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#2033269 - 02/14/13 07:50 PM Re: Commercial Music Studio at Shopping Center and their boss [Re: ezpiano.org]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1027
Loc: Irvine, CA
ANZ:
All you said here could cause serious problems. If it is that "obvious" why is MTAC not taking discipline actions? I am sure that once MTAC taking its role to ensure all the code of ethic is being followed, start an investigation towards its suspicious members, then these activities can be reduce right?

Quote:
Let's review Code of Ethics for MTAC:

We, the members of the Music Teachers’ Association of California, having dedicated ourselves to the advancement of the standards in music education, shall aspire to:

to be a musical resource to our community, and encourage our students to be musically involved in their communities

encourage, guide, and develop the musical potential of each student

refrain from making exaggerated claims or misleading statements concerning our teaching qualifications

refrain from making exaggerated promises regarding a student’s musical education or progress

respect the integrity of other teaching studios and refrain from actively recruiting students from another studio by either inducement or innuendo

refrain from engaging in activities harmful to the purposes of MTAC, or use our position in MTAC to exploit personal views

respect the reputation of colleagues, and refrain from making false or malicious statements about colleagues within the profession of music


Edited by ezpiano.org (02/14/13 07:51 PM)
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#2033273 - 02/14/13 07:53 PM Re: Commercial Music Studio at Shopping Center and their boss [Re: Peter K. Mose]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11842
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
Kevin tried working for a commercial music school, and it didn't suit him.

That is not close to how I understand it. Have you read everything in detail?

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#2033281 - 02/14/13 08:01 PM Re: Commercial Music Studio at Shopping Center and their boss [Re: ezpiano.org]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5586
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
If it is that "obvious" why is MTAC not taking discipline actions?

Good question.
_________________________
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#2033480 - 02/15/13 01:15 AM Re: Commercial Music Studio at Shopping Center and their boss [Re: Kreisler]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Aren't all studios "commercial music studios?"

If a studio isn't commercial, then it's non-profit.

Also, there are a lot of different business models for commercial studios. I've worked for two. One was as an employee, and they offered retirement and health benefits. The other was as an independent contractor. The first was a community music school that rented facilities from a church. The second is inside a music store.

I'm sure this thread makes sense to people living in Irvine, but to me, I honestly have no idea what is meant by the phrase "commercial music studio" in this context. (It's sounding more and more like we're talking about a specific studio - Mr. Tao's, but then why not just name that particular one?)


+1

I have yet to meet a piano teacher over the age of 18 and under the age of 85 that is serving the general public as a teacher for free, or a public service or as a charity. All paid, professional piano teachers are per definition commercia.

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#2033487 - 02/15/13 01:35 AM Re: Commercial Music Studio at Shopping Center and their boss [Re: AZNpiano]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
I'm getting curious - what are these "dishonest business practices" people keep talking about?

Here are some quick examples:

1) Stealing students who are currently studying with another teacher or at another "music school"; this could be done in the form of offering sibling discounts and referral fees, even if the new client is already studying with another teacher!

2) Brainwashing parents by providing false information, including incorrect information on how to play piano

3) Bad-mouthing other teachers and music schools

4) Exploiting teachers who need work visas to stay in the US; exploiting younger teachers who don't have their own studio and/or teachers who can't teach out of their apartments

5) Signing up students for exams and competitions under a different teacher's name (In California, this is a serious problem, because administering CM test relies on teacher volunteers and hundreds of hours of manpower; some schools pay the MTAC teachers money to do the extra volunteer work, and then pass on the fees to the parents!!); also, the teachers can cheat on membership fees and/or bypass the requirement of proper qualifications, such as not having a college degree in music

6) Switching the students' teachers often, without prior notice to the parents, and sometimes without notifying the current teacher; this happens to both the worst students and the most talented ones

7) Making false and exaggerated promises, such as skipping exam levels and winning competitions


Sounds like -- if this is true -- that he is acting like any normal, red-blooded and as American as Chevrolet, baseball and apple pie business anno 2013. Ethics are so last century. If this is the extent of his transgressions, then he makes the banking industry, for example, sound like Mother Teresa's chapel choir. The surprise is not the (successful but sleazy) tactics, but that they are being applied to a sleepy old, mom and pop kind of marginal business that has operated on written and unwritten codes of honor for hundreds of years (that have of course also been violated by aggressive players also for hundreds of years.)

