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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: 1027
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 Offline
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Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5429
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
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 493
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: 5590
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: 2919
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: 5590
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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Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
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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Registered: 04/06/07
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Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
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
Posts: 2751
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: 2919
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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Registered: 04/06/07
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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]
Overexposed Offline
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Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2649
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: 5590
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: 4441
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: 542
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: 1027
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
Posts: 5590
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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Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 1461
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: 857
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
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5590
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: 1027
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
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2751
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: 493
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: 1027
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
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5590
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: Overexposed]
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12215
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
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4441
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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#2029409 - 02/08/13 05:07 PM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: ezpiano.org]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2751
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
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?


Obnoxious and clueless.
The kids' are probably overcommitted.
Sorry.
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2029599 - 02/09/13 12:33 AM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: Morodiene]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 820
Originally Posted By: Morodiene

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!


My teacher has an upcharge for lessons given in your home. That seems reasonable.

This student's parent has completely set herself up for this tactic as well. "Since you're asking me to commute 30 minutes each way, I'm sure you won't begrudge me billing for another hour of my time, since that's an hour not available for another student."
_________________________
Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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#2029632 - 02/09/13 02:37 AM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: Morodiene]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
I think it's too easy for piano teachers to take these issues personally.

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.


+1

What a novel concept. The piano lessons are about the student!

Being a piano teacher means being in the professional personal services business. This is not 1789 or 1812. People's expectations are formed by the state of the art kind of service that they receive every day working with other professionals.

A good service business is customer-service-oriented. It tailors its services to the individual needs of its customers. "No" in a huff is easy. The funny thing is giving customers options can be just as easy, but requires proactive thinking and planning and communication on the part of the teacher. Unless one is the only or best piano teacher in the county, sooner or later one will have to act like a real professional business.

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#2029710 - 02/09/13 07:56 AM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: Whizbang]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12215
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Whizbang
Originally Posted By: Morodiene

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!


My teacher has an upcharge for lessons given in your home. That seems reasonable.

This student's parent has completely set herself up for this tactic as well. "Since you're asking me to commute 30 minutes each way, I'm sure you won't begrudge me billing for another hour of my time, since that's an hour not available for another student."


Thing is we just rented out this very nice space and we have to pay the rent if we use it or not. This lady knows the change she's made, and is also a businessowner herself. She offered to pay more but the problem isn't the money, but if my partner drives to her house, her other students will find out and want that too, and she doesn't want to do that. That is not how we have set up our business.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2029715 - 02/09/13 08:00 AM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: theJourney]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12215
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: theJourney
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
I think it's too easy for piano teachers to take these issues personally.

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.


+1

What a novel concept. The piano lessons are about the student!

Being a piano teacher means being in the professional personal services business. This is not 1789 or 1812. People's expectations are formed by the state of the art kind of service that they receive every day working with other professionals.

A good service business is customer-service-oriented. It tailors its services to the individual needs of its customers. "No" in a huff is easy. The funny thing is giving customers options can be just as easy, but requires proactive thinking and planning and communication on the part of the teacher. Unless one is the only or best piano teacher in the county, sooner or later one will have to act like a real professional business.


This is very true. I recently had rescheduled a lesson for a student who had cancelled the lesson with plenty of advance notice. Since it was on my day off I offered to teach form my home (which is closer for both me and the student than my studio). She didn't show. Then the mom contacted me and asked if we could reschedule. I was really mad and not going to, knowing I didn't have to, but after calming down my partner pointed out that I should do it just this once but let her know that normally no-shows don't get rescheduled. I did and I'm glad that I did. The student loves to sing and the mom drives her to lessons twice a week, so she really supports her daughter.

Sometimes it's easy to get offended by something that really most likely had nothing to do with you.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2029778 - 02/09/13 09:32 AM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: Morodiene]
childofparadise2002 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/04
Posts: 542
Originally Posted By: Morodiene



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.


Agree 100%, and some more. The lessons are about the students. There is no need to read too much into a parent’s request. If you can accommodate them, do; if you can’t, don’t. It’s just like almost everyone reschedules a doctor’s appointment once in a while. It’s almost never personal. It’s just a fact of life that our daily activities are not always predictable and people have the right to set their own priorities. Speculating on their motives is not necessary when there is no evidence, or even when there is some evidence. It is also worth keeping in mind that what one “reads” from a communication may not be what the other party “means” anyways because communication is not perfect.

But there are other reasons why my family always tries to accommodate our teachers’ rescheduling requests and they try to accommodate ours. After taking lessons for a while, we and our teachers understand each other very well, we’ve become friends with almost all teachers. We know that they care deeply about students and are very responsible, but they are busy people and have many responsibilities. They know that our family cares deeply about learning and my kids are serious students BUT they don’t regard each activity as being equal, some have higher priorities than others, and a family has tons of other things to do besides lessons. I think these facts are quite easy to accept. So when conflicts happen, we all try our best to make each other’s life a bit easier.

