Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) Pianoteq
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
PianoSupplies.com (150)
Piano Accessories Music Related Gifts Piano Tuning Equipment Piano Moving Equipment
We now offer Gift Certificates in our online store!
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Piano
Quick Links to Useful Stuff
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano Accessories
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 >
Topic Options
#950009 - 08/07/08 02:44 AM Make-up Lessons
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5512
Loc: Orange County, CA
As I am re-writing my studio policy for September, I need to re-think the rules on make-up lessons. What are your guidelines when it comes to making up missed lessons for...

1) student illness

2) death in the family

3) school event

4) "too much homework"

5) transportation issues (bad traffic, car breaking down on the way to lesson, parents sick and can't drive)

6) sporting event

7) family out-of-town

8) hand/arm injury

I am seriously contemplating a "lesson swap only" policy, by which a student--if needing to switch lesson time--has the sole responsibility to find another student with whom to swap lesson times. And I'd have to place a cap on the number of times swaps can occur within a year. That would alleviate a lot of my scheduling nightmares.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

Top
(ad) Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
#950010 - 08/07/08 07:20 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
chocolatefairy99 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/10/08
Posts: 48
Loc: Ireland
This is what my policy says:
Make-up lessons will be offered to students who give at least one weeks notice for planned events (such as school plays and trips), and 24 hours notice for illness and unexpected emergencies. Make-up lessons will take place on Saturday mornings unless I can find a convenient time during the week. There will be a maximum of 2 make-up lessons allowed per student per year. Students who don’t show up for scheduled lessons with no notice will NOT be offered make-ups for these times, regardless of the reason. Consideration will be taken for students who become suddenly ill, but even in this case should inform me the morning of their lesson if they do not go to school.

1. Student illness- covered in policy
2. Death in the Family- I'll give a make-up lesson
3. school event- covered in policy
4. Too much homework- doesn't cut it with me - no make-up lesson
5. Transportation- traffic is fine where I live and if there are going to be roadworks there is advance notice on the local parents. If the parents are ill a relative can get the student to the lesson
6. Sporting event- covered in policy- notice required
7. Family out of town- again notice required
8. Hand/arm injury - this has happened to some of my students. They can still work with the "good" arm, and it's a great time to catch up on theory

Top
#950011 - 08/07/08 11:09 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
What is your local university's policy on missed classes? Do they reconvene class for any of the reasons you've listed?

I've found the best approach (which is echoed by many others) is: no makeup lessons.

What about rescheduling? That means in advance. What is a reasonable time before the event to reschedule, and for how long should the window be open to reschedule?

My policy is 48 hrs advanced notice, and one week window in which to reschedule.
_________________________
"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

Top
#950012 - 08/07/08 11:12 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
A word about terminology - I carefully explain to my parents that rescheduling prior to a lesson is not the same as a makeup for a missed lesson.

My statement has a COMMENTS[/b] block at the bottom and once a year, I add a comment about rescheduling vs. makeup. Ditto late payments. And other issues. That way, long term students, who never bother to reread the policies, receive a fresh reminder annually. In small doses.
_________________________
"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

Top
#950013 - 08/07/08 11:58 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12052
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I allow one make-up lesson per semester, if 1 day's notice is given (or in the case if sudden illness or family emergencies, I will allow a make-up for that). I have designated make-up days each semester, and a lesson must be made up within the semester it was missed or it will be forfeited. Lessons missed by the teacher are not included in this limitation and will always be rescheduled.

This year I will be adding a student swap policy, but the swap must be done at least 48 hours of the lesson, and the student swapping must notify me within 24 hours of time change so I can prepare. Right now I have it as often as needed they can swap, but I do mention if there are excessive changes then they will have to find a new permanent time. The wording is a little vague as to what "excessive" means, but since this is the first year, I want to feel it out to know what I would consider excessive.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

Top
#950014 - 08/07/08 12:21 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
Stanny Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 1461
I changed my policy this year. Last year I allowed 2 make ups per semester, with a 24 hour notice.

This year it says: As scheduling permits, I will try to offer make ups for lessons that are missed with a 24 hour notice. I offer make up lessons as a courtesy, not an obligation. Students are encouraged to trade lesson times in case of a conflict.

Quite honestly, my schedule is FULL and I won't teach outside of my regularly scheduled hours.
_________________________
~Stanny~

Independent Music Teacher
Certified Piano Teacher, American College of Musicians
Member: MTNA, NGPT, ASMTA, NAMTA

Top
#950015 - 08/07/08 12:32 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
allthumbs Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 115
Loc: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Below is from my studio policy. I have found it works great once everyone understands the reasons behind it. It also improves attendance as well.

Also have a look at this article "Make-up Music Lessons from an Economist’s Point of View"
By Vicky Barham, Ph. D.


http://kmclayton.wordpress.com/2008/07/20/music-lessons-from-an-economists-point-of-view/


allthumbs

From my studio policy -

The tuition that you have paid reserves a lesson time slot for you or your child to use or not use. A missed lesson will not be re-scheduled. In cases of a sudden serious illness or injury or other serious family situation that would require missing lessons for more than two weeks, I would suspend lessons for the duration and return your tuition, unless you wish to keep your reserved lesson time slot secure. A prior family commitment or other such conflict does not constitute a valid reason and no compensation will be forthcoming.

Students who simply fail to attend their lesson as scheduled or cancel their lesson will forfeit the missed lesson time. It will not be re-scheduled and no refund will be given.

Should you foresee a lesson time conflict, please try to switch with another student if possible, rather than forfeiting the time. I will provide the names of other families willing to make such arrangements for you to contact provided that at least 24 hours prior notice is given. You may also switch lesson times with another family on a permanent basis, if everyone is in agreement. Just let me know and I will adjust the teaching schedule to reflect the change.

Should I require the need to cancel a lesson or lessons, you will be given at least 24 hours notice or more if possible and the lesson(s) will be re-scheduled at your convenience or other such arrangement so that your time is not lost.

Students who miss lessons on a consistent basis and who continually show a lack of preparation or interest, will be dropped from the studio.
_________________________
Sauter Delta (185cm) polished ebony 'Lucy'
Serial # 118 562

Single Malts Forever!

Top
#950016 - 08/07/08 01:03 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
Minaku Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/07
Posts: 1226
Loc: Atlanta
My policy is this: all cancellations must be given 24 hours in advance, and every student gets 1 unexcused and 1 excused absence per semester. Excused absences and unexcused absences such as illness may be made up during make-up week. Unexcused absences like no-shows aren't made up. If a student is late I will teach to the end of their time, but won't go over.
_________________________
Pianist and teacher with a 5'8" Baldwin R and Clavi CLP-230 at home.

New website up: http://www.studioplumpiano.com. Also on Twitter @QQitsMina

Top
#950017 - 08/07/08 02:10 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
musiclady Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/19/05
Posts: 431
Loc: Toronto, Canada
I tend to be more understanding of students and parents wanting to reschedule a lesson, because sometimes I can't make a lesson due to a rehearsal, performance, or recording session (which I do all three fairly regularly). But I don't fill up every available minute for teaching lessons, I leave a few slots open for things like that, though this year it might be rather tough to reschedule lessons. My own teachers have been flexible with me.
_________________________
Clarinet and Piano Teacher based out of Toronto, Canada.Web: http://donmillsmusicstudio.weebly.com

Top
#950018 - 08/07/08 04:27 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Remember in your studio policy to tell them how you work through Notice to Terminate. I use 30 days as a time period during which to finish up the current lesson, observe what has been accomplished, perhaps conference on why the termination, then say a mutual good bye.

Someone leaving abruptly can upset your life - try to give them enough time to review their choices, negotiate the situation, and complete the lesson cycle.

If they choose not to take the last 30 days of lessons during the termination process, their payment is still due. (In my book, that is.)

One of my motto's is: "I do not teach in chaos and confusion".

If someone is having a true emergency in their family, I do whatever they need at this time to be the circumstances around piano lessons. Death and emergencies, accidents, serious illness have those priorities. I have found it I give everyone what they need - including - interruped lesson status - it builds our relationship. I will also send a card to the family if it is appropriate.

I was a mother of 5 kids having a schedule to balance and I have a respect and empathy for mothers and fathers who support their activities. Until I know someone to be a "problem" in transportation or payment, I go with the flow when unexpected things happen.

I think I have a tough policy over all - but I give myself 52 weeks (minus TA, studio closures, holidays, snow days) to get 40 lessons per year in. It makes a big difference in being able to earn the income I need, and the extra time to use for rescheduling.

I would rather have a rescheduling date to offer than to chew someone out, cast blame, or find fault. It seems mutually courteous that if you want them to meet your needs, that occasionally you can try to meet their needs in scheduling.

Sometimes kids even come on their birthday! Do you have that happen? If so, do you make an "event" of it?

Betty

Top
#950019 - 08/07/08 05:31 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1265
Loc: California
The problem with offering makeup lessons (or 'rescheduling' lessons) is that you're out twice: once for the lesson that was missed and you can't find a replacement for that lesson, and secondly, the fact that you've now set aside a different day/time that you normally wouldn't be teaching.

Because I've scheduled certain hours that are designated teaching hours, those are the only hours that I teach. I don't do makeup lessons. My policy also states this.

There are very few times when I'll make an exception and OFFER a makeup to a student (due to an extreme circumstance), but those are at my discretion.

If you have a strict policy to start with parents will know what to expect (and what not to expect... as in makeup lessons). You can then make exceptions as YOU feel necessary. But going into a long paragraph that lists all the legitimate reasons to give a makeup and all the reasons makeups won't be given (blah, blah, blah) is giving parents way too much.
_________________________
Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

Top
#950020 - 08/07/08 05:55 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5512
Loc: Orange County, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by dumdumdiddle:
There are very few times when I'll make an exception and OFFER a makeup to a student (due to an extreme circumstance), but those are at my discretion. [/b]
The danger with this approach is that parents do talk to each other. When you make one exception, other people will expect you to make the same exception for them.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

Top
#950021 - 08/07/08 07:30 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1265
Loc: California
Yes, but makeup lessons for me are extremely rare; not enough for parents to get together and 'chat' about them. The point is that when I offer a makeup the parent is eternally grateful (since they know by no-makeup policy) instead of them expecting a makeup.
_________________________
Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

Top
#950022 - 08/07/08 07:56 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
pianoexcellence Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 753
Loc: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
 Quote:
Originally posted by dumdumdiddle:
Yes, but makeup lessons for me are extremely rare; not enough for parents to get together and 'chat' about them. The point is that when I offer a makeup the parent is eternally grateful (since they know by no-makeup policy) instead of them expecting a makeup. [/b]
As soon as you put yourself into a role where you make decisions as to when to allow makeups, you will be dealing with frustrated parents who think that their circumstance warrants it when you do not agree.

You will have less angry parents when you NEVER allow makeups for missed lessons than when you sometimes allow makeups. ;\)

Just make sure that you let parents know right at the beginning how you run your studio.
_________________________
Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs

Top
#950023 - 08/07/08 08:12 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
D3 wrote: The problem with offering makeup lessons (or 'rescheduling' lessons) is that you're out twice: once for the lesson that was missed and you can't find a replacement for that lesson, and secondly, the fact that you've now set aside a different day/time that you normally wouldn't be teaching.[/b]

My studio is "open for business" from 11:30AM to 9:30PM with a break for dinner. No other activity is scheduled during that time. I am at the studio and am either practicing or working on student preparations, so it matters little to me if a student reschedules, with 48 hrs advanced notice. That provides me enough time to review the student's assignment, record, repertoire and be ready for him/her.
_________________________
"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

Top
#950024 - 08/07/08 08:31 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
PandO Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/08
Posts: 68
Loc: Scotland
Betty,
I remember being slightly irriatated when my pupil said she wouldn't come to her lesson on her birthday! Had she had a party or something planned then fine - but she didn't! As far as I was aware the day of her actual birthday was no different to any other day of her life as her birthday party was at the weekend. I didnt complain at the time, but I wasn't particularly impressed with that one. So many excuses I've had, though. I aways loose out though, because I'm paid per lesson rather than it being taken care of beforehand.
What do teachers say for cancellations due to birthdays? Is this an unexcused absence? I certainly wouldn't cancel my own lesson just because it was my birthday.