On the other hand, it is hard to argue with success! I have never heard of a contemporary piano school with 200 simultaneous paying students before. If half of the accusations are true, and the parents decide they don't like it or that the other benefits he offers don't wash up to it, then sooner or later the pigeons will come home to roost and the wised-up customers will leave, tell others via word-of-mouth (rather than unprofessional, petty blogs or competitor websites) and his business will crash and burn. However, if a majority of his customers see value (and results that meet their expectations which don't have to meet your expectations), especially value relative to other options in the market, then he may be on to something.

Wal*Mart has not decimated the entire lineup of stores on main street in many towns because that is better for the community, better for the people who lost their independent business and are forced to work there for peanuts or necessarily better for customers. Their success is based on a model that cuts corners everywhere it can until everyone else is destroyed. Once you have that market position, you are essentially the market maker.

I can understand the emotional tirades against this studio.

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#2033503 - 02/15/13 02:43 AM Re: Commercial Music Studio at Shopping Center and their boss [Re: keystring]
Kevin K Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/13
Posts: 31
Originally Posted By: keystring
Kevin, I read your site with interest. I did NOT go to the sections first that were pointed out, because that was out of context --- "who's the writer" comes first.

The first thing I wanted to see is what you represent as a teacher. I am learning about teaching, and I have experiences both as a parent of a now-adult child who went on into a top music program after being a late starter, and as an adult student some time after that. I have some definite thoughts because of those experiences.

What you write about teaching reveals someone who wants to give students the tools of musicianship. You are not promising instant success, and you're not pushing the "music study will help your kids get good grades in school" angle. So as someone who would take music lessons in order to play music well, that attracts me. In fact, when my child asked for music lessons, he expressed it as "I want to learn to do this well."

The name "Fresh Start" reflects very well what happens if someone has had careless teaching for several years, is in a rut, and has to start from scratch so that they finally have a leg to stand on. It's a really good name.

Your ideas are comprehensible to people who know about music studies, and one gets that you know what you are talking about and have a lot to offer. But it is rambly. Well, how does a private teacher teach? He is in the presence of the student and what the student does, carrying his own knowledge, and the lesson unfolds from that. This mindset does not transfer well to paper, where a specific picture gets locked into words. This part may need some fleshing out.

No problem with italics at my end.

About "talent" - I believe that talent is potential, some innate thing, which requires (good) guidance and (good) study, to realize its potential. It also has its own advantages AND disadvantages. Tiger Woods may have shown "something special" but then he was also guided, and worked at it. Didn't he respond similar to some musician who said, "Madam, you too can become great like me. All you have to do is sit down at the piano and work diligently 8 hours a day for the next 20 years." (Beethoven?)

The type of institution that caters to a mentality and is in visible places: many of us have encountered them. It's a difficult, diplomacy-ridden thing to address.

hey keystring~thanks! I appreciate that. I've gotten quite a few transfer students who've had horrible fundamentals, whether it's hand position, ability to count, note reading, or just bad habits in general. When I ask where they studied piano previously a vast number of them got their starts at commercial music studios. That's kind of where the name came from.

Can you explain the rambly part of my website? I'm not sure which section you're talking about and I'm really interested in figuring out what you mean smile
_________________________
http://www.irvinepianostudio.com

Piano Teacher in Irvine, CA

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#2033506 - 02/15/13 02:56 AM Re: Commercial Music Studio at Shopping Center and their boss [Re: TimR]
Kevin K Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/13
Posts: 31
Originally Posted By: TimR
Don't you think there's a potential for these academies to work, if done right? Must piano teaching be a solitary profession, hidden away in basements in our neighborhoods?

