to be flexible, I hope that you do what you can for them. If it's unreasonable, well, there it is and you did the right thing. If it was unreasonable and you said yes anyway, then I would think there could be a problem.

Take a deep breath, smile, and don't worry about it any more.
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#2028785 - 02/07/13 01:57 PM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: rada]
childofparadise2002 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/04
Posts: 540
Originally Posted By: rada
I think much of life has to do with flexibility.

rada


Agree!!

I'm sure some parents push limits, others don't. Some families have super busy schedules, other don't. Some families take music study very seriously and would rather change the schedules of other activities to accommodate music lessons, others take other activities more seriously and would rather change piano lesson times to accommodate other activities. Some activities are easier to reschedule than others, for example, sports practice and orchestra rehearsals are impossible to change just because of one student's conflict. So there are many reasons why some parents ask to reschedule. If rescheduling works, let the parent know and everyone will be happy. If it doesn't work, let the parent know and she/he will have to live with it. There is no need to speculate on the parents' personality or motivation or the teacher's personality based on a small minority of parents' behavior.

We ask to reschedule lessons once in a while. We know our teachers for years and we know each other very well, some can be flexible and are always happy to, others are so busy that they simply can't offer any alternative time. Either is fine. Some teachers also ask us to reschedule, when they have upcoming concerts, rehearsals, travels, etc. We do the best we can to accommodate them as well.

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#2028797 - 02/07/13 02:17 PM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: ezpiano.org]
ezpiano.org Offline
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Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1002
Loc: Irvine, CA
A few points to add on:
1.) I am not talking about regular weekly piano lessons. I am super flexible with that since my policy says as long as parents give me 15 minutes notice before lesson, I will give a credit for future make up lesson. I am talking about recital and piano exam.

2.) I gave out recital date 6 months before recital and ask all parents to reserve 3pm to 6pm. I also mentioned to them that I will narrow down the Recital A or Recital B one month before the recital.

3.) I have no control of piano exam time. Parents could make request of if they like Saturday or Sunday. Mom1 requested Saturday back in September, so, if something comes up, she should try to avoid Saturdays because she already request Saturday. If it is in the case of she did not have a chance of making request back in September, and not realize she prefers Sunday, and now making her first request, it would be more reasonable.

4.) I am not financially or schedule-wise being influence by these requests. As I said in my original post, I said "NO" to both requests.

5.) For piano test, make up only works for Grade 9 and up and the fee is another $55.

Quote:
There is no need to speculate on the parents' personality or motivation


I agree. I am not doing that, I am only curious if this happen to all piano teachers or just me.

Thank you for discussions.
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#2028809 - 02/07/13 02:56 PM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: ezpiano.org]
AZNpiano Offline
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Registered: 08/07/07
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Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
2.) I gave out recital date 6 months before recital and ask all parents to reserve 3pm to 6pm. I also mentioned to them that I will narrow down the Recital A or Recital B one month before the recital.

And you seriously expect parents to block out three hours of their lives six months ahead of time? For a recital? To me, that is not reasonable.

Things do change. People have lives outside piano. Given a choice between going to their friend's birthday party or playing at their teacher's studio recital, which one do you think kids will choose?
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#2028811 - 02/07/13 02:57 PM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: ezpiano.org]
Stanny Offline
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For things like exams, I make a point of stating up front when the last time to ask for special times or change times is. A few people might ask, but at least I can remind them that I told them the deadline ahead of time.

I think some parents are less organized than others and will always ask for changes like this. It used to irritate me, but when I realized it's always going to happen, I decided to try not to worry about it.
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#2028838 - 02/07/13 04:08 PM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: ezpiano.org]
Minniemay Offline
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Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
I don't think it's unreasonable to ask people to save the date/time. I issue a calendar at the beginning of the school year. It lists the recital dates and times. They can't say they didn't know.

The recital is one event. They either make time for it or they don't. In my studio, they know it's required. They can miss one of their many soccer games (or whatever) for something that has been scheduled way in advance as a culminating activity for the year.
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#2028979 - 02/07/13 08:11 PM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: ezpiano.org]
Candywoman Offline
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Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 832
AZN piano asked, "Given a choice between going to their friend's birthday party or playing at their teacher's studio recital, which one do you think kids will choose?"

In my opinion, kids shouldn't get this choice.

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#2028986 - 02/07/13 08:20 PM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: Candywoman]
AZNpiano Offline
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Posts: 5415
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Candywoman
AZN piano asked, "Given a choice between going to their friend's birthday party or playing at their teacher's studio recital, which one do you think kids will choose?"

In my opinion, kids shouldn't get this choice.

