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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: 10362
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: 1351
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.
_________________________
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: 427
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: 3160
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 Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5486
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: 1351
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: 971
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:
Grieg, Papillon
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: 7368
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: 427
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: 3160
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: 482
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: 482
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: 62
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: 3160
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: 11680
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: 3181
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.
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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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: 11680
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.
_________________________
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
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: 3181
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: 11680
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: 482
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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#2103968 - 06/17/13 05:46 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: MaggieGirl]
jdw Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/04/11
Posts: 971
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 Online   content
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
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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 Online   content
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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.
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#2107778 - 06/25/13 12:13 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: BrainCramp]
AZNpiano Offline
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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.
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#2107788 - 06/25/13 12:35 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: AZNpiano]
BrainCramp Offline
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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
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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
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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.
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#2108077 - 06/25/13 07:51 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: BrainCramp]
red-rose Offline
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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
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I agree with Peter.
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#2108218 - 06/26/13 03:23 AM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
Peter K. Mose Offline
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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
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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!
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#2108286 - 06/26/13 09:32 AM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Peter K. Mose]
John v.d.Brook Offline
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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!

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#2108296 - 06/26/13 10:19 AM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
Peter K. Mose Offline
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Registered: 01/13/12
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.
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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
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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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#2108856 - 06/27/13 02:39 AM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
AZNpiano Offline
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Registered: 08/07/07
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Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Cardinal201
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!

Those are very high rates ($80 and $110), but definitely not unheard of. Anything above $100/hour is usually reserved for piano professors or folks with DMA in piano performance.
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#2109262 - 06/27/13 07:49 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
Cardinal201 Offline
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Thank you for your continued input and for being my online support group!

Both Teacher #2 and Teacher #3 are about to leave on their respective summer vacations, so my spouse and I do have more time to deliberate. I think, though, that we will most likely end up going with Teacher #3. Accordingly, we think we should probably follow her suggestion of working this summer with her colleague who shares the same technique. I know the consensus here was to defer lessons until the teacher's return, but apparently she thinks the situation is pretty dire with the kiddo's (lack of) technique and needs to begin to be addressed immediately. I figure the lessons will also give us some insight into #3's teaching style, as she recommended this colleague expressly for their similarities, and so whether it's a good or bad fit, that would be good information to have.

What do you all think?

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#2109266 - 06/27/13 07:56 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
The Monkeys Offline
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Doesn't the kiddo want a summer vacation too wink

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#2109269 - 06/27/13 07:59 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
keystring Online   content
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Did I calculate right that the child is 5 years old and has had lessons for about 9 months?

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#2109275 - 06/27/13 08:14 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
Cardinal201 Offline
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Posts: 100
The Monkeys, the kiddo has been asking continuously when lessons will resume, so I don't think he considers it anti-summer vacation. smile

keystring, he's almost 6 now. He started playing piano 9 months ago, shortly after he turned 5.

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#2109392 - 06/28/13 12:49 AM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
Peter K. Mose Offline
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Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Cardinal, your son has already been abandoned by one piano teacher. A teacher he adored. We'll never understand why. I figure there's more to the story, which you elected not to tell us.

Now you'd like him to embark on a new teacher-student relationship that is guaranteed to end in abandonment two months from now. So that in September he can commence a third relationship, with still another piano teacher, at an astonishing $110 per hour. He is all of five years old, will have had 3 piano teachers in his first 12 months at the piano, and you are worried about the "dire situation" of his keyboard technique.

You figure that a good way to judge new-next-September teacher #3 is by your child now spending a summer with teacher #4! Or perhaps we should call her teacher #2A.

All I can say is that my heart goes out to your son. I hope he has a loving pet, and a babysitter who sings with him.

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#2109418 - 06/28/13 01:56 AM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
Whizbang Online   content
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Registered: 10/27/12
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Originally Posted By: Cardinal201
I know the consensus here was to defer lessons until the teacher's return, but apparently she thinks the situation is pretty dire with the kiddo's (lack of) technique and needs to begin to be addressed immediately.

...

What do you all think?


A five year old's lack of technique is "dire"?!
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#2109430 - 06/28/13 02:25 AM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
Cardinal201 Offline
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Peter K. Mose, there's nothing more to the transfer story, at least not on my end. I have been just as bewildered as everyone else throughout this whole process. Given my anonymity on this forum, I am confused as to why you think I would bother hiding anything.

