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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: 2554
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: 763
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: 11935
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: 11935
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: 1010
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.
_________________________
http://ezpiano.org
Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
@ http://bit.ly/Ready123

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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: 1010
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: 1010
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: 5486
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: 5486
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: 11935
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: 2554
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: 88
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: 5486
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.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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