Top
#950025 - 08/07/08 08:46 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1265
Loc: California
Quote: "You will have less angry parents when you NEVER allow makeups for missed lessons than when you sometimes allow makeups.

Just make sure that you let parents know right at the beginning how you run your studio."


Exactly. While most teachers I know operate completely without a studio policy (much less a makeup lesson policy), I've always had such a policy. In my opinion, having a '48-hour notice' policy or a 'swap lesson' policy or an 'illness only' policy is making things way too complicated. Parents end up lying about why they weren't at lesson, swap lists can get abused by the parent who frequently needs to use them, etc.... For me, it's just simple to say 'No Makeups'. And the very, very few times (maybe 2 in a year) that I've offered a makeup (such as when a student had a wreck on the way to lesson) have had no negative impact on my studio. This system has worked great for me.
_________________________
Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

Top
#950026 - 08/08/08 02:15 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
Minaku Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/07
Posts: 1226
Loc: Atlanta
 Quote:
Originally posted by PandO:
Betty,
I remember being slightly irriatated when my pupil said she wouldn't come to her lesson on her birthday! Had she had a party or something planned then fine - but she didn't! As far as I was aware the day of her actual birthday was no different to any other day of her life as her birthday party was at the weekend. I didnt complain at the time, but I wasn't particularly impressed with that one. So many excuses I've had, though. I aways loose out though, because I'm paid per lesson rather than it being taken care of beforehand.
What do teachers say for cancellations due to birthdays? Is this an unexcused absence? I certainly wouldn't cancel my own lesson just because it was my birthday. [/b]
I wouldn't accept it as an excuse. Just because you were born on that day doesn't give you an automatic free pass out of doing what you need to do. Count it as an unexcused absence, and since it's not a conflict, don't make it up.
_________________________
Pianist and teacher with a 5'8" Baldwin R and Clavi CLP-230 at home.

New website up: http://www.studioplumpiano.com. Also on Twitter @QQitsMina

Top
#950027 - 08/08/08 03:06 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
It's been interesting to see who comes on their birthdays, and who takes the day off. If it is a serious consequence to teachers who abhor that, it needs to go in your policy. And, for all those other invitations they get, if they choose other, it should not affect your pay. Let them make choices, but cover your needs and express your desire way out in front.

As a question, I wonder if teachers know their students birthdays and ages? Do you send greeting on their birthdays?

A young man who has taken lessons for 7 years has spent lots of time with my cat, Marmaduke (yes, orange and white). The other day he asked: "How old is Marmaduke?" It turns out they were both born in April of 1995. He was surprised to hear that. "My piano teacher's cat and I have the same birthday", will probably be a top priority to remember when he thinks back on his lessons. The other being, "Thursday at 12:30 for an hour."

Of bigger concern to me than how a student chooses to spend their birthday, is:

1) Kids who come to a morning lesson after having spent the night at a slumber party. Last week one cutie yawned 10 times in her last 10 minutes of lessons - her energy level plummeted throughout the lesson.

2) The other are the kids who have to leave, quick out the door, hop in the car, and go play a sport. They come dressed for their activity. It makes me wonder if they are going to remember anything from the lesson we just had.

Kids need to be kids, and their birthday is theirs as far as I'm concerned. Kind of like a "National Holiday".

Sorry about that!

Betty

Top
#950028 - 08/08/08 05:01 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Thinking on this topic for a while, I remembered what airlines do. If you miss a flight, or want to change it, fine. Or even cancel it outright, also fine. But there's a fee associated with it. I recently had to change a return trip. It was $50 or 20% of the total air fare. I wonder if parents would be happier paying a change fee, lost lesson fee? A month's tuition is $135, so a changed lesson would be $27. Parents, does that sound fair?
_________________________
"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

Top
#950029 - 08/08/08 05:48 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12052
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
 Quote:
Originally posted by PandO:
Betty,
I remember being slightly irriatated when my pupil said she wouldn't come to her lesson on her birthday! Had she had a party or something planned then fine - but she didn't! As far as I was aware the day of her actual birthday was no different to any other day of her life as her birthday party was at the weekend. I didnt complain at the time, but I wasn't particularly impressed with that one. So many excuses I've had, though. I aways loose out though, because I'm paid per lesson rather than it being taken care of beforehand.
What do teachers say for cancellations due to birthdays? Is this an unexcused absence? I certainly wouldn't cancel my own lesson just because it was my birthday. [/b]
It's for this reason (and many other lame excuses) that I don't' charge per lesson. You open yourself up to this sort of thing, even if you state in your policy it's not considered an excused absence. If you get them on a different pay schedule, at the very least, monthly, they will be less likely to back out and not consider your cancellation policy. I had one student cancel to go shopping. If they decide to do that, it's fine, because they just paid me for my time. I was there and ready to teach.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

Top
#950030 - 08/09/08 09:04 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
No make-ups!!

Exception: If someone else cancels the week of the absence, and it works for the student that missed the lesson, then I will fit that student into that spot.

If there is a conflict, I have a wipe-off board where parents can write down the date(s) their child will miss and ask if any other parents' child can swap. It is up to them to figure it out, make phone calls, etc... they then are required to let me know of any changes.

I teach piano. I do not have time nor do I want to spend time on the phone rescheduling for parents or take up my personal time to make-up lessons.

Sounds harsh, but I have experienced making up lessons. It takes so much time, money and seriousness from the lessons that it just is not worth it.

You will receive more respect from students and parents and their piano lessons will become more of a priority if you have a no make-up policy.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

Top
#950031 - 08/10/08 02:40 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
jerry2000 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/02/05
Posts: 11
Loc: Midwest Kansas
It boggles my mind when I read how some teachers have "no makeup lesson" policies.

So,, tell me, Oh teachers, what exactly do you do when you have to take time off, examples-- could be a death in the family, dentist visit, doctor visit, weather, or maybe you just didn't feel like teaching that day. After all, the students have already bought and paid for your "time." What exactly do you give the students if YOU cause the lesson to be canceled?

John v.d.Brook referenced an airline charging a 20% changing fee and asked if it would be ok to charge this for a student changing a lesson.

So to put the shoe on the other foot,
How about it teachers,, Would it be fair to require you to give a refund of 20% plus a rescheduled lesson if it was your fault for a missed lesson?

Or would that be too fair to the student and just not good for business?

Top
#950032 - 08/10/08 03:33 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
Stanny Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 1461
My policy states the following:

"In case of teacher illness, a group make up lesson will be scheduled. Lessons
missed by the teacher for any other reason will be made up at a mutually convenient time."

I would not schedule an appointment during the times I'm scheduled to teach. And even if I don't "feel like it", I still honor my student's scheduled lesson time.

I'm in business for myself and I can state whatever works for me in my policy. If someone thinks it isn't fair, they don't have to take lessons from me. I have only cancelled lessons one time for 3 days in the past 7 years, because I had a severe allergic reaction to a medication. I don't take missing lessons lightly (and yes, I teach on my birthday!)
_________________________
~Stanny~

Independent Music Teacher
Certified Piano Teacher, American College of Musicians
Member: MTNA, NGPT, ASMTA, NAMTA

Top
#950033 - 08/10/08 08:48 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12052
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I state in my policy that if I miss a lesson, that it will be made up. I also have in my policy that since I do perform there may be times that I will have to reschedule lessons. This does not go against their 1 make-up lesson per semester limit. I can't remember the last time I missed a lesson, and I never schedule appointments during my lesson times.

Jerry2000, this policy is to protect everyone involved. It may seem harsh, but how many times do you need someone to take advantage of your generosity before you draw the line? Every experienced teacher I know has a rather strict policy to refer to in times where a student or parent crosses that line. In an ideal world, we wouldn't have to do this. And honestly, I don't have a problem rescheduling if something comes up. However, I do have other obligations like classes that I teach, and a husband. My time is not very flexible and so when someone misses a lesson, the only time I can give a make-up would be during the time I'm supposed to be with my husband, eating, sleeping, or any other part of my life that is necessary. Is that fair to my family or myself? And it's not just one person who reschedules, but they all do. Then that's a real mess! How does one plan their lessons then? It really benefits everyone to have a policy that limits the amount of rescheduling.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

Top
#950034 - 08/10/08 09:43 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1265
Loc: California
My policy states, "In case of teacher being unable to teach a lesson, the lesson will either be made up or refunded, at the teacher's discretion."

As others have stated, it's my business and I set the perimeters and policies. Every parent knows those policies when they sign up for lessons. I also know myself. I haven't had to cancel a lesson in the past 2 years. If those circumstances were to change (like a prolonged illness or something) I'd reconsider my policy and adjust it.

Part of my studio policy includes a list of holiday weeks when I'm not teaching. I do this because I charge a flat monthly rate, even when students only receive 2 lessons in December. I generally take off the weeks of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. I decided to include an additional week that I can choose to take off at any time. This covers me if I'm sick or have an emergency where I have to cancel lessons. I've also used my 'extra' week to extend my Spring Break vacation to Europe.

Another thought to consider is that when a teacher has a lax makeup policy he/she could potentially be making up lessons every week, as students cancel. If I cancel a lesson due to illness, I can usually reschedule all the lessons on one additional morning or afternoon (I'm thinking Saturdays here) and not have a perpetual makeup day every week.
_________________________
Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

Top
#950035 - 08/10/08 09:55 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5945
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by jerry2000:
It boggles my mind when I read how some teachers have "no makeup lesson" policies. [/b]
And it boggles my mind that you would expect it as a right.
Did you read the article linked above by allthumbs? I suggest you do - it makes some good points.

There must be plenty of situations in life which also boggle your mind: the fact that you can't take one piece of steak back to the butcher because you realised you only wanted three, not four; the fact that if little daughter misses a ballet lesson you actually don't get one lesson's fee refunded; and the fact that teachers also need to eat and sleep, not to mention interact with their families.

I was rehearsing instrumentalists for a competition a while ago and one mother didn't want to pay my half-hour accompanying fee in full because she pointed out that I wasn't actually playing for the full 30 minutes. I was actually talking for a few of those minutes! That's the sort of thinking we sometimes have to deal with, Jerry.
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

Top
#950036 - 08/10/08 10:02 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
jerry2000 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/02/05
Posts: 11
Loc: Midwest Kansas
From an outsiders perspective these policies do not benefit everybody. In fact they all seem skewed rather heavily to the teachers benefit.


Morodiene says
 Quote:
I also have in my policy that since I do perform there may be times that I will have to reschedule lessons.
Do you give them any choice in the rescheduled lesson time? Is your time so much more valuable than theirs that they only get 1 "makeup" per semester while you get to reschedule whenever you perform?

Then we come to obligations and family and fairness.

Are your obligations more important than your students? Is your "family time" more important than their "family time?" Do you tell your students these facts?

As to fairness I think it is quite obvious that the "piano teaching business" is not fair to the students but is rather heavily skewed toward the bottom line of the "teaching professional." Policies to maximize compensation while minimizing effort/work appears to be the norm.

God forbid someone would actually teach with a goal of producing pianists instead of a paycheck.

Top
#950037 - 08/10/08 10:42 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5945
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by jerry2000:
God forbid someone would actually teach with a goal of producing pianists instead of a paycheck. [/b]
Well, I suppose when you are looking for a teacher you could take these policies into consideration. If you want a teacher who will do unlimited make-ups and run themselves ragged trying to accommodate the various little irregularities of all their students, then you probably could find one, if you look hard enough. You would then have what you want according to your criteria - emphasis on your financial position instead of the teacher's dedication to actually teaching students.

But wait a minute, weren't you just criticising teachers for focussing on the bottom line instead of teaching the students?...
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

Top
#950038 - 08/10/08 11:02 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
jerry2000 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/02/05
Posts: 11
Loc: Midwest Kansas
Well,,,, at least there was no argument about the true goal of a "PIANO TEACHING BUSINESS." Which I repeat again: to maximize compensation while minimizing effort/work/teaching.

