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#2103968 - 06/17/13 05:46 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: MaggieGirl]
jdw Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/04/11
Posts: 972
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
I was thinking too--could this be sort of an "early termination" policy? With my teacher, students commit for the whole academic year.

I don't think it's unreasonable to ask about a trial period, at least to see what she thinks about it. Given how young he is, she might agree that it's a good idea. Or, maybe she'll have reasons not to like it.

Of course, it's not surprising that the boy isn't as enthusiastic about a new teacher, when he loved the old one. It's probably encouraging that he liked her at all!
_________________________
1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Grieg, Papillon
Mozart, K 330
Brahms, Op. 118 no. 2

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#2103988 - 06/17/13 06:23 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1351
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Stay away from teacher #2. She's a piano martinet. The world is full of 'em, and your sweet little boy doesn't need this, nor do his parents. Interview a couple of other teachers, or ask #1 for another couple of recommendations who are as delightful as she is.

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#2104015 - 06/17/13 07:22 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
dynamobt Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 674
Loc: NH
Haven't chimed in till now. I say give teacher #2 a chance. Whether you can negotiate a trial period outside of the contract is a separate issue from whether she would be a good teacher for your son. Even if she turns out to be not quite what you wanted in a teacher, you and your son will have learned something. Teacher #1 recommended her for a reason. If you are unsure, go ask her what that reason was.

I wouldn't turn down a good teacher just because of her business methods. Piano lessons are not babysitting or entertainment or all fun. You want your child to learn. It seems he has talent. All the more reason for him to have a good teacher. I'd give this teacher a try.
_________________________
1918 Mason & Hamlin BB





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#2104252 - 06/18/13 08:37 AM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
BrainCramp Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/12
Posts: 255
Loc: USA
Cardinal, have you talked to any parents of kids studying with teacher #2?

You mentioned in your original post that someone said you were "throwing him to the wolves" by signing him up with teacher #2. Was that a parent?

I'm wondering if other parents felt their children progressed and enjoyed lessons with teacher #2.

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#2104265 - 06/18/13 09:05 AM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
R0B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/08
Posts: 1439
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: Cardinal201
Teacher #2's termination policy requires a one month written notice PLUS an additional one month's tuition


Nice work, if you can get it!

Is it usual to demand payment in return for providing no services, whatsoever?

I wouldn't touch her with a bargepole, for that reason alone.
_________________________
Rob

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#2104296 - 06/18/13 10:11 AM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
I have been wondering if the termination policy has been understood correctly. Normally I would expect it to be what I would call "one month written and paid notice." So to terminate on Feb 1, you give written notice on Jan 1 and pay through Feb 1. Then it's your choice if you come to the lessons or not in Jan.

cardinal201's description does make it sound as if to terminate on Feb 1, you give written notice on Jan 1 and pay, not only through Feb 1 but also through Mar 1. You can take lessons in Jan but not in Feb.

cardinal201, can you clarify which the policy is?
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#2104421 - 06/18/13 01:51 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
Cardinal201 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/19/12
Posts: 100
MinnieMay, I think it much more likely that Teacher #2 would agree to a 2 week trial period rather than 2 months, but your point (like rocket88's) is well-taken and I will certainly consider negotiating a longer time. keystring, lessons with Teacher #1 are over at her request, not mine or my son's, therefore I don't think I have any choice but to respect her wishes. jdw and PianoStudent88, according to Teacher #2's proposed contract, tuition is paid in advance on a monthly basis and is nonrefundable AND should the student discontinue lessons for any reason, a 30 day written notice is required PLUS one additional month's tuition as severance. BrainCramp, the person who made the wolves comment is another teacher (to whom Teacher #1 told of her plans to transfer my son), not a parent. I do not know anyone personally whose child has taken lessons from Teacher #2.

I truly appreciate everyone's perspectives, from Peter K. Mose and R0B's to rocket88 and dynamobt's on the opposite end of the spectrum. I could not have guessed 9 months ago that I would have so much to think about. The choice of the kiddo's first teacher was such a no-brainer--I called on the recommendation of a friend, had a great conversation over the phone, brought a check for the first 3 months of lessons to our first meeting, and that was that.

