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#934234 - 06/15/08 08:38 PM Stinky feet and flatulence
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7368
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Now that warmer weather is with us, I've noticed that several students are "ripening." And from time to time, a student loses control, or doesn't know enough to maintain control.

Just curious how you other teachers handle this? Ignore it? Speak to the students? Other approaches?
_________________________
"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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#934235 - 06/15/08 08:51 PM Re: Stinky feet and flatulence
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3160
I go over and turn on the fan.
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#934236 - 06/15/08 08:55 PM Re: Stinky feet and flatulence
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
I'm not a teacher but, just to toss in some humor, keep a sewing needle handy. If they do that, jump like the scared the beegeebers outta ya and jab them with it. That should solve the problem in no time flat! \:D
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#934237 - 06/15/08 10:10 PM Re: Stinky feet and flatulence
Marty in Minnesota Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 02/09/07
Posts: 1178
Loc: Minnesota
Um, er ah, er ah?

John, are you just talking about a normal adolsecent male, a dude growing up, experiencing what all men have? Hell, he wakes up the same way we all do.

Just ignore the situation and go on with the lesson. We were all there once, we understand as guys. Your non-reaction will let him know that is absolutely normal. Going on with the lesson will change the focus and help him get over his embarassment.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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#934238 - 06/16/08 12:16 AM Re: Stinky feet and flatulence
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7368
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
No, actually, I'm talking about a couple of young ladies!
_________________________
"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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#934239 - 06/16/08 12:19 AM Re: Stinky feet and flatulence
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7368
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Marty, I have absolutely no problems talking these hygiene issues with young men. . . .it's how to approach the young ladies!
_________________________
"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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#934240 - 06/16/08 12:42 AM Re: Stinky feet and flatulence
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5486
Loc: Orange County, CA
Tactfully bring it up with Mom or Dad.

Tactfully.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#934241 - 06/16/08 01:21 AM Re: Stinky feet and flatulence
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Ask Elise_B!
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snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#934242 - 06/16/08 07:15 AM Re: Stinky feet and flatulence
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11915
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I've known some teachers post a sign on their door (they're at a music school saying that if you have "gastro-intestinal disturbances" to not have a lesson (in addition to sniffling, coughs, etc. Perhaps a blanket statement for all students will help single out those that are causing the issue. Or simply have a jar full of Gas-ex on the piano \:\)
_________________________
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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#934243 - 06/16/08 09:08 AM Re: Stinky feet and flatulence
Marty in Minnesota Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 02/09/07
Posts: 1178
Loc: Minnesota
And I always thought that women never, ever, could possibly do such a thing.

How about a sign saying "Use Beano or Begone".

Seriously, if it were an ongoing problem, I would discuss it with the parents. A teaching studio can be a bit like a closed elevator.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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#934244 - 06/16/08 10:10 AM Re: Stinky feet and flatulence
alglasser Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/21/07
Posts: 69
Loc: Rhode Island
John v.d. Brook,

I got a real chuckle out of your post, but realize that it is a legitimate concern. Let's face it, warm weather does "ripen" people.

My bachelor's degrees are in Music, but my Masters is in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. My high school (24 years) offered a 4 year teacher prep program which with rare exception, was taken by girls. When the weather warmed up, so did the "atmosphere" in the classroom. Being a male, it is hard to tell girls that they have a hygeine problem but I used to do it privately when necessary. The thing is, your students may be unaware of the problem and friends/family just don't want to address it and hurt feelings. If you have a good enough relationship with the students, I think it can be addressed with respect and "good taste". How about...
"Sara (or whoever), would you mind if we discussed something that might make you feel a little uncomfortable"...as a lead in. Sometimes contacting parents gets resentment going...as you would have gone behind the student's back..which is certainly not productive.

No matter how it's done, it is awkward but assuming that parents/friends are aware but don't want to say anything, you will,
in fact, be doing the student a favor...after the initial embarrasment.

It shouldn't be thet piano teacher's responsibility to address a hygeine problem but believe me, I had many occasions to address similar issues with students and the results were overall quite good. I think it's all in HOW you approach it and how good the relationship is with the students.

my 2 cents worth...Alan in RI

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#934245 - 06/16/08 10:21 AM Re: Stinky feet and flatulence
alglasser Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/21/07
Posts: 69
Loc: Rhode Island
John v.d.Brook...

One further thought on your hygeine question..