Just a side note, do any of you see your students as more than just a paycheck or an advertisement for your "studio" when they perform?

Top
#950039 - 08/10/08 11:04 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17786
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
When I teach my undergraduate social psych class, I assign a weekly 3-page paper. However, I have absolutely NO desire to micromanage the inevitable pleas for late or makeup papers due to illness etc. So what I do is to tell them that I base their grade on the best 10 papers they turn in out of the 14 weeks of the semester. This means they can skip 4 weeks for any reasons (excused or unexcused). If somebody comes to me and says they missed class because they were sick, I just say "okay, that's one of your four skipped weeks." No argument, and no hassle of accepting and/or grading a late paper.

I think several of you have similar policies where you charge a semester fee assuming that there will be a cancellation or two, so that if the student actually goes to every single weekly lesson, he or she is in essence getting a couple extra lessons "free." This makes a great deal of sense to me and seems the easiest solution all around. If a family has to miss a lesson, for ANY reason, and nags you for a makeup, you just say "remember, your tuition was assuming that you'd miss xx number of lessons, so that's just one of your skipped lessons." I suspect you'd get fewer requests for makeups with this policy as well, because the parents wouldn't be thinking that somehow they were "owed" that time slot.

I do agree (from bitter experience with creative undergraduates) that trying to sort out valid and invalid reasons for missing a lesson is a quagmire you REALLY want to avoid. :p
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

Top
#950040 - 08/10/08 11:24 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5945
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by jerry2000:
Well,,,, at least there was no argument about the true goal of a "PIANO TEACHING BUSINESS." Which I repeat again: to maximize compensation while minimizing effort/work/teaching.
[/b]
This is starting to border on the offensive, I think, Jerry. On the basis of a no-makeups policy which is pretty common over a wide range of teaching situations (like the one Monica details) you are accusing teachers of attitudes such as the above. Even a cursory look at the contents of the posts on this forum will show you this is not the case with those who post here.

Are you a teacher? If so, I suppose you offer your services for free, then, do you? If not, then I guess you work at something else. Does getting paid for it mean you are not dedicated?

On reflection, I should alter my earlier advice to you in searching for a teacher. Rather than looking for one who offers unlimited make-ups, perhaps the best one for you would be someone who just doesn't charge at all. That seems to be the only way to ensure you don't see the teacher as "maximising compensation while minimising work".
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

Top
#950041 - 08/10/08 11:28 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1265
Loc: California
 Quote:
Originally posted by jerry2000:
Well,,,, at least there was no argument about the true goal of a "PIANO TEACHING BUSINESS." Which I repeat again: to maximize compensation while minimizing effort/work/teaching. [/b]
Attitudes like the one expressed above is the reason why piano teachers need a strict policy regarding all aspects of running a studio.

Would you say the same thing about another profession? Your dentist? Your hairdresser? Your mechanic? Your college professor?

Why is it that PIANO TEACHERS must teach solely for the 'love of sharing the gift of music with others' and nothing more? Why can we not be sufficiently compensated for the years of study and hard work (which by the way, DOESN'T start when we enter college but rather YEARS before when our parents paid for our lessons)? The prevailing attitude is that we teach for 'just a little extra money' on the side. Well, it's time to WAKE UP and realize that piano teaching is a profession for many. There's nothing wrong with that.
_________________________
Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

Top
#950042 - 08/11/08 12:18 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
jerry2000 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/02/05
Posts: 11
Loc: Midwest Kansas
Just so you know,,,

My attitude isn't the one that is in question, but rather the attitudes and policies that have been expressed by teachers.

Piano teaching as a business seems to be a worthy profession. It just seemed odd to me how skewed toward the teachers benefit the policies appear.

I happen to like Monica K's idea of planning for absences with a reward of "free lessons" if you attend all of them. This looks like a well balanced approach a plus for teachers if the absences occur and a plus for the student if they show up, but alas it doesn't make good business sense does it.

Top
#950043 - 08/11/08 12:40 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5945
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by jerry2000:
... a plus for teachers if the absences occur and a plus for the student if they show up, but alas it doesn't make good business sense does it. [/b]
Why is it a plus for teachers if the student doesn't show up? You keep assuming we don't want to teach.
And why doesn't it make good business sense? If you actually read more than one or two posts in one or two threads you'd know that quite a few teachers do this anyway, and more than quite a few spend much time outside the lesson time preparing materials for students. Their students are hardly short-changed, no matter what their make-up policy happens to be.

You can say it's not your attitude which is in question, but that doesn't stop me questioning it. I suppose you've shown us what one very cynical person thinks of the studio policy - maybe that's worth knowing...
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

Top
#950044 - 08/11/08 07:19 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5512
Loc: Orange County, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by jerry2000:
Just a side note, do any of you see your students as more than just a paycheck or an advertisement for your "studio" when they perform? [/b]
Paycheck? Yes--I do have bills to pay.

Advertisement for "studio"? Yes--recitals and competitions reveal the quality of teaching. Would you send your kids to a studio in which every kid is playing "Mary Had a Little Lamb"??

_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

Top
#950045 - 08/11/08 07:22 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5512
Loc: Orange County, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by jerry2000:
Well,,,, at least there was no argument about the true goal of a "PIANO TEACHING BUSINESS." Which I repeat again: to maximize compensation while minimizing effort/work/teaching. [/b]
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

Top
#950046 - 08/11/08 09:44 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17786
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
 Quote:
Originally posted by jerry2000:
I happen to like Monica K's idea of planning for absences with a reward of "free lessons" if you attend all of them. This looks like a well balanced approach a plus for teachers if the absences occur and a plus for the student if they show up, but alas it doesn't make good business sense does it. [/b]
I don't want to take credit for it... I know I've seen that policy described here by at least a couple of the teachers (John? Betty?). But I do think it makes excellent business sense. The teacher sets a tuition that all are happy with, and there is a strong incentive for perfect attendance as well as a system in place for preventing hassles involved in rescheduling or vetting excuses. Sounds like a win-win scenario all around. \:\)
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

Top
#950047 - 08/11/08 10:57 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Jerry wrote:

 Quote:
It boggles my mind when I read how some teachers have "no makeup lesson" policies.

So,, tell me, Oh teachers, what exactly do you do when you have to take time off, examples-- could be a death in the family, dentist visit, doctor visit, weather, or maybe you just didn't feel like teaching that day. After all, the students have already bought and paid for your "time." What exactly do you give the students if YOU cause the lesson to be canceled?

John v.d.Brook referenced an airline charging a 20% changing fee and asked if it would be ok to charge this for a student changing a lesson.

So to put the shoe on the other foot,
How about it teachers,, Would it be fair to require you to give a refund of 20% plus a rescheduled lesson if it was your fault for a missed lesson?

Or would that be too fair to the student and just not good for business?
Just for the record (and if you'd back checked previous posts on this topic, you'd already know) that when I have to miss a lesson, or am late to a lesson, my students get the lesson made up, plus an absolutely free lesson, at my expense.[/b]

In other words, I bend over backwards to be fair. Things happen in life, and since I cannot hire a sub at all times to fill in for me, offering parents a twofer seems more than fair.
_________________________
"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

Top
#950048 - 08/11/08 11:08 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11731
Loc: Canada
John, it dawned on me that you have come up with something that seems to solve a bunch of problems at once. Some teachers cite a problem with makeup lessons because they infringe on their private non-teaching time. Others try to keep them to teaching time but must then juggle other students around by freeing one time slot for another - use someone's cancellation to give room to someone else's makeup for a previous cancellation: sounds like a real head-ache.

You have defined your working hours differently - they are not your teaching times, but the time you allot to all of your teacher-related activities, including lesson planning, bookkeeping etc. So you have this 11:00 - 9:00 area of time, and you don't teach constantly during that time - there are "empty" spots where you are doing other activities. Those empty spots are available for makeup lessons and similar requests. They are like safety margins. You are not giving up your private time, and you are not forced to juggle students. It is brilliant in its simplicity.

KS

Top
#950049 - 08/11/08 11:27 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12052
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
 Quote:
Originally posted by jerry2000:
From an outsiders perspective these policies do not benefit everybody. In fact they all seem skewed rather heavily to the teachers benefit.

Do you give them any choice in the rescheduled lesson time? Is your time so much more valuable than theirs that they only get 1 "makeup" per semester while you get to reschedule whenever you perform?
[/b]
I do give them a choice of their rescheduled time. We find a time that 1) I can be there, and 2) they can do easily. Also, this is something that I've added this year: If a student makes all of their lessons or only has one make-up, they will actually get a free lesson. And, by the way, my performances happen maybe once or twice per semester, and I know well in advance of when they are, so I can give a student a time of their choice to make it up. Is my time valuable? Yes, it is to me. Isn't your time valuable to you? I get paid for time, as do most people. You seem to be angry at teachers for some reason. Perhaps you've been slighted in the past. I am sorry for this, but I was not the one who slighted you. All students sign my policy after reading through it. They all agree to these terms, and those that do not, go elsewhere. They have that freedom.

 Quote:
Then we come to obligations and family and fairness.

Are your obligations more important than your students? Is your "family time" more important than their "family time?" Do you tell your students these facts?[/b]
If I do not protect my family time, who will? My students? They don't know what I have planned in my schedule other than their lesson time. If a student calls me last minute to reschedule something when I had planned on making dinner and spending time with my husband, am I obligated to put that student first? The simple answer is my husband is *always* more important than my job or my students. I married him and I take my vows to him seriously. Students are extremely important to me, but on the list of priorities, they are second to my husband and my family. A student who calls to change a lesson time probably doesn't consider the fact that I don't have much free time to play with. This is also why I have a lesson swap in my policy, so if a student can't make a lesson, they can call another student who has a time that works for them and switch for that week. This doesn't go against their one make-up lesson, and if they do this, they would still get their free lesson each semester.

 Quote:
As to fairness I think it is quite obvious that the "piano teaching business" is not fair to the students but is rather heavily skewed toward the bottom line of the "teaching professional." Policies to maximize compensation while minimizing effort/work appears to be the norm.

God forbid someone would actually teach with a goal of producing pianists instead of a paycheck. [/b]
I have said this before, but it bears repeating: I teach because I love to teach, not because I have to. If I wanted to make money, I'd go back into the finance business. I make less than $20,000 per year teaching in a good year. I have a Master's degree in music and I continue to take lessons to improve myself as a performer and teacher. All of this gets passed down to my students as a benefit to them and their progress. Most people with this much formal and continuing education make much more than that. So don't you *ever* accuse me of doing this for money.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

Top
#950050 - 08/11/08 12:47 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Jerry2000 proclaims: "Well,,,, at least there was no argument about the true goal of a "PIANO TEACHING BUSINESS." Which I repeat again: to maximize compensation while minimizing effort/work/teaching."

And - "Just a side note, do any of you see your students as more than just a paycheck or an advertisement for your "studio" when they perform?"

And - "Just so you know,,, My attitude isn't the one that is in question, but rather the attitudes and policies that have been expressed by teachers."

"Piano teaching as a business seems to be a worthy profession. It just seemed odd to me how skewed toward the teachers benefit the policies appear."

"I happen to like Monica K's idea of planning for absences with a reward of "free lessons" if you attend all of them. This looks like a well balanced approach a plus for teachers if the absences occur and a plus for the student if they show up, but alas it doesn't make good business sense does it."

Where do I start with you Jerry2000?

1) I am one of the ones as Monica is mentioning, and yes, yes, yes, it makes very good business sense. I do not limit my makeups, and rescheduling is mutally possible because like John, I am in my home office long hours, or simply at home, and can accomodate what people need. I try to keep a lid on it and have people plan well ahead, and they do give me their planned absences for the quarter ahead, if not for the month. Anyone having too many absences is going to find that their lessons will average out to have cost them more if they drop down below 40 lessons per week. But chiefly, we have about 47 weeks out of the year to attend the 40 lessons paid for. So there is a benefit by keeping good attendance. Good attendance is one of our goals.