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#2104439 - 06/18/13 02:42 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3160
Thank you, and I wish you and your son the best.
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#2107667 - 06/25/13 07:38 AM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
Cardinal201 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/19/12
Posts: 100
Update: The kiddo and I met with another teacher (let's call her Teacher #3) that I found on my own. I had recently heard a few of Teacher #3's students perform at a local concert, and thought they sounded wonderful (and looked happy :), so I decided to contact her after the interview with Teacher #2 left me with a few doubts. After I explained our situation, Teacher #3 asked a few questions and then said that she no longer takes beginners but was willing to meet with us, and so I made an appointment.

Upon our arrival, Teacher #3 greeted us with a smile and invited us inside. Like Teacher #2, she asked my son to play a few scales and pieces from his Guild program. In addition, she asked him to sightread some (very basic) new music. Afterwards, she asked him to take a seat to the side while she spoke with me privately.

She said she understood the difficulty of leaving a teacher one loves, but that the previous teacher was doing the right thing in sending my son forward. Like Teacher #2, she emphasized the importance of proper technique. Both teachers commented about the kiddo's fire/passion while playing (I had neglected to mention this in my first update), but Teacher #3 went a step further in saying that the same emotional intensity he brings to the piano might also make it that much harder to eliminate some of his bad habits. She also told me she would need to simplify his repertoire while his sightreading caught up to his performance level, and hoped he wouldn't be bored.

Teacher #3 said she would be willing to take my son as a student, but that she was about to take a 2 month break. As he would otherwise be without instruction, she recommended a trusted colleague who she could ask to take him on just for the summer. I told her I would call her shortly, and we made our goodbyes and thank-yous. On the way home, the little guy said, "I really like [Teacher #3]!" smile

Other notes--Teacher #3 apparently only has one other student around my son's age (probably because she doesn't take beginners), whereas #2 has many. Also, Teacher #3 is significantly more expensive per hour than #2, but also has a much less restrictive studio policy. Finally, my son's former teacher is not familiar with Teacher #3 (perhaps because #1 participates in Guild only and #3 participates in MTAC only whereas #2 participates in both), whereas I know she put a lot of thought into recommending #2.

What do you all think? I'm favoring Teacher #3 simply because of rapport, but should I be concerned that she doesn't have more young students and/or that I found her on my own versus a professional recommendation? Thank you in advance for your thoughts!

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#2107695 - 06/25/13 09:07 AM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
BrainCramp Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/12
Posts: 255
Loc: USA
Cardinal, I'd ask both #2 and #3 to give you a couple of customer references to call. Those might be parents or adult students. Try to get a feel for whether the students progress and are happy.

After all, if you were looking for a doctor or an electrician, you wouldn't simply go on recommendations from other doctors and electricians.

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#2107711 - 06/25/13 09:43 AM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
dynamobt Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 674
Loc: NH
Even after recommending you try Teacher #2, I will say that you should not discount your son's feelings about Teacher #3. Your son will learn better from a teacher that he likes and with whom is is comfortable. Personality and approach mean a lot. Learning should be pleasant if not even fun for a child the age of your son. I think I'd give Teacher #3 the nod at this point.
_________________________
1918 Mason & Hamlin BB





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#2107778 - 06/25/13 12:13 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: BrainCramp]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5486
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: BrainCramp
Cardinal, I'd ask both #2 and #3 to give you a couple of customer references to call. Those might be parents or adult students. Try to get a feel for whether the students progress and are happy.

After all, if you were looking for a doctor or an electrician, you wouldn't simply go on recommendations from other doctors and electricians.
I have never encountered a prospective client who asked for customer references. I would be more than puzzled by such requests.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#2107788 - 06/25/13 12:35 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: AZNpiano]
BrainCramp Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/12
Posts: 255
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: BrainCramp
Cardinal, I'd ask both #2 and #3 to give you a couple of customer references to call. Those might be parents or adult students. Try to get a feel for whether the students progress and are happy.