Why not? This is a teachable moment.
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#2028993 - 02/07/13 08:37 PM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: ezpiano.org]
ezpiano.org Offline
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Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1002
Loc: Irvine, CA
Quote:
And you seriously expect parents to block out three hours of their lives six months ahead of time? For a recital? To me, that is not reasonable.

Things do change. People have lives outside piano. Given a choice between going to their friend's birthday party or playing at their teacher's studio recital, which one do you think kids will choose?


I think children who choose to go to party will make that choice no matter if I give 6 months notice or 2 weeks notice. So, it is not about when I give my notice, it is about their prioritization.
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#2029009 - 02/07/13 09:28 PM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: ezpiano.org]
malkin Offline
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Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2409
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Going back to the original post, in both cases the parents asked if a change was possible, and the answer was that a change is not possible.

I don't see anything in the thread indicating that the parent in either case expected the change. All I know from the original post is that they asked. How could they ever find out without asking?

What happened next might be more telling.
Did they curse you? Swear? Tantrum? Withdraw the student?
Or just make the decision between one activity and the other and carry on.
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#2029047 - 02/07/13 10:57 PM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: ezpiano.org]
MaggieGirl Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 470
AZN - my daughter wouldn't get to make a choice - by taking lessons, she has already committed. But we are pretty good with making things work (maybe go to the party and leave early or arrive late to the party or plan an outing with the birthday kid the next weekend).

The teachable moment is in not giving the choice. We honor our commitments.

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#2029060 - 02/07/13 11:40 PM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: ezpiano.org]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1002
Loc: Irvine, CA
Quote:
Did they curse you? Swear? Tantrum? Withdraw the student?


No.

However, both moms asked twice. After I said the first no and briefly explain, they asked again as if they cannot believe that I CANNOT do anything for them. Then the second time I explain it in a longer and more details way.

What you think?
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#2029072 - 02/08/13 12:02 AM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: MaggieGirl]
AZNpiano Offline
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Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5415
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: MaggieGirl
AZN - my daughter wouldn't get to make a choice - by taking lessons, she has already committed. But we are pretty good with making things work (maybe go to the party and leave early or arrive late to the party or plan an outing with the birthday kid the next weekend).

The teachable moment is in not giving the choice. We honor our commitments.

Good for you! I'm sure your daughter's teacher is very happy to work with you.
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#2029189 - 02/08/13 07:36 AM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: Ann in Kentucky]
Morodiene Offline
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Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky


I declined a request on lesson day to reschedule and the parent kept saying "But can't I just bring him later?". I end lessons at 7:30pm and the parent asked the same insisting question at least 3 times. I would clearly tell him that would not work for me, and like a broken record he kept asking. And like a broken record I gave my answer again.



A similar thing happened to my business partner yesterday. The parent had called and left a voice mail saying that it was just too much to drive to the studio (which she says is a half hour away, and that really isn't true, it takes me to drive a half hour and I live 2 towns over, she lives in the same town) and then for him to have an hour lesson it takes just too much time. So she had this great idea: why not just teach the lessons in her home? That way she can teach him an hour and they can save the supposed hour commute!

I advised her not to even bother responding to the voice mail and if she brought it up at lessons she would just say absolutely not. So lo and behold she brought it up and she was told no, it won't work. The parent kept arguing though, and so my partner kept giving her the same answer. This went on for a little while.

Then at the end of the kid's lesson, the mom is just sitting there chatting away and not moving a muscle. My partner was all packed up and ready to go home (last lesson of the day) and here this lady is just sitting there wanting to gab. Wasn't she just complaining about not having any time for driving and having an hour lesson? Isn't she just so strapped for time she can't do the commute?? mad
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#2029268 - 02/08/13 11:49 AM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: ezpiano.org]
Jeff Clef Offline
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Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4414
Loc: San Jose, CA
"...The parent kept arguing though, and so my partner kept giving her the same answer...Then at the end of the kid's lesson, the mom is just sitting there chatting away and not moving a muscle. My partner was all packed up and ready to go home (last lesson of the day) and here this lady is just sitting there wanting to gab..."

This is not actual conversation, but a wisp of a veil as a guise for a naked pressure tactic, trying to soften the teacher up for yet another attempt to get her way. "She'll say yes to anything to get me out the door so she can close up."

No reply need be made, except, "Closing time, got to go." Then, turn out the lights, lock the door, and leave. This will flush out the parent's real agenda, and again no reply should be offered other than, "I'm sorry, but the answer is still No." Forestall 'talking about it another time' by saying, "Check your e-mail."

But of course there is no e-mail. The parent is in the parking lot, the door is locked, and that is the answer.

These things are easy enough to handle if you ask yourself, "What would I say to a four-year-old bully who was doing this?"
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