Gas happens to everyone. Though unpleasant, I don't know what can be done to prevent THAT problem. How about a can of room spray or a candle going in the room. Yes...it would be a bit embarrasing to whip out the Lysol in a middle of a lesson, but beileve me, the student is already embarrased. Maybe you could say something like, "the room is a bit stuffy...would you mind if I sprayed some air freshener?" As far as providing medication to the students...well, I can't see what would be effective in that endeavor. Also, parents might not like your giving Tums...or Gas-X or whatever...to their kids.

I'm smiling here and appreciate the "gravity" of the situation. I also see the humor in it though as I'm sure you do. Ceiling fans work wonders. ;\)

Alan in RI

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#934246 - 06/16/08 10:26 AM Re: Stinky feet and flatulence
brenda100 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/08
Posts: 158
Thanks for a good laugh!

I shared this with my 13-year-old daughter. She is now going to her room because she forgot to put on her deodorant today (again) after her shower. Yes, she has her lessons today.

You made the point clear to her better than 'old Mom' ever could.

Thanks!!

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#934247 - 06/16/08 10:30 AM Re: Stinky feet and flatulence
brenda100 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/08
Posts: 158
Marty,

Yes, the fairer sex can indeed engage in all kinds of unexpected behavior. It's an equal opportunity world in so many ways.

And here I thought you were a man of the world!

;\)

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#934248 - 06/16/08 10:30 AM Re: Stinky feet and flatulence
g#maj Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 126
Loc: No. Va
Ceiling fans work wonders. [/b] ______________________

Yeah, so long as they're blowing downwards

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#934249 - 06/16/08 10:32 AM Re: Stinky feet and flatulence
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7368
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Thanks for the replies ;\) and I'd be delighted to hear any other thoughts. When I posted the topic, I realized that it could be both humorous, but at the same time, a serious problem for those a sensitive sense of smell who do have to put up with a lot!
_________________________
"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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#934250 - 06/16/08 10:55 AM Re: Stinky feet and flatulence
JDelmore Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/10/07
Posts: 634
Well, Lyndon Johnson once said "Jerry Ford is so dumb he can't fart and chew gum at the same time." So, perhaps your students are just demonstrating coordination...LOL
_________________________
PTG Associate Member

"There is always room above; there is only the ground below."....F.E. Morton (with props to Del F.)

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#934251 - 06/16/08 11:12 AM Re: Stinky feet and flatulence
Oxfords Gal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/21/06
Posts: 1553
Loc: Jacksonville, Florida
Hey John,

I was thinking. How about making a little flyer addressing hygiene with the coming weather, closed environments and handing it to all the students that way it's not directed at just the 2 who are being offensive and everyone gets the message.

Kind of like the "handwashing" sign posted in public rest rooms.

For example

Ladies and Gentleman,

With the warm season sometimes body odors attach themselves to us and we bring it along like the little brother or sister we had to drag around as kids.

In order to minimize the discomfort from these odors and the proximity with which we have to sit and the closed environment and in order not to have to wear gas masks, here are some procedures to follow to have a pleasant odor free environment.

Make sure you bathe and use deodorant prior to coming to class

Wear clean underwear after bathing. Wearing the same pair might cancel out the shower

If you're unable to bathe prior to class, take a washcloth and soap and wash the areas that can be offensive.

If you have a footsey odor problem, wearing closed shoes with socks would be wonderful

If you have to toot, hold it or take it to the restroom where it belongs.

You can insert clipart to make it fun. I don't know just a suggestion to avoid singling out people.

Good luck though. phewwww teee heee
_________________________
Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear, Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.>>> Herman Munster

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#934252 - 06/16/08 12:01 PM Re: Stinky feet and flatulence
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
I'm surprized no one has mentioned halitosis!

How unfortunate that a student is likely to "sin" in all the ways imaginable at one lesson.

It might be better to proceed with questioning their well-being: "Peggy Sue, I've noticed that _______ and I wonder if you would like to use my bathroom to refresh in.

Maybe keeping baby wipes in the bathroom would help parts of the problem. Who knows where this could lead to in having supplies on hand.

Some people are caught unaware with these kinds of problems, and others are just plain lax in their hygiene.

Then there are those with a drippy nose, and those who (the younger ones) put their fingers in their mouth at the lesson.

I've also had kids with sweaty palms, and that in itself is an embarrasing problem to handle.

It's not all about odor, sometimes other things create messes that need immediate attention. In my years of teaching I've had one that "lost her cookies" thankfully onto the floor and not the keyboard.

