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#958436 - 08/31/07 09:05 PM How much notice to give?
Mile Hi Steve Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/08/07
Posts: 150
Loc: Denver, CO
What's a standard or reasonable amount of notice to give a teacher when you think it is a good time to end lessons?

Assuming there is no written or verbal agreement, which there is not.

Reason I am asking is my teacher requested a month's notice after I said I think it is best to end lessons. I can do a month if that is reasonable/standard but I was thinking 2 weeks was more reasonable.

Thanks for any feedback.
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Previously known as NorwegianForest a long long time ago right here in this very forum.

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#958437 - 08/31/07 09:14 PM Re: How much notice to give?
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

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

Since it's not stipulated how much notice be given you need to be clear now about when you intend to leave.

I require 30 day notice for termination, and it is part of a signed contract. It is important for me to end on a pleasant note, to finish what we were working on musically, and to talk about what was accomplished. It also prevents a hasty retreat when the student is upset over something.

Since the teacher is also a mentor (I believe this) we must give each other time to make amends or to sever the relationship objectively. Many emotional things set people off to ending their music study abruptly - it would be better to avoid that - and it can be avoided with goodwill towards each other.

I hope you are not leaving with unspoken dissatisfaction with your teacher. It helps us as teachers to become better teachers if problem areas become identified and resolved. The biggest job we have before us as student and piano teacher is the ability to communicate well and to enjoy our time together.

Good luck! Do you have other plans?

Betty

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#958438 - 08/31/07 09:34 PM Re: How much notice to give?
Stanny Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 1461
If you don't have a written agreement, I think 2 weeks is sufficient.

I have a semester tuition that is due at the beginning, with no refunds. So if they want to quit before the semester is up, they have already paid.
_________________________
~Stanny~

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

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#958439 - 08/31/07 09:39 PM Re: How much notice to give?
sarabande Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 1597
Loc: Mo.
Well, if your teacher did not have any type of agreement or policy for this written down, the teacher can't as well hold you to that. However, if that is your teacher's wish and you would like to end on a good note without ill-feelings it would probably be best to go along with the 30 day request. It could be difficult for a teacher to fill a slot in only 2 weeks time as well.

Most teachers probably would at least like to have had the full month paid from whatever time you give notice, so if you were to stop lessons now being the first part of September, then your teacher was probably already counting on a months worth of income for Sept. from your lessons rather than the two weeks.

If you would like to stop lessons and not come for the full 30 days, then one idea would be to still pay for the 30 days and just not continue.

Then again, it is up to you to be the judge if the teacher had no written policy or had stated such a policy at the beginning or during lessons. I think I've heard some teacher who want 30 days, some 2 weeks. But I think most don't want to be "shortchanged" the full monthly fee, for example, only pay for the first 2 weeks of Sept. and then quit, unless notice was given the middle of Aug.

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#958440 - 08/31/07 09:51 PM Re: How much notice to give?
Mile Hi Steve Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/08/07
Posts: 150
Loc: Denver, CO
Oh yeah Sarabande that is a good point, I always prepay the entire month at the beginning of the month, and it was the last week of August that I gave my intentions of leaving, so it was actually the last week of that period. Now in order to give a month or two weeks notice I have to begin another monthly period and so that's why I'm wondering should I prepay two weeks or all 5 (Sat's) in Sept.
_________________________
Previously known as NorwegianForest a long long time ago right here in this very forum.

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#958441 - 09/01/07 06:54 AM Re: How much notice to give?
Candywoman Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 823
It's probably best to pay for the 5 weeks in September.

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#958442 - 09/01/07 09:23 AM Re: How much notice to give?
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
It depends on your reason for leaving and the relationship you have with the teacher (or the relationship you would like to have in future maybe).

On one hand, you are not obliged to give any notice at all. Many of us have found over the years that it is up to the teacher to make things clear and have policies in place for such things. As your teacher did not inform you of the notice period and there is no written policy, there is no reason why you should pay another penny if you don't wish to.

On the other hand, you might have genuine reasons for leaving which don't involve any ill feeling. You may get on well with this teacher and want to stay in touch with them in the future. If you don't want to upset them then go along with the months notice.

I don't have a notice period. I do charge up front for the month and make it clear that no refund will be given if lessons are finished before the end of that month. For this reason, if a student decides to finish lessons because it isn't working out they will often do so in the final week. I can understand this as the lessons during that notice period can be very awkward and uncomfortable (maybe this is what you have done?). In fact I would prefer it this way. I have to say that this is quite rare and usually I can see it coming. Most students finish lessons because they are moving away or going to college or I have recommended that they go to another teacher. In this case you know exactly when they will be going for quite some time.

If you really don't want any more lessons and you feel they would be awkward but also feel bad about leaviung the teacher in the lurch you could find a compromise. How about writing to them explaining that you will no longer be coming and enclose payment for a couple of lessons anyway?
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#958443 - 09/01/07 10:46 AM Re: How much notice to give?
AJB Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/05
Posts: 3655
Loc: Surrey, England
Good advice from Chris. Adrian
_________________________
S&S Hamburg D, Yamaha CLP 280


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#958444 - 09/01/07 02:26 PM Re: How much notice to give?
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7200
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Teachers order supplies, assuming a certain student load. For example, I have a bulk subscription to "Piano Explorer," a magazine for piano students. This is but a small example. Recital expenses are another. In other words, teachers have made financial commitments based on having a given student enrolled in the studio through a period of time. When the student leaves early, the teacher is caught holding the bag.

Many years ago, when I was new in the profession, I learned that parents could come up with a thousand reasons to end lessons in May, rather than have their child stick with it through the end of the term. So like many have noted, having students tuition paid at the beginning of the month is a step in the right direction. Having a 30 day cancellation notice in your studio policies adds reinforcement.