There is absolutely potential for these academies to work and some do indeed prosper without the use of shady tactics and have upstanding owners who keep their eyes on passing on the gift of music and not purely on maximizing profit.
_________________________
http://www.irvinepianostudio.com

Piano Teacher in Irvine, CA

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#2033509 - 02/15/13 03:06 AM Re: Commercial Music Studio at Shopping Center and their boss [Re: Peter K. Mose]
Kevin K Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/13
Posts: 31
Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
Kevin tried working for a commercial music school, and it didn't suit him. Now he is teaching in his own studio, at a higher hourly wage but of course with many other hidden costs.

Either way it's tough trying to support oneself teaching piano. I wish him good fortune. (I, too, like the name Fresh Start.)

Thanks Peter, I labored over the name for awhile, haha. If I had a doctorate degree I would have just gone with Dr. Kao's Piano Studio. HAHA. But, unfortunately I only have a masters.
_________________________
http://www.irvinepianostudio.com

Piano Teacher in Irvine, CA

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#2033510 - 02/15/13 03:10 AM Re: Commercial Music Studio at Shopping Center and their boss [Re: theJourney]
Kevin K Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/13
Posts: 31
Originally Posted By: theJourney
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Aren't all studios "commercial music studios?"

If a studio isn't commercial, then it's non-profit.

Also, there are a lot of different business models for commercial studios. I've worked for two. One was as an employee, and they offered retirement and health benefits. The other was as an independent contractor. The first was a community music school that rented facilities from a church. The second is inside a music store.

I'm sure this thread makes sense to people living in Irvine, but to me, I honestly have no idea what is meant by the phrase "commercial music studio" in this context. (It's sounding more and more like we're talking about a specific studio - Mr. Tao's, but then why not just name that particular one?)


+1

I have yet to meet a piano teacher over the age of 18 and under the age of 85 that is serving the general public as a teacher for free, or a public service or as a charity. All paid, professional piano teachers are per definition commercia.

Actually I've explained the way the word "commercial" is used in this case with a few dictionary definitions to Kreisler's question already. It's on the 2nd page of this topic.
_________________________
http://www.irvinepianostudio.com

Piano Teacher in Irvine, CA

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#2033526 - 02/15/13 04:31 AM Re: Commercial Music Studio at Shopping Center and their boss [Re: theJourney]
Kevin K Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/13
Posts: 31
Originally Posted By: theJourney
Sounds like -- if this is true -- that he is acting like any normal, red-blooded and as American as Chevrolet, baseball and apple pie business anno 2013. Ethics are so last century. If this is the extent of his transgressions, then he makes the banking industry, for example, sound like Mother Teresa's chapel choir. The surprise is not the (successful but sleazy) tactics, but that they are being applied to a sleepy old, mom and pop kind of marginal business that has operated on written and unwritten codes of honor for hundreds of years (that have of course also been violated by aggressive players also for hundreds of years.)

On the other hand, it is hard to argue with success! I have never heard of a contemporary piano school with 200 simultaneous paying students before. If half of the accusations are true, and the parents decide they don't like it or that the other benefits he offers don't wash up to it, then sooner or later the pigeons will come home to roost and the wised-up customers will leave, tell others via word-of-mouth (rather than unprofessional, petty blogs or competitor websites) and his business will crash and burn. However, if a majority of his customers see value (and results that meet their expectations which don't have to meet your expectations), especially value relative to other options in the market, then he may be on to something.

Wal*Mart has not decimated the entire lineup of stores on main street in many towns because that is better for the community, better for the people who lost their independent business and are forced to work there for peanuts or necessarily better for customers. Their success is based on a model that cuts corners everywhere it can until everyone else is destroyed. Once you have that market position, you are essentially the market maker.

I can understand the emotional tirades against this studio.

