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#951778 - 02/15/09 12:31 PM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
I don't think that anyone is annoyed or upset by any kind of pecking order. It's just meaningless.

There are several qualities that make a good teacher. Most of these have been mentioned already.

Great subject knowledge.
Experience.
Ability to communicate.
Patience and understanding.
A passion for the art of teaching.

etc.

I think that many teachers possess these qualities. What lifts a teacher beyond this is difficult to put your finger on. It has more to do with character and personality.

What it's not IMO is all about how many students end up being concert pianists. Education has been ruined by league tables and the attempt to raise standards by focusing on the end result. You can judge the success of a salesman by looking at how many units they have sold. You can't look at teaching in the same way.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#951779 - 02/15/09 12:47 PM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13811
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Okay, here goes. My comments are based on observations I've made of two people I once worked with and whom I admire very much.

The best teachers:

Know and like the teaching literature. They know which pieces a student needs and why. They know when to assign Kuhlau 55/3, when to assign Clementi 36/5, and when it's time to move on to Mozart 283. They select repertoire based on what will engage the student and have pedagogical value, and they never sacrifice one for the other.

The Best Teachers:

Put students in an atmosphere where their musical life consists of more than practice and lessons. There are multiple performance opportunities of different types available, from informal masterclasses to competitions, studio recitals and summer camps. These are strong motivators and give lessons and practice a sense of purpose and importance.

The Best Teachers:

View music as a discipline and not a recreational activity. The benefits of music lie in the physical and mental discipline built over the course of many years. Making "fun" the goal of piano lessons is like making "taste" the goal of eating. We should do everything we can to make lessons fun and food taste good, but we all know what happens when your primary motivation for food choice is taste - you end up eating pizza and cake, weighing 250 pounds, developing diabetes at age 40 and die of a heart attack at 60. Good piano teachers see the consequences of allowing "fun" to be the primary benefit of music lessons as similarly unhealthy and dire.


The Best Teachers:

Work from a set of guiding principles that they know to be effective. This is independent from any given method or system. For them, the question isn't whether Suzuki is better than Faber or whether NFMC is better than National Conservatory or Guild, it's which of those best addresses the goals they have for their students.


The Best Teachers:

Understand musical and technical development. They have seen enough students at all different skill levels to know when a student is not fulfilling their potential. I have actually met teachers who believe that playing scales hands together is "too much" to expect of the average 10 year old. This leads me to my last one:


The Best Teachers:

Do NOT underestimate children. Not their abilities, not their intelligence, not their personalities, and not their emotions. They don't bribe students to practice by promising stickers and candy, but they also understand that it's nice to receive some tangible recognition for one's hard work every now and then. They don't insult children by thinking you have to introduce every concept with some silly game, but they know the value of a good smile and a laugh in every lesson. And they don't reduce children to two emotions. So many bad teachers think that children think in terms of "bored" or "having fun." It's a dangerously limited view of what it means to be a child, and does a great deal more harm than good.


So to sum up:

1) Repertoire Selection

2) Gives students opportunities to USE what they learn

3) Views Music as a Discipline

4) Work from Guiding Principles that are Independent from a Given Method or System

5) Understand Musical and Technical Development

6) Don't Underestimate Children
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#951780 - 02/15/09 12:52 PM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Kreisler, shouldn't you get out more?
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#951781 - 02/15/09 01:06 PM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
Piano*Dad Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10405
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
No! Then we wouldn't have such clear posts to think about.
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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#951782 - 02/15/09 01:13 PM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11801
Loc: Canada
Kreisler, would it be possible to change "Don't underestimate children" to "Don't underestimate students"?

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#951783 - 02/15/09 01:37 PM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Good start, Kreisler!

Piano education is serious stuff!

Piano can not be taught in chaos and confusion - organization and a procedure of syllabus and sequence of developing skills is a priority.

Piano lessons are affordable and a good investment if you have a proven and seasoned teacher who has content and discipline to teach.

Piano lessons are not affordable at any price, including free, if there is not accountability from either the teacher or the student. Reaching goals, and setting goals is a huge part of making progress.

There are few adventures so worthy in life that have such incredible results in helping to form a fully functioning, self actuating person.

Music lessons require productivity to be successful. Personal integrity plays a large role.

If you didn't have these characteristics when you started piano lessons, you will have them by the time you have become competent at the piano.

This is providing that you were able to acquire that 10% teacher.

The sad fact is that so many students leave piano lessons before they have found the passion and the pleasure and the magic and the miracle.