2)My studio policy works as well for the clients as it does for me. The reason I have a policy with 37 years of teaching experience is that so many people want you to make exceptions that benefit them - strong manipulation - defensive attitude about what they will pay for and what they won't and making the rules. It was horrifying, absolutely rude, and a disadvantage for me everything I listened to someone's demand on how I ran my business. Business. Business is the keyword. In self defense in the 1980's I formulated a very tough policy - and the reason for the policy was to remove everyone from doing their own thing. To be able to teach well, one must have an organized and efficient studio - not chaos and confusion. The larger my studio was the more difficult it was to manage.

I have had wonderful relationships with my clients ever since putting my policy into effect. I review it twice a year to keep on top of anything that needs to change.

If anything, it has produced agreeable, respectful people in my studio. They are happy or they wouldn't be here, and I am happy too.

Being a piano teacher and having a business practice too are huge endeavors, I guarantee you. Private teachers need to establish what works best for them, with a strong eye to making sure that it also works for their clientele.

Last night we (my husband and I)were invited to dinner at the home of clients, the mom, son, daughter, have been my students for the past 15 months. The dad and his parents were also there for Sunday dinner. There was a lot of joy as we listened to the piano being played so very, very well by the daughter. The food was absolutely excellent, and the company very relaxed, social, and funny - a lovely evening and a huge treat for us.

Now tell me if you think people who are being taken advantage of by their piano teacher behave like this?

Tell me, do you get students to study with you for 7, 8, 9 years by aggravating them with your policy and unreasonable demands, and your ingratitude for their existance.

You, Jerry2000, have a narrow window which you are looking through!

I strive to be connected to my students and their families - this is not, and never had been about money for me. It's about service, and encouragement, motivation, high standards, and involvement. Clients get so much more than they ever imagined they paid for.

I'm one of many who give service with a smile.

Betty Patnude

Top
#950051 - 08/11/08 01:48 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
 Quote:
Originally posted by jerry2000:
It boggles my mind when I read how some teachers have "no makeup lesson" policies.

So,, tell me, Oh teachers, what exactly do you do when you have to take time off, examples-- could be a death in the family, dentist visit, doctor visit, weather, or maybe you just didn't feel like teaching that day. After all, the students have already bought and paid for your "time." What exactly do you give the students if YOU cause the lesson to be canceled?

John v.d.Brook referenced an airline charging a 20% changing fee and asked if it would be ok to charge this for a student changing a lesson.

So to put the shoe on the other foot,
How about it teachers,, Would it be fair to require you to give a refund of 20% plus a rescheduled lesson if it was your fault for a missed lesson?

Or would that be too fair to the student and just not good for business? [/b]
Jerry2000,

You need to understand that from a teacher's stance they may have up to 50 students to schedule and to teach lessons. From a student's view there is just you and the teacher. Think about it. In order for the teacher's studio to run smoothly and effectively for all students a no make-up policy is in everyone's best interest.

Sure, you may have a conflct with your lesson time, but that is just you, one person you are dealing with. In the rare instance, the teacher cannot make the lesson, again it is just the teacher, one person, again that *you* are dealing with. But for the teacher we are dealing with *many* people asking for make-ups not just one.

My policy is very fair. I do not charge an arm and a leg for lessons. But I expect my students to be there for their time reserved, because I'm there. In the rare instance that I have to cancel a lesson, I either refund or credit the lesson or I make it up, at the student's discretion.

By having these strict policies means that us teachers are professionals and want the best for our students. If you think we have these polcies because we are trying to take advantage of students and their money, is a pretty low blow, if you feel this way, then find a teacher that gives make-ups. I'm sure eventually that teacher (that gives make-ups) will start to see they are wasting a lot of time and money rescheduling for students and teaching more hours without geting paid, and their students will become flakier and less dedicated to their piano studies. The teacher will also become burned out because her focus will not be on teaching, but instead on rescheduling and trying to make ends meet financially.

Hope you can understand.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

Top
#950052 - 08/11/08 02:34 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11731
Loc: Canada
As long as there is not a "no extra paid lessons under any circumstances" policy. Statistics and proportions are as follows:

1. A student is one person out of 50 that a teacher sees in conveyer-belt succession, and must manage. That one hour is over in no time. Then the teacher is on to the next student.

2. The student has invested some 25 hours into that lesson and will invest another 25 hours. The lesson is the critical bridge, because when you are practicing for that length of time, if you start going off track then it will really be off track if a lesson is missed and you can't have access to a teacher. The same thing is true when you are reaching something and need to know whether you're going the right direction and can trust it. You don't want to stop the momentum, and you don't want anything bad to entrench itself. A categorical "no extra lessons under any circumstances ever" would leave me edgy. If it's "no makeups", that's a different story.

One hour of lessons is woefully inadequate in any week.

Top
#950053 - 08/12/08 05:05 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
AJB Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/05
Posts: 3655
Loc: Surrey, England
To me this is very simple:

You guys are selling your expertise and measuring the price in time slots for which you charge a fee. That is your living.

if someone fails to turn up for a lesson, for whatever reason, and you are unable to resell the time slot, then you lose money if you do not charge the person the slot was allocated to.

If you give a make up then there is an opportunity costs - you could have sold that time to someone else.

The ability to enforce a no make up policy (or some variation on it) will depend on how much in demand you are as a teacher (a factor of pupil availability, the choice of other teachers competing with you in the area, and how well regarded you are as a teacher).

So you policies will inevitably reflect local economic circumstances. If you have a waiting list - then you can afford less flexible policies. But there is of course your longer term reputation to consider in balancing this equation.

The person who said teachers are skewing policies in favor of teachers misses the point entirely: this is the way you earn your living and you are selling hours of your life to do that. It is not up to other people to make you sell that time for free!

Many piano teachers appear to have a somewhat amateurish approach to the business side of their profession. This turns it more into a vocation rather than a business for such teachers.
_________________________
S&S Hamburg D, Yamaha CLP 280


Top
#950054 - 08/12/08 12:15 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Keystring, you kind of said something startling! "One hour of lessons is woefully inadequate in any week."

Would marketing of our services as piano teachers work better if we divided lessons into categories and gave 2 to 3 lessons per week to the same student?


Choices:
1A) Private lesson with literature - preparing memorization and performance for achieving students (one hour)

1B) Rhythmic, mood, jazzy, syncopated music and pop for entertainment purposes (one hour)

1C)lesson subject for those in preparatory and elementary through late elementary (30 minutes)

2) Additional lesson (30 minutes) on Technique and Theory

3) Additional time in analysis, of new music choosing consistent fingering, rhythm/melody/harmony patterns and practice sections identified

4) Small groups could be formed for the "Additional" materials.

For a serious student, all "Additional" would be desirable/"required".

I think this would be a better focus of time and subject and set each category off as important parts of development.

The idea is to increase their time with the teacher (for supervision and outcome)and the additional time during the week, complements practice.

5) Intense practice could be a separate subject too, but perhaps not every week.

I've always been trying to fit in the thing that is needed most at any lesson, and we have just an hour to gain perspective on where we are and what needs to be done. Then to apply it at home.

I'm beginning to understand the power of recording lessons as John does. It captures the work and the learning process on video and a student can appreciate the hard work he has contributed to the lesson and view the progress received for the investment of his time and efforts.

I think the category separation would not only pave the way better but would identify parts of the most important contributing factors to becoming a well-trained pianists.

An hour lesson is a drop in the bucket really.

Maybe we should branch out in our offerings and charge prices that include the learning in these areas of music preparation, not just the applied time at the lesson. More services (selectively) beyond "piano lessons" sets the mark higher and gives attention to our need to cover the subjects as very serious contributing parts.

What do YOU think?

I'm just posing a question about how we proceed, and whether we don't sell ourselves short by calling it just "piano lessons".

Betty

Top
#950055 - 08/12/08 01:27 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11731
Loc: Canada
Betty - thoughts on your thoughts on my thoughts:

I'm thinking of serous prepared students and maybe not at a beginner level. If we get to the kind of scenario teachers describe, where a student has not practiced what he is to practice so that it has to be done in a lesson, then this is not efficient to begin with. Then, if someone wants to make better progress and use their lesson time well, the job starts at home.

I could only go from my limited perspective and in that scenario I've seen the following:

- Something is coming together very rapidly and there just isn't enough time to get at all of it. I've seen a lesson go overtime (if it's the last lesson of the day - or teacher suggests one comes half an hour early for first lesson of day). Or a suggestion that we have another lesson in the same week (which is also paid for, of course - this is a consideration).

- You may be working on a main thing - say a piece - but something else that you have been working on (arpeggios? a study? something?) is starting to come together. In the next lesson, do you continue working on the planned for thing, do you set aside 15 min. at the end of the lesson? Do you skip what you were going to work on and go off on a tangent? Or do you decide that this would be a good occasion to find time for an extra lesson that you can dedicate just to this thing, and you can still work on what was planned?

My scenario captures my realities, of course. Part of my perspective comes perhaps through what develops while practicing. Sometimes a question or growth comes from something that could take up a whole lesson, but you don't want to lose the main direction either, so when do you fit it in?

Top
#950056 - 08/12/08 02:27 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
The piano teacher can behave reactively to what is being heard at the lesson and what captures her/his attention is a good way, or in a needs improvement way.

The teacher may have a timeline of things to teach which is not representative of this piece, it could come in a technique or exercise area, or in sightreading, or ear training, etc. It too needs to fit in the lesson time. There may be vocabulary and definitions going on out of necessity - the focus can shift in different ways. It truly is hard to get all that you would want to cover in one piece, the composer's short history, about piano's at the time of this composition. What ever is important that the teacher wants to convey is often the stuff that takes the player and the piece over the top.

Where to go and what to do during a lesson is a decision to facilitate one thing over another.

Collaboration is a longtime goal, then one fine day, the student takes much of the learning on independently, and will not need as much assistance and sense of direction, he will have formed his own vision of how to proceed. Then it is on to the next, new steps of learning.

I think a large part of what happens between the adult learner and the piano teacher can be a clash of purposes, directions and egos.

Students who really take full instruction from a teacher are few and far between. When there are basic clashes between them the leadership that the teacher could contribute is minimized by a nonaccepting student.

A clue to a non-learner who challenges the teachers reasoning and input, is someone who is always talking, making comments, or asking questions during the lesson. I have had many of these kinds of students (the come in all ages and both genders). Much of what they do at lesson is delaying and creating obstacles for themselves.

The fear of success is sometimes as great as the fear of failure.

All of piano teaching is a balancing act, I think. I'm the one who says you can only teach with the students permission and sincere interest.

I hope it's true that anyone who has the desire for serious study has also located a serious teacher who can take this student to his or her destination musically. The relationship between them will help them weather any difficulties.

Betty

Top
#950057 - 08/12/08 02:42 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11731
Loc: Canada
Betty, when you write of clashes between teacher and student, is this in response to what I have written, or a general observation? I imagine it's the latter since no conflict is on the horizon.

Generally speaking I will have more than one thing going, all of them assigned. Some may be of a repertoire nature, and the others more of a technique nature. In a lesson we can only work on one or two of them, but I am expected to continue with all. You could consider the various instructions and assignments as seeds. If a student is practicing 3+ hours - as we are instructed to do - a lot of ground can get covered. So a couple of seeds might germinate.

I am not a beginner, and that makes a difference, I think. Usually my teacher will ask me in greeting how my practicing went, and whether I encountered anything I would like to mention or demonstrate. At this point the question might surface as to where the lesson's time should go. It might be good to spend the last 15 minutes on some particular thing, or shelve plans and concentrate on this thing. An alternative solution is to go ahead with the lesson as planned, but decided to have an extra lesson dedicated just to whatever has cropped up. In this way what is planned can continue, but what might be good to work with as a secondary thing can can also be addressed.

I was offering this in the context of "not having enough time" and solutions.

These things are not true tangents. They are things arising and developing out of assigned lessons.

Top
#950058 - 08/12/08 02:56 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17786
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
 Quote:
Originally posted by Betty Patnude:
A clue to a non-learner who challenges the teachers reasoning and input, is someone who is always talking, making comments, or asking questions during the lesson. [/b]
Betty, can you operationalize "always" here? What percentage of a lesson should the teacher be talking vs. the student? 100/0? 50/50? Surely some degree of a student talking, commenting, or questioning during a lesson is acceptable, even desirable?
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

Top
#950059 - 08/12/08 03:12 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5566
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
 Quote:
Originally posted by Betty Patnude:
I think a large part of what happens between the adult learner and the piano teacher can be a clash of purposes, directions and egos.