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#2030073 - 02/09/13 08:37 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: 1027
Loc: Irvine, CA
Hello dear!
I think we are a little bit off topic here.
I am not talking about request to rescheduling or to make up a piano weekly lesson that a student missed here. I am talking about....
--PIANO TEST
--PIANO RECITAL

Piano test: I do not have control over it. It is not that I can't be flexible to make everyone else life easier. Do you think MTAC can be more flexible? The answer is no. Only student who is grade 9 and up can request a make up test and the extra fee is $55. That means if you are Grade 5, and you figure that you can't make it to the test means you just have to skip it and wasting your preparation and registration fee. Even with doctor's note, a sick Grade 5 student cannot granted a make up test! I personally do not like this rule either. As many of you says here: "Piano lesson is about students, not teacher". I like to tell MTAC too that "Piano test is about students, not teachers!"

Piano recital: If student show up at the wrong recital time, of course I will just announce it and make them play in the current recital. However, if parents ask in advance, there should be a cut off line (mine is 1 week before recital) to ask for change. One parent did ask for change but she did ask right away when I announce the recital time one month ago, so, I change it for her. This mom2 actually ask three days before my recital. So, I have to kindly say no.

About policy of rescheduling and make up lesson:
Mine policy says parents has to give me 15 minutes notice to have a credit for future make up lesson. I think I am pretty flexible compare to many teachers here require 24 hours notice to cancel a lesson and to receive credit for future. About make up time I am very flexible to it too because as most of you saying it is about the student, not me.

So, at this point, I think most of you get confused between piano lesson vs piano recital vs piano test that I am talking about here.
_________________________
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Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
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#2030084 - 02/09/13 08:51 PM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: ezpiano.org]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
Regarding the MTAC CM exam: Our small branch has over 200 students participating. When registering the repertoire, there is a place to indicate time preference, both for which evaluation day and morning/afternoon.

I sent out my query to parents for time requests 2 weeks before I had to enter the information. Only 2 parents responded, so I indicated no special request for the rest. I got several complaints when they were assigned a time they didn't like, but when I referred them back to the email I had sent, they understood they were at fault.

Our CM chair does her best to accommodate changes, but it's nearly impossible when students have differing lengths of evaluation time based on the level entered. We are welcome to switch them within our own studios as long as we switch students with the same length time slot.

I don't honestly believe there is a solution that MTAC can provide.
_________________________
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

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#2030086 - 02/09/13 08:56 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: 1027
Loc: Irvine, CA
Thank you MinnieMay

Quote:
Regarding the MTAC CM exam: Our small branch has over 200 students participating. When registering the repertoire, there is a place to indicate time preference, both for which evaluation day and morning/afternoon.


Our branch has over 1500 students, I believe, I might be wrong.

When registering the repertoire, I let the parents decide the time preference. This Mom1 pick Saturday morning, so, I follow what she pick. I registered it as what she wanted back in September.

Now in February, she wants a different time, which now she prefer Sunday afternoon because "something comes up" (I do not know what is that). So, I have to say no to her.
_________________________
http://ezpiano.org
Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
@ http://bit.ly/Ready123

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#2030092 - 02/09/13 09:07 PM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: ezpiano.org]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
I would not expect them to pick a suitable time in September. You can't register the time preference until after January 2, so I wait until then to ask. Perhaps if you wait until then, you will have more satisfied. parents.
_________________________
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

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#2030095 - 02/09/13 09:13 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: 1027
Loc: Irvine, CA
Thank you MinnieMay.
You do have a good point.
I will do that next year.
I think this issue get resolved. You pin point into a location that I need change. Thank you for your sharpness!
_________________________
http://ezpiano.org
Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
@ http://bit.ly/Ready123

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#2030102 - 02/09/13 09:24 PM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: Minniemay]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5590
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Minniemay
Our CM chair does her best to accommodate changes

Well, ours doesn't. Sometimes I have to remind myself it's just a test, and a missed test is not the end of the world.

One year our CM test came at the end of a school's 6th-grade outdoor education. Several kids went a week without touching the piano right before their CM test, including two of my students. Instead of complaining about it, I just made sure these two students are extra, extra ready, even with one week of fun in the mountains right before CM.

Plan ahead. Always plan ahead.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#2030107 - 02/09/13 09:35 PM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: theJourney]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5590
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: theJourney
The funny thing is giving customers options can be just as easy, but requires proactive thinking and planning and communication on the part of the teacher.

Unfortunately, even the most proactive and communicative teacher in the world will have idiotic clients. You can't make feather-brained people NOT feather-brained.

