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#1267701 - 09/13/09 07:09 PM Students Birthdays...do you do anything?
michiganteacher Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 71
Loc: Michigan, United States
Do any of you keep track of your student's birthdays? Do any of you do anything to celebrate?

You are all brilliant, by the way...I have truly enjoyed this forum since that life-changing day I heard about it... smile
Jessica S.

Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
#1267724 - 09/13/09 07:33 PM Re: Students Birthdays...do you do anything? [Re: michiganteacher]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Hi Michiganteacher! Welcome to Piano World, Jessica!

Yes, I've always given birthday cards and small gifts to the kids on their birthdays. If they happen to come for lesson ON their birthday, I do a little bit more for them.

Some years, it's been a square foil container of frosted brownies for them. This year I've been giving out $5 cards to "Dairy Queen" where they have a 4 items off a special menu for $5 - a kid could go wild there! For older kids with me for a few years, the "Essential Music Dictionary" honors their growing musicianship for about $5.95. It was an even better bargain when it was $4.95! Remember, we get 10% discounts in most retail music stores. A new piece of music is a nice gift, I think.

Last year I found 2 large ceramic gray squirrels at the garden shop and gave them to my October and November birthday girls both about age 8. They had been working on music with "Squirrels" in the the title. When I went to one of their homes at Christmas last year, this very real looking squirrel had a place of honor in their living room table! That's how good it looked - but it cost about $6 on close out sale, I think. Those girls are still with me.

Being creative, and cost-conscious, we often can feed our desire to be heartfelt and spontaneous with our students. Their celebrations in life are my celebrations too for as long as I know them. For some, they are really getting to be older people now since I've been teaching for 38 years. It's amazing how many remember something I gave them that made a difference to them. And, of course, they give back sometimes too, and those are the gems of presents I've received. It's just a nice thing to be able to do celebrations with each other, I think.

My budget for gift giving is spent from the Registration Fees I collect annually to assist me with the operation expenses and management of my studio. I charge parents $35 per year.

I also do little mementoes and hand written notes to them at recitals.

It's nice to meet you!

Betty Patnude

#1267778 - 09/13/09 08:48 PM Re: Students Birthdays...do you do anything? [Re: Betty Patnude]
michiganteacher Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 71
Loc: Michigan, United States
Thanks Betty...very sweet and interesting response! This is my first year teaching out of my own studio (I have taught for years in other's studios), and I am trying to develop nice, personal traditions. I have already bought cute birthday cards featuring a couple cuddly cats playing the piano, but wondered what others have done beyond that. I love the idea of homemade brownies...heartfelt, personal, and popular! I also collect an annual registration fee that allows me to afford such things. Thanks again for your quick and thoughtful response!
Jessica S.

#1267848 - 09/13/09 11:06 PM Re: Students Birthdays...do you do anything? [Re: michiganteacher]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
I play "Happy Birthday" for them on the piano! They always want to learn how to do it for their friends and family.
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

#1268316 - 09/14/09 07:51 PM Re: Students Birthdays...do you do anything? [Re: Minniemay]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7639
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Hi Michigan Teacher,

Another welcome! I have a dear friend who lived in Novi for years but moved west a couple of years ago. And just so you know, I graduated Michigan, but that was back in the dark ages when Bump Elliot was still head coach (hint - before Bo)!

About birthdays - I keep track of their birthdays, but generally other than giving birthday well wishes, I don't do anything.
"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

#1268364 - 09/14/09 09:19 PM Re: Students Birthdays...do you do anything? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Mrs.A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 155
I do not acknowledge birthdays but I think it is a very good idea.

This is a little off topic. Our neighborhood is a favorite for trick-or-treaters. Many of the neighbors give out big treats and the houses are old and historic. We have little ghosts lined up 6 thick at the door. For several years now I have served mulled cider and invited piano families and neighbors to come in and warm up while trick-or-treating. Even the older students stop in for a visit. We end up with a house full on Halloween. It has turned into a nice tradition.
Piano Teacher.
Church Music Director.
Kindermusik Instructor.
Mom to four boys.

#1268365 - 09/14/09 09:21 PM Re: Students Birthdays...do you do anything? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
michiganteacher Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 71
Loc: Michigan, United States
Thanks for the welcome, John! That's interesting that you graduated from Michigan...I think it's a great school. And I'm also finding that Novi is a wonderful place to teach - great schools, dedicated parents, healthy music community, and a bit wealthier, too.
Jessica S.