Students who really take full instruction from a teacher are few and far between. When there are basic clashes between them the leadership that the teacher could contribute is minimized by a nonaccepting student.

A clue to a non-learner who challenges the teachers reasoning and input, is someone who is always talking, making comments, or asking questions during the lesson. I have had many of these kinds of students (the come in all ages and both genders). Much of what they do at lesson is delaying and creating obstacles for themselves.

[/b]
Well, I do think the ego problem can be on either part - I hope that's the implication here \:D

I'll have to admit that I prefer students that ask questions, and have run into very few - less than one a semester probably, out of 2 or 3 classes full of students - who are actually trying delaying tactics and creating obstacles. I've never found that I'm so perfect at what I do that even most of the students don't need to ask questions - perhaps I'm just not a very good teacher \:\/ I've taught mostly adults, and find that their questions are often perceptive, and they're motivated by wanting to learn. Maybe it's radically different for some private piano teachers? Dunno. But the above post seemed to me to have a pretty negative flavor in its characterization of students who, at least to me, probably take an active part in their own learning.

But I've disagreed with the previous poster before, so take my opinion for the amount you paid for it \:D

Cathy
_________________________

Top
#950060 - 08/12/08 03:19 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17786
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
 Quote:
Originally posted by jotur:
I'll have to admit that I prefer students that ask questions,[/b]
Me too, by a long shot. When I get questions from my students, it almost always means either (a) I haven't been clear about something, and THAT'S vitally important for me to find out and correct, or (b) that I've engaged them in the material to the extent they care about it and are excited to expand on it... and THOSE are the moments I live for as a professor. \:\)
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

Top
#950061 - 08/12/08 03:23 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11731
Loc: Canada
Going back to the topic of lesson times and dates, idea of an hour not being long enough - What is the feeling about an occasion where it would seem good to have an extra lesson to catch whatever might be cropping up? It means an extra expense to the student and time expenditure for a teacher, of course.

Top
#950062 - 08/12/08 05:21 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12052
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
keystring, I have done this many times when there's an upcoming performance. If I feel a student could use just one more lesson, or a few more in order to prepare, I will suggest that and schedule them. As for doing this on a regular basis, what a wonderful thing that would be (I'm speaking as a student here) to have two or three lessons per week!
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

Top
#950063 - 08/12/08 05:42 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5512
Loc: Orange County, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Betty Patnude:
Maybe we should branch out in our offerings and charge prices that include the learning in these areas of music preparation, not just the applied time at the lesson. More services (selectively) beyond "piano lessons" sets the mark higher and gives attention to our need to cover the subjects as very serious contributing parts.

What do YOU think?[/b]
Betty:

I also offer individual or group lessons in music theory. Our state's MTA has quite a bit of theory to cover in the syllabus; I often find myself running short on time during piano lessons to cover all the theory topics. I also have colleagues who send me their piano students for theory lessons. I schedule these non-weekly lessons on weekends.

Sometimes my piano students also ask me for help on their school essays.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

Top
#950064 - 08/12/08 05:42 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Monica asked: "Betty, can you operationalize "always" here?"

Some students explain at lot, before they play something, during the playing, after the playing, "constant comment" aka "incessant chatter". This could be a sense of anxiety on their part, but it almost always (there I go again) is the advance warning about why it is not going to be "perfect".

I don't need or expect "perfect" - it's hard to achieve on any day of the week - a "good play" and "giving it your best shot" is ample. When a student makes a mistake that needs to be corrected, that is a good thing because now it can be "observed" and "fixed".

"Action" at the piano and a "quiet mind" are my two favorite tools that a learner possesses.

Monika also questioned: "Surely some degree of a student talking, commenting, or questioning during a lesson is acceptable, even desirable?

Yes, definitely, it's desirable. But, not as delaying behavior, or for dramatizing the mindset of the pianist before the action starts. Apologetic, wary, uncertain. That is not the least be useful and actually sets up what is feared most - causing it to happen.

There is no sense of empowerment until the pianist gains control over the self - including the mind set and the mind chatter. Productivity is the challenge. Self discipline. Mind to detail.

The other clue would be the non-learner who didn't hear what the teachers reasoning and input was, because she was busy thinking about what she was going to say next.

Questions don't usually get answered immediately in full detail, it takes time to absorb many things, so let's write the question down, and see how we can develop the answer together by giving it our full attention.

Monica also asked: "What percentage of a lesson should the teacher ib talking vs the student?"

It's the music that should be the focus of any thing said. What is said by the teacher should be just enough to make a difference to the student. What the teacher would expect the student to do is to "do something different" with the next playing of the section under examination. If the student has comments or questions here hopefully it would lead to helping understand something more clearly about the music or the technique or a point being made.

Things can proceed at a cordial note while these things are going on and a comfort level achieved. It does not at all have to be distress or anxiety producing.

If both student and teacher can meet each other in purpose, time, and effort, it should be an enjoyable music event together, productive, and represent the respect between each contributor.

Betty

Top
#950065 - 08/12/08 05:46 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5512
Loc: Orange County, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Morodiene:
what a wonderful thing that would be (I'm speaking as a student here) to have two or three lessons per week! [/b]
We actually asked our piano professor for that when we were in college. She said no, because she was raising a problematic child and had to miss many lessons as it was already.

One 1-hour lesson per week is grossly inadequate at the college level. This coming September, I'm requesting some of my advanced piano students to take 75-minute lessons.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

Top
#950066 - 08/12/08 05:55 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
AZN said:

"Betty:

I also offer individual or group lessons in music theory. Our state's MTA has quite a bit of theory to cover in the syllabus; I often find myself running short on time during piano lessons to cover all the theory topics. I also have colleagues who send me their piano students for theory lessons. I schedule these non-weekly lessons on weekends."

"Sometimes my piano students also ask me for help on their school essays."

Do you have these extra things in a print out or advertising brochure of what your teaching program contains? Is it on your studio calendar so that the clientelle begin to expect it as a regular thing. Do you charge extra lesson fees for these student activities? How do you go about letting certain students know that you want them to have this class. Can I ask?

Just as you are fine tuning your studio policy, perhaps, if you haven't done it yet, you will consider listing all these offerings. This is on the way to making your program valuable to the client and shows your versatility as a teacher, not to mention the scope of the things their children will learn. Sell these things as benefits to their overall education in a voice that clearly shows the benefit to them.

Before you know it you might be marketing some of your work in videos! Or using the videos in advertising your studio. Along with a list of your competition performers and their achievements. I think it would be worth it to have an experienced camera person help you build on your website with some of their special things you do with your students.

I'm always glad to hear your ideas, AZN!

Betty

Top
#950067 - 08/12/08 06:04 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11731
Loc: Canada
Betty, one minute we were discussing a scenario where there is not enough time in a lesson to get everything done, and the next minute this shifted to problematic students. Is it possible to explore what was started, which does not involve conflict anywhere?

The scenario is with an intermediate to advanced student. Teacher has assigned a number of things which are ongoing. In lessons we are working in Item # 1, but while practicing all the assigned things, Item # 2 has suddenly started to germinate.

Teacher asks his usual question - how has practising been going and has anything come up. Student mentions or demonstrates the thing from Item # 2 because it has indeed come up. It belongs to assigned-for-practice things.

So at this point we can make room for item # 2, switch to item # 2 and postpone item # 1, decide to spend 15 minutes at the end of the lesson to do something with item # 2 - Or decide to schedule an extra lesson dedicated to # 2. That way the whole lesson can continue being item # 1, and there can be sufficient time for # 2.

There is no conflict anywhere in this scenario. You were intrigued by the idea of "not enough time" and I offered the only perspective that I know. These things may not come up for you.

In terms of questions: They arise from what has been taught. Possible scenarios:
a) after practicing a week - I'm not sure I understood this part, is it correct? (demonstrates) - Or - Xyz seems to be happening, is that ok?
b) teacher has instructed, demonstrated - Student works on it in lesson, asks a question about what has been done, in order to clarify
c) teacher has explained something and student is not clear on something. "Could you clarify xyz? I'm not sure I understood?" (This can be done by demonstration)

These kinds of questions are brief, to the point, and pertain directly to what is being taught.

Quite often, however, a question consists of a quick glance catching the eye, and is answered with a nod or brief hand gesture. Imho, words are an overestimated commodity.

Top
#950068 - 08/12/08 06:11 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Jotur - "Well, I do think the ego problem can be on either part - I hope that's the implication here \:D "

Jotur: "But I've disagreed with the previous poster before, so take my opinion for the amount you paid for it."

Oh, Jotur, how true, you are so right! No one ribs me more effectively than you do, unless it's Monica.

In defense, may I say you are working with students in a learning subject in either high school or college, graded, graduation in sight, either every day or several days a week. Your outline is in concrete, your testings are in place, your grading system is in place. For a student to appear to be unprepared, negative, non-contributing in your class, you are going to notice. I as a private piano teacher have none of that clout - a little league coach has much more than I do to.

Private teaching is largely in the moment, and very often spontaneous in what is produced of the synergy between the pianist and the teacher.

I'm sure people with imagination can begin to see how very different we are in comparison and in organization and in methods because of our teaching arenas.

I hope you are enjoying your summer!

Betty

Top
#950069 - 08/12/08 06:17 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11731
Loc: Canada
 Quote:
This coming September, I'm requesting some of my advanced piano students to take 75-minute lessons.
AZN, your students should grab the opportunity with both hands. \:\) May I change the verb and say you are ** offering ** it to them (opportunity!)

Top
#950070 - 08/12/08 06:31 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Keystring,

With any of my students over age 12 or in 7th grade, I start to let them take the lead of what they want to present to me first from their list of new music, memorization, keeping learned music playable, technique, they are working on. They can choose it for whatever reason, and I ask them to tell me the reason this one was chosen. They may choose any part of it to play for me.

I will work on the content if anything is needing attention or comment. I will stop them if there already is a large enough segment that needs attention. We work on any one problem area at a time - accurate notes, fingering, counting, expression - dynamics - whatever is noted. I have been writing while the playing is going on usually so the "problem areas" are identified by measure numbers and the "diagnosis" of what improving will entail.

Then I ask will you play something else for me? This happens. If I am concerned about a piece I'm not hearing today, I will ask the student to make that first next week.

I'll ask have you learned something you can use today? Did this go better once you realized "such and such"? What will you be working on for this coming week? And, they will write out in their note book their music pieces for the next week (plus others pending).

They know their deadlines, if there are any, and they are as collaborative as they want to be.

Most of the teen students are fairly independant and responsible on their preparations.

Once in a while I will ask the student to play everything he practiced last week for me without stopping to hear my comments in between pieces. I will comment at the end of the presentation - and will write while it is being presented. This could be 4-5-6 pieces. This uses the time better for hearing more and gives me a good over view of what is evolving.

I try to compliment and encourage at every opportunity. And I praise a lesson that has been very well prepared.

If I need to caution the student about taking on less material, or needing to go slower in development, I will adjust the work load downward until everything balances out to playable.

So there is a different thing going on then you are suggesting, keystring, isn't there?

This is what came to my mind in your last posting that I thought you might like to know about.

Betty

Top
#950071 - 08/12/08 06:48 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11731
Loc: Canada
Thank you, Betty, for describing what happens with your advanced students.

Actually this has gone off on a tangent. Originally the question concerned the need to fit in everything into a single lesson, and the possibility of booking another one as a solution. The particular scenario that came to mind is when something has come up which could merit a whole lesson, but it would skuttle whatever was planned. What an ideal solution, to simply schedule a lesson for it.

Top
#950072 - 08/12/08 07:28 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
Betty, one minute we were discussing a scenario where there is not enough time in a lesson to get everything done, and the next minute this shifted to problematic students. Is it possible to explore what was started, which does not involve conflict anywhere?