I wish people would stop equating piano teachers with some sort of "service." I really don't like what the word "service" connotes.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#2030256 - 02/10/13 04:19 AM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: AZNpiano]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: theJourney
The funny thing is giving customers options can be just as easy, but requires proactive thinking and planning and communication on the part of the teacher.

Unfortunately, even the most proactive and communicative teacher in the world will have idiotic clients. You can't make feather-brained people NOT feather-brained.

Part of being pro-active is developing targeting and selection criteria to keep those whom you would derogatorily refer to as " feather-brained, idiotic clients " out of your studio in the first place.

Another part is trying to develop understanding and insight into what is really going on with your parents and students (and patiently educating them on what is going on in total in your studio) and developing better forms of collaboration rather than judging and condemning them. Such insight builds self-awareness and can even reveal that the feather brained idiots might also be staring back at us from the mirror in the morning.

Originally Posted By: AZNpiano

I wish people would stop equating piano teachers with some sort of "service." I really don't like what the word "service" connotes.


More evidence indicating that the problem lies with what is going wrong inside the teacher's head and not necessarily with behavior of the parent or the student....

I fear that more piano students are lost to unprofessional, inflexible and simply bad piano teachers than to just about any other, single cause....


Edited by theJourney (02/10/13 04:21 AM)

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#2030326 - 02/10/13 08:41 AM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: theJourney]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12215
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: theJourney
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: theJourney
The funny thing is giving customers options can be just as easy, but requires proactive thinking and planning and communication on the part of the teacher.

Unfortunately, even the most proactive and communicative teacher in the world will have idiotic clients. You can't make feather-brained people NOT feather-brained.

Part of being pro-active is developing targeting and selection criteria to keep those whom you would derogatorily refer to as " feather-brained, idiotic clients " out of your studio in the first place.

Another part is trying to develop understanding and insight into what is really going on with your parents and students (and patiently educating them on what is going on in total in your studio) and developing better forms of collaboration rather than judging and condemning them. Such insight builds self-awareness and can even reveal that the feather brained idiots might also be staring back at us from the mirror in the morning.

Originally Posted By: AZNpiano

I wish people would stop equating piano teachers with some sort of "service." I really don't like what the word "service" connotes.


More evidence indicating that the problem lies with what is going wrong inside the teacher's head and not necessarily with behavior of the parent or the student....

I fear that more piano students are lost to unprofessional, inflexible and simply bad piano teachers than to just about any other, single cause....

Now see, the term "service" to some has implications that put us on the same level as the maid or gardener. In fact, I have been approached by some parents who view me in this way. My fees and policy generally drive those away or teaches them otherwise. So I can see the sensitivity to being referred to as a service business. But it's not a service business like the pool guy, it's a service business like other highly trained professionals. (And my apologies to all the maids, gardeners, and pool guys - no disrespect is intended).

As for the idea that better communication would prevent these things, I think that is a nice idea, but in reality there will always be someone who drops the ball. Communication is a two-way street, and sometimes people aren't even on the same road.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2030374 - 02/10/13 10:06 AM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: Morodiene]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2751
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
"Service" isn't meant to be offensive or demeaning; people referring to piano teaching as a service are thinking of a definition like this:

The service sector consists of the "soft" parts of the economy, i.e. activities where people offer their knowledge and time to improve productivity, performance, potential, and sustainability. The basic characteristic of this sector is the production of services instead of end products. Services (also known as "intangible goods") include attention, advice, access, experience, and discussion. The production of information is generally also regarded as a service, but some economists now attribute it to a fourth sector, the quaternary sector.

Read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Service_industries
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2030651 - 02/10/13 04:54 PM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: Candywoman]
pianomouse Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/12
Posts: 93
Loc: Europe
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.

My students know that whenever I can, I'll be flexible to reschedule, but they also know they can't take it for granted. On the other hand, if I've been flexible with their requests, I can ask for their flexibility WHEN I NEED IT.

Considering birthday parties etc., I think that my students are much happier students, if they don't have to choose between their piano lesson or recital and the party. Usually, I directly talk to them and we try to find a way to combine the two events which suits both of us.
_________________________
The piano keys are black and white,
But they sound like a million colours in your mind.
(Katie Melua)

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#2031113 - 02/11/13 12:19 PM Re: Why parents expect piano activities will change time when .. [Re: pianomouse]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5590
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: pianomouse
Considering birthday parties etc., I think that my students are much happier students, if they don't have to choose between their piano lesson or recital and the party. Usually, I directly talk to them and we try to find a way to combine the two events which suits both of us.

For some students, I've had to make the compromise of allowing them to skip the recital, but then make it up by performing at a branch recital or festival later on. Sometimes it could also involve allowing the student to go first in the recital and then letting her leave right after she plays. Or asking the student to leave the birthday party early and putting her at the end of the program.

Ideally, all students should arrive on time for the recital, and then stay until the last kid finishes performing. But kids are getting really busy (and overbooked) these days.
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Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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