Also, it is not I who is worried about my son's technique but his future teacher. If my intention is to hire her for her professional expertise, should I not try to respect her wishes which presumably are based on said professional expertise? I don't ask this question facetiously, but in all sincerity. That said, if I were to have even a suspicion that my son is suffering some trauma or other negative effect due to the summer lessons, I would pull him out immediately.

It sounds as though you think I'm a terrible parent, which unfortunately for me stings even though I don't know you. As my son's primary caregiver, I often struggle with insecurity and self-doubt as to whether I'm doing right by him, and your words strike right at the heart of that. Clearly, I need to toughen up when sharing on a public forum...

Anyway, it's getting late and I'd better sign off. Thank you again to everyone, including Peter, who has followed my story over the past 9 months and offered words of wisdom and helpful advice!

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#2109443 - 06/28/13 03:01 AM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
keystring Online   content
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Cardinal201, something is off, but I don't think it necessarily has to do with you. This first teacher being convinced that she is not good enough for your son, when he is THRIVING under her teaching - it's puzzled you from the beginning and left you ill at ease. When I read that the 2nd teacher verbalized disapproval of the first teacher in front of you, it made me wonder whether the first lacked confidence in her teaching and deferred to number 1 because that confidence was taken away. I didn't voice it, because that kind of speculation is badly placed.

Should technique be "perfect" from day 1, or is technique something that develops over time? Our children begin by stumbling about, falling over, talking funny, and over time they become well coordinated individuals who walk well, dance, sing, give orations -- but they started off "with poor technique". It's the adult student who typically has problems by trying to be perfect and not being able to let go and allow things to develop naturally. And what has your son done.... just that?

So is he really in such a terrible shape technique-wise..... being 5 years old still, only playing for 9 months? None of us can tell here.

Peter Moses is also talking about something else. Small children get attached to their teachers because they are small children. It is their security because young kids need that feeling of steady adult guidance. I taught grade 2 years ago --- so children who were 7 going on 8. You see that. If you're absent for a few weeks, the kids show this kind of relief, which is startling.

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#2109477 - 06/28/13 05:54 AM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: Cardinal201
It sounds as though you think I'm a terrible parent, which unfortunately for me stings even though I don't know you. As my son's primary caregiver, I often struggle with insecurity and self-doubt as to whether I'm doing right by him, and your words strike right at the heart of that. Clearly, I need to toughen up when sharing on a public forum...


I didn't get this from what anyone was saying. The fact that you work hard enough to be able to afford lessons and what you clearly want to be a quality education for your son says a lot about your capability as the boy's father. When you add to this that there's little hesitation in spending said hard-earned funds on the boy - other than wanting them to go to the best match, obviously - says even more as far as I'm concerned.

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#2109568 - 06/28/13 10:08 AM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
jdw Offline
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Loc: Philadelphia, PA
I think Cardinal's son is a very lucky child: first, to have a parent investing so much care in his musical education (and I'm sure in other aspects of his life as well); and second, to have a first piano teacher who has focused solely on his well-being and development, putting aside her own ego and interests. His musical gift is a special bonus, and I'm sure that with Cardinal's guidance it will be a blessing to him.

I don't find it at all strange (though admirable!) that the first teacher suggested a change when she found him outrunning her limits as a teacher. When I started flute lessons as a teenager, with a teacher at a music store, she made a similar suggestion within a few lessons--and I was no prodigy, as this boy seems to be. With decades of hindsight and some RSI behind me, I realize that I would have benefited from an early teacher with better understanding of healthy technique.

Recalling the fact that Teacher #1 suggested consulting Edna Golandsky, it seems to me that she may have noticed some of the technique issues the other teachers have identified, and she believes he needs a teacher with more knowledge to fix them and take him further. Golandsky's claim to fame is her expertise in technique that is ergonomic as well as virtuosic. I think the concern sometimes with young prodigies is that their dexterity will outpace their technique and lead them to do things that sound great but aren't necessarily good for them.

Best of luck with the decision!
_________________________
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Currently working on:
Grieg, Papillon
Mozart, K 330
Brahms, Op. 118 no. 2

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#2109633 - 06/28/13 12:12 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: jdw]
ten left thumbs Offline
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Originally Posted By: jdw

I don't find it at all strange (though admirable!) that the first teacher suggested a change when she found him outrunning her limits as a teacher.