All of that!

Let's keep going on the achievement and academic presentating to music teaching. It's a much longer list!

Betty

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#951784 - 02/15/09 02:18 PM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13811
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Don't worry, kbk, I was out and about all day Friday and yesterday. Shoveling snow, pizza with friends, hanging out at the coffee shop, watchin' TV, stalking my friends on Facebook, playing with the dogs. Fun stuff! \:D

(Plus, my wife was on call for 30 hours straight and is now fast asleep. I needed something quiet to do this morning.) ;\)

And yes, birthday boy, I could just as easily say "students." I was just thinking mostly about younger ones, since they're the ones who are most often the victims of underestimation.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#951785 - 02/15/09 02:42 PM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
 Quote:
Originally posted by Kreisler:
Making "fun" the goal of piano lessons is like making "taste" the goal of eating. We should do everything we can to make lessons fun and food taste good, but we all know what happens when your primary motivation for food choice is taste [/b]
Yes, you become an Epicurean - no bad thing in my book. But then again, who am I to be throwing stones at PW's very own Renaissance man!
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#951786 - 02/15/09 03:34 PM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12137
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Well, ultimately, it's the results that matter, right? A good teacher produces musicians who no longer need him/her. A good teacher puts themselves out of business \:\) . I don't mean that all of their students are stellar, but I think that a good teacher imparts the skills necessary to do the craft of making music to their students. This entails using many different teaching methods and styles, so the teacher must also continue to learn, because every students is a unique puzzle to solve.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#951787 - 02/15/09 04:43 PM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
Kreisler, thanks for your post. I agree on all points.

But then, it is basically back to success. Do all of these points that you made make a successful teacher in regards to student success?

After all, we can question... what is being a successful teacher? I would assume it is producing successful students.

Just doing these things still will not guarantee success for the student (or for the teacher), therefore, it is somewhat of an ambiguos topic and/or OP's question in regards to "the best teachers." I would assume the only real way to determine the "best teachers" is how students under their teacher's guidance play and know and how much they enjoy the process of learning how to play well.

With that said, and adding intuitiveness, I do think that the points outlined in your post makes a great basis for being a well-rounded teacher.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

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#951788 - 02/15/09 04:53 PM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
Magz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 88
Loc: Illinois
Pianobuff and Chris H

Thank you for your response.

My question was not to challenge anyones value on teaching. I'm sure if I were to ask anyone if they con\sidered themself a good instructor, all would say YES. Exceptional... maybe, but why not. In real life my job is to get our employees to evaluate what makes them better that average, better than our competition. Now we are not in the field of piano instruction but an appropriate topic, just the same. Yes there are many facets to being an exceptional instructor but your thoughts don't really matter if it is not shared by your students. So, what are those teachers doing that makes them exceptional instructors?

I'm sorry for running on but I am passionate about service quality and how to improve it and let's face facts, what you do is a service, would you not agree?

By the way, what you do is not easy and often appreciated even less by students. I know, I am an adult student and I see what my teacher goes through with some students.

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#951789 - 02/15/09 05:09 PM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
Magz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 88
Loc: Illinois
Betty,

You asked what I was thinking at the time? Honestly, it had nothing to do about piano instruction or teaching or even judging who is an exceptional instructor and who is not. Actually I will be presenting a training series for a well known and respected pest control company on The Value of the Service. Setting You Apart From the Competition. As part of my research I posted questions to other similar industry types, ie lawn care, wildlife trappers, cable companies. Since I frequent the Piano Forum, with interest as an adult student, I thought I would post the question and read the responses. There was no intent of judgment... just interested in the responses. I must say, the responses were very interesting.

My hats off to all instructors, private and public. Often times your interest and passion to provide the best instruction is not well received, or appreciated, by students. Everyone on this forum, as far as I am concerned, is better than average and most likely exceptional simply because you see answers to questions, from fellow instructors and are seeking ways to improve your teaching and help students. I deeply respect each and everyone here.

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#951790 - 02/15/09 05:16 PM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
I would say that on the whole I do a good job. That is based on the fact that I have a busy studio with mostly happy and successful students. Also, I do care about doing my best and would never assume that I can't improve. However I don't think about what makes me better than the competition. I might be and then again I might not be. Does it matter?

Judging a teacher on their students results or the way their students play can be deceptive.

Consider this:

Teacher A believes in giving everyone a chance. They are not particularly selective and welcome challenging students who might find learning difficult for whatever reason. Because they want to give their students opportunities they will enter them for recitals, competition and exams even when they know that those students will not win.

