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#954512 - 09/10/08 05:18 PM Re: Student wants to quit
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
 Quote:
Originally posted by Betty Patnude:
And, my 2 0'clock cancelled 5 minutes ago for her lessons today because they are going to the fair on a school district pass today.

There are always choices to be made.

I may or may not get the news in a timely way - but this represents today's society. I'm afraid 24 hour notice is a thing from another century.
[/b]
I hope you told them no money back and no make up
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#954513 - 09/10/08 05:41 PM Re: Student wants to quit
pianoexcellence Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 753
Loc: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
 Quote:
Originally posted by Betty Patnude:
I just had the same experience with the 5 minute idea 5 minutes ago in that I told an 8 year old 2nd grader to practice 5 minutes on one song, then to go back to the piano later and play a different song for 5 minutes.

[/b]
I've always enjoyed using that one too! I'm glad you brought this up Gary D
_________________________
Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs

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#954514 - 09/11/08 11:57 AM Re: Student wants to quit
AZNpiano Online   happy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5550
Loc: Orange County, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Chris H.:
I remember having the same dilema many times because we judge ourselves by the progress our students make. If it doesn't work out it is too easy to blame yourself. I guess I am still guilty of flogging some students way past their sell by date. I have a small minority who have been on death row for a while now. Perhaps I should take my own advice and let them go. [/b]
Ha, "death row"

I stopped blaming myself a long time ago. There are too many things we teachers can't control, and we shouldn't be judged by things we cannot control. I was reading this Newsweek article on this Korean-American teacher in inner city schools who worked 80-hour weeks to get her kids in shape. Congrats to her, but I doubt we can find many teachers willing to give up 80 hours per week to become stupendous teachers.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#954515 - 09/11/08 06:14 PM Re: Student wants to quit
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
I just lost a student today. The girl is 16 years old and late intermediate level. She has been with me for ten years now and has always been a bit of a plodder. Practice and progress have never been great but she has done enough to justify keeping her on and she never complained about piano.

Her mother called by my studio and informed me that she would no longer be coming. She (my student) couldn't really be bothered with it anymore. They had a friend over for dinner who had reached a similar standard as a child. This friend could no longer play anything at all. I think that is what made their mind up.

To be honest I am not that sorry. She was one of my 'death row' students! I did think it a little bit odd that after all those years this kid could not tell me face to face and at least acknowledge the time we spent learning. I guess it never meant that much to her.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#954516 - 09/11/08 09:18 PM Re: Student wants to quit
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

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

I feel your annoyance too Chris, you would think that someone in a musical relationship with a teacher would have the courtesy to express appreciation for what was significant and what was accomplished with the student. That cold phone call or e-mail that dissconnects them from you is impersonal and tunnel vision on their part.

It's too bad that we put so much time and effort into someone that is not appreciating our musical connection together.

I just said Goodbye to a student that has been with me the longest, since 2000, and just transferred into high school. The is a talented pianist and becoming a good percussionist at school. I know a percussion teacher was seeking her out last month for lessons, and they met at a band concert at the park and got acquainted. It will be a wonderful thing for my student because she wants to be a music teacher, probably in public school.

So she came to lesson (the first of the new school year) only to give her 30 day notice to me. I decided to accept her termination on the spot, and I returned her last payment made since she had not had lessons in the month of September. I thought it was easiest for both of us not to try to get through this month lessons.

The family are our friends from our long association, we will be meeting again as friends in the community, and I want them to feel good about their daughter's future.

So this was done as nicely as is possible, and we sat on the patio talking for an hour.

It is not a surprize to me over all, but it still is a disconnect that affects both of us.

Chris, you and I have been experiencing a lot in common this week.

I think it's marvelous that you can keep your students so long, and I've sure you had a lot to teach her, whether she was ready or not, or understood the legacy of piano lessons as relates to her.

Let's close the door softly.

Betty

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#954517 - 09/11/08 11:05 PM Re: Student wants to quit
Gary D. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
 Quote:
Originally posted by Betty Patnude:
I just had the same experience with the 5 minute idea 5 minutes ago in that I told an 8 year old 2nd grader to practice 5 minutes on one song, then to go back to the piano later and play a different song for 5 minutes.
It's amazing what 5 minutes can do!
 Quote:

This because she just had her 1 year anniversity, plays great, until recently when her Mom has been taking care of twin little boys, 2 and a half years old, and their mother who is fighting a life threatening disease. So the home is very busy now with lots of spontaneous interruptions. Five minutes will make a dent.
And keep her going, hopefully, until things are smoother.
 Quote:

If you can start to play for 5 minutes, maybe the thrill of it will help you continute without counting the minutes.