I do. I find it very strange. I think it's fine to say 'I teach beginners' or 'I teach advanced' but I don't see any point in teaching beginners unless you can take them at least to intermediate, which is going to take some time, even in the case of a prodigy.
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#2109668 - 06/28/13 12:51 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
The Monkeys Offline
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Cardinal201, please don't think that way, you seem a wonderful parent to me.

The fact that you are here listening to whole bunch people in the past 9 months tells how much effort you have put into your son's education and clearly you are open minded.

This is a public forum, it is NOT a place to seek consensus or approvals, you are here for a variety of vastly different opinions from very different angles, for YOU to make YOUR decisions.

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#2109738 - 06/28/13 03:12 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: ten left thumbs]
The Monkeys Offline
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Loc: Vancouver BC
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
Originally Posted By: jdw

I don't find it at all strange (though admirable!) that the first teacher suggested a change when she found him outrunning her limits as a teacher.


I do. I find it very strange. I think it's fine to say 'I teach beginners' or 'I teach advanced' but I don't see any point in teaching beginners unless you can take them at least to intermediate, which is going to take some time, even in the case of a prodigy.


The teacher at the early stage of the development does make differences, just listen to AZP's rant of the transfer students.

For the vast majority, you are probably right, every teacher can take them to at least the intermediate level, how good or how bad they teach perhaps doesn't matter much as the students won't go anywhere anyways. The ability to enjoy music is more import than the skills.

For a few gifted, it could make a deciding difference.

I have the pleasure to personally know a couple gifted kids, one made his orchestral debut at the age of 9. Their early teachers also selflessly referred them to another teacher just after short period of time, then another teacher. Through different paths, both end up with the same teacher after a couple of years (whose fee almost doubles the expensive teacher we were talking about here, by the way).

The path to pursue excellence in classical music, however, even for the gifted, is a long and difficult journey, especially for the parents. Some of these parents face a different dilemma, they feel obligated to support and provide the best, and at the same time, hope their child not to go the professional route (as they see the music industry, especially in the the field of classical music, is not the easiest place to make a good living).

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#2109741 - 06/28/13 03:16 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
keystring Online   content
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Somehow, if an experienced teacher -- and experienced teachers -- are expressing concerns, this holds weight for me.

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#2109751 - 06/28/13 03:32 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
PianoStudent88 Offline
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And yet: the experienced teacher who Cardinal met in person, did not express concerns about the summer plan. Might that hold some weight?
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#2109835 - 06/28/13 05:53 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
Cardinal201 Offline
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Registered: 08/19/12
Posts: 100
Thank you all! Feeling more resolve today, I took the kiddo to meet with Teacher #3's recommended colleague (let's call her #2.5 for continuity smile. She reiterated what Teachers #1, #2, and #3 have all said in varying ways and degrees, which I'm finally starting to put together and understand--simply put, the kid needs to fix his hands before he hurts himself. It is not merely a lack of technique as I originally assumed, but an increasingly dangerous, injury-prone one. Given the little guy's musical compulsion/inability to stay away from the piano, which apparently is glaringly obvious to everyone, time is of the essence, which explains Teacher #1 suggesting a transfer after just a short time, Teacher #2 wanting to fit in 4 lessons within a 2 week span before her month-long break, and Teacher #3 sending him to Teacher #2.5 before her two month one.

jdw, I think you may have just hit the nail on the head--I was so focused and weirded out regarding the "prodigy" angle of things, to The Monkeys' point, that I missed it.

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#2109839 - 06/28/13 06:03 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11680
Loc: Canada
Cardinal201, thank you for your explanation. It makes sense now.

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#2110213 - 06/29/13 03:04 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1351
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
An "increasingly dangerous" situation, a five-year-old who loves playing the piano incorrectly.

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#2110236 - 06/29/13 03:37 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
kck Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 268
Originally Posted By: Cardinal201
Thank you all! Feeling more resolve today, I took the kiddo to meet with Teacher #3's recommended colleague (let's call her #2.5 for continuity smile. She reiterated what Teachers #1, #2, and #3 have all said in varying ways and degrees, which I'm finally starting to put together and understand--simply put, the kid needs to fix his hands before he hurts himself. It is not merely a lack of technique as I originally assumed, but an increasingly dangerous, injury-prone one. Given the little guy's musical compulsion/inability to stay away from the piano, which apparently is glaringly obvious to everyone, time is of the essence, which explains Teacher #1 suggesting a transfer after just a short time, Teacher #2 wanting to fit in 4 lessons within a 2 week span before her month-long break, and Teacher #3 sending him to Teacher #2.5 before her two month one.

jdw, I think you may have just hit the nail on the head--I was so focused and weirded out regarding the "prodigy" angle of things, to The Monkeys' point, that I missed it.