The scenario is with an intermediate to advanced student. Teacher has assigned a number of things which are ongoing. In lessons we are working in Item # 1, but while practicing all the assigned things, Item # 2 has suddenly started to germinate.

Teacher asks his usual question - how has practising been going and has anything come up. Student mentions or demonstrates the thing from Item # 2 because it has indeed come up. It belongs to assigned-for-practice things.

So at this point we can make room for item # 2, switch to item # 2 and postpone item # 1, decide to spend 15 minutes at the end of the lesson to do something with item # 2 - Or decide to schedule an extra lesson dedicated to # 2. That way the whole lesson can continue being item # 1, and there can be sufficient time for # 2.

There is no conflict anywhere in this scenario. You were intrigued by the idea of "not enough time" and I offered the only perspective that I know. These things may not come up for you.

In terms of questions: They arise from what has been taught. Possible scenarios:
a) after practicing a week - I'm not sure I understood this part, is it correct? (demonstrates) - Or - Xyz seems to be happening, is that ok?
b) teacher has instructed, demonstrated - Student works on it in lesson, asks a question about what has been done, in order to clarify
c) teacher has explained something and student is not clear on something. "Could you clarify xyz? I'm not sure I understood?" (This can be done by demonstration)

These kinds of questions are brief, to the point, and pertain directly to what is being taught.

Quite often, however, a question consists of a quick glance catching the eye, and is answered with a nod or brief hand gesture. Imho, words are an overestimated commodity. [/b]
I think we are derailing the OT here, but I have a comment on what you think would be the ideal lesson, keystring.

First of all, I don't think it possible to answer all questions or discuss all ideas, regardless of time. I also think it good to not have enough time to discuss or hear everything played. This makes the next lesson something to look forward too, imo.

It is also important for the student to figure things out by themselves, for themselves, not being so dependent on the teachers views and instruction.

When I teach, I always end the lesson with, "call me if you have any questions," this seems to work most ideally for both teacher and student.

Like Morodiene, if I see a student needing extra help/time for performance or slow learning,etc... I will schedeule an extra lesson, and most often that lesson will be free of charge.

It is a package deal... music instruction that is. It is not just the one lesson that counts, it is the many lessons and relationship you have with your teacher, as well as the self instruction and practice that you do over the years of study.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

Top
#950073 - 08/12/08 08:00 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11731
Loc: Canada
Pianobuff, I was describing a scenario in my existing lessons, not some idealization.

I am assigned more than one thing, and there will not be time to cover everything in lessons, but I am expected to work on and develop the other things. I am not a beginner. Some of my assignments have stages. We are expected to practice a minimum of three hours daily. A lot of ground can be covered in those three hours.

I mentioned that my teacher prefaces each lesson by asking about my practicing. We might be working on a piece, but a technical assignment might have advanced. My teacher wants to know about such things, and then he wants to spend the time in bringing it to the next level. In these cases HE might choose to book an extra lesson so that we can work on that thing, without losing the thread on what we is being emphasized in the current lesson.

Are these scenarios totally unfamiliar then?

Originally I only mentioned them by way of explanation as to why I had written "One hour lesson is not enough" which Betty quoted. I didn't mean to bring on another tangent. I didn't realize that most lessons don't involve such things since for me they are the norm. I didn't meant to cause confusion.

Addendum: For where you thought I was heading, I appreciate you caring enough to correct the impression of what an ideal lesson might be like. It would be far from idea, and would lead exactly nowhere. Thank you.

Top
#950074 - 08/13/08 01:33 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5566
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
 Quote:
Originally posted by Betty Patnude:
Jotur - "Well, I do think the ego problem can be on either part - I hope that's the implication here \:D "

Jotur: "But I've disagreed with the previous poster before, so take my opinion for the amount you paid for it."

Oh, Jotur, how true, you are so right! No one ribs me more effectively than you do, unless it's Monica.

In defense, may I say you are working with students in a learning subject in either high school or college, graded, graduation in sight, either every day or several days a week. Your outline is in concrete, your testings are in place, your grading system is in place. For a student to appear to be unprepared, negative, non-contributing in your class, you are going to notice. I as a private piano teacher have none of that clout - a little league coach has much more than I do to.

Private teaching is largely in the moment, and very often spontaneous in what is produced of the synergy between the pianist and the teacher.

I'm sure people with imagination can begin to see how very different we are in comparison and in organization and in methods because of our teaching arenas.

I hope you are enjoying your summer!

Betty [/b]
Well, I think there's more to our differences than just teaching arenas \:\)

And if you actually think teaching in a classroom isn't in the minute - well, perhaps you haven't been there?

Yes, I notice if someone is unprepared, negative, non-contributing. Don't you? I don't think noticing that has to do with the venue.

And, tho most of my teaching has been with adults, by no means all of it was graded or geared to a degree, and by no means has *all* of my teaching been adults - I've taught everything from kindergarten to, uh, erm, folks my own age and older \:D I've tutored one on one in a variety of subjects and sports. And I'll have to say, I still prefer the ones who ask questions, and the ones who do so just to delay and get in their own way are *really* in the minority. So, fortunately for me I guess, your mileage and mine, as well as I suspect, your viewpoint and mine, vary \:\)

You have a good summer, too -

Cathy

Edited to add the tutoring part, which I forgot to put in the first time!
_________________________

Top
#950075 - 08/13/08 02:22 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5512
Loc: Orange County, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Betty Patnude:
Do you have these extra things in a print out or advertising brochure of what your teaching program contains? Is it on your studio calendar so that the clientelle begin to expect it as a regular thing. Do you charge extra lesson fees for these student activities? How do you go about letting certain students know that you want them to have this class. Can I ask?
[/b]
Hi, Betty:

I tried advertising with brochures before, but it didn't get me the serious students I was looking for. I charge separately for theory classes.

My studio calendar is busy. Starting October, there's at least one event per month.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

Top
#950076 - 08/13/08 02:34 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5945
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by jotur:
I still prefer the ones who ask questions, and the ones who do so just to delay and get in their own way are *really* in the minority. [/b]
Well I prefer the question-askers too, I have to say. I've taught school as well, and found more of the nuisance questions there, because the kid is sometimes playing to the gallery \:\) . With one-to-one teaching there's no audience to impress. Offhand I can't think of any instance of questioning in the piano teaching situation which has been a nuisance. Often it's a breakthrough in finding out whether or not you've been understood. Just because you've explained something in a way which you think is clear that's no guarantee it's been understood. If you really investigate some of these "annoying" questions you might discover some fundamental misunderstanding. Better to discover it, I say. It's worth the time.
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

Top
#950077 - 08/13/08 10:25 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12052
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
 Quote:
Originally posted by AZNpiano:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Morodiene:
what a wonderful thing that would be (I'm speaking as a student here) to have two or three lessons per week! [/b]
We actually asked our piano professor for that when we were in college. She said no, because she was raising a problematic child and had to miss many lessons as it was already.

One 1-hour lesson per week is grossly inadequate at the college level. This coming September, I'm requesting some of my advanced piano students to take 75-minute lessons. [/b]
Wouldn't two sessions of 45 minute each be more effective? I suppose it depends on the attention span of the student, but I just think that separating the time would actually allow things to sink in better.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

Top
#950078 - 08/13/08 10:29 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11731
Loc: Canada
QUOTE]Wouldn't two sessions of 45 minute each be more effective? I suppose it depends on the attention span of the student, but I just think that separating the time would actually allow things to sink in better. [/QUOTE]
That would not work for me. The one hour is too short. 45 minutes would definitely be too short.

Top
#950079 - 08/13/08 12:39 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5512
Loc: Orange County, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Morodiene:
Wouldn't two sessions of 45 minute each be more effective? I suppose it depends on the attention span of the student, but I just think that separating the time would actually allow things to sink in better. [/b]
I guess it depends on the student. I originally suggested two 1-hour lessons per week for one of my advanced kids, but he prefers to get it done in one day. We just had our lesson yesterday, and by the end of the two hours, we still couldn't finish the last piece. For his level, the test requires four substantial pieces from different time periods, roughly 20 minutes in total length. I can't imagine what we'd have to do next year, when the test's requirement goes up to 5 pieces and 25 minutes total length.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

Top
#950080 - 08/13/08 08:02 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
Codetta Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/26/06
Posts: 134
Loc: Chino Hills, CA
I don't post much but I do read this forum every day and respect all the expertise and experience here.

First, I have enjoyed reading these posts and have gained much insight from everyone's ideas. Because of a situation that arose this summer I have had to redefine my policy on make-up lessons and this topic couldn't have been more timely. A HUGE thank you to all who posted. And a BIG thank you for guiding me to the article about an economist's view of music lessons. The information is invaluable!

Second, AZN, I relate to your conflict about preparing the advanced students for the CM exams. There is SO much to cover that a 1 hour lesson is hardly sufficient. I had a student at the advanced level last year (yep - had to prepare 5 pieces plus all the required theory) and we had a 2 hr lesson every other week. Now, this girl was highly motivated so I didn't worry about her not practicing - and since she travelled quite a distance for the lessons (over 40 mi one way) 2 lessons per month worked out fine for her. Unless a student is disciplined and committed, I wouldn't recommend that type of schedule. She passed everything with flying colors and received the coveted senior medallion. Hurray!

Having to teach the advanced theory certainly made me hit the books again!
_________________________
"Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."
Berthold Auerbach

Private Piano Teacher
Member: Music Teachers' Association of California
Evaluator: Certificate of Merit
Organist/Pianist: Christ Lutheran Church, West Covina

Top
#950081 - 08/14/08 02:14 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
Pianobuff, I was describing a scenario in my existing lessons, not some idealization.

I am assigned more than one thing, and there will not be time to cover everything in lessons, but I am expected to work on and develop the other things. I am not a beginner. Some of my assignments have stages. We are expected to practice a minimum of three hours daily. A lot of ground can be covered in those three hours.

I mentioned that my teacher prefaces each lesson by asking about my practicing. We might be working on a piece, but a technical assignment might have advanced. My teacher wants to know about such things, and then he wants to spend the time in bringing it to the next level. In these cases HE might choose to book an extra lesson so that we can work on that thing, without losing the thread on what we is being emphasized in the current lesson.

Are these scenarios totally unfamiliar then?

Originally I only mentioned them by way of explanation as to why I had written "One hour lesson is not enough" which Betty quoted. I didn't mean to bring on another tangent. I didn't realize that most lessons don't involve such things since for me they are the norm. I didn't meant to cause confusion.

Addendum: For where you thought I was heading, I appreciate you caring enough to correct the impression of what an ideal lesson might be like. It would be far from idea, and would lead exactly nowhere. Thank you. [/b]
The "ideal lesson" that I mentioned in my post was a generalization for you (that I gathered from your posts) and for other parents and students too that think that everything that is being worked on or being developed should be covered in one lesson, every week. Or more than one lesson in a weeks time.

I do not think this is necessary, unless you're preparing for a performance or evaluation, etc...

Much good can happen by not covering everything in one weeks lesson as I stated in my previous post.

I apologize if you took it wrong. I was not thinking of anything else, as far as an ideal lesson, but this.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

Top
#950082 - 08/14/08 05:12 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11731
Loc: Canada
Thank you Pianobuff, for explaining what was on your mind. We're still not picturing the same scenario, though. If we were to cover *everything* being worked on, that lesson would probably be 6 - 8 hours long.

This is where you have perhaps two or three major things, each of them needing at least half an hour to really work on them in a lesson.
 Quote:
... by not covering everything in one week's lesson
This is where the misunderstanding arises - there is no "everything" in my mind.

I suspect that the fundamental nature of my lessons may be different, and I don't know whether the fact that it's a different instrument has a bearing.

Top
#950083 - 08/14/08 09:13 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12052
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Pianobuff makes a very good point...that not everything should be covered in a lesson because there are things that the student must work out on their own. I just told this to one of my adult students last night. He hadn't been practicing regularly (despite my attempts to encourage him to do more), and would come to his lessons feeling totally helpless because he didn't understand what he was supposed to play. This past week, he finally practiced more and his playing showed it. I explained to him that when you practice more, you are forced to find a solution to the problem, and those solutions are things that are better learned on your own rather than taught.