I might be reading you wrong but I think you meant the banking industry makes him sound like Mother Teresa's choir?

Anyway, you hit a few good points for sure. While I don't agree that a lack of ethics makes someone a normal, red-blooded American--call me an optimist--the unwritten code of honor bit is definitely true, ESPECIALLY for educators. We simply shouldn't compare a teaching institution of young children in ANY subject to big, corporate companies.

Why is it so shocking to hear news of teachers committing statutory rape? Why was the recent shooting in Connecticut so devastating and shocking? Because it involved children and because educators SHOULD be hold to a higher moral standard as we are often seen as examples for young children's malleable minds. I take that part of my job VERY seriously.

I think in this case it's hard for the pigeons to come home and roost because as part of the condition to work teachers have to sign a non-compete clause as mentioned in a previous post. The clause forbids teachers from giving away any personal information even if requested by parents.

In my case, my termination went something like this: Cameron calls me and tell me all my students can't make the rest of their December lessons because of their holiday schedule, says I don't have to go in for the rest of December. I go in for a "meet and greet" with a new student previously scheduled after my regular teaching time, sees the parents of my students. Confusion ensued. They were upset already because Cameron apparently moved their lesson time but didn't tell them they have a substitute teacher, and that they will have this sub from now on because I'm on a "leave of absence" until JUNE. Plus now they find out Cameron flat out lied to them and to me. And June is quite a big difference from my I get December off story.

Now, because I followed the rules and refused to give out my personal information to my students there even when they asked for it, the REST of my students that I've already formed a close relationship with just lost their piano teacher without any warning. That is a HORRIBLE feeling as I'm sure any piano teacher here can understand.

Alright, sob story aside, I agree with your statements on value, that is how things work. I think another problem is the fact that music instruction is so hard to evaluate for the average consumer; It's unlike a crappy sweater, burger, or even a poor quality car.

Another characteristic of a commercial music studio as opposed to a private piano studio is that it provides music lessons of all types of instruments, not just piano. Hence my one teacher teaching multiple instruments statement.

By the way, I take offense to your "unprofessional, petty blog" statement. If you have a professional, un-petty blog, I'd love to see it and learn from you.
_________________________
http://www.irvinepianostudio.com

Piano Teacher in Irvine, CA

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#2033604 - 02/15/13 09:03 AM Re: Commercial Music Studio at Shopping Center and their boss [Re: Kevin K]
R0B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/08
Posts: 1439
Loc: Australia
Hi Kevin,

I have followed this thread from the outset, and quite frankly, nothing you have said, or done thus far, has given me any reason to be sympathetic to your position.

If you have just cause to take any kind of legal action against your former employer, you should do so in a private and professional manner.

Airing your dirty linen on a public forum, and also on your 'blog', will not strengthen your case in any way, and could come back to bite you IMO.

If you can put the past behind you, and move on, you will have far more chance of success in the long term.
I wish you well.
_________________________
Rob

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#2033619 - 02/15/13 09:47 AM Re: Commercial Music Studio at Shopping Center and their boss [Re: theJourney]
Ken Knapp Offline



Registered: 04/18/06
Posts: 2278
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: theJourney

Sounds like -- if this is true -- that he is acting like any normal, red-blooded and as American as Chevrolet, baseball and apple pie business anno 2013.


I would question the insinuation that unethical = American or that American = unethical. I think we can find ample examples of unethical in ANY country.

I'm sort of surprised you would choose to go down that road. I thought Frank Baxter made himself perfectly clear to you on that subject, didn't he?
_________________________
Ken

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#2033633 - 02/15/13 10:10 AM Re: Commercial Music Studio at Shopping Center and their boss [Re: R0B]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12200
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: R0B
Hi Kevin,

I have followed this thread from the outset, and quite frankly, nothing you have said, or done thus far, has given me any reason to be sympathetic to your position.

If you have just cause to take any kind of legal action against your former employer, you should do so in a private and professional manner.