Teacher B doesn't want these students. They audition and only take the very best. Out of these the only ones they put in for competitions are the ones who they know will win. Obviously this will make the teacher look great because they teach the winners and the very best performers.

Who is the better teacher?
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#951791 - 02/15/09 05:27 PM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
Magz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 88
Loc: Illinois
Well said Chris. I agree with you compeltely. Who is better?

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#951792 - 02/15/09 05:34 PM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
Very true Chris.

I take back what I said about that being the way to judge if a teacher is good or not.

There are just too many variables.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

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#951793 - 02/15/09 05:52 PM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
Gerry Armstrong Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 214
Loc: Cumbernauld, Scotland
Can I ask a question of the teachers who said Experience is a pre requisite of being a good teacher?

Is it safe to assume that if you take that statement at face value, then no new teacher can be a good teacher?

While I don't doubt that a good teacher who is constantly analysing their methods, honing their craft etc. will improve as a teacher over time, surely it is possible to be a good teacher without years and years of experience? Weren't they a good teacher to begin with?

The reason I ask about this specifically is that in my line of work and in many other professions I have come across, the number of years that someone has been doing something bears little correlation to the relative abilities of the people in that profession. In simple terms, you get just as many poor professionals who have been in their particular profession for a short time as have been doing it for a long number of years.

Or am I missing something?
_________________________
Gerry Armstrong

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#951794 - 02/15/09 06:21 PM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Wayne723,

"The Value of the Service. Setting You Apart From the Competition" for your pest control customer, would be a revelation if written to represent a piano teacher!

I've spent 38 years trying to get my advertising, publicity, business card, and interview information and studio policy all written well to represent me, and then to have it entice prospective clients to enter study.

Well, I'm thinking from what you said that, what appeals to me as informative and good communication does not appear that way to the reader of my materials. You said: "Often times your interest and passion to provide the best instruction is not well received, or appreciated, by students."

I can understand that and accept that.

If I were to take away all the processes to introductions and information sharing, would it make a big difference/improvement from their point of view?

I really believe there is a responsibility to the student that parents and the teacher can work together to insure success, and that is part of my agenda in communication, to promote the parent's role.

I think the big objection would be that it doesn't seem "natural" and it seems "demanding of them on my part" and "it's time consuming".

I had an interview recently of a 5 year old with 3 semesters of Kindermusic, the referral was from the Kindermusic teacher. After spending a lesson time working at the piano with the child, I related to the mother and father what I had seen in the time I'd worked with their daughter, and the strengths and weakness (small sized person, wobbly fingers, not able to hold hand in a stable position, and fingers that did not yet respond well, important to build this first, and little things like her accuracy and consistancy in what we were doing, and her avid participation. The Dad fell asleep and missed the interaction, and Mom asked all these questions, and finally said: "This is a bit further than we wanted to come for lessons" and that they had "another" piano teacher to interview with this week, and I gave 2 more referrals to teachers closer to them.

I bet you can sell people on pest control services better than I can sign up interviews.

Actually, I want them to find their best teacher for their circumstances, so it's not the conflict with me that it seems. I'm just relating about communication end of it, I wonder if they missed the fact that I had identified lots of things that were taking place during this lesson, and what I'd learned about their daughter. That didn't seem to factor for them.

It may be that I can learn a whole lot from this particular topic and the posting here and from you Wayne723!

Hmmmm. Maybe the fact that the parent is getting this information one on one is too much pressure for them.

I'll always remember KISS. I don't seem to have achieved that at all! :rolleyes:

Betty

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#951795 - 02/15/09 09:33 PM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
Magz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 88
Loc: Illinois
Betty,

I have read many of your posts and, even though I do not know you personally, I believe you are a very good instructor. I hope your students feel the same.

You said..."Hmmmm. Maybe the fact that the parent is getting this information one on one is too much pressure for them."

My question to you is... are you selling or providing opportunities to buy? We realize that custoemrs don't like being sold but love to buy. We actually sell more business when we get customers to visualize the results through various purchasing options. Maybe this can work for you.

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#951796 - 02/15/09 09:47 PM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
 Quote:
Originally posted by Gerry Armstrong:
Can I ask a question of the teachers who said Experience is a pre requisite of being a good teacher?

Is it safe to assume that if you take that statement at face value, then no new teacher can be a good teacher?

While I don't doubt that a good teacher who is constantly analysing their methods, honing their craft etc. will improve as a teacher over time, surely it is possible to be a good teacher without years and years of experience? Weren't they a good teacher to begin with?

The reason I ask about this specifically is that in my line of work and in many other professions I have come across, the number of years that someone has been doing something bears little correlation to the relative abilities of the people in that profession. In simple terms, you get just as many poor professionals who have been in their particular profession for a short time as have been doing it for a long number of years.

Or am I missing something? [/b]
I agree. Although, we should learn through experience, I certainly have.

Being a good teacher does take talent, a calling, just like any other profession.

Either you have it or you don't. If you were not any good at what you do, why would you stick with it? Or how could you stick with it... You would be fired! The same holds true for piano teachers. If you're not any good, unless people just don't know any better, how in the world could you make a living at it, be happy, and be successful!

I guess we know that we're good teachers if our students stick with us for years on end and you have a full studio with happy parents and children.

You also know that you are successful if, with time, a student auditions to study music in college and gets accepted. Or if a student ends up composing, or playing just for enjoyment, but does play well.

This is where experience does come into play, knowing that you are capable of doing a great service, but you won't know this until you see the rewards of your efforts, which does take some years.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

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#951797 - 02/15/09 09:56 PM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
 Quote:
Originally posted by Wayne723:
Betty,

You asked what I was thinking at the time? Honestly, it had nothing to do about piano instruction or teaching or even judging who is an exceptional instructor and who is not. Actually I will be presenting a training series for a well known and respected pest control company on The Value of the Service. Setting You Apart From the Competition. As part of my research I posted questions to other similar industry types, ie lawn care, wildlife trappers, cable companies. Since I frequent the Piano Forum, with interest as an adult student, I thought I would post the question and read the responses. There was no intent of judgment... just interested in the responses. I must say, the responses were very interesting.

My hats off to all instructors, private and public. Often times your interest and passion to provide the best instruction is not well received, or appreciated, by students. Everyone on this forum, as far as I am concerned, is better than average and most likely exceptional simply because you see answers to questions, from fellow instructors and are seeking ways to improve your teaching and help students. I deeply respect each and everyone here. [/b]
Hi Wayne,

I think understand now from your response to Betty. Are you talking about how us teachers handle the business/professional side of things in order to sell our "product" in the case it would be piano lessons?
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

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#951798 - 02/15/09 09:58 PM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
 Quote:
Originally posted by Wayne723:
Betty,

You asked what I was thinking at the time? Honestly, it had nothing to do about piano instruction or teaching or even judging who is an exceptional instructor and who is not. Actually I will be presenting a training series for a well known and respected pest control company on The Value of the Service. Setting You Apart From the Competition. As part of my research I posted questions to other similar industry types, ie lawn care, wildlife trappers, cable companies. Since I frequent the Piano Forum, with interest as an adult student, I thought I would post the question and read the responses. There was no intent of judgment... just interested in the responses. I must say, the responses were very interesting.

My hats off to all instructors, private and public. Often times your interest and passion to provide the best instruction is not well received, or appreciated, by students. Everyone on this forum, as far as I am concerned, is better than average and most likely exceptional simply because you see answers to questions, from fellow instructors and are seeking ways to improve your teaching and help students. I deeply respect each and everyone here. [/b]
Wayne,

I think I understand now from your response to Betty.

Are you talking about how us teachers handle the business/professional side of things in order to sell our "product" in this case it would be piano lessons?

And thank you for your kind words. I hope I didn't sound too gruff, but I did not quite understand your original post.

Sometimes I can act like my Avatar looks! Not quite getting it... No reflection on my teaching of course! \:\)
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

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#951799 - 02/16/09 05:42 AM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
Magz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 88
Loc: Illinois
Pianobuff,

I have deep respect for anyone who teaches, and does it well. To inspiring and guide someone to achieve a level of success is a gift that most people find difficult to do. There was a saying I recall... Everyone can instruct but only teachers inspire.

This post has taken a slight twist along it's journey. At first I just wanted to know how teachers measure themselves. A subjective question? Yes. Is there a standard to say what is exceptional and what is not? No, which is why I thought it would be an interesting topic for discussion.

Then a question came up and I guess I diverted to the business aspect of teaching, ie sales and marketing, which can be a separate topic of discussion.

"I hope I didn't sound too gruff, but I did not quite understand your original post."

No offense taken. Your responses show your passion for what you do. Nothing wrong about that. If I may ask, How long have you been a teacher and what do you find most enjoyable about teaching?