After all, if you were looking for a doctor or an electrician, you wouldn't simply go on recommendations from other doctors and electricians.
I have never encountered a prospective client who asked for customer references. I would be more than puzzled by such requests.

Hi AZN,

You're probably getting new students via word of mouth, which means people are talking to your "references" without having to ask you for their names. That's wonderful and easy for you.

But Cardinal said she didn't know any parents whose kids studied with these teachers. So if she's going to get any input from other parents, she's going to have to ask the teachers themselves for some names.

Last week I browsed the listings of piano teachers in my area on Angie's List. I think nowadays anyone who provides a service for a fee should be ready to provide customer references/testimonials in some format or other.


Edited by BrainCramp (06/25/13 12:54 PM)
Edit Reason: fixed a typo

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#2107968 - 06/25/13 05:03 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1351
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Teacher #3 clearly has better people skills than #2, and no surprise, you liked her better. Your son also liked her better. And you've heard some of her pupils: they played well *and* looked happy. How much more recommending of a piano teacher do you need?

I think you should wait until the fall, and then give #3 a try. But don't start up with another teacher for just 2 months: that's bad psychologically for everyone.

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#2108065 - 06/25/13 07:33 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Peter K. Mose]
Barb860 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 1646
Loc: northern California
Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
Teacher #3 clearly has better people skills than #2, and no surprise, you liked her better. Your son also liked her better. And you've heard some of her pupils: they played well *and* looked happy. How much more recommending of a piano teacher do you need?

I think you should wait until the fall, and then give #3 a try. But don't start up with another teacher for just 2 months: that's bad psychologically for everyone.



+1

Very interesting thread. I strongly agree with Peter.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#2108077 - 06/25/13 07:51 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: BrainCramp]
red-rose Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/13
Posts: 177
Loc: Cleveland, OH
Originally Posted By: BrainCramp

After all, if you were looking for a doctor or an electrician, you wouldn't simply go on recommendations from other doctors and electricians.

I don't agree. If I knew someone, even as an acquaintance, who was a doctor or plumber, but couldn't do the work I needed done, I would trust their opinion MUCH more than that of another client about which one of their colleagues to go with.

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#2108119 - 06/25/13 09:12 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
I agree with Peter.
_________________________
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

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#2108218 - 06/26/13 03:23 AM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1351
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
I find it intriguing that #3 charges significantly more than #2. By what percentage per hour? I would have guessed that #2 would be a very pricey teacher, but I'm wrong.
Maybe since she deals with mostly kids she charges less than a teacher (#3) who deals with mostly adults, and non-beginner adults.

We are assuming that the cost is not a deciding factor for you, Cardinal?

P.S. I'm honored that Barb and Minniemay agree with me. Piano teacher selection is not at all easy. But eventually you just trust your instincts and give someone a try.

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#2108254 - 06/26/13 07:27 AM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Peter K. Mose]
emilypianist89 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/07/12
Posts: 82
Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
Teacher #3 clearly has better people skills than #2, and no surprise, you liked her better. Your son also liked her better. And you've heard some of her pupils: they played well *and* looked happy. How much more recommending of a piano teacher do you need?

I think you should wait until the fall, and then give #3 a try. But don't start up with another teacher for just 2 months: that's bad psychologically for everyone.



After reading and rereading the posts on this thread, I also have to agree with Peter!
_________________________
Pianist
Private Piano Teacher

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#2108286 - 06/26/13 09:32 AM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Peter K. Mose]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7368
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
Stay away from teacher #2. She's a piano martinet. The world is full of 'em, and your sweet little boy doesn't need this, nor do his parents. Interview a couple of other teachers, or ask #1 for another couple of recommendations who are as delightful as she is.

Peter, do you know where they sell these?



Somehow, I feel my studio is missing something important!

_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#2108296 - 06/26/13 10:19 AM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1351
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
John, I have no idea. I was hoping to borrow one of yours, though wondering how I could get it across the border.

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#2108310 - 06/26/13 11:04 AM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
Cardinal201 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/19/12
Posts: 100
Thank you for your replies!

Both Teacher #2 and Teacher #3 are well-known in the area for the high caliber of their students. Neither teacher appears to teach adults. However, Teacher #3 does not take beginners, so her studio is comprised of older children and teenagers whereas Teacher #2's includes younger children as well. Teacher #3 charges 37.5% more per hour than Teacher #2, who already charges 60% more than my son's first teacher. Cost is not the deciding factor, but I certainly don't want to waste money. One of my concerns is that, given that the kiddo has only been playing for 9 months, does it make sense to go with the very expensive Teacher #3 who can teach and has taught beginners but prefers to teach and currently takes only advanced students? My son, who is a beginner in many respects, would be the exception in her studio. I was actually a bit surprised she was even willing to take him after he forgot what an eighth note was called (although he knew how to play it). On the other hand, it also seems kind of an honor...

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#2108408 - 06/26/13 01:39 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1351
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
I don't think anyone would suggest you are wasting money on either Teacher #2 or Teacher #3. Both are clearly competent at what they do if they have full rosters and are charging market rates.

(For the rest of us, I got out a calculator: if less-experienced Teacher #1 might be charging $30/hr, that would mean Teacher #2 is at $48/hr, and Teacher #3 is $66/hr.)

These are most likely 30 or 45-minute lessons, so it's not a lot of money per week.

The fact that your son is the only beginner in the studio should not matter, except perhaps in a good way: maybe Teacher #3 felt she had too many beginners at one time, and that can be a drag.

You could certainly tell us about Teacher #4 if you want to keep looking around for more candidates....


Edited by Peter K. Mose (06/26/13 03:57 PM)

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#2108417 - 06/26/13 01:56 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
Cardinal201 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/19/12
Posts: 100
Teacher #1 is $50/hour, #2 is $80/hour, and #3 is $110/hour...

I won't be interviewing any more teachers, as #2 and #3 already seem good choices. I just need to decide between the two!

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#2108426 - 06/26/13 02:03 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Peter K. Mose]
The Monkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 427
Loc: Vancouver BC
Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
less-experience Teacher #1 might be charging $30/hr....


You still see that kind of rate in Toronto? The starting rate here is more like $45

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#2108538 - 06/26/13 04:33 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1351
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Very few private piano teachers across Canada or the US command $80-$110 an hour. These are astonishingly high rates, especially for teaching children. But I forgot the coded reference to the state of California ("MTAC" = Music Teachers Assn. of CA), so all bets are off. Obviously Cardinal lives in an expensive metropolitan area of the state: maybe we're having another Irvine competitive-kids piano discussion and don't know it.

In any case, clearly Teachers #2 And #3 are among the elite of their locale. No doubt some PW contributors would even recognize their names. But that doesn't mean either one is as good for Cardinal Jr. as was Teacher #1. I still think there is a back story we are not being told about Teacher #1 that smells off.

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#2108541 - 06/26/13 04:39 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1351
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
To answer Monkeys: I was not referring to Toronto. I'm sorry if I offended you by my example of more affordable piano lessons.

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#2108560 - 06/26/13 05:14 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
Allan W. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/03/12
Posts: 375
Loc: Michigan
Jeez, $110/hour seems pretty steep considering your kid is a beginner.

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#2108669 - 06/26/13 07:55 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Allan W.]
jdw Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/04/11
Posts: 972
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
Originally Posted By: Allan W.
Jeez, $110/hour seems pretty steep considering your kid is a beginner.


I thought that too. I also wonder about Teacher 1's particular reasons for recommending Teacher 2. It may come down to some meeting ground between Teacher 1's judgment and your own gut feeling. Not sure how much internet folks at a distance can help, except to sympathize.
_________________________
1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Grieg, Papillon
Mozart, K 330
Brahms, Op. 118 no. 2

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#2108769 - 06/26/13 10:42 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Allan W.]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: Allan W.
Jeez, $110/hour seems pretty steep considering your kid is a beginner.


Quality instruction is quality instruction. I'd argue beginners need better instruction than an intermediate or advanced student to instill quality practice habits from the get-go. That being said, though, similar instruction could probably be found for less upon thorough exploration.

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