If you are communicating with students and parents, most likely, there will never be a surprise, but the best prevention is to have it covered in your studio policies, and then be ready to enforce it. Only once in the past decade, have I had to resort to "strong arm" tactics with a parent, but the student left with no notice, and I had to contact the parent and remind them of their agreement and drop the name of the "collection agency" which would be used should they insist on not paying. The check came in 48 hours.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#958445 - 09/01/07 02:48 PM Re: How much notice to give?
sarabande Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 1597
Loc: Mo.
I do feel if teachers aren't given much notice before the end of the month is up, for example, at least notifying a teacher 2 weeks before the end of the month is up, the teacher is most likely already counting on the next months tuition for income. If you were going to stop taking lessons the end of Aug., it would have been better to notify the teacher by the middle of Aug. rather than the last week. But as has been mentioned if there is no policy then the teacher can't expect anything. If you decided to pay for Sept. then paying 4 lessons should probably be sufficient as that's what's typically in most months.

Perhaps write a nice letter of what you have liked about lessons and what you have learned and if you feel you shouldn't pay anymore leave it at that. The very least I would like from students who are quitting is to end on a mutually positive note. It's sort of hard if a student/family drop off into oblivion without giving notice or telling you there are leaving, etc. One of my first and best students and still friends of our family stopped taking lessons for softball and never returned to lessons after softball without even saying they weren't planning on returning. It sort of made me feel sick as I would have liked to offer some words of encouragement to the student or a proper "going away" maybe with a little gift or something and I'm still unsure the reason they quit except for to guess the student was getting really busy in too many activities and the family was needing to cut back on spending/commitments with 3 kids in lots of activities perhaps. I think either the parent did not have the heart to tell me or was too busy to ever call. It leaves things in a very ackward note and feels a little ackward when we see them although I did write the student a very nice note of how I appreciated her as a student and wished her the best in future endeavors.

Anyway, my point is whether how much to pay or how much notice when there is no policy, the main thing is to try to end on a mutually good note rather than for a student/family to just drop off without saying anything at all.

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#958446 - 09/01/07 02:54 PM Re: How much notice to give?
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10739
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I think 30 days' notice is standard business practice, even if there is nothing in writing. Most contracts require 30 days to cancel in writing (such as a lease), and as pointed out before, a teacher depends on income at the beginning of each month, usually. If you give them 2 weeks notice and their mortgage payment is due on the 1st of the month (when they'd be expecting your payment), that can really leave them in a lurch! Granted, their problems, but I would honor their request for 30 days.
_________________________
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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#958447 - 09/01/07 04:23 PM Re: How much notice to give?
sarabande Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 1597
Loc: Mo.
I remember reading several other threads in the past since I have been on the forums where teachers have written that a student quit lessons in the middle of a month and only paid for those lessons that they had come for leaving the teacher with the feeling of being "shorted" for that month. The teachers in these situations felt badly about the student dropping without paying the remaining 2 weeks especially in those situations where the students and families had been with the teacher long-term and were thought of as good students. The teachers experience of such students only paying partial lessons they came for in that month they quit had left the teachers with an ill-filling which had previously otherwise been a positive working relationship with the student and family.

Just food for thought.

I think if one is to quit by the end of the month, then at least 2 weeks notice should be given that one won't be returning the next month meaning notice should at least be given 2 weeks before the end of the month is up. If one waited until the last week of the month to give notice, then it would be better to pay for the full next month (whether one choose to take those lessons or not would be up to them).

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#958448 - 09/01/07 06:22 PM Re: How much notice to give?
Mile Hi Steve Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/08/07
Posts: 150
Loc: Denver, CO
Thanks for all the feedback. Several people mentioned that sometimes piano teachers downright recommend that a student would be better served by a different teacher. My teacher has hinted and prodded at this several times over the past few months. So I'm mainly taking her advice, after I thought about it and I agree.

I went to my lesson today at the usual time, ready to talk to her and do whatever she thought was fair, whether it be 2 weeks or 4 weeks, or whatever.

She didn't show up, so now it remains to be seen what I will do, but that's one week down, heh heh.
_________________________
Previously known as NorwegianForest a long long time ago right here in this very forum.

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#958449 - 09/02/07 08:07 PM Re: How much notice to give?
AJB Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/05
Posts: 3655
Loc: Surrey, England
The general response from piano teachers has been a bit inward looking.

If people want to be treated like business professionals, then they MUST have proper contracts. A piano teacher that has no contract has no leg to stand on when a student quits.

If the teacher did a no show then the relationship is over and notice periods are irrelevant.

Next time, find a teacher with enough professionalism to have a contract with you.

And the way you terminate a business relationship is a matter for your own consience and self respect. Do the right thing and you will look back on your life without regrets.
_________________________
S&S Hamburg D, Yamaha CLP 280


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#958450 - 09/02/07 08:22 PM Re: How much notice to give?
Mile Hi Steve Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/08/07
Posts: 150
Loc: Denver, CO
 Quote:
Originally posted by AJB:

If the teacher did a no show then the relationship is over and notice periods are irrelevant.

Next time, find a teacher with enough professionalism to have a contract with you.

And the way you terminate a business relationship is a matter for your own consience and self respect. Do the right thing and you will look back on your life without regrets. [/b]
Well I certainly agree, as far as being prepared to do the right thing. I wasn't sure what the right thing was a few days ago, so that's why I wanted to check with other people's opinion. But after I got some advice I was prepared to work with the teacher another month. But then she didn't show up and didn't return a call, so I think it's over now. Unless I find out later she was in some sort of nuclear war or something.
_________________________
Previously known as NorwegianForest a long long time ago right here in this very forum.

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