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#2155096 - 09/21/13 04:20 PM Asking for previous teacher’s name and phone number?
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1023
Loc: Irvine, CA

Any of you…when you have a transfer student, apparently learned piano before, did you ask for previous teacher’s contact? I am thinking about this recently, wouldn’t it be nice to find out:

1. If parents clear up their bill with previous teacher?
2. If parents respect previous teacher’s termination policy?
3. How is student’s behavior overall from teacher’s perspective?
4. What are the special things to consider when teaching the students?
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#2155098 - 09/21/13 04:27 PM Re: Asking for previous teacher’s name and phone number? [Re: ezpiano.org]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5300
Loc: Europe
I think that all the reasons you bring up, show doubt towards your student, parents and ultimately clients. If this is the case then perhaps you should avoid that.

And generally speaking, I find that it's not exactly the best idea in the world, to do a background check like that.

I think at least...
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#2155107 - 09/21/13 04:37 PM Re: Asking for previous teacher’s name and phone number? [Re: Nikolas]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4812
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
I think that all the reasons you bring up, show doubt towards your student, parents and ultimately clients. If this is the case then perhaps you should avoid that.

And generally speaking, I find that it's not exactly the best idea in the world, to do a background check like that.

I think at least...

I agree. I can find out what I need other ways, and when it comes to people who don't pay, you never know for sure.
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Piano Teacher

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#2155172 - 09/21/13 06:18 PM Re: Asking for previous teacher’s name and phone number? [Re: Gary D.]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12043
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
I think that all the reasons you bring up, show doubt towards your student, parents and ultimately clients. If this is the case then perhaps you should avoid that.

And generally speaking, I find that it's not exactly the best idea in the world, to do a background check like that.

I think at least...

I agree. I can find out what I need other ways, and when it comes to people who don't pay, you never know for sure.
Plus, you don't really know the circumstances that caused them to leave - perhaps the teacher napped during lessons and the parents didn't feel they should pay for that. And sometimes things just end poorly on both ends, and so I don't begrudge someone for getting a fresh start rather than having the baggage follow them around.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2155294 - 09/21/13 11:38 PM Re: Asking for previous teacher’s name and phone number? [Re: ezpiano.org]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5510
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
Any of you…when you have a transfer student, apparently learned piano before, did you ask for previous teacher’s contact? I am thinking about this recently, wouldn’t it be nice to find out:

1. If parents clear up their bill with previous teacher?
2. If parents respect previous teacher’s termination policy?
3. How is student’s behavior overall from teacher’s perspective?
4. What are the special things to consider when teaching the students?

If you are accepting a transfer student from another MTAC teacher, you should do at least 1 and 2 just as a courtesy to the previous teacher. 3 and 4 are a little over the top, but some teachers might be willing to provide information.
_________________________
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#2155296 - 09/21/13 11:44 PM Re: Asking for previous teacher’s name and phone number? [Re: ezpiano.org]
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1265
Loc: California
If it's an early intermediate student I like to know what repertoire has been covered with the previous teacher. It helps to plan out my year with the student and create a balanced program.
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#2155488 - 09/22/13 11:15 AM Re: Asking for previous teacher’s name and phone number? [Re: ezpiano.org]
Alan Lai Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 309
Loc: USA/Hong Kong
Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org

Any of you…when you have a transfer student, apparently learned piano before, did you ask for previous teacher’s contact? I am thinking about this recently, wouldn’t it be nice to find out:

1. If parents clear up their bill with previous teacher?
2. If parents respect previous teacher’s termination policy?
3. How is student’s behavior overall from teacher’s perspective?
4. What are the special things to consider when teaching the students?

I got like 80% transfer students. But I NEVER asked anything about their previous teacher except the name.

To answer your questions:

1. Not my business. Not interested to find it out.
2. Not my business. Not interested to find it out. But will make sure the parents agree with my policy
3. This is the ONLY thing I want to know from their previous teacher.
4. I think this can be grouped to #3.

Yes I would like to have a copy of teacher's comment on my transfer students. But 90% of the time I DON'T.

