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Topic Options
#2047441 - 03/13/13 03:08 AM Re: Infuriatingly Cheap Parents [Re: Opus_Maximus]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Good luck!

Just thought of another line:

"Look, there is only so much tennis I can teach your children when all they have is a badminton racket and a birdie..."

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#2047537 - 03/13/13 09:08 AM Re: Infuriatingly Cheap Parents [Re: Opus_Maximus]
childofparadise2002 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/04
Posts: 542
Originally Posted By: Opus_Maximus
Thank you for all the replies. I'm going to talk seriously to all of them this month.

What was particularly peculiar and frustrating is that they are dedicated in other ways towards the piano. They do not cancel frequently, always pay on time in advance, etc. They just don't accept this as a necessity. I'm going to confront them bluntly soon and report back.


People who don't make piano education a priority are not necessarily irresponsible people. TheJourney's observation is the same as mine. If you are in a place where there is a pretty saturated market of piano teachers, a new and young teacher in town will not attract families who are serious about piano. I know some outstanding music graduate students in our town who don't get "the serious families" because there are too many well established teachers.

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#2047564 - 03/13/13 10:07 AM Re: Infuriatingly Cheap Parents [Re: Opus_Maximus]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4414
Loc: San Jose, CA
"..."Look, there is only so much tennis I can teach your children when all they have is a badminton racket and a birdie..."

I also like: "Well, I hate to take the mink off a lady's back, but..."

"...I'm going to confront them bluntly soon and report back..."

And IF you're still employed thereafter, do what I told you to.
_________________________
Clef


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#2047599 - 03/13/13 11:23 AM Re: Infuriatingly Cheap Parents [Re: theJourney]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5454
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: theJourney
In my neck of the woods, quality and experienced teachers that make house calls are as thin as hen's teeth.

I've read that even Chopin made house calls as a teacher. Food for thought...

In-home piano teachers are quite in demand where I live. I even made house calls to students who live on the same street as I do, and I charged them the higher fee--parents didn't mind coughing up the money!

I've learned to separate business ("expensive babysitting") from education ("imparting knowledge"). Some of these parents pay me to get their kids through CM every year, just so they can keep up with the neighbors. So that's exactly what I do. I'm providing a service that's worth $$$, and the parents pay me $$$.

And please don't assume the quality and experience of the teacher based on their making house calls. You obviously haven't heard my students play, so you have no idea what I can do.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#2047603 - 03/13/13 11:31 AM Re: Infuriatingly Cheap Parents [Re: Opus_Maximus]
RachelEDNC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/11/09
Posts: 79
I also am young and starting out teaching. I am lucky enough to teach at a private school, and therefore many families do (to my knowledge) have the means to afford a piano. However, many of these same families had not purchased a piano at the start of lessons. While I teach at the school, I do know that the practice situation was at times similar to what you have described.

Most of these families purchased one within a few months. Some ended up getting it as a reward for the child. I think one family took lessons for six months and her parents ended up buying a clavinova (not a piano, but a great alternative for someone just starting lessons IMO) Another family made the purchase after the child completed the first book. You could suggest this to the parents.

How long have the students been taking? Honestly, if someone told me to go spend a few thousand on something a child may or may not hate in a few months, I would be a little apprehensive as well. I have one family who has still not made the purchase after about a year. The books are now requiring pedal and notes the child cannot play at home. I think (hope) this family will purchase one soon, but I will continue the lessons if they don't. I would say just deal with it for ones who won't purchase or try to suggest it as a reward or motivation for the child.

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#2047648 - 03/13/13 12:39 PM Re: Infuriatingly Cheap Parents [Re: Opus_Maximus]
personne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/24/12
Posts: 123
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Originally Posted By: Opus_Maximus
Sorry, if it wasn't clear - They all DO have keyboards to practice on, but
very bad ones. Very simple keyboards that have a few octaves of black and white keys, but with no dynamic settings, nor any pedal or weighted keys. So they can play most pieces out of method books, but only in the most elementary way. something like this

http://www.guitarcenter.com/Casio-LK-165...;kpid=108258641


If I was a teacher, I would probably tell the parents that this keyboard will take their child as far as through the 1st grade, or first three month of playing, or whatever you feel it is suitable for, but after that they will need ...(provide the list of options and what these options are suitable for - e.g. up to which grade). Then just stop giving lessons. After all, if you were invited to learn 4-year old, to find out they only have a toy piano, would you give lessons on it smile?

