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#2439039 - Yesterday at 10:57 AM What's the best way to be fired?
christineka Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/11
Posts: 341
Loc: Utah
It's time to move on to new teachers. I hate firing music teachers. They get mad, upset, sad, etc and I hate arguing with people. How's the best way to give a month's notice? For one kid, we're changing teachers to have someone in town. (And he, being a different learner, needs someone who will do something else with him than what she's doing anyway.) The other needs a fresh perspective to get him motivated again. He's the one she'll hate to lose, since he's so gifted and advanced, but he's stagnated on account of boredom with piano lessons and practice. I believe a new teacher (especially a young male, who doesn't believe video games are of the devil) will get him inspired to do his best again.
_________________________
Christine *mom* to
4 daughters, 2 sons
*1912 Lindman Player-Piano*

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#2439070 - Yesterday at 12:37 PM Re: What's the best way to be fired? [Re: christineka]
casinitaly Offline

Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 5672
Loc: Italy
I think the best way is to speak up at the first chance, say you plan to make some changes and thank her, and give her a written note stating that with notice as of xyz date, yoour last lessons with her will be ABC date, one month hence.

Say honestly that while some things have gone well (surely something has?) , you feel that both boys will benefit from a fresh perspective, for different reasons.

Don't feel you have to get into a big story or defend your decision.

I am a teacher, albeit not piano, and students move in all the time. If she is honest with herself she will know that she isn't the best match for these lads.



Good luck.
_________________________
XVIII-XXXVII
Follow your teacher's instructions and practice wisely/much, and you'll soon wonder how you ever found it hard. BobPickle
Performance anxiety: make it part of your daily routine and deal with it...Cope! zrtf90

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#2439071 - Yesterday at 12:40 PM Re: What's the best way to be fired? [Re: christineka]
Arghhh Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 1278
Does your teacher know that your son is not motivated at the moment? Is she assigning music he's not that interested in because of a pedagogical purpose, and is planning on moving on to other music soon?

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#2439076 - Yesterday at 12:52 PM Re: What's the best way to be fired? [Re: christineka]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12799
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Presumably you have had discussions with this teacher regarding what motivates your son, that he's stagnating/bored, etc. and have given her ample opportunity to find a new angle of approach?

If so, then letting her know that you appreciate her efforts but it's still not changing things for him will be an easy subject to broach with her - and she may even agree.

If not, then perhaps giving her the opportunity to change would be the fair thing. We can't read minds, and you know your son better than we do. Stating what's going on at home (she may not even know there's a problem) and what may help to resolve the problem is sometimes the only way these things will get resolved. Certainly trying someone new may help, but after the newness wears of with that person's approach, then what? Move on again?

If you have talked with her about this, like I said, then telling her shouldn't be a problem. Give her a nice card with a note from your son on his appreciation as you tell her. The timing of telling her is important too. I actually prefer a phone call when I'm not teaching so then I can respond however I need to if I'm hurt, rather than being thrown a drive-by grenade in between lessons. If done over the phone, then a card at the next lesson will help soften things and keep the remaining lessons productive and positive for your child.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher FT



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#2439084 - Yesterday at 01:04 PM Re: What's the best way to be fired? [Re: christineka]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 12473
Loc: Canada
Just a quick but maybe important point. It's discontinuation of a service - not firing. An employer can fire an employee. An employer-employee relationship is marked by a long term contract, payment of into old age pension, sick leave, and paid holidays. Even here, "firing" is reserved for dismissal for shoddy work and similar.

Self-employed entrepreneurs such as teachers are used to beginning and ending service relationships, and most have a policy in place. It is not a like being fired from a job, although there may be disappointment if the teacher has started going places with a student who is about to leave, and simply because the student-teacher relationship is a relationship as well as an investment of effort (assuming good, responsible teachers).

PW teachers, please feel free to correct what I have written if it's wrong.

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#2439126 - Yesterday at 03:40 PM Re: What's the best way to be fired? [Re: keystring]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12799
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By keystring
Just a quick but maybe important point. It's discontinuation of a service - not firing. An employer can fire an employee. An employer-employee relationship is marked by a long term contract, payment of into old age pension, sick leave, and paid holidays. Even here, "firing" is reserved for dismissal for shoddy work and similar.