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#2155501 - 09/22/13 11:37 AM Re: Asking for previous teacher’s name and phone number? [Re: ezpiano.org]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11721
Loc: Canada
Even for numbers 3 and 4, there may be other factors. For example, supposing there were weaknesses in the previous teaching. Hypothetically, the previous teacher gave the student increasingly advanced work or loads of work, but without teaching the skills or basic things that go along with that. The student finds it all a struggle and essentially gives up, because practicing is ineffective and leads nowhere. The hypothetical former teacher may accurately state that the student never practices, and for sure if there are teaching weaknesses the teacher won't pass on that information to the new teacher. Otoh the old teacher might have done a splendid job, and the student didn't bother - leading to the same lack of practice or ineffective practice.

I think that any student who did stars off with a poor teacher, or abusive teacher, will be afraid that their chance for a fresh start with a new teacher will be marred before it even gets off the ground by negative comments that will lead to negative expectations by the new teacher.

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#2155600 - 09/22/13 03:39 PM Re: Asking for previous teacher’s name and phone number? [Re: keystring]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4812
Loc: South Florida
Quote:

1. If parents clear up their bill with previous teacher?
2. If parents respect previous teacher’s termination policy?
3. How is student’s behavior overall from teacher’s perspective?
4. What are the special things to consider when teaching the students?

1. Seems about like doing a credit check. Not interested.
2. Not interested, since this would involve making judgments about the previous teacher too, and I don't get involved in what other teachers do or do not do.
3. Not interested. I am concerned about how students (and their parents) behave towards me.
4. I'm not sure what this is even about. Different students have different problems, challenges, but I would not trust other teachers to tell me what they are - or what they might be.
Originally Posted By: keystring
Even for numbers 3 and 4, there may be other factors. For example, supposing there were weaknesses in the previous teaching. Hypothetically, the previous teacher gave the student increasingly advanced work or loads of work, but without teaching the skills or basic things that go along with that. The student finds it all a struggle and essentially gives up, because practicing is ineffective and leads nowhere. The hypothetical former teacher may accurately state that the student never practices, and for sure if there are teaching weaknesses the teacher won't pass on that information to the new teacher.

I would be mainly worried about teaching weakness of the TEACHER, and the teacher being too blind or self-satisfied to know they exist.
Quote:

Otoh the old teacher might have done a splendid job, and the student didn't bother - leading to the same lack of practice or ineffective practice.

I will know if that is likely true by how students work with me.
Quote:

I think that any student who did stars off with a poor teacher, or abusive teacher, will be afraid that their chance for a fresh start with a new teacher will be marred before it even gets off the ground by negative comments that will lead to negative expectations by the new teacher.

I agree. It happened to me, as a student, as I have said again and again in this forum.
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Piano Teacher

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#2155605 - 09/22/13 03:49 PM Re: Asking for previous teacher’s name and phone number? [Re: ezpiano.org]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12043
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I'd also like to note that to my recollection I have never been contacted by another teacher regarding a transfer student who left my studio. If I was, (let's assume they moved out of town so left on amicable terms) I would still feel weird about telling them about the paying history of the student and things of that nature. If a teacher is *that* concerned about getting paid on time then there are things they can do with their own policy and business practices that would resolve this.