I had a student once who was the daughter of a pianist, and her progress was quite good, but I had some doubts about what she was learning because despite the fact that she would come to lessons with her music well learned, However, she didn't seem to understand the underlying theory very well, and whenever I had her sight read it really showed. After speaking with the mother, I discovered that the student would go to her whenever she ran into a little "snag" and her mother would show her what to do. I explained to the mom that this was actually not helping her to become an independent pianist because the process of figuring out the problems is so valuable. It was a bit of a tough transition for this student once her mom started saying, "Well, try to figure it out yourself, or wait until next week and ask you teacher." She didn't want to wait, of course, and so she figured it out herself.

My goal as a teacher is that every student I have can learn music on their own without anyone having to teach it to them. If they no longer need me, then I've done a good job.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

Top
#950084 - 08/14/08 07:08 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5512
Loc: Orange County, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Morodiene:
I had a student once who was the daughter of a pianist, and her progress was quite good, but I had some doubts about what she was learning because despite the fact that she would come to lessons with her music well learned, However, she didn't seem to understand the underlying theory very well, and whenever I had her sight read it really showed. After speaking with the mother, I discovered that the student would go to her whenever she ran into a little "snag" and her mother would show her what to do. [/b]
I wish I'd have that "problem" to deal with! \:\)

For some of my younger students, their parents know nothing about music, so I have to teach both the mother and the student so that the mother can reinforce what I taught at home. This is especially true for theory. I wish they would teach some basic music theory at school, because so much repetition is needed to drill the info into the kids' brains.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

Top
#950085 - 08/15/08 09:29 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12052
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
The music in the schools in this area is pretty good about that. The kids at least know their tas and titis and can sometimes read treble clef notes. Most of them can sing somewhat in tune as well. However, I'm sure piano lessons help them in their music class a lot more than the other way 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

Top
#950086 - 08/22/08 08:04 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
Akira Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/27/07
Posts: 1645
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
 Quote:
I am seriously contemplating a "lesson swap only" policy, by which a student--if needing to switch lesson time--has the sole responsibility to find another student with whom to swap lesson times. And I'd have to place a cap on the number of times swaps can occur within a year. That would alleviate a lot of my scheduling nightmares.
I'm well aware that many teachers have some kind of no refunds type policy for missed lessons. I can empathize with the added work, potential for reduced revenue, paying to 'reserve' a time slot (that could have otherwise gone to another student), scheduling difficulties and other related problems. No refunds serves as incentive for the students not to abuse the relationship, I understand that completely.

To those of you who have such policies, I would encourage you to also look at if these policies effectively work for you. Does it fix one problem, but perhaps create another? I can't help but wonder if some of you might be losing students because the policies (which serve you well), don't serve the student so well.

The reason I bring this up is because during the past two months, I've missed a lot of lessons due to work obligations. In July, I paid for five weekly lessons ($250). I showed up for one. I suppose the teacher could have had a no refund policy, in which case I would have paid the teacher $200 and received nothing in return. Had that happened, I would have seriously considered looking for another teacher, one who would accept fees for services actually rendered. All other things being equal, as a customer, which of the two would seem more attractive; a teacher who offers refunds (or makeup lessons) or one that doesn't. Maybe I'm lucky to have found one that was flexible, and what I experienced was uncommon.

The point I'm trying to make is that its good business to see what your competition is doing, especially if you are scratching your head wondering why you are losing (or not recruiting) more students than you think you should be.

Hope this post isn't offensive and, I'll reiterate, I understand completely why certain teachers have a no refund policy. However, I thought it might be helpful to offer the 'other side of the coin' perspective to help better run your business. Just some food for thought. \:\)

Top
#950087 - 08/23/08 08:54 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
 Quote:
Originally posted by Akira:
 Quote:
I am seriously contemplating a "lesson swap only" policy, by which a student--if needing to switch lesson time--has the sole responsibility to find another student with whom to swap lesson times. And I'd have to place a cap on the number of times swaps can occur within a year. That would alleviate a lot of my scheduling nightmares.
I'm well aware that many teachers have some kind of no refunds type policy for missed lessons. I can empathize with the added work, potential for reduced revenue, paying to 'reserve' a time slot (that could have otherwise gone to another student), scheduling difficulties and other related problems. No refunds serves as incentive for the students not to abuse the relationship, I understand that completely.

To those of you who have such policies, I would encourage you to also look at if these policies effectively work for you. Does it fix one problem, but perhaps create another? I can't help but wonder if some of you might be losing students because the policies (which serve you well), don't serve the student so well.

The reason I bring this up is because during the past two months, I've missed a lot of lessons due to work obligations. In July, I paid for five weekly lessons ($250). I showed up for one. I suppose the teacher could have had a no refund policy, in which case I would have paid the teacher $200 and received nothing in return. Had that happened, I would have seriously considered looking for another teacher, one who would accept fees for services actually rendered. All other things being equal, as a customer, which of the two would seem more attractive; a teacher who offers refunds (or makeup lessons) or one that doesn't. Maybe I'm lucky to have found one that was flexible, and what I experienced was uncommon.

The point I'm trying to make is that its good business to see what your competition is doing, especially if you are scratching your head wondering why you are losing (or not recruiting) more students than you think you should be.

Hope this post isn't offensive and, I'll reiterate, I understand completely why certain teachers have a no refund policy. However, I thought it might be helpful to offer the 'other side of the coin' perspective to help better run your business. Just some food for thought. \:\) [/b]
Akira,

If you were my student and told me in advance of this situation, I definately would have worked something out.

A no make-up policy does not mean there are no exceptions, more just a blanket rule to guard against being taken advantage of and/or running a non-effective studio.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

Top
#950088 - 08/24/08 09:26 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Akira, just to expand a bit one what you've posted.

In my mind, there's a big difference between working with adults who have life commitments which cannot be ignored, and school children, whose life commitment should be their education, first and foremost, and this should be supported by the parents.

Most of us are now beginning the school year. We expect that our students (ages 1 - 19) are making a commitment to follow a curriculum and learn and participate throughout the school year. They are not coming to us for a lesson here and a lesson there, but to learn a course of instruction which leads to some level of proficiency.

Adults, on the other hand, generally have had some lessons and are looking for learning in specific areas. Of course, they could be wishing a similar course which their younger counterparts are following. I offer them a choice - payment by the lesson or a tuition plan.

There is a lot of talking past each other in this forum, some of which I wonder if it's not intentional. However, I digress. Students on a learning track of 36 lessons through the year are paying tuition, and it's formulated very much like any other educational institution. Students whose needs are for a la cart lessons can also study with me, but their lessons must not interfere with the main body of students. They fill in holes in the schedule, and if their preferred time is not available on a given week, no lesson is possible. They only pay for lessons received and of course, they must pay at the time of the lesson.

Certainly, I like most of the other teachers here, do my best to give them a rich and fulfilling lesson, but because of it's sporadic nature, it simply falls short of what a regular student receives. In effect, it's more of a master class, where I focus on one or two specific problems.

On the subject of missed lessons, think back to your days of studying educational psychology. Retention of learned skills doesn't decline arithmetically, but declines following a parabolic curve. Students who miss a week set themselves back more than a week, often two or three weeks. It's incredibly important that students make lessons every week, and practice daily. Jotur thinks of it as teachers maximizing income; I think of it as teachers helping students maximize learning. In other words, teachers with lax attendance policies are doing their students an incredible disservice.
_________________________
"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

Top
#950089 - 08/24/08 09:39 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5566
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
 Quote:
Originally posted by John v.d.Brook:
Jotur thinks of it as teachers maximizing income; I think of it as teachers helping students maximize learning. [/b]
Well, not in this thread, I don't think \:D I think you have me mixed up with someone else, John. In this thread, anyway, what I commented on was students asking questions.

Wait! Is there another jotur?!? \:D

Cathy
_________________________

Top
#950090 - 08/24/08 09:39 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11731
Loc: Canada
 Quote:
Students who miss a week set themselves back more than a week, often two or three weeks.
But this is precisely the concern that I have tried to express several times. It is not about "rights of property" because if I have missed a lesson you owe me for services not rendered. If these are full, regular lessons and I am forced to miss a lesson for unavoidable reasons, the idea that I cannot make up that lesson is a disturbing thought. I practice 4 hours a day when everything is going as it should, so that means after practicing 28 hours, I have to go another 28 hours before having another lesson. What if I have started to go off track? By the time two weeks have passed I'm really off track, and it may take 2 -3 weeks to undo the damage. If I must, and if I can afford it, I'll pay for a makeup lesson, but it seems important to have that makeup lesson.

What I have been reading is that it is too bad - if you miss a lesson then under no circumstance will it be made up. And if it's urgent for the sake of what is being learned? I doubt that is what is meant, but that is what is coming across.

I have also written repeatedly that the discussion has remained on economics and marketplace realities: services rendered, services paid for, rights and privileges - and that the purpose of lessons is not being seen anywhere in the discussion. It is good to see it being addressed in your post, John.

I am not interested in the question of make-up lessons as a paid-for right. I am interested in them in terms of the function of regular lessons and how they affect learning. Instrument playing is a physical and aesthetic skill - it is not just head knowledge for which one can cram.

Top
#950091 - 08/24/08 10:03 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
Diane... Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/16/06
Posts: 3450
Loc: Western Canada
 Quote:
Originally posted by Akira:
[QUOTE]

The reason I bring this up is because during the past two months, I've missed a lot of lessons due to work obligations. In July, I paid for five weekly lessons ($250). I showed up for one. I suppose the teacher could have had a no refund policy, in which case I would have paid the teacher $200 and received nothing in return. Had that happened, I would have seriously considered looking for another

[/b]
Oh please, this is the very reason why I avoid adult students like the plague!

I won't treat adults any different regarding make-up lessons than my students under 18!

Adult students won't get any special treatment! No matter how they try to paint their so called busy lives, I have a busy life too!
_________________________
http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/goldsparkledress.jpg
Diane
Jazz/Blues/Rock/Boogie Piano Teacher


Top
#950092 - 08/24/08 10:30 PM Re: Make-up Lessons
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12052
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
 Quote:
Originally posted by Akira:
I'm well aware that many teachers have some kind of no refunds type policy for missed lessons. I can empathize with the added work, potential for reduced revenue, paying to 'reserve' a time slot (that could have otherwise gone to another student), scheduling difficulties and other related problems. No refunds serves as incentive for the students not to abuse the relationship, I understand that completely.

To those of you who have such policies, I would encourage you to also look at if these policies effectively work for you. Does it fix one problem, but perhaps create another? I can't help but wonder if some of you might be losing students because the policies (which serve you well), don't serve the student so well.

The reason I bring this up is because during the past two months, I've missed a lot of lessons due to work obligations. In July, I paid for five weekly lessons ($250). I showed up for one. I suppose the teacher could have had a no refund policy, in which case I would have paid the teacher $200 and received nothing in return. Had that happened, I would have seriously considered looking for another teacher, one who would accept fees for services actually rendered. All other things being equal, as a customer, which of the two would seem more attractive; a teacher who offers refunds (or makeup lessons) or one that doesn't. Maybe I'm lucky to have found one that was flexible, and what I experienced was uncommon.

The point I'm trying to make is that its good business to see what your competition is doing, especially if you are scratching your head wondering why you are losing (or not recruiting) more students than you think you should be.

Hope this post isn't offensive and, I'll reiterate, I understand completely why certain teachers have a no refund policy. However, I thought it might be helpful to offer the 'other side of the coin' perspective to help better run your business. Just some food for thought. \:\) [/b]
Of course, my policy explicitly states that any exceptions are up to my discretion. This means that in certain circumstances (usually with adults) I can be flexible. However, I got caught on the bad end of that when a student got in the habit of not coming rather than coming, then I wondered why I was reserving her time slot. I generally take things on a case-by-case basis, and decide form there. When things get out of line, then I have my written policy to fall back on.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

Top
#950093 - 08/25/08 12:52 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
 Quote:
Students who miss a week set themselves back more than a week, often two or three weeks.
But this is precisely the concern that I have tried to express several times. It is not about "rights of property" because if I have missed a lesson you owe me for services not rendered. If these are full, regular lessons and I am forced to miss a lesson for unavoidable reasons, the idea that I cannot make up that lesson is a disturbing thought. I practice 4 hours a day when everything is going as it should, so that means after practicing 28 hours, I have to go another 28 hours before having another lesson. What if I have started to go off track? By the time two weeks have passed I'm really off track, and it may take 2 -3 weeks to undo the damage. If I must, and if I can afford it, I'll pay for a makeup lesson, but it seems important to have that makeup lesson.