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#951800 - 02/16/09 10:27 AM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3239
Loc: Virginia, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Betty Patnude:


The sad fact is that so many students leave piano lessons before they have found the passion and the pleasure and the magic and the miracle.


Betty [/b]
When I was a young engineer with a manufacturing company (Fortune 35 at the time) it took me a long time to "get" customer focus. They sent me to all sorts of Quality Management training, but i had a hard time getting past the idea that as a smart engineer from one of the top universities I probably knew more than the customer about what he needed. It did sink in, eventually.

I'm alluding to a problem of definition here. Good teacher at doing precisely what?

I like Betty's paragraph. It gives us a meaningful and definable (though subjective) outcome by which we could judge teaching.

If, however, that is what the customer is looking for. And that may not be the case.

I would suggest it is the case for a minority of students, and then we could explore this idea further.

For the other students, the goal is different, and the measurement of success must be different.

Perhaps the teachers in the top 10% for one type are well under that mark for the other type.

It is off topic, but the observation itself, that so many leave before success, is telling. It is a hard journey, and not rewarding until a long way down the road. Is there a way to change that?
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#951801 - 02/16/09 11:46 AM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
1RC Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/06
Posts: 502
Loc: Alberta
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianobuff:
Either you have it or you don't. If you were not any good at what you do, why would you stick with it? Or how could you stick with it... You would be fired! The same holds true for piano teachers. If you're not any good, unless people just don't know any better, how in the world could you make a living at it, be happy, and be successful!

I guess we know that we're good teachers if our students stick with us for years on end and you have a full studio with happy parents and children.[/b]
I would argue that most people really don't know any better, and that somebody could do quite well while doing a mediocre job because of being charismatic. All because the average person doesn't really know mediocre work from the great stuff.

You could put three dance instructors in front of me and I would probably not know who's a better dancer, let alone be able to judge how well they could teach it.

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#951802 - 02/16/09 12:18 PM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13811
Loc: Iowa City, IA
This would be a pretty good definition of politics!

 Quote:
Originally posted by 1RC:
I would argue that most people really don't know any better, and that somebody could do quite well while doing a mediocre job because of being charismatic. All because the average person doesn't really know mediocre work from the great stuff.[/b]
_________________________
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#951803 - 02/16/09 01:19 PM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Wayne 723 and TimR:

I had said: "Hmmmm. Maybe the fact that the parent is getting this information one on one is too much pressure for them. "

Wayne723: To Betty
"My question to you is... are you selling or providing opportunities to buy? We realize that custoemrs don't like being sold but love to buy. We actually sell more business when we get customers to visualize the results through various purchasing options. Maybe this can work for you."

TimR: To Betty
"If, however, that is what the customer is looking for. And that may not be the case."

Thank you both!

I can see that the interview meets my needs but I'm again understanding that I need to consider making this a marketing target with selling points so that the bottom line is connection to move forward together.

Lately I've been missing the mark, where previously my interviews brought immediate connection and entry into the studio. It's like a whole new ball game out there in this economy and troubled times. Instead of aiming to comprehensive understanding of the stucture of my lessons and the organization of my piano teaching service business - I need to be focusing on easy entry - perhaps a trial period of 10 lessons - during which we learn about each other in an Introductory Program.

The information packet of year round study and the tuition payment plan could come at the end of 10 lessons.

During this initial time we would be learning about each other and what it feels like to have piano lesson commitments in the family schedule, the practicing requirement, and overall, the progress that has been made in 10 weeks. In other words, the free interview has now been replaced by the 10 lesson package as the starter.

I have given a free introductory lesson for beginners and transfer students for many, many years. I could change my strategy making it easy to step into the program and to live with it for a period of time before making a longer commitment for study.

Am I getting it? Is this practical? Does anyone see more options?

This topic has become quite helpful to me and given me something to seriously examine.

Betty

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#951804 - 02/16/09 02:53 PM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3239
Loc: Virginia, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Betty Patnude:
I could change my strategy making it easy to step into the program and to live with it for a period of time before making a longer commitment for study.

Am I getting it? Is this practical? Does anyone see more options?

This topic has become quite helpful to me and given me something to seriously examine.

Betty [/b]
I think we've had this discussion before. It entails the congruency of customer (parent) and teacher (service provider) goals.

I would guess that Betty is somewhat oriented towards helping a dedicated and talented student achieve true success, both technically and musically. Obviously not all of her students fit that pattern and she is likely skilled at dealing with the others, but that would be her prime focus.