I had a very similar situation with my son who started at 5. It took a special teacher and a bunch of patience and hard work to get through it. My kid had to spin his wheels at repertoire level several times. We had about 9 months where I wasn't sure we were all going to make it through when we found the right teacher, but we did!
_________________________
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#2110429 - 06/30/13 02:56 AM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Peter K. Mose]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
An "increasingly dangerous" situation, a five-year-old who loves playing the piano incorrectly.


Peter, maybe you could tell us what you think is happening?
_________________________
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#2110440 - 06/30/13 03:40 AM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
Allan W. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/03/12
Posts: 375
Loc: Michigan
Maybe you can record a video of your child so we can see exactly what's going on?

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#2110508 - 06/30/13 08:01 AM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
jdw Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/04/11
Posts: 971
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
Cardinal, I'm glad you seem to be finding some consensus among the teachers and a good path forward. Hope your son continues to love his music!
_________________________
1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Grieg, Papillon
Mozart, K 330
Brahms, Op. 118 no. 2

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#2110595 - 06/30/13 12:44 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: ten left thumbs]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1351
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
An "increasingly dangerous" situation, a five-year-old who loves playing the piano incorrectly.


Peter, maybe you could tell us what you think is happening?


No, I can't. I am in full agreement with you that teacher #1 should still be this boy's teacher, and this lengthy thread has smelled off from the start.

My suspicion is that Cardinal has been pranking us all along, and we fell for it. This happens on the Internet.

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#2110677 - 06/30/13 03:44 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Peter K. Mose]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
OK, at least now I understand you! laugh
_________________________
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www.justfingers.co.uk
www.babysinging.co.uk

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#2110685 - 06/30/13 04:05 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
Cardinal201 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/19/12
Posts: 100
Wow, ok... I'm sorry you feel that way, Peter.

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#2110734 - 06/30/13 05:36 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
jdw Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/04/11
Posts: 971
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
Originally Posted By: Cardinal201
Wow, ok... I'm sorry you feel that way, Peter.


A gracious reply if I ever saw one.
_________________________
1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Grieg, Papillon
Mozart, K 330
Brahms, Op. 118 no. 2

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#2110739 - 06/30/13 05:45 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: Cardinal201
Wow, ok... I'm sorry you that way, Peter.


Thing is Cardinal, if you are genuine, then you know that you are genuine, and hopefully the doubt of a person online (who has obviously seen a lot of chancers on this forum) won't cause you to lose sleep?

Again if you are genuine, then I wish you and your son the very best!
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


www.justfingers.co.uk
www.babysinging.co.uk

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#2110903 - 06/30/13 11:43 PM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
Cardinal201 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/19/12
Posts: 100
jdw, thank you, once again. ten left thumbs, I also appreciate your words, but it's BECAUSE I'm genuinely seeking help/advice that it's worrisome if folks think I'm making up a story, especially someone as well-respected on this forum as Peter K. Mose. If I were just trolling, I wouldn't care, because I wouldn't have an actual situation with which I needed actual help. Thankfully, enough people have given me the benefit of a doubt and offered many useful insights, and consequently I now have a better handle on my son's situation and more confidence moving forward with the teacher transfer. Thank you one and all for that. I hope I am still welcome to post questions I might have in the future, and continue to receive the same benefit of the doubt.

I won't lose sleep, but am curious--are there others beside Peter who think I'm pranking them? And by "all along", do you mean making up everything I've written since August when I joined the forum (my first posts were about piano shopping)? Does anyone disbelieve that I even have a child who plays the piano?

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#2110957 - 07/01/13 02:37 AM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
The Monkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 427
Loc: Vancouver BC
Cardinal, an internet forum, even the ones that is generally friendly like this, is a still wild place.

I think the high fee you are paying for a 6 year old set some people off. Noticed the sharp turn from there? While not unheard of, it was indeed unusual. Many teachers with many years of experiences don't charge that kind of fee, many not even close. Some knee jerk reactions, even from nice people, is quite natural. And teachers who charges significantly below the level you are paying, will probably go quiet for obvious reasons.

I have no reason to doubt you, but after all this is not an everyday story, and you should expect different reactions. Good luck with the journey, and enjoy him as much as you can.