Self-employed entrepreneurs such as teachers are used to beginning and ending service relationships, and most have a policy in place. It is not a like being fired from a job, although there may be disappointment if the teacher has started going places with a student who is about to leave, and simply because the student-teacher relationship is a relationship as well as an investment of effort (assuming good, responsible teachers).

PW teachers, please feel free to correct what I have written if it's wrong.


Not at all, this is spot-on! And perhaps if the OP better understood this concept then telling the teacher they will be discontinuing lessons will go a bit more smoothly.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher FT



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#2439129 - Yesterday at 03:49 PM Re: What's the best way to be fired? [Re: keystring]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5903
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By keystring
Just a quick but maybe important point. It's discontinuation of a service - not firing. An employer can fire an employee. An employer-employee relationship is marked by a long term contract, payment of into old age pension, sick leave, and paid holidays. Even here, "firing" is reserved for dismissal for shoddy work and similar.

Self-employed entrepreneurs such as teachers are used to beginning and ending service relationships, and most have a policy in place. It is not a like being fired from a job, although there may be disappointment if the teacher has started going places with a student who is about to leave, and simply because the student-teacher relationship is a relationship as well as an investment of effort (assuming good, responsible teachers).

PW teachers, please feel free to correct what I have written if it's wrong.

I agree. The term "firing" should be reserved for some kind of substandard performance.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#2439142 - Yesterday at 04:31 PM Re: What's the best way to be fired? [Re: christineka]
christineka Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/11
Posts: 341
Loc: Utah
It was just an expression. Sorry. Piano teacher is very invested in my son. Turns out she's been charging us half price all these years. (No wonder all the other students are obviously rich.) I want to stay just for the cost. I have called many piano teachers and the few that are qualified to teach my son all charge at least double and I don't know where the funds will come from. My husband is the one, who believes a fresh perspective may turn our son around. Piano teacher is a great teacher, but son tends to tune her out these days. He doesn't want to be a professional pianist, which is what she wants him to become. He wants to design video games and compose. (He even composes for the video games he designs.)

It is so hard to tell someone smarter than you that you don't think what she's doing is working well with your child.
_________________________
Christine *mom* to
4 daughters, 2 sons
*1912 Lindman Player-Piano*

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#2439155 - Yesterday at 05:07 PM Re: What's the best way to be fired? [Re: christineka]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12799
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By christineka
It was just an expression. Sorry. Piano teacher is very invested in my son. Turns out she's been charging us half price all these years. (No wonder all the other students are obviously rich.) I want to stay just for the cost. I have called many piano teachers and the few that are qualified to teach my son all charge at least double and I don't know where the funds will come from. My husband is the one, who believes a fresh perspective may turn our son around. Piano teacher is a great teacher, but son tends to tune her out these days. He doesn't want to be a professional pianist, which is what she wants him to become. He wants to design video games and compose. (He even composes for the video games he designs.)

It is so hard to tell someone smarter than you that you don't think what she's doing is working well with your child.


I wouldn't be intimidated. If you phrase things in such a way, you will be helping her do her job, not telling her what to do.

Let her know that you feel he's not as enthusiastic about lessons as before, and perhaps feels pressure to become a professional pianist. This is a common misconception that if the teacher has high standards, she must want the child to be a concert pianist. Unless she has specifically talked to you about that sort of thing with regards to your son - and seriously, not just a passing comment like, "He's going to be a concert pianist in no time with all this practicing he's doing!" (words I personally have never uttered), it's more likely he or you feel he's being pressed to practice as if he were.

So it sounds like a good discussion with the teacher is in order, especially now that you are going to stay with her. Take the time and just be respectful, it will be fine smile .
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher FT



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#2439161 - Yesterday at 05:34 PM Re: What's the best way to be fired? [Re: Morodiene]
christineka Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/11
Posts: 341
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By Morodiene

Let her know that you feel he's not as enthusiastic about lessons as before, and perhaps feels pressure to become a professional pianist. This is a common misconception that if the teacher has high standards, she must want the child to be a concert pianist. Unless she has specifically talked to you about that sort of thing with regards to your son - and seriously, not just a passing comment like, "He's going to be a concert pianist in no time with all this practicing he's doing!" (words I personally have never uttered), it's more likely he or you feel he's being pressed to practice as if he were.

