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#2454628 - 08/28/15 04:55 PM Changing my mind?
chasingrainbows Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/06
Posts: 1341
Loc: NJ
I teach in a music store and also have a small private studio. One of my families has asked me repeatedly to teach them privately (which is allowed under my contract). At first, I agreed to start them in the summer, then I pushed it to the Fall. As Fall approaches, my student load has tripled and as is typical for a music store, I have many new students starting in the Fall. I really want to keep these siblings at the store, yet feel compelled to keep to my promise, but it is creating stress I don't want at this time. I feel it would be unprofessional for me to change my mind at this point. I would appreciate suggestions.

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#2454715 - 08/29/15 01:47 AM Re: Changing my mind? [Re: chasingrainbows]
wouter79 Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 4023
I see a few things

1. changing situations may require some changes in agreements. I suppose you can discuss these with your existing students and come to a new agreement with them. You can not just ignore old agreements.

2. You made an agreement (promise) already but you never made it come true. It is not clear why you kept postponing your promise. I think that's not ok

3. You took on more students, causing a problem with your promise. This is something you chose yourself. I think you should not have taken on these additional students if that prevents you from keeping your promise.

There's only 1 family asking for private teaching, so is this really a time issue (you're talking about student load so I assume this is about time) or is there something else you are not saying?
_________________________

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#2454793 - 08/29/15 10:54 AM Re: Changing my mind? [Re: chasingrainbows]
KurtZ Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/13/10
Posts: 1293
Loc: The Heart of Screenland
You haven't stated what your resistance is. Are you worried about your relationship with the store?

Kurt
_________________________
One who does what the Friend wants done
will never need a friend.

Rumi

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#2454898 - 08/29/15 06:25 PM Re: Changing my mind? [Re: chasingrainbows]
chasingrainbows Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/06
Posts: 1341
Loc: NJ
KurtZ, no, I don't think it will present a problem with the store. It will present a problem for me, because those slots will quickly get filled with more "new" students while I've added two more to my private studio.

wouter, the store assigns students. If I refuse to take more students, I will basically end up looking for another job. I don't have a choice in my store load, but I do have a choice in my private studio load.

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#2454980 - 08/30/15 02:05 AM Re: Changing my mind? [Re: chasingrainbows]
wouter79 Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 4023
Was your promise made for the store job or for your private studio job?

Either way, there is a limit to the amount of students you can take, and the store can not keep assigning you more students. Or are you supposed to do subcontracting to other teachers?
_________________________

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#2454987 - 08/30/15 02:31 AM Re: Changing my mind? [Re: chasingrainbows]
Saranoya Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/13
Posts: 742
Loc: Brussels, Belgium
wouter, I think there is a fixed number of slots in the OP's schedule at the store. Every time a slot is vacated, that empty slot is filled up quickly with a new student. There is a ceiling to the number of available slots, but as long as the ceiling isn't reached, OP cannot refuse anyone without losing her job. So it's not that the store keeps assigning more and more students: there *is* a limit. It's just that if the OP decides to teach these two siblings at her private studio, effectively that means she will have a heavier teaching load than before: she'll have two extra students at her home studio, and the load at the store won't shrink, because new students will be assigned to the empty slots there.

So OP, you've changed your mind because you've realized that if you take these two on privately, your teaching load will become too heavy for you. But to my mind, you knew that *before* you promised them they could come and take private lessons with you. There's a reason you feel uneasy about this: it's because it *would* be very unprofessional for you to decide now that in the end, you don't want to take these students on at home.

if that's the decision you need to make, for your own sanity and well-being, then by all means, do so. But don't expect us to tell you it's OK, because really, I don't think it is.
_________________________
Beginner with some priors since 9/2012

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#2455073 - 08/30/15 10:19 AM Re: Changing my mind? [Re: chasingrainbows]
chasingrainbows Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/06
Posts: 1341
Loc: NJ
Saranoya, you've explained the situation exactly as it is at the store. It is my own fault for making a commitment that I didn't want to make in the first place, but I felt pressured, especially b/c I really enjoy the two siblings and didn't want to risk losing them.