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#2110963 - 07/01/13 03:02 AM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: Cardinal201]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: Cardinal201
jdw, thank you, once again. ten left thumbs, I also appreciate your words, but it's BECAUSE I'm genuinely seeking help/advice that it's worrisome if folks think I'm making up a story, especially someone as well-respected on this forum as Peter K. Mose. If I were just trolling, I wouldn't care, because I wouldn't have an actual situation with which I needed actual help. Thankfully, enough people have given me the benefit of a doubt and offered many useful insights, ...


Indeed, there have been enough responses you can rely on as broad opinions of what other teachers might think. And the same would happen in the future, if you come with other questions. And if someone thinks you a prankster, so what?
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


www.justfingers.co.uk
www.babysinging.co.uk

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#2111983 - 07/03/13 04:20 AM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: The Monkeys]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5486
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
The teacher at the early stage of the development does make differences, just listen to AZP's rant of the transfer students.

Maybe I'm not ranting frequently enough?

Just say no to transfer wrecks.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#2112059 - 07/03/13 09:08 AM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: The Monkeys]
BrainCramp Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/12
Posts: 255
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: The Monkeys

I think the high fee you are paying for a 6 year old set some people off. Noticed the sharp turn from there? While not unheard of, it was indeed unusual.

I think it depends on location. Looking around at private lesson prices in the Boston area, they're all over the lot. It's easily $100-$120/hour for a teacher associated with one of the conservatories.

I've been following this thread with interest. I don't have any experience with 5-year-olds in any context. I'm not a parent or a teacher of children.

I'm curious - if the kid has incorrect hand technique, why can't teacher #1 just tell him to stop doing that, whatever it is? Why does it take a special teacher to correct early technique problems? After all, he's only 5, and he's not playing Rachmaninoff. Can't teacher #1 just keep correcting him until he does it right? At that age, isn't it analogous to teaching him how to hold his silverware, i.e. you just keep correcting him?

Good luck with whatever path you choose, Cardinal.

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#2112097 - 07/03/13 10:30 AM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: BrainCramp]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3200
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: BrainCramp
Why does it take a special teacher to correct early technique problems? After all, he's only 5, and he's not playing Rachmaninoff. Can't teacher #1 just keep correcting him until he does it right?


That would have been what I did when my kids were 5.

But if you read Outliers or a number of similar works, the stars of the sports and arts worlds aren't necessarily those with "natural" talent, whatever that means, but those who were singled out for better coaching, instruction, clinics, and competition from an early age. Sometimes based solely on the accident of their birthdate.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#2112152 - 07/03/13 11:45 AM Re: Transfer etiquette [Re: BrainCramp]
kck Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 268
Originally Posted By: BrainCramp

I'm curious - if the kid has incorrect hand technique, why can't teacher #1 just tell him to stop doing that, whatever it is? Why does it take a special teacher to correct early technique problems? After all, he's only 5, and he's not playing Rachmaninoff. Can't teacher #1 just keep correcting him until he does it right? At that age, isn't it analogous to teaching him how to hold his silverware, i.e. you just keep correcting him?

Good luck with whatever path you choose, Cardinal.


Actually, this is an interesting question. I said my kid had a similar situation, but it wasn't exactly the same. My child's first teacher was very picky on technique and talked about it every lesson. That teacher moved away. Under duress, we got on a waiting list at a highly regarded program teacher #1 suggested, and started with teacher #2 in the mean time hoping that would be a fit. He was not used to young precocious kids and everything fell apart. So when we got called up off the waiting list at the other music school, I jumped on it. Teacher #2 was super mad at us actually for leaving.

You'd think a teacher that could recognize the issue would work to correct those issues before passing a kid on? Our first teacher wouldn't let kid go anywhere without CONSTANT technique work. I would not pay those kind of bucks for a 5 year old. My kid was playing pretty well at 5/6 and got plenty of accolades and attention at the time. I will say at 12, use of good technique is still his biggest struggle and he plays at a high level now. He is learning a Mozart concerto right now.

Again - I'm not a teacher, just a parent. Assuming this is an actual situation, my mind tends to think teacher #1 is a slacker for recognizing a problem, allowing kid to prepare for Guild with issues, and then passing off the problem. My kid's current teacher would not allow my child to do Guild his first year with him until he trusted him to be able to learn and play a number of pieces with good technique.
_________________________
Amateur musician, piano and violin parent

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