What I have been reading is that it is too bad - if you miss a lesson then under no circumstance will it be made up. And if it's urgent for the sake of what is being learned? I doubt that is what is meant, but that is what is coming across.

I have also written repeatedly that the discussion has remained on economics and marketplace realities: services rendered, services paid for, rights and privileges - and that the purpose of lessons is not being seen anywhere in the discussion. It is good to see it being addressed in your post, John.

I am not interested in the question of make-up lessons as a paid-for right. I am interested in them in terms of the function of regular lessons and how they affect learning. Instrument playing is a physical and aesthetic skill - it is not just head knowledge for which one can cram. [/b]
Keystring, Sorry, but I am confused as to what you are saying.

Are you saying that if a teacher has to cancel a lesson... or are you saying if you have to cancel a lesson?

Either way, life happens. And in my studio I very rarely have canceled a lesson. I would think you and others could find a teacher where it is rare for the teacher to cancel.

As far as the student canceling, that is out of the teacher's control. So because of this, you would have to go with the studio policies that your teacher set forth regarding make-ups.

I guess I really do not understand what it is you are saying. Are you saying that if you miss a lesson, you think that the teacher should make it up because a student should not go two weeks without a lesson and that it is the teachers responsibility for this not to happen?
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

Top
#950094 - 08/25/08 12:57 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11731
Loc: Canada
Pianobuff, my thoughts are the same as what John has just written - that a missed lesson can set a student back. My thought is that there are certain times in particular when it is crucial not to wait. I mean a lesson that the student has missed becuase of an emergency or similar that cannot be helped.

If I have missed a lesson I would hope that it would be possible to book a replacement in the event that it is crucial for whatever reason. Paying for such an extra lesson would be fine - just so long as it is not something that is always out of the question in all circumstances because of strict policy.

If it is not crucial, then it is not a concern. For example, if I have been ill I also will not have been able to practice so there is not much of a reason for having a lesson at that point.

KS

Top
#950095 - 08/25/08 01:04 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
Keystring,

I think I am now understanding what you are saying.

But there is no way around sometimes missing a weekly lesson. It is life. You need to get by the best you can. If it is you not being able to make the lesson or the teacher having to cancel, either way it isn't that drastic. Just as long as it happens very infrequently.

I feel by having a no-make up policy makes the student less lilkely to miss the lesson.

Wouldn't you think?
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

Top
#950096 - 08/25/08 01:08 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
Keystring,

We must have posted at the same time.

If I had a student as serious as you that would be willing to pay me for the lesson missed that week because of an emergency, then I would do all I could to make-up that lesson, and I would try my best to not charge them for it as well.

Like a lot of us teachers have said. There are exceptions.

Although, I remember having one adult student who always canceled and wanted a make-up... it was *so" important to her. But I must say it was annoying to me. And disruptive to the studio as a whole.

But a one time emergency would more than likely be a different story.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

Top
#950097 - 08/25/08 01:29 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11731
Loc: Canada
Ok, we're on the same wavelength now.

For the other:
 Quote:
I feel by having a no-make up policy makes the student less likely to miss the lesson.

Wouldn't you think?
I suppose for certain types of individuals this might be a factor. If your lessons are taken for granted, if the individual is not aware of the impact this has on your life, and/or the person has little empathy - yes.

Btw, your mailbox is full. ;\)

KS

Top
#950098 - 08/25/08 01:45 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5512
Loc: Orange County, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
I suppose for certain types of individuals this might be a factor. If your lessons are taken for granted, if the individual is not aware of the impact this has on your life, and/or the person has little empathy - yes. [/b]
Well, there is also the option of dropping these students from the studio. Of course, I can't do that until I fill the studio first.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

Top
#950099 - 08/25/08 11:33 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Cathy, aka Jotur, I did get you mixed up with another "J" and I am sorry. Please accept my apologies.
_________________________
"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

Top
#950100 - 08/25/08 05:45 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5566
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
 Quote:
Originally posted by John v.d.Brook:
Cathy, aka Jotur, I did get you mixed up with another "J" and I am sorry. Please accept my apologies. [/b]
No problem. If there was another me, then *that* would be a problem! \:D

Cathy
_________________________

Top
#950101 - 08/25/08 08:46 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
musiclady Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/19/05
Posts: 431
Loc: Toronto, Canada
I would never charge by the quarter or semester, for a few reasons:

1) A fair number of my student's families have two or three children taking lessons from me.

2) Canadian winters!!!

3) Some students needing extra lessons no matter how you try to avoid that. Therefore I'd lose money!

4) Illness, I couldn't teach for 3 weeks due to bronchitis last winter. Plus I occasionally experience strong side effects from the medication I take for a couple of conditions.

5) I take lessons myself, on two instruments (plus rhythmic training lessons on top of that!), and my own teachers (and even some of my own student's families) have paid for lessons on a twice-monthly basis. Even when I was taking lessons on clarinet a number of years ago, I would not have been able to pay for more than a couple of weeks lessons at a time.

6) Think if it from the customer's point of view: if they had a choice between a teacher who charges monthly and a teacher who charges by the quarter or semester, many would probably go to the monthly. I myself would never go to a quarter or semester plan. Students and their families can have all kinds of problems in their lives, I had one very good family that had to miss some lessons last year for various good reasons. After all, there is a saying to do unto others what you would like to have them do unto you! And sometimes a family may need to move on short notice, which would make coming to you for lessons totally unfeasible!

Meri
_________________________
Clarinet and Piano Teacher based out of Toronto, Canada.Web: http://donmillsmusicstudio.weebly.com

Top
#950102 - 08/25/08 10:25 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
While it appears we're in agreement that it's important for the student to have regular instruction, the subject of who is responsible for "making up" the missed lesson seems is quite open for debate.

Is it the parent's responsibility to get students organized and to lessons, or is it the teacher's?

If you reply that it's the parent's responsibility, then why does the responsibility for the missed lesson suddenly shift to the teacher? The teacher didn't miss the lesson.

Consider the organ teacher who must rent a facility, usually a church, and drive there herself to give a lesson. If the student doesn't show up, is it the teacher's responsibility to underwrite the expenses involved, and then to expend the same expenses a second time for the student, so he can have a make-up lesson?

Or how about if I rent the local concert hall for an afternoon so one of my students can come and practice for a recital, but the student fails to show. Does the expense involved belong to the student or to me?

Teaching out of a studio in a home only changes the venue, not the circumstances. The teacher's overhead remains; the teacher's lost time remains. The only thing which didn't occur was the actual lesson, and that was the fault of the student, not the teacher.

Although I am willing to reschedule lessons in advance, obviously, make-up lessons is just another way of saying the parent wants something for nothing, at my expense.

Here are some examples I've encountered:

- Schools closed for snow. Student doesn't show. I call on cell phone and student is at mall. Guess what, no makeup lesson.

- Best friend is having a birthday party. Parents, make a choice - piano lessons or partying.

- Trip to Disney Land. Sorry, this isn't educational. In fact, I'm hard pressed to come up with a single redeeming feature of such a trip.

I try to impress upon my students and their families that when they study music with me, they are studying in exactly the same circumstances as if they signed up for a class at the local college. I am not providing a day care facility with "fun" activities for children. I'm engaged in a serious business to help parents educate and enrich their children's lives.
_________________________
"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

Top
#950103 - 08/25/08 10:57 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Meri, your post left me gasping. Do you really teach? Your profile doesn't specify.

Let's go through your points.

1) A fair number of my student's families have two or three children taking lessons from me. [/b] So what? I have 3 cars. Should the gas station give me a lower gas prices?

2) Canadian winters!!![/b] So what do other businesses do during inclement weather?

3) Some students needing extra lessons no matter how you try to avoid that. Therefore I'd lose money![/b] Ask yourself why do they need extra lessons? Are you assigning material which is too difficult for them? Are they not preparing lessons at home properly?

4) Illness, I couldn't teach for 3 weeks due to bronchitis last winter. Plus I occasionally experience strong side effects from the medication I take for a couple of conditions.[/b] Almost every teacher who has participated in this discussion has some sort of provision for when they must miss a lesson.

5) I take lessons myself, on two instruments (plus rhythmic training lessons on top of that!), and my own teachers (and even some of my own student's families) have paid for lessons on a twice-monthly basis. Even when I was taking lessons on clarinet a number of years ago, I would not have been able to pay for more than a couple of weeks lessons at a time.[/b] I wonder - do you pay your rent by the month? How about your utilities? If you can budget for these, why couldn't you budget for your lessons?

6) Think if it from the customer's point of view: if they had a choice between a teacher who charges monthly and a teacher who charges by the quarter or semester, many would probably go to the monthly. I myself would never go to a quarter or semester plan. Students and their families can have all kinds of problems in their lives, I had one very good family that had to miss some lessons last year for various good reasons. After all, there is a saying to do unto others what you would like to have them do unto you! And sometimes a family may need to move on short notice, which would make coming to you for lessons totally unfeasible![/b] It's true that there are some parents who lead such irresponsible lives, that being able to pay by the month is beyond them, but why does that make you their banker? Moving necessitates a withdrawal, and most teachers have provisions in their policies for needing to quit before the term/semester/year ends.

You also quote the Golden Rule, but I wonder, wouldn't you really want a teacher to deal with you professionally rather than haphazardly? Wouldn't their professionalism inspire you to work harder?
_________________________
"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

Top
#950104 - 08/25/08 11:21 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11731
Loc: Canada
John, are all student such frivolous frik fraks? What you are describing is inexcusable behaviour and I would hope these attitudes would be the exception rather than the norm. Is there nobody who displays both character and responsibility, which until recently I thought was the norm. If true, what a sad state of affairs.

Top
#950105 - 08/25/08 11:35 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
Highlander One Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/05/08
Posts: 111
Loc: Texas
The only point of John's I disagree ith is....the week at Disneyworld. I believe this would qualify as a vacation, which would be a "planned" abscense. I would get plenty of advanced notice for this.

Everything else is spot on.

H1
_________________________
Piano Sales since 1992
Piano study since 1969
Piano teacher since 1992
Touring musician since 1985
Studio musician since 1996
I Love the Piano

Top
#950106 - 08/25/08 11:46 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
KS - no, all students are not such "frik fraks." But judging from comments relayed by other teachers and my own experiences, far too many parents support missing a lesson for a friend's birthday party. I'm usually taken off guard when a parent offers that up as an excuse. I really don't want to insult them, but it's hard not to.
_________________________
"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

Top
#950107 - 08/25/08 11:48 AM Re: Make-up Lessons
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
By the way, has anyone else noticed that the "system" clock has been reset to Peking time, but yesterday?
_________________________
"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

Top
Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 >

Moderator:  Ken Knapp 
What's Hot!!
8 Live Ragtime Piano Players on the Cape!
-------------------
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Knabe Pianos
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
New Topics - Multiple Forums
What Piece Is This?
by Works1
Today at 03:43 PM
Suites Georg Bhm
by Johan B
Today at 03:40 PM
Which brand has the best key action under 1,000 USD?
by login
Today at 03:18 PM
Recording the results of Pianoteq
by Roger Ransom
Today at 01:35 PM
Coolest Back Action I have Seen
by Steve Jackson
Today at 11:55 AM
Who's Online
138 registered (anotherscott, accordeur, Arizona Sage, Alexander Borro, ajames, 39 invisible), 1574 Guests and 23 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
76643 Members
42 Forums
158474 Topics
2327314 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
(ads by Google)

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
|
Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission