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#2100376 - 06/10/13 02:23 PM Transfer etiquette
Cardinal201 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/19/12
Posts: 100
Well, the time has come--despite my protestations and denials, the kiddo had his final lesson with his beloved first piano teacher last week. The past 9 months have been full of surprises, and we couldn't have asked for a better "end of the beginning" than the Top-Talent Circle Rating the little guy received on his very first Guild Audition (Elementary Special, International) this past weekend.

I placed a call this morning to the new teacher recommended by the old (yes, I've been procrastinating), and am waiting to hear back. I've heard just enough about her to be a little nervous (I'm hoping comments like "You're throwing him to the wolves?" are meant only in jest...), but will keep an open mind and reserve judgment. To that end, I would like to ask this forum for help following proper etiquette when transferring teachers:

We already have the first teacher's blessing, as it was her recommendation in the first place. The first teacher has already spoken with the new teacher, as well. Obviously, I'm hoping our initial meeting is a good one. If for some reason it isn't, should we give lessons a try anyway? Should I interview other teachers regardless, or only if the initial meeting does not go well? Thank you in advance for your help!

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#2100404 - 06/10/13 03:06 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10356
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
I haven't followed earlier threads. I don't think there is anything particularly wrong with talking to several teachers, but do you have a particular reason for worrying about the one that has been suggested? Take things one step at a time ... relax.

Why is your kiddo transferring?
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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#2100449 - 06/10/13 04:24 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1338
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
I think you should certainly interview 2 or 3 teachers you find on your own. You are under no obligation to work with the recommended scary teacher #2. And I still think the whole idea of teacher #1 abandoning your son after just one teaching season is silly and unfortunate. I'd like to speak to her, and get her to change her mind.

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#2100470 - 06/10/13 04:54 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
Always better to interview with several.
_________________________
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

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#2100560 - 06/10/13 07:09 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
Barb860 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 1646
Loc: northern California
I agree that it's good to interview other teachers besides just this one. In answer to your first question, if the initial meeting with this teacher is not good and you do not have a good gut feeling, then I would not sign up for lessons with her.
But keep an open mind going in to this interview, because rumors can be just that. Maybe somebody had a bad experience with a teacher and then that student told someone else, and on it goes. 2 sides to every story.
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Piano Teacher

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#2100595 - 06/10/13 08:03 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
The Monkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 425
Loc: Vancouver BC
If you read the earlier posts of the OP, apparently his kiddo, at the age of 5, after a few lessons, was playing better than many who have played years.

His current teacher didn't feel comfortable of continuing teaching such a rare talent, and insisted to transfer him to a more capable teacher. The teacher being Edna Golandsky or one of her associates.

Not sure if this makes a difference.

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#2100611 - 06/10/13 08:29 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158
So teacher #1 did not abandon the child, but rather took a loss of income to look after the child's best interest and place him with a teacher commensurate with his abilities.

Excellent thumb
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#2100626 - 06/10/13 09:05 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: rocket88]
red-rose Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/13
Posts: 177
Loc: Cleveland, OH
Originally Posted By: rocket88
So teacher #1 did not abandon the child, but rather took a loss of income to look after the child's best interest and place him with a teacher commensurate with his abilities.

Excellent thumb

I don't know any of the backstory besides this, but I agree, this sounds like a good situation. I would trust the teacher, and try to stick with the recommendation unless the new teacher ends up being really terrible with a kid or something. I think even a not-so-good teacher (by her own admission or not!) will be a better judge of the abilities of a prospective teacher than a non-musical parent who is simply interviewing several teachers.

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#2100802 - 06/11/13 05:29 AM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: rocket88]
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5460
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: rocket88
So teacher #1 did not abandon the child, but rather took a loss of income to look after the child's best interest and place him with a teacher commensurate with his abilities.

Excellent thumb

This is my view as well. I'm assuming the best, and that "scary teacher #2" is actually a well-established and -respected pedagogue who can take the kid to the next level and let him blossom musically.

And if all else fails, there's no obligation to stay with teacher #2. It's a free country.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#2101630 - 06/12/13 06:25 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
Cardinal201 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/19/12
Posts: 100
Thank you all! I spoke with teacher #2 yesterday, and she seemed serious but not scary (at least over the phone), so we made an appointment for this weekend. She asked me a myriad of questions, including my son's age, how long he's been playing, current lesson length, current repertoire, and what time he wakes up and goes to bed (I'm hoping the last questions were only to help in scheduling lesson times vs. calculating how many hours he can potentially practice within a 24 hour period wink.

From your responses, it sounds like it would be perfectly proper for me to interview other teachers, but to red-rose's point, I'd likely make a poor judge of actual teaching ability. Are there particular things I should ask about or look for in trying to ascertain this?

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#2101932 - 06/13/13 11:30 AM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1338
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Just be honest. You might even express your confusion over why teacher #1 is deferring to teacher #2, when your son had such a splendid relationship with #1. The specifics of #2's response to you matter less than her heart, and her appreciation of relationships. You could also discuss her views on prodigies, if in fact your son might be one.

But didn't teacher #1 tell #2 in detail about your son to smooth this transition?

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#2102022 - 06/13/13 02:39 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
jdw Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/04/11
Posts: 961
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
I looked up the earlier thread, since I study with a Golandsky Institute faculty member, and the mention made me curious. From what I know, all the teachers there are great to work with, extremely supportive and nothing scary.

I recently saw Edna give a master class with an 8-year-old player. I thought she was wonderful in working with the young girl.

I would suggest trusting teacher #1's recommendation unless you find something that makes you unhappy.
_________________________
1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
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Mozart, K 330
Brahms, Op. 118 no. 2

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#2102131 - 06/13/13 06:35 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: The Monkeys]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7348
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
If you read the earlier posts of the OP, apparently his kiddo, at the age of 5, after a few lessons, was playing better than many who have played years.

His current teacher didn't feel comfortable of continuing teaching such a rare talent, and insisted to transfer him to a more capable teacher. The teacher being Edna Golandsky or one of her associates.

Not sure if this makes a difference.

It should; she's one of the most respected teachers in the Americas. What surprised me (and I should have known better) is that Ms. Golandsky is teaching out of Vancouver, BC. For some reason, I thought she was NYC based.
_________________________
"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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#2102181 - 06/13/13 09:22 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
The Monkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 425
Loc: Vancouver BC
I wasn't the OP, don't know where the OP is located.

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#2102184 - 06/13/13 09:30 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
Cardinal201 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/19/12
Posts: 100
Just to be clear, the new teacher recommended by teacher #1 is NOT Edna Golandsky, nor a Golandsky Institute certified teacher, as there are none in our area. Teacher #1 has said she envisions my son one day studying with Ms. Golandsky should he continue down this path, that is all, and suggested sending a recording for her assessment (a request I demurred as I think it premature).

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#2103597 - 06/16/13 11:52 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
Cardinal201 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/19/12
Posts: 100
Update: We met with Teacher #2, and I have to say, she was a little intimidating. It's possible I have a warped perspective, as my only experience until now has been with Teacher #1, who simply exudes rainbows and sunshine... On the other hand, Teacher #2 definitely seemed a very capable teacher, and I think my son would be able to learn a lot from her.

Teacher #2 did not engage in any social pleasantries, but got right down to business, handing me her studio policy to review and gesturing my son to the piano. She directed most of her questions to the kiddo rather than myself, which I appreciated and found very respectful. She had him play a couple pieces and a few scales, ripped apart his technique, then whispered to me "It's not his fault--he only knows what he's been taught." She said she had spoken with Teacher #1 and was willing to take him on as a student, and that we would see how far he truly can go. When I replied that I don't want to push him, she said that it would be up to us. She told me to call with any questions, and we thanked her for her time. As we were driving home, I asked my son what he thought of Teacher #2, and he said, "I like her, but she's not Mrs. [Teacher #1]." frown

My spouse and I still need to discuss things, but my preliminary thinking is to ask if we can do a trial period of, say, 2 weeks of lessons to see if it's a good fit. Teacher #2's termination policy requires a one month written notice PLUS an additional one month's tuition, so I am hoping she will agree to waive this requirement within the 2 week trial period. During this time, we would pay her regular tuition rate but not take up a regular spot on her schedule--we would only squeeze in at her convenience. Does this sound like a reasonable request?

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#2103788 - 06/17/13 11:15 AM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158
Originally Posted By: Cardinal201

My spouse and I still need to discuss things, but my preliminary thinking is to ask if we can do a trial period of, say, 2 weeks of lessons to see if it's a good fit. Teacher #2's termination policy requires a one month written notice PLUS an additional one month's tuition, so I am hoping she will agree to waive this requirement within the 2 week trial period. During this time, we would pay her regular tuition rate but not take up a regular spot on her schedule--we would only squeeze in at her convenience. Does this sound like a reasonable request?


Not in my opinion.

It usually takes longer than two weeks for a teacher to get used to a student, and vice-versa. Sometimes it takes several months.

It sounds like she is a very good teacher of piano, which is what you want. Knowledgable and down to business. And she apparently knows technique, which is foundational to playing well. and which way too many teachers ignore, including perhaps teacher #1.

I say jump in and expect her to be a great asset to your son's music life.

Quote:
I asked my son what he thought of Teacher #2, and he said, "I like her, but she's not Mrs. [Teacher #1]." frown


You put a frown smiley after this...why?

I would say your son is wise, and the fact that he likes her, and does not expect her to be cuddly like #1, which seem to be your issue, not his, indicates further a "go" situation.

I personally would be thrilled to have such a teacher for my son.
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#2103794 - 06/17/13 11:24 AM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: rocket88]
MaggieGirl Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 477
Unless teacher 1 asked you to leave her studio, I would expect to follow the written contract - the one month notice+one month and not ask for special considerations.

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#2103799 - 06/17/13 11:41 AM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
red-rose Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/13
Posts: 177
Loc: Cleveland, OH
Originally Posted By: Cardinal201
Teacher #2's termination policy requires a one month written notice PLUS an additional one month's tuition

Does nobody else find this odd and unreasonable? If I am understanding correctly, then simply by signing up with this teacher you are agreeing to basically give her an entire month of tuition... FOR NOTHING? (Whenever you leave, since, everyone will leave eventually, right?) That is a lot of money! What is the rationale behind this? Why not simply say you have to give 2 months notice, since that is the same financial result for the teacher, but at least the student "gets" something reasonably fair (and of course they have the option to simply not take the 2 months of lessons.) Or why not require people to pay a non-refundable month of tuition when they sign up, since that's basically what this is? (Wouldnt that be hard to enforce once they've already left? Why not make them pay upfront if they're going to pay it eventually?) That at least to me, seems a "less sneaky" way to try and get maximum amount of money out of people!

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#2103805 - 06/17/13 12:03 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
MaggieGirl Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 477
It isn't a contract I would have signed. However, the parent DID sign it, so they should uphold their end.

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#2103813 - 06/17/13 12:21 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
sonataplayer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/09/11
Posts: 58
Loc: New Hampshire
She had him play a couple pieces and a few scales, ripped apart his technique, then whispered to me "It's not his fault--he only knows what he's been taught."

Ouch! Slamming the teacher who referred a new student to her? Not very professional on her part. That would be a red flag for me.

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#2103819 - 06/17/13 12:35 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158
Noticing that a prospective student has bad technique is a common experience for me.
Few teachers teach proper technique, and even fewer self-taught people teach themselves technique.

Pointing that out to the parent is part of a diagnostic for the parent...an explanation to the parent what we will be working on, so that when they might ask later on, "why such an emphasis on scales, etc," there is a background for it.

Perhaps this teacher is less than tactful...I want a good teacher for my talented child, not a warm and fuzzy diplomat.

The thing is that she has a very good reputation, the boy likes her, the previous teacher is way over her head with the boy, and she recommended teacher #2.
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#2103833 - 06/17/13 12:49 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11657
Loc: Canada
The bottom line is that we don't know anything. We have not seen either of the teachers teach, and we have not watch this child progress. The best is not to offer a prognosis about what is the best choice, whether or not this new proposed teacher is manna sent from heaven. We don't know. It is also possible that the original teacher is insecure, and that this insecurity comes from that kind of opinion by her own teacher - the one she is sending the child to. Or it may be that she does not have the abilities, knows her teacher does, and has good reason for sending the child on. We don't know. Nobody here knows.

I think that the parent wanted to have a trial period, especially since the parent and child are happy with the present teacher, is a good idea.

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#2103846 - 06/17/13 01:20 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: keystring]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3171
Loc: Maine
.
Originally Posted By: keystring
I think that the parent wanted to have a trial period, especially since the parent and child are happy with the present teacher, is a good idea.

Originally Posted By: Cardinal201
Well, the time has come--despite my protestations and denials, the kiddo had his final lesson with his beloved first piano teacher last week.

The "present" teacher is now the former teacher, at the teacher's insistence.
_________________________
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#2103851 - 06/17/13 01:30 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11657
Loc: Canada
The parent is also considering a trial period - it is not totally a done deal yet.

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#2103878 - 06/17/13 02:38 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
Two weeks is not a long enough trial period. Try two months. That's basically the summer.
_________________________
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M.M., Piano

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#2103893 - 06/17/13 03:07 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
Cardinal201 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/19/12
Posts: 100
Thank you all for your feedback this far!

MaggieGirl, I think you may have misread my post. I have NOT signed a contract with a termination clause. The clause is in the prospective teacher's studio policy, not the former teacher's. red-rose, I agree the requirement seems unecessarily punitive, which is why I would like to at least negotiate a trial period before being subject to the clause. sonataplayer, I don't think Teacher #2 meant to slam Teacher #1, especially since she seemed to take care not to say it within my son's earshot, but it did take me aback a little. rocket88, Teacher #2 is proposing 4 lessons within a 2 week period, which I was thinking would be enough to at least gauge personality fit? Also, I put the frown emoticon after the quote because the kiddo frowned after he said it--sorry if that was not clear. keystring and PianoStudent88, my son's studies with Teacher #1 are "done", but it's not a given who the next teacher will be.

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#2103894 - 06/17/13 03:15 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3171
Loc: Maine
Cardinal201, that's what I understood: that Teacher #1 is "done", but next teacher is not yet decided.
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#2103908 - 06/17/13 03:37 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11657
Loc: Canada
Cardinal 201, if you liked the teacher you have just left, why is it so strongly "done", especially since you are not certain about the proposed teacher?

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#2103921 - 06/17/13 03:54 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
MaggieGirl Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 477
Sorry, I misunderstood!

Of course you can try to negotiate the new teacher's contract, but she might not be flexible. I have heard of contracts that are 12 weeks - you prepay and if you quit, you forfeit the full amount so her contract does not sound out of line.

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