So it sounds like a good discussion with the teacher is in order, especially now that you are going to stay with her. Take the time and just be respectful, it will be fine smile .


She really does expect him to become a professional pianist. He is gifted. He is so gifted that out of the dozens of piano teachers I contacted, only a few told me they could teach him. The vast majority said he was too advanced for their studio and that I should contact the university. He does have the potential to play professionally, if he chose to do so and put in the work. That's not his goal, though. The teacher I did find to teach him is with the university. She says any of the university teachers will ruin his hand technique. Does it matter, though, if he doesn't want to be a professional? The teacher son likes knows how to win competitions and being a very competitive kid, he's excited by that.
_________________________
Christine *mom* to
4 daughters, 2 sons
*1912 Lindman Player-Piano*

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#2439201 - Yesterday at 10:07 PM Re: What's the best way to be fired? [Re: christineka]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1546
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Forgive me for being such a scaredy-cat in these matters, but why not just take an expected summer break from lessons, and then don't return in the fall?

Somewhere around Labor Day, just write a short note of thanks to this teacher, and say you and your husband have decided a change of teachers is in order lest your son abandon piano altogether.

Do not, however, give this teacher a chance to fix anything. If your son is bored, he's bored. He needs someone else - perhaps a teacher who also composes or plays jazz. And yes, perhaps a man.

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#2439210 - Yesterday at 10:32 PM Re: What's the best way to be fired? [Re: Peter K. Mose]
christineka Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/11
Posts: 341
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By Peter K. Mose
Forgive me for being such a scaredy-cat in these matters, but why not just take an expected summer break from lessons, and then don't return in the fall?


Take a break? Are you kidding? She hates to cancel lessons when he's sick and we often have to schedule a make-up for later that week, when he's recovered. To make matters worse for summer- she convinced son he wanted to take part in a summer competition. She's now upset that we dared to go on vacation, participate in 4h, and that I'm letting him go to scout camp. Maybe this (combined with the high cost of entering the competition) is why I refused for the past 3 years! I really should have refused again, but this year he begged. I'm due with 7th baby on the date of this competition....
_________________________
Christine *mom* to
4 daughters, 2 sons
*1912 Lindman Player-Piano*

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#2439232 - Today at 12:36 AM Re: What's the best way to be fired? [Re: christineka]
musicpassion Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 1392
Loc: California, USA
Originally Posted By christineka
She really does expect him to become a professional pianist. He is gifted. He is so gifted that out of the dozens of piano teachers I contacted, only a few told me they could teach him.
There are some odd things in what you are saying here. Were you contacting only beginning teachers? Teachers without training? I'm wondering if they don't want to teach a student whose mom describes him in this way. What music has you son mastered so far? Are you making your son sound like a difficult student?
Quote:
The teacher I did find to teach him is with the university. She says any of the university teachers will ruin his hand technique.
So this teacher is claiming the teachers at the university are terrible? Do you believe this? Again, this sounds really odd that university teachers would "ruin" his technique.

I think if you get a wider perspective on this it will help you guide your son's musical education.
_________________________
Pianist and Piano Teacher

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#2439333 - Today at 09:14 AM Re: What's the best way to be fired? [Re: musicpassion]
christineka Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/11
Posts: 341
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By musicpassion
Originally Posted By christineka
She really does expect him to become a professional pianist. He is gifted. He is so gifted that out of the dozens of piano teachers I contacted, only a few told me they could teach him.
There are some odd things in what you are saying here. Were you contacting only beginning teachers? Teachers without training? I'm wondering if they don't want to teach a student whose mom describes him in this way. What music has you son mastered so far? Are you making your son sound like a difficult student?