Airing your dirty linen on a public forum, and also on your 'blog', will not strengthen your case in any way, and could come back to bite you IMO.

If you can put the past behind you, and move on, you will have far more chance of success in the long term.
I wish you well.


+1. I know of many bad teachers out there, ones who take student's money and don't teach them anything, or worse, teach them bad things that prevent the student from reaching their potential. These are facts. However, as a professional, it really reflects more poorly on me for speaking the truth about that teacher than it does on that teacher.

What you as a teacher have to offer and the way your students sound coming out of your studio speak volumes about the quality of teaching - much more than any comparison - however correct you may be about your criticisms.

One other comment. I, too, and Christian, and while "offensive" isn't quite the right word, I found your comment actually misrepresented Christians. We do not think of ourselves as superior to non-Christians; we are humbled by what Jesus did on the cross. Being Christian does not make us perfect or necessarily better in our day-to-day actions. In fact, it is because we are incapable of being perfect that makes us in need of a savior.

I personally feel that you can tell your readers that you are a Christian and therefore hold yourself to a high standard of ethics and quality in your studio, without taking a dig at non-Christians as your statement does.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
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Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2033659 - 02/15/13 11:03 AM Re: Commercial Music Studio at Shopping Center and their boss [Re: Ken Knapp]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: Ken Knapp
Originally Posted By: theJourney

Sounds like -- if this is true -- that he is acting like any normal, red-blooded and as American as Chevrolet, baseball and apple pie business anno 2013.


I would question the insinuation that unethical = American or that American = unethical. I think we can find ample examples of unethical in ANY country.

I'm sort of surprised you would choose to go down that road. I thought Frank Baxter made himself perfectly clear to you on that subject, didn't he?


I was referring to unethical BUSINESS practices in general and the unethical AMERICAN banking industry specifically which as a matter of factual public record tanked the world economy through unethical practices, yet to be unpunished.

I did not mean in any way that Americans are unethical nor that all businesses are unethical but rather indicate, as you yourself state, that unethical business practices have become common everywhere and too often normal operating procedure both within and outside of the United States. Since Irvine, CA is in the United States it would be non-sensical to say that unethical business practices have become commonplace in Nigeria. In fact, if companies want to succeed they find themselves forced to cheat or cut corners (at least that is what managers say to themselves guilty of such behavior say when they look at themselves in the mirror in the morning).

I doubt that a studio could ramp up to 200 students by acting like a typical passive-marketing home piano teacher just waiting for students to show up. More aggressive business practices are required.

Hope this clears up any confusion.

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#2033664 - 02/15/13 11:12 AM Re: Commercial Music Studio at Shopping Center and their boss [Re: Kevin K]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: Kevin K
Originally Posted By: theJourney
Sounds like -- if this is true -- that he is acting like any normal, red-blooded and as American as Chevrolet, baseball and apple pie business anno 2013. Ethics are so last century. If this is the extent of his transgressions, then he makes the banking industry, for example, sound like Mother Teresa's chapel choir. The surprise is not the (successful but sleazy) tactics, but that they are being applied to a sleepy old, mom and pop kind of marginal business that has operated on written and unwritten codes of honor for hundreds of years (that have of course also been violated by aggressive players also for hundreds of years.)


I might be reading you wrong but I think you meant the banking industry makes him sound like Mother Teresa's choir?

Indeed.
Originally Posted By: Kevin K

Anyway, you hit a few good points for sure. While I don't agree that a lack of ethics makes someone a normal, red-blooded American--call me an optimist--the unwritten code of honor bit is definitely true, ESPECIALLY for educators. We simply shouldn't compare a teaching institution of young children in ANY subject to big, corporate companies.