I would also guess that today's average parent has no particular desire to have that happen. We put our children in piano lessons because the public school system has largely abandoned music education, and we think music should be part of a well rounded student's development, just like we think they all should have some math even if few become physicists or engineers.

I would wonder then if over time the proportion of students in category A vs B has shifted quite far to the latter. If so, that would explain Betty's recent results. The "Voice of the Customer" (that's a technical term from Lean Six Sigma, but you see what it means) has changed pitch.

Yes, I can see another option. You said "live with it for a period of time BEFORE making a longer commitment." Replace Before with Or. And treat the two groups of students quite differently.

If I had an interview with you, and you told me your teaching skills were so good that if my child put in X hours of work per day you could guarantee admission to a music conservatory, something no other teacher in a three state area could do, I'd be puzzled: why would I want that?

Or, I could be totally off base, it's happened before!
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#951805 - 02/16/09 04:00 PM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Thanks for the response, TimR!

Let me reply to: "If I had an interview with you, and you told me your teaching skills were so good that if my child put in X hours of work per day you could guarantee admission to a music conservatory, something no other teacher in a three state area could do, I'd be puzzled: why would I want that?"

That kind of talk from me does not exist - I don't say things I haven't delivered on - but I can see that recently how I handled the interviews didn't give them anything to latch on to as being instantly desirable.

Also, I usually say, take your time in choosing a teacher as the first teacher has a lot of responsibility for the basic foundation of your child's music possibilities.

My "old presentation" doesn't suit "today's customers". I think I would get better response by doing all acceptance, scheduling and payment up front from a website, which requires a financial transaction. Impersonal and non-threatening and certainly not time consuming on my part.

I've seen some sites like this and thought how "cold", but maybe that is what it has to be before it warms up to personal results such as progress, success and accomplishments and future committments.

You are helping me a lot - it's a "frame of mind". As Dr. Phil would ask, "How's that working for you, Betty?"

Betty

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#951806 - 02/16/09 04:28 PM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
Gerry Armstrong Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 214
Loc: Cumbernauld, Scotland
 Quote:
Originally posted by 1RC:
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianobuff:
Either you have it or you don't. If you were not any good at what you do, why would you stick with it? Or how could you stick with it... You would be fired! The same holds true for piano teachers. If you're not any good, unless people just don't know any better, how in the world could you make a living at it, be happy, and be successful!

I guess we know that we're good teachers if our students stick with us for years on end and you have a full studio with happy parents and children.[/b]
I would argue that most people really don't know any better, and that somebody could do quite well while doing a mediocre job because of being charismatic. All because the average person doesn't really know mediocre work from the great stuff.

You could put three dance instructors in front of me and I would probably not know who's a better dancer, let alone be able to judge how well they could teach it. [/b]
I agree, and that was kind of where I was coming from. While a good teacher will learn and develop with experience, having lots of experience in itself is not a true measure of how good a teacher someone is.

I have 1st hand knowledge of an experienced teacher who is far from being a good teacher despite years of experience and a full appointment book. In this particular example, it can be easily explained by a very simple line I was once introduced to by an extremely successful sales professional.

"Look the part and act the part, and you become the part."

In other words, the vast majority of people will assume that you are what you say you are and you know what you're doing if you believe it yourself, no matter how wrong you might be.

The reason that experience being mentioned always gets my attention as I often see it being used as a barrier to people who otherwise might make good or even great teachers, but they are made to feel that this isn't possible because they don't have the necessary "experience".

No amount of experience can make up for a lack of ability and skill.
_________________________
Gerry Armstrong

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#951807 - 02/16/09 06:01 PM Re: Ok Betty, John, Keiser and the rest of you professionals
Magz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 88
Loc: Illinois
Hey everybody,

I love the responses. Maybe not a typical post for this forum but wow, can't say it hasn't generated a variety of responses.

Gerry, Tim, K and RC1 good stuff. Thanks

Betty, our company has had very good success at obtaining new customers and retaining them for a number of years, by offering "trial" programs. We know that once the customer experiences our service we have them for awhile.

We just have to present a program that they are comfortable with. For example: Mrs. Patnude, I know you have been talking to other pest control companies, and service can get expensive. I want your business so here is what I will do for you. I will give you a full 90 day trial program to try. It includes full pest protection, including termite montoring, two seasonal applications, free callback service, should a problem develop, a customized service report with each service we provide and, if you are not satisfied with our work, I refund your introductory service fee.

Now what is my competition offering? A $500 - 600.00 yearly program based on a signed contract.

Who do you think gets more business?

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