Kind of like, "gentlemen, start your engines".
Yup!
 Quote:

Then, I had one back out of lessons by email this morning, which would have started today, because he is very concerned about how he is going to fit homework, football and piano in. He had 5 lessons in the summer and showed lots of promise.
I'll bust my rear for my students, but they have to pay for the coming month the last week of the previous month, and I don't allow make-ups for same day cancellations except in really unusual circumstances. I was not so strict in the past, but I wish I had been.
 Quote:

And, my 2 0'clock cancelled 5 minutes ago for her lessons today because they are going to the fair on a school district pass today.
That's why I won't make up same-day cancellations.
 Quote:

I may or may not get the news in a timely way - but this represents today's society. I'm afraid 24 hour notice is a thing from another century.
You would be suprised to find out that people will still try hard to give you 24 hours notice if they will lose the money. I think you are too kind!
 Quote:

It has been very noticable that people are pulling out of lessons in my studio as I've just started school year lessons this week, after a 2 week vacation. It's the economics of life, and the major changes politically, and a Boeing strike affecting our area.
I have 36 students right now, I think, and it's the lowest number I've had at this time in years. Things are tough right now, and I hear about hard times from people I know in other countries. I do many things to try to take the financial strain off people. You just have to be careful that people are not taking advantage of you, not for overall economic reasons, but just because they are rude and have no respect for what you do.

For the most part, I think we all have to hope we will finally see a turn-around from the horrible problems we've been facing. For example, a neighbor no longer has a job because of the housing market here. He's an architect. No one is building homes now (relatively speaking), and he lost his health insurance (for his whole family) two months before he was officially laid off.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#954518 - 09/13/08 02:30 AM Re: Student wants to quit
lana_lang Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 45
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area, CA
Update:
I decided to let my student go, and I spoke with his mother today. The strange part is, she told me that he DOES enjoy piano, but didn't like taking lessons from me because "he didn't like how I compared him to another student" who is doing better than him, and that I "didn't give him enough praise". She plans to find a new teacher.

I never made such comparisons, and I did praise and encourage him when he was doing well or trying his best. I'm sad that he feels that way about me, and I don't know how it happend.

I know I did my best and should just move on. But because I'm new to teaching and these are some of my first students, I can't help but feel like I've failed somehow.

Have any of you ever had a student quit because they felt jealous/inadequate when compared to another student? How do you find the balance between praise and constructive criticism, especially when the student is not doing the assigned work?
_________________________
part-time piano teacher for 1.5 years

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#954519 - 09/13/08 02:50 AM Re: Student wants to quit
AZNpiano Online   happy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5550
Loc: Orange County, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by lana_lang:
I decided to let my student go, and I spoke with his mother today. The strange part is, she told me that he DOES enjoy piano, but didn't like taking lessons from me because "he didn't like how I compared him to another student" who is doing better than him, and that I "didn't give him enough praise". She plans to find a new teacher. [/b]
Lana:

Don't feel so bad! If that student were studying with me, he'd quit in two weeks. I compare students, too, not in a "you're horrible" manner, but in an objective "he does it this way, she does this part better" way. In fact, if you don't make any comparisons, it's kinda hard to point out the differences. For example, when you demonstrate the piece, isn't the student supposed to "compare" the way he plays versus the way you play??? Isn't that comparison?

If a student quits because he isn't getting enough "praise," then he will have a REALLY tough time in the workplace when he grows up.

Some children are more sensitive than others. It is important to gauge their sensitivity, but, at the same time, don't completely pander to them. They still need to learn. When learning isn't possible anymore with you, then it's time for him to move on.

Good call!!
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#954520 - 09/13/08 03:00 AM Re: Student wants to quit
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
And some parents are more sensitive than others too. Notice how it was his mum that made these comments and not your student. She was just reacting to the fact that you will no longer teach him.

When they start with their new teacher they will say how bad you were and that is why he can't play. Then in a few months time the new teacher will be facing the same problem that you no longer have!

Don't take it personally. Next week when you don't have to teach him you will feel so much better. Fill that time slot with someone who wants to do it.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#954521 - 09/13/08 04:12 AM Re: Student wants to quit
Gary D. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
 Quote:
Originally posted by lana_lang:
Update:
I decided to let my student go, and I spoke with his mother today. The strange part is, she told me that he DOES enjoy piano, but didn't like taking lessons from me because "he didn't like how I compared him to another student" who is doing better than him, and that I "didn't give him enough praise". She plans to find a new teacher.
Good riddance!

You are dealing with a mother who is looking to blame everyone in the world for problems she is creating herself.

Pity the next teacher, who will get nothing but headaches from dealing with the woman.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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