This is not what I said or at least what I meant to say. What I mean to say is that in big business whether in America where you are located or in Europe where I am located, playing hard ball, or pushing the envelope at the least or as far as aa lack of ethics and even illegal behavior in big business has become, unfortunately, almost a given.
Originally Posted By: Kevin K
Why is it so shocking to hear news of teachers committing statutory rape? Why was the recent shooting in Connecticut so devastating and shocking? Because it involved children and because educators SHOULD be hold to a higher moral standard as we are often seen as examples for young children's malleable minds. I take that part of my job VERY seriously.

The problem does not seem to be with the teachers, some of whom seem to be exploited themselves, but with the business practices of the owner, which for a typical independent studio would come across as unethical but for the successful studio with 200 students they might just think they are smart businesspeople.

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#2033680 - 02/15/13 11:42 AM Re: Commercial Music Studio at Shopping Center and their boss [Re: ezpiano.org]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
Might there be some gray areas?

Is it unethical for Pepsi to advertise to Coca-Cola customers, in the honest belief that their product is superior?

Is it unethical for piano teachers to advertise to other people's students, in the honest belief they can teach better/
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#2033687 - 02/15/13 11:56 AM Re: Commercial Music Studio at Shopping Center and their boss [Re: ezpiano.org]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Now we are back to the ancient, unwritten codes of honor of cottage-industry piano teachers (including codification into many regional and national professional associations) versus what is normal for businesses everywhere: aggressive marketing. It is always cheaper and easier to market to an existing user (student or piano-cultured household in this case) than to try to market to the entire world in the hope of finding someone who wants to become a student. What better place to find them then at the recitals of other teachers or among the siblings of existing students, for example. It is logical.

It is not hard to understand why this business model would be successful: this studio competes like an aggressive business while many of the professional piano teachers freely tie one of their own arms behind their back in comparison.

I still believe that in the long run, this business will only be successful if they are giving parents and students what they think they want....which incidentally may not be even close to what traditional piano teachers think that they want....which is something to think about....


Edited by theJourney (02/15/13 11:57 AM)

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#2033695 - 02/15/13 12:19 PM Re: Commercial Music Studio at Shopping Center and their boss [Re: AZNpiano]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano

You basically have an owner, maybe an investor, with some money and opens up a "music school." Then, he hires a bunch of contractors as "teachers." He then goes on to recruit clients, however aggressively or menacingly, with little or no regards to ethics.

In fact, what you wrote quite nicely sums up the exact story of a local "music school" here.

You might laugh at this. Yesterday I started a student. I asked the student, "How did you pick me?"

Her answer: "I just came in and asked for a teacher."

I teach in a music store. If you come to our store, you get me. I could be horrible. The people who pick me for a teacher do not know that. That fact that I am not horrible means that they got lucky.

It's ironic, isn't it?
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#2033696 - 02/15/13 12:20 PM Re: Commercial Music Studio at Shopping Center and their boss [Re: ezpiano.org]
MaggieGirl Online   blank
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 493
It sounds like the local professional organizations should be involved. With skating, every coach has to be a member of PSA. There is a code of ethics that members have to follow.

They deal with very strict rules on promotion, solicitation and tampering. It still happens, but it is usually dealt with. parents sign agreements, coaches sign agreements and rink management signs agreements.

http://www.skatepsa.com/What-are-solicitation,%20promotion,%20and%20tampering.htm

I guess that is why the website felt so negative to me. Instead of self promotion, it was in the direction of tampering and solicitation.

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#2033705 - 02/15/13 12:35 PM Re: Commercial Music Studio at Shopping Center and their boss [Re: ezpiano.org]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
How many prospective parents/students find it important whether or not a school is affiliated with a professional service organisation or teacher's union? They might just think it is overhead they don't want to pay for.

As far as I know, the piano teaching profession is not a protected line of business such as a medical doctor, lawyer, accountant, etc. where you can only put yourself to operate in that business if you have the qualifications and membership in or licensing from the professional assocations.

Can't any piano school operate independently of any associations?

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#2033708 - 02/15/13 12:40 PM Re: Commercial Music Studio at Shopping Center and their boss [Re: Gary D.]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
I asked the student, "How did you pick me?"