Betty

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#934253 - 06/16/08 12:04 PM Re: Stinky feet and flatulence
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7368
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Oh, Betty, thankfully, that's one problem I've never had to deal with.
_________________________
"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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#934254 - 06/16/08 05:27 PM Re: Stinky feet and flatulence
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5932
Loc: Down Under
Oxfords Gal - nice wording! You lightened it up, but addressed the problem without making it too personal. And the way you said "we" sometimes have these problems makes it friendly and a common concern we all share as humans - which it is. I'd use your flyer if I needed to, for sure (but it's winter here \:\) ).
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#934255 - 06/16/08 05:38 PM Re: Stinky feet and flatulence
SantaFe_Player Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/31/08
Posts: 607
Might also want to include in the "general note for the season" something about please not wearing perfume or cologne. In warm weather, those who favor heavy doses can make their victims nauseous....We always had strict taboos against this in rehearsals and during performances, but it's even more problematic in a small studio than in a big concert hall. One person's choice of "heavenly scent" can be another's nightmare. Then, too, there are allergies.
_________________________
SantaFe_Player

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#934256 - 06/16/08 05:48 PM Re: Stinky feet and flatulence
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11675
Loc: Canada
Has anyone noticed the music teachers in general all smell like soap, toothpaste, and mouthwash? ;\) That should give students a clue.

What does one do if an urgent case of flatulence hits? Say "excuse me", back into the hallway, hope it is inaudible, and come back with a sunny smile, settling back down to the instrument? It the results are audible, I suppose it is the teacher who would be hiding a grin. \:D

Dietary recommendations to our growing "general letter to all students" - no beans or garlic the night before.

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#934257 - 06/16/08 06:23 PM Re: Stinky feet and flatulence
SantaFe_Player Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/31/08
Posts: 607
Keystring, that's actually one I've never had to address. Usually the "hygiene" issue I've had to deal with was trimming the fingernails....which is really more about grooming. I wonder what my students would have said *I* smelled like. Probably coffee!
_________________________
SantaFe_Player

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#934258 - 06/16/08 06:31 PM Re: Stinky feet and flatulence
Marty in Minnesota Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 02/09/07
Posts: 1178
Loc: Minnesota
How about a sign that says "Please shower before entering THIS pool."

Oh, I couldn't resist.

\:D
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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#934259 - 06/16/08 07:02 PM Re: Stinky feet and flatulence
RickG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/08/02
Posts: 947
Loc: Texas
Betty P.,
When I was in 9th grade, I took organ lessons from a strange man who had halitosis. What made it worse, there was an air conditioner that was right next to the organ (Baldwin Model 5A) that blew his bad breath on me. LOL He was a good teacher, though. I learned a lot!!
_________________________
RickG

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#934260 - 06/16/08 07:57 PM Re: Stinky feet and flatulence
Akira Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/27/07
Posts: 1645
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Maybe you could buy a poster for your studio. \:\)

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#934261 - 06/16/08 08:26 PM Re: Stinky feet and flatulence
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7368
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
\:D
_________________________
"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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#934262 - 06/16/08 10:12 PM Re: Stinky feet and flatulence
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Maybe you could say something like, "the room is a bit stuffy...would you mind if I sprayed some air freshener?" .....And then empty the can aiming directly at the "problem area?" \:D \:D

What does one do if an urgent case of flatulence hits? Say "excuse me", back into the hallway, hope it is inaudible, and come back with a sunny smile, settling back down to the instrument? It the results are audible, I suppose it is the teacher who would be hiding a grin. [Big Grin][/b]

Off topic but, that reminded me of the time I was about 7. My dad was talking to the neighbor across the street, an older gent. I was with him. standing behind "him." I happened to be in the direct line of fire when this older gent let one awful smelly one rip. I couldn't run around the other side of my dad fast enough to get away from it!!!

I looked up at my dad who continued talking and acting as if nothing had happened and wondered how in the hell could he still be keeping a straight face when I wasn't?

I later asked him about it because it was rather LOUD too. He said, oh, the old guy can't hear. I'm sure he thought there was no sound at all.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#934263 - 06/17/08 09:03 AM Re: Stinky feet and flatulence
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11915
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
 Quote:
Originally posted by Akira:
Maybe you could buy a poster for your studio. \:\) [/b]
LOL! I love it! This hasn't been a big problem for me, other than the occasional fart. My studio happens to be quite a large open space, so it doesn't take long for it to dissipate, either. I generally ignore it. But if I had a student with a chronic issue, I would tell them directly and politely. Most of my students feel comfortable enough that it wouldn't embarrass them too much.
_________________________
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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