#1268366 - 09/14/09 09:24 PM Re: Students Birthdays...do you do anything? [Re: michiganteacher]
michiganteacher Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 71
Loc: Michigan, United States
Mrs. A - that is a really nice tradition! Almost all of my students live within a mile of my house, so that would be something nice to try this year. Thanks for mentioning!
Jessica S.

#1268438 - 09/14/09 11:32 PM Re: Students Birthdays...do you do anything? [Re: michiganteacher]
Roxy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/19/08
Posts: 478
Loc: Whittier, Calif
I don't do anything special for their birthday other than maybe have a little munchie of something for them that is edible. I give treats to all at the fall/Halloween Recital. And give them each a Christmas gift at the Christmas Recital. When the June Recital comes at the end of the year, I give trophies and other awards or gifts, certificates and achievements for different things I have observed during, the year, like most consistant, most improved, ect. I feel that they are acknowledged enough with the other recitals that it is enough. I do give little cards, notes and other little incentives seperately as well if I notice they have prepared extra hard on something and achieved it.

#1268573 - 09/15/09 08:21 AM Re: Students Birthdays...do you do anything? [Re: Roxy]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
Yes, I recognize them. Every kid wants to hear "happy birthday" on their special day. I have a selection of music themed gifts (inexpensive ones from Friendship House) and I let them choose something from it. I have "bent-cils", erasers, bookmarks, pencil pouches, ornaments, etc....Nothing costs more than a dollar. I get ornaments after the holidays, but give them out all year. The kids tell me they hang them in their rooms.
Playing it for them is a neat idea too smile
It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

#1269001 - 09/15/09 09:35 PM Re: Students Birthdays...do you do anything? [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
Stanny Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 1461
Well, I was born in Michigan, if that counts for anything!

I keep track of student birthdays, but I don't do anything special right now except to play Happy Birthday and sing to them.

Independent Music Teacher
Certified Piano Teacher, American College of Musicians

#1280492 - 10/04/09 11:32 AM Re: Students Birthdays...do you do anything? [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
musiclady Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/19/05
Posts: 431
Loc: Toronto, Canada
I usually get them a little something music-related, but what depends on the student and how long they've been with me. Maybe a music pen/pencil set, a small piece of music jewellery, or an fun, but inexpensive music or music puzzle book.

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

#1280630 - 10/04/09 04:30 PM Re: Students Birthdays...do you do anything? [Re: musiclady]
Diane... Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/16/06
Posts: 3462
Loc: Western Canada
Oh man, kids LOVE their birthdays! And if I happen to forget their birthday, they will remind me! Actually, it is important to acknowledge their birthdays I've come to discover! Important for the relationship for some reason. Bonding, or something like that!

So to answer the question, yes, I wrap "glow sticks" in birthday paper for each student and give it to them on their birthday! ! (costs a dollar from the dollar store). Also, regardless of age, each student will learn how to play "Happy Birthday" so when their birthday shows up, they will play it for me! Except those students who have birthdays are in September.

Personally, I'd rather NOT do anything for the student and just leave it! But for some reason, this seemingly unncecessary task, is a BIG ONE!
Jazz/Blues/Rock/Boogie Piano Teacher

#1280655 - 10/04/09 05:01 PM Re: Students Birthdays...do you do anything? [Re: Diane...]
lalakeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/05/06
Posts: 286
Loc: Chicago 'burbs
Most of the time if a student's scheduled lesson falls on their birthday, they will want to cancel (which is o.k. with me as long as they let me know in advance). On the rare occasion when a student actually shows up on their birthday, we have a "lesson party"--spending most of the time playing music theory games and fun duets.

I generally don't give birthday gifts, because I wouldn't want anyone to feel left out. But I agree that kids appreciate us making some kind of a fuss (and many adults do, too!)
Private piano & voice teacher for over 20 years; currently also working as a pipe organist for 3 area churches; sing in a Chicago-area acappella chamber choir

#1280734 - 10/04/09 07:09 PM Re: Students Birthdays...do you do anything? [Re: lalakeys]
Barb860 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 1654
Loc: northern California
I have a "prize box" in my studio that kids get to pick from on their birthdays and when they complete a method book. "Prizes" are music-themed book marks, plastic key chains, pens, pencils, erasers, etc. A local music store here sells this stuff for 50 cents and up.
Piano Teacher


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