All I did was tell the teachers what pieces he was playing. First time I called around was right after federation. Second round of calls was right after recital/4h talent contest. He's playing Chopin's famous waltz, Bach 3 part inventions, and some Mozart concerto. For federation he played Joplin's Elite Syncopations and Schumman's Polonaise. I called the umta listed teachers, and those that were relayed to me as teaching only advanced students. All of these teachers told me I should try to find him a university teacher. Out of all my calls, it was only the university teachers that said they could teach him. They were also very excited to meet him.

Quote:
The teacher I did find to teach him is with the university. She says any of the university teachers will ruin his hand technique.
So this teacher is claiming the teachers at the university are terrible? Do you believe this? Again, this sounds really odd that university teachers would "ruin" his technique.
[/quote]

Current teacher is Russian, trained at the Moscow Conservatory. All great pianists are either Russian or Russian-trained. (She told me about the latest finalists for the Tchaikovsky competition. 4 are Russian and the other two have Russian teachers.) Apparently, the only great technique can come from Russians, and so the university piano teachers (only one of which is from the area of the Russian Federation) will all teach badly. (According to teacher)


Edited by christineka (Today at 09:18 AM)
_________________________
Christine *mom* to
4 daughters, 2 sons
*1912 Lindman Player-Piano*

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#2439407 - Today at 01:38 PM Re: What's the best way to be fired? [Re: christineka]
musicpassion Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 1392
Loc: California, USA
Originally Posted By christineka
All I did was tell the teachers what pieces he was playing. First time I called around was right after federation. Second round of calls was right after recital/4h talent contest. He's playing Chopin's famous waltz, Bach 3 part inventions, and some Mozart concerto. For federation he played Joplin's Elite Syncopations and Schumman's Polonaise.
These are pieces we would normally expect a serious student to be able to play before university. If your son is 9 or something, then yes he is ahead of the curve. But for any teacher who regularly teaches advanced students the next steps in his training are very familiar.
Quote:
Out of all my calls, it was only the university teachers that said they could teach him. They were also very excited to meet him.
Good. It is always to exciting to meet a student who enjoys his music.
Quote:
Current teacher is Russian, trained at the Moscow Conservatory. All great pianists are either Russian or Russian-trained. (She told me about the latest finalists for the Tchaikovsky competition. 4 are Russian and the other two have Russian teachers.) Apparently, the only great technique can come from Russians,
Perhaps this felt like a load of malarkey when you were typing it? It is. Watch some videos of the great pianists: Claudio Arrau, Horowitz, Van Cliburn, etc. Watch their hands and wrists. Not every great pianist looks the same.
By the way, Chopin, Liszt, and Debussy were *not* trained in Russia. They must been hopelessly poor pianists.
_________________________
Pianist and Piano Teacher

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#2439432 - Today at 03:31 PM Re: What's the best way to be fired? [Re: christineka]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5903
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By christineka
Current teacher is Russian, trained at the Moscow Conservatory. All great pianists are either Russian or Russian-trained. (She told me about the latest finalists for the Tchaikovsky competition. 4 are Russian and the other two have Russian teachers.) Apparently, the only great technique can come from Russians, and so the university piano teachers (only one of which is from the area of the Russian Federation) will all teach badly. (According to teacher)

So, how do you feel about this? Does this make any sense?
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#2439497 - 35 minutes 49 seconds ago Re: What's the best way to be fired? [Re: AZNpiano]
christineka Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/11
Posts: 341
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By AZNpiano
Originally Posted By christineka
Current teacher is Russian, trained at the Moscow Conservatory. All great pianists are either Russian or Russian-trained. (She told me about the latest finalists for the Tchaikovsky competition. 4 are Russian and the other two have Russian teachers.) Apparently, the only great technique can come from Russians, and so the university piano teachers (only one of which is from the area of the Russian Federation) will all teach badly. (According to teacher)

So, how do you feel about this? Does this make any sense?


What do I know? I'm not a pianist. I learned to play with horrible technique. If it is true, however, I question why it's so important if my son does not want to be a professional.
_________________________
Christine *mom* to
4 daughters, 2 sons
*1912 Lindman Player-Piano*

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