As far as finding out what repertoire they worked on, you can just ask the student. Most of the time they'll let you know i they already worked on a piece if you assign it. They may not know it by name, but certainly by how it sounds. When I send students off to college, I tell them to type up a list of repertoire they've studied to give to their teacher, leaving out method books and easier pieces, of course.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2156080 - 09/23/13 10:39 AM Re: Asking for previous teacher’s name and phone number? [Re: ezpiano.org]
nyke Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/17/13
Posts: 49
Wow! I feel as though i'm probably THE ONLY teacher who gives this sort of thing. I noticed a long time ago when I would receive transfer students, I would almost hate it! The torture of trying to bridge in the gaps with what this student was learning. Now I have a better idea and I use a different method with sorting out what the child has previously learned.
However, because of my earlier experience with transfer students, at the current student's last lesson-I give a list of technique exercises we have been learning, all scales with number of octaves, level the student should be able to sight read, festivals & performances participated and repertoire. In addition basically a synopsis of the time I've spent teaching the student. NO payment information or anything like that...honestly if they had those sorts of problems with me they would be let go after a month or two of teaching them.
To teacher's who don't provide this sort of thing-
Have you ever tried to ask a 9 or 10 year old what they are doing in school???? Most kids aren't able to give detail responses and will make you feel as though they aren't doing anything all day in school....lol! They highlight the one most exciting thing from their day.
However, I send the later to just try and fill in few spaces that the new instructor may wonder, and if they are like me, I generally don't use method books so if the student is using a repertoire book, a few technique books and a theory book. The new instructor will not know what has been covered recently and the student may not know exactly what to tell the teacher if he isn't asked specific questions? EX: What are you working on now?? Student shrugs and begins to play the most recent recital piece....instead of demonstrating what he's learned in the past 3 months of private lessons.
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#2156088 - 09/23/13 11:02 AM Re: Asking for previous teacher’s name and phone number? [Re: nyke]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12043
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: nyke
Wow! I feel as though i'm probably THE ONLY teacher who gives this sort of thing. I noticed a long time ago when I would receive transfer students, I would almost hate it! The torture of trying to bridge in the gaps with what this student was learning. Now I have a better idea and I use a different method with sorting out what the child has previously learned.
However, because of my earlier experience with transfer students, at the current student's last lesson-I give a list of technique exercises we have been learning, all scales with number of octaves, level the student should be able to sight read, festivals & performances participated and repertoire. In addition basically a synopsis of the time I've spent teaching the student. NO payment information or anything like that...honestly if they had those sorts of problems with me they would be let go after a month or two of teaching them.
To teacher's who don't provide this sort of thing-
Have you ever tried to ask a 9 or 10 year old what they are doing in school???? Most kids aren't able to give detail responses and will make you feel as though they aren't doing anything all day in school....lol! They highlight the one most exciting thing from their day.
However, I send the later to just try and fill in few spaces that the new instructor may wonder, and if they are like me, I generally don't use method books so if the student is using a repertoire book, a few technique books and a theory book. The new instructor will not know what has been covered recently and the student may not know exactly what to tell the teacher if he isn't asked specific questions? EX: What are you working on now?? Student shrugs and begins to play the most recent recital piece....instead of demonstrating what he's learned in the past 3 months of private lessons.
Most of the time with transfer students they are in a method book which I ask them to bring with them. It's easy for them to point out the last pieces they worked on. Also, I will do a lot of review with transfer students anyways and assess what they know that way. Most of the time I have to start over anyways.

It's nice that you provide this, but sometimes we don't get advance notice that a student is leaving (despite policy indicating how to do this).
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2156919 - 09/24/13 04:11 PM Re: Asking for previous teacher’s name and phone number? [Re: ezpiano.org]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13796
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I don't contact former teachers, but I think all of the questions you have can be addressed in an interview and handled in your billing policies.

Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org

Any of you…when you have a transfer student, apparently learned piano before, did you ask for previous teacher’s contact? I am thinking about this recently, wouldn’t it be nice to find out:

1. If parents clear up their bill with previous teacher?
2. If parents respect previous teacher’s termination policy?
3. How is student’s behavior overall from teacher’s perspective?
4. What are the special things to consider when teaching the students?
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#2156925 - 09/24/13 04:26 PM Re: Asking for previous teacher’s name and phone number? [Re: Kreisler]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
In fact, I recently interviewed a prospective student and inquired as to whether they had informed the current teacher they were discontinuing and were current with her. They said they had done so.

I called the teacher to get some information (the child had been doing CM and I needed transfer information for that program) and indeed, the teacher had no clue they were discontinuing. I confronted the parent to let her know that I could not take on the child until she had terminated on good terms with the other teacher, which, in fact, she then did.

In this current climate, it is easy to be considered stealing other teachers' students. This kind of questioning keeps relationships within the association on the up and up.
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#2157512 - 09/25/13 03:34 PM Re: Asking for previous teacher’s name and phone number? [Re: Minniemay]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5510
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Minniemay
In this current climate, it is easy to be considered stealing other teachers' students. This kind of questioning keeps relationships within the association on the up and up.

I agree with this.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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