PS. These parents may well think this a PIANO what they have. At least my husband thought that everything with white and black keys is a piano smile (it took some time to educate him and to show the difference that this is not true).
_________________________
Playing on Roland HP-507RW

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#2047662 - 03/13/13 01:05 PM Re: Infuriatingly Cheap Parents [Re: Opus_Maximus]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1002
Loc: Irvine, CA
I know it is frustrated when parents do not have a piano at home. I think my job is to educate parents what is the different between a keyboard vs digital piano vs upright piano vs grand piano. I also have to explain to them to what extend I can bring students to is depend on what kind of instruments they have at home. However, I do not think it is my job to make sure that everyone to have a piano at home. It is a matter of giving out information, but it is another matter of insisting they should buy one. I think parents have different priorities than us. So, as long as I done with my job, which is educating them the difference and the potential issues, I left the decision making for themselves. To buy or to rent or to borrow a piano is their decisions, that is a line that I do not cross.
So, my policy says that if students own a keyboard at home, I cannot register them for test. If students do not have a real upright piano at home, I cannot register competition or festival for them.
They know the difference, the consequences, they will make their own decision and live with their decision.
_________________________
http://ezpiano.org
Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
@ http://bit.ly/Ready123

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#2047666 - 03/13/13 01:15 PM Re: Infuriatingly Cheap Parents [Re: Opus_Maximus]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1002
Loc: Irvine, CA
Add on:
In my experience, almost 90% of the new students started with a keyboard then slowly upgrade to a digital, then a upright piano when they see their kids showing great interest, enjoying lessons and giving more commitment to piano lesson.
Let me give you one best example I have.
One of my best student, whose both parents are doctors (I guess their combine income is $350K per year). This is what she had:
A keyboard that their parents got for second hand--She used this until Piano Adventure Level 2A.
Then they upgrade to a digital piano.
By the time she reach Level 3A, they suddenly bought a grand piano because they really think that the kid enjoying piano lesson a lot and they want to provide the best for her.
This is a rich family that would provide "ANYTHING" the "BEST" for their kids and yet they started from a keyboard less than 88 keys.
All I say is that not only you have to give parents "time" to upgrade and you also have to give them "results" and "reasons" to upgrade.
This is the not the best example, I am not saying that everyone should follow her path. In my ideal world, all piano students should start piano lesson with an upright piano at home to practice. Unfortunately we are not living in an ideal world.


Edited by ezpiano.org (03/13/13 01:17 PM)
_________________________
http://ezpiano.org
Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
@ http://bit.ly/Ready123

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#2047709 - 03/13/13 02:52 PM Re: Infuriatingly Cheap Parents [Re: ezpiano.org]
Polyphonist Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7573
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
In my ideal world, all piano students should start piano lesson with an upright piano at home to practice. Unfortunately we are not living in an ideal world.


In the ideal world, all piano students would start with a brand new Steinway grand, no? grin
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2047713 - 03/13/13 02:59 PM Re: Infuriatingly Cheap Parents [Re: Polyphonist]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1002
Loc: Irvine, CA
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
In my ideal world, all piano students should start piano lesson with an upright piano at home to practice. Unfortunately we are not living in an ideal world.


In the ideal world, all piano students would start with a brand new Steinway grand, no? grin


Haha, you are funny. That is the perfect world.
_________________________
http://ezpiano.org
Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
@ http://bit.ly/Ready123

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#2047759 - 03/13/13 04:44 PM Re: Infuriatingly Cheap Parents [Re: AZNpiano]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: theJourney
In my neck of the woods, quality and experienced teachers that make house calls are as thin as hen's teeth.

I've read that even Chopin made house calls as a teacher. Food for thought...

In-home piano teachers are quite in demand where I live. I even made house calls to students who live on the same street as I do, and I charged them the higher fee--parents didn't mind coughing up the money!

I've learned to separate business ("expensive babysitting") from education ("imparting knowledge"). Some of these parents pay me to get their kids through CM every year, just so they can keep up with the neighbors. So that's exactly what I do. I'm providing a service that's worth $$$, and the parents pay me $$$.