Her answer: "I just came in and asked for a teacher."

I teach in a music store. If you come to our store, you get me. I could be horrible.
?


What is the difference between that and picking a piano teacher from the want ads?

I would suggest that in the customer's mind, the store has provided a level of quality control.

If I go to Sears Auto for a brake job or oil change, I know I'm not getting the same level of expertise as at the Volvo dealer. But I'm also confident that the service will be above the level of the neighborhood fixit guy, that the store manager knows who is good and makes some effort to ride herd on the crew, that the store has insurance in case the mechanic gets hurt working on my car, that the store will ultimately have to stand behind the work at some level.

People go to an established business though the cottage industry service will always be cheaper for all of those reasons.

By logical extension they probably assume music teaching is the same.

And probably at some locations it is, and at others totally not.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#2033714 - 02/15/13 12:45 PM Re: Commercial Music Studio at Shopping Center and their boss [Re: ezpiano.org]
MaggieGirl Online   blank
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 493
Sure - my daughter's music school is not part of any professional organization. But they don't participate in festivals or competitions. Testing is only through ABRSM.

If we went in to her lesson and were told that her teacher was no longer teaching and who would we like instead, I would have no problem with leaving the studio. I doubt even if we contacted her teacher, that she would be able to teach in home (I'm sure her contract would prevent it). There are three local teachers who I would contact who work out of their own private home studios. I wasn't aware of them before I signed her up. Reading here prompted me to look several months ago.

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#2033724 - 02/15/13 12:56 PM Re: Commercial Music Studio at Shopping Center and their boss [Re: TimR]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: TimR
I would suggest that in the customer's mind, the store has provided a level of quality control.


Bingo.

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#2033734 - 02/15/13 01:09 PM Re: Commercial Music Studio at Shopping Center and their boss [Re: TimR]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2472
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: TimR

Is it unethical for Pepsi to advertise to Coca-Cola customers, in the honest belief that their product is superior?


I can't help but smile reading that.


Edited by landorrano (02/15/13 01:10 PM)

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#2033751 - 02/15/13 01:52 PM Re: Commercial Music Studio at Shopping Center and their boss [Re: landorrano]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: TimR

Is it unethical for Pepsi to advertise to Coca-Cola customers, in the honest belief that their product is superior?


I can't help but smile reading that.


Made me wonder if I could teach the world to sing, in per-fect har-mo-ny.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#2033756 - 02/15/13 02:00 PM Re: Commercial Music Studio at Shopping Center and their boss [Re: Morodiene]
Kevin K Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/13
Posts: 31
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
I know of many bad teachers out there, ones who take student's money and don't teach them anything, or worse, teach them bad things that prevent the student from reaching their potential. These are facts. However, as a professional, it really reflects more poorly on me for speaking the truth about that teacher than it does on that teacher.

What you as a teacher have to offer and the way your students sound coming out of your studio speak volumes about the quality of teaching - much more than any comparison - however correct you may be about your criticisms.

One other comment. I, too, and Christian, and while "offensive" isn't quite the right word, I found your comment actually misrepresented Christians. We do not think of ourselves as superior to non-Christians; we are humbled by what Jesus did on the cross. Being Christian does not make us perfect or necessarily better in our day-to-day actions. In fact, it is because we are incapable of being perfect that makes us in need of a savior.

I personally feel that you can tell your readers that you are a Christian and therefore hold yourself to a high standard of ethics and quality in your studio, without taking a dig at non-Christians as your statement does.

I agree that there are teachers out there that take money without teaching anything worthwhile, that is a fact. I also agree that trashing another teacher's bad teaching reflects poorly. But I think the difference for me is between this teacher's teaching and his lack of morals. I made it very clear at the end of my review about him that "he might be a decent piano teacher", but that's not what the review is about, it's about his dishonesty in treating parents and teachers.