Having said that, the fact is, I am starting to feel burn out from the constant turnover. It is frustrating and exhausting to put 100% effort into students that start, or try to get on board with students who have had 3 or 4 teachers before me, only to have them move away, quit for lack of interest, or sometimes, leave because I have suggested a break (due to their lack of commitment). I've been teaching at a music store for almost 10 years, and my initial dream to have a steady studio of somewhat committed students is slowly becoming just that - a dream. And I am feeling the strain.

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#2455081 - 08/30/15 10:49 AM Re: Changing my mind? [Re: chasingrainbows]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 12574
Loc: Canada
Chasingrainbows, my impression is that the real problem is not so much the commitment to the siblings, but the situation with the music store as you described it. Is it feasible to create a long term plan of gradually phasing out the music store and phasing in more and more students in the private studio? It sounds like what is fatiguing is less the number of students, but the situation with these students, and what that means for your teaching life. If the siblings are enjoyable and maybe they're the more committed kind, then it's a shame that the exhaustion from the store situation is forcing you to not be able to honour your promise. But maybe that is the less important matter in the long run.

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#2455102 - 08/30/15 12:30 PM Re: Changing my mind? [Re: chasingrainbows]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1575
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
I think rainbows has portrayed the frequent downside to teaching piano through a music store. It's a consumer based, turnstile approach to music education.

Two questions come to mind. One, does rainbow's home studio pay substantially better than the store on an hourly basis? Two, is now perhaps the time to leave the music store in favor of the home studio? I think the students in your home studio will be more committed, and you will be newly energized. In time maybe you will attract sufficient numbers of students.

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#2455551 - Yesterday at 09:22 PM Re: Changing my mind? [Re: keystring]
chasingrainbows Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/06
Posts: 1341
Loc: NJ
Originally Posted By keystring
Chasingrainbows, my impression is that the real problem is not so much the commitment to the siblings, but the situation with the music store as you described it. Is it feasible to create a long term plan of gradually phasing out the music store and phasing in more and more students in the private studio? It sounds like what is fatiguing is less the number of students, but the situation with these students, and what that means for your teaching life. If the siblings are enjoyable and maybe they're the more committed kind, then it's a shame that the exhaustion from the store situation is forcing you to not be able to honour your promise. But maybe that is the less important matter in the long run.


Hi keystring. The situation at the store plays a huge part in the burnout I am feeling. I don't want to sound negative, but I have had some of the most enthusiastic, wonderful students with whom I formed a genuine bond, much like these siblings. I've held spots over an entire summer for some, only to be notified they have moved, or are not returning for lessons, etc. These students seem to really enjoy lessons with me, yet the majority do not stay. I'm starting to think more about my own mental well being after so many of these experiences.

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#2455553 - Yesterday at 09:25 PM Re: Changing my mind? [Re: Peter K. Mose]
chasingrainbows Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/06
Posts: 1341
Loc: NJ
Originally Posted By Peter K. Mose
I think rainbows has portrayed the frequent downside to teaching piano through a music store. It's a consumer based, turnstile approach to music education.

Two questions come to mind. One, does rainbow's home studio pay substantially better than the store on an hourly basis? Two, is now perhaps the time to leave the music store in favor of the home studio? I think the students in your home studio will be more committed, and you will be newly energized. In time maybe you will attract sufficient numbers of students.



Peter, that completely sums up the store environment - turnstile approach. My private students are more committed, however, I go to the home, and actually charge exactly what they would pay if they came to the store. I should raise my prices, but of course, the store gets 1/3 of my lesson fee, so I am still making slightly more money privately.

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#2455624 - Today at 03:32 AM Re: Changing my mind? [Re: chasingrainbows]
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5969
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By chasingrainbows
My private students are more committed, however, I go to the home, and actually charge exactly what they would pay if they came to the store. I should raise my prices, but of course, the store gets 1/3 of my lesson fee, so I am still making slightly more money privately.

Oh, you SHOULD raise your rates, NOW!!!

You might want to go to a different "music school" to teach. Not all music schools are created equal, and they are definitely not all run the same way. They are not all turnstiles.

Choose to work at a place that gives you the least headache.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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