And please don't assume the quality and experience of the teacher based on their making house calls. You obviously haven't heard my students play, so you have no idea what I can do.


I don't know you from Adam.

What I do know is that Orange County is hardly Amsterdam and so uncomparable.

That you are willing to prostitute yourself giving babysitting gigs where parents are paying top dollar for piano lessons is also none of my business.

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#2047763 - 03/13/13 04:53 PM Re: Infuriatingly Cheap Parents [Re: theJourney]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5454
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: theJourney
That you are willing to prostitute yourself giving babysitting gigs where parents are paying top dollar for piano lessons is also none of my business.

Ouch! Word choice!
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#2047922 - 03/13/13 10:57 PM Re: Infuriatingly Cheap Parents [Re: Opus_Maximus]
HorseMom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/14/12
Posts: 51
Loc: Santa Fe, New Mexico
I have to wonder how you can tell whether they are talented when they don't have any chance to practice. But that's beside the point. I will caution you about making judgments on people's financial situation based on where they live; I live in a nice, affluent neighborhood in a really nice home that - guess what, I bought in December of 2007, just before the crash, is now under water and with half of my animals (including the horses) suddenly having medical issues the vet bills are killing me. If I had to buy my piano today I could not do it.

that having been said, there are a lot of decent, used pianos out there needing homes and nobody's been buying (because everyone is strapped)....so they should be fairly cheap and you could point out to the parents that they can turn around and sell it for what they bought it for (or more) in a few years if Junior gives up on his lessons.
_________________________
Heels down!

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#2047963 - 03/14/13 12:03 AM Re: Infuriatingly Cheap Parents [Re: Opus_Maximus]
Jwings Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/26/12
Posts: 4
Apart from having families not buying pianos, I have had those same parents refusing to buy books for their children. These includes exam books.

They would say that not all music are used for an exam book, and its only used for one year. They would just request photocopies of scores. When I try enforcing the fact that photocopies cannot be used in exams, they just ask someone to lend them a book. When I was younger, these same people would constantly ask me for exam books...

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#2047999 - 03/14/13 01:44 AM Re: Infuriatingly Cheap Parents [Re: Opus_Maximus]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Cheap parents

It might come as a shock to some to realise that the public at large are absolute dopes when it comes to keyboard sensitivity and acumen .

Keyboard-ophiles make up perhaps .00001 percentile of the overall community ... whether from Russia or the Bahamas ... who therefore would spend a lot of lolly on a dumb old piano for one of their brats ... with no prospect of a good return.

However, it sounds like a good idea to check on a good practice piano, before taking on a prospective student ... the alternative of just taking the monthly teaching mullah and living with the ghastly cacophony, sounds like the first station of Purgatory.

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#2048023 - 03/14/13 03:12 AM Re: Infuriatingly Cheap Parents [Re: MaggieGirl]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: MaggieGirl
You laugh...but I've seen parents do an awful lot because someone told them about their darling child's special talents. If they have the money, they will pay. Talent, special, and throw in "scholarships" and "higher math IQ" and my new fave: STEM (science technology engineering and math) is now being called "STEAM" science technology engineering ARTs and math because the arts are so important to helping people think creativity and innovation.

They don't want an ordinary child, they want a unique child.

PS - not knocking STEAM, I think arts are desperately needed, underfunded, and not always available. I have a very bright child who can take school band, choir, art, computers, cooking or an elective science. I REALLY wanted her to take the science. I feel pressure to encourage her to make her classes academically strong. But her eyes lit up in the art room. I figure there are very few times in your life where you can create art for an hour a day so I let her sign up for it. it was hard for me to let her when all I hear are "computers! science! think of her future!"



Advice only an experience parent could provide laugh

Suck up to the parents with this strategy, and then push your ultimatum. If they're serious enough to initiate piano lessons in the first place, they'll likely be serious enough to step up if and when given this decision. "Johnny is an extremely talented child, but this instrument is holding him back plain and simple. You need to upgrade to a minimum of this weighted-key digital or quite simply see no further progress. Even a child can work to get a great tone from a great instrument, but not even a master could do so with this toy."

Assuming you're in an okay spot financially now, you may wish to now start practicing advice mentioned here (I particularly like the expensive babysitting analogy wink ): http://elissamilne.wordpress.com/2011/08...-piano-lessons/

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