I agree with everything you said about Christians. Also, just because somebody IS a Christian, doesn't mean that they'll have high morals; it's sad, but true and I'm very well aware of that. My intentions weren't to take digs at non-Christians at all, it was only meant to imply exactly what you said.

Would this be better?
"Lastly, because of my Christian background and upbringing, I hold myself to a high standard of ethics and quality."

...I feel like somebody can still read into this and find it "extremely offensive".
_________________________
http://www.irvinepianostudio.com

Piano Teacher in Irvine, CA

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#2033764 - 02/15/13 02:15 PM Re: Commercial Music Studio at Shopping Center and their boss [Re: TimR]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5586
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: TimR
And probably at some locations it is, and at others totally not.

I think this is the most accurate part of your last post.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#2033767 - 02/15/13 02:26 PM Re: Commercial Music Studio at Shopping Center and their boss [Re: Morodiene]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5586
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
What you as a teacher have to offer and the way your students sound coming out of your studio speak volumes about the quality of teaching - much more than any comparison - however correct you may be about your criticisms.

In an ideal world, good teaching would lead to good word-of-mouth and many referrals for the teacher. But from what I have observed in the last decade or so, a lot of uninformed parents simply want what's cheap and/or convenient. I think we've had many previous threads on parent education, but how do you educate parents about the low quality of institutions without resorting to comparison?

I think we piano teachers might have to re-evaluate the mindset of our clientele, and then adjust our way of recruiting students. It's very hard to stay positive and objective when you see how the slimy and unethical people keep on getting more and more students, like an open flame that attracts moths.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#2033790 - 02/15/13 03:20 PM Re: Commercial Music Studio at Shopping Center and their boss [Re: ezpiano.org]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11842
Loc: Canada
Starting with the Coca Cola-Pepsi analogy. This involves large companies that sell a useless and somewhat harmful product through imagery. A lot is false - sometimes even the rivalry among large companies is fake. Entrepreneurs are often given business practice information drawn from these large enterprises, and what is given is unsuitable. It is especially unsuited to professions. Doctors, accountants, and engineers might be a better model, because if they mess up, you have death and illness, financial ruin, and collapsing buildings. Their service provides something real - not "happiness by guzzling fizz".

Teaching music is about guiding a student in acquiring skill in playing music on an instrument. It entails certain things both in skill and knowledge, and how to acquire and attain them. This has to be the goal of teacher and student or it won't work. They have to do what is necessary, or again it won't work.

When imagery, false promises, wrong goals etc. are fed to the public, and these things are then pursued, then the real purpose of music lessons won't happen. This is not "success". It's as empty as the old Marlborough cigarette commercial showing a gorgeous hunk and hunkette smoking in the great outdoors. It is "success" only in the sense of making money for somebody, at the expense of others. Usually that somebody is not the teacher. And the damage from this is real.

For as long as I have been a member here, I have preached for students and parents to become informed, so that they can set the right kinds of goals and ask the right kind of questions. This thing is not isolated to music teaching, either. If we start looking at what real things are, beyond the imagery, then a lot of things can get turned around, starting with us.

I'm not American. I have seen depictions of snake oil salesmen in old Wild West movies, so I know these existed historically, but I don't think that either of our countries was built solely on such attitudes. The snake oil is a useless thing that is sold on imagery and emotional need. Music Man with the "think system" was a more sophisticated version of that - is that character partly admired? Haven't our countries (worldwide, in fact) also produced some solid, useful, long lasting things which come from a different code of ethics?

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#2033795 - 02/15/13 03:25 PM Re: Commercial Music Studio at Shopping Center and their boss [Re: AZNpiano]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11842
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
I think we've had many previous threads on parent education, but how do you educate parents about the low quality of institutions without resorting to comparison?


I don't know how it can be done, but if people know what music learning is about, then they can use that knowledge to weight what is being presented by such institutions (and lesser teachers). For example, my priority is skills which I know take time. So if an institution says that they'll have me playing advanced music in short order, that goes against what I know - that is my point of comparison.

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