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#1554112 - 11/09/10 03:58 AM Re: rant about phone call [Re: Nikolas]  
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Originally Posted by Nikolas
Originally Posted by Ann in Kentucky
I've since decided to associate with people who are kind and supportive, and keep my distance from someone like this.
That's 51% of the nature of networking. Sadly the other 49% is dealing with anyone who deals with remotely anything to do with music... frown (honestly I'm sadden by this, but too personal to discuss... :()

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#1554565 - 11/09/10 09:09 PM Re: rant about phone call [Re: Elissa Milne]  
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Originally Posted by Elissa Milne
While it is best to remain unaffected by those around us we would be verging well into the autism spectrum to not find ourselves feeling a range of emotions as we go through our lives.


Well, true, but there's no need to over react.

It was a natural question from someone outside the field. And an honest though ill informed reaction once she heard the answer.

Yet the level of emotional arousal here does not seem in balance with the actual interaction.

I suspect it is because not everybody has come to terms with the idea of exchanging art for filthy lucre - of actually running piano teaching as a service business. Everytime the discussion here turns to pay issues, whether collecting late payments, raising rates, charging friends, etc., there seems to be some discomfort.

I would probably laughed with her and just told her that's how the local market had shaken out. Rural areas might charge less, urban cost of living areas more. It's called capitalism.

For what it's worth, I just paid $100/hour to take a trombone lesson. Why does he charge that much? Because he's worth it? Well, he is, but that's not the only reason why. It's because people are willing to pay it.


gotta go practice
#1554629 - 11/09/10 11:38 PM Re: rant about phone call [Re: Overexposed]  
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It's a matter of perspective.

Some people find it offensive to have someone tell them they are stealing from people when they charge for their services. That makes complete sense to me.

I wouldn't be judging people's sense of offense too harshly in this context: piano teachers don't even make an average wage and yet they operate with a high level of professionalism and expertise. The response from the community ranges from a high level of gratitude and respect through to a disdainful perception of the piano teacher as glorified nanny. To have a stranger ask for one's help and then be met with accusations of being a leech can be confronting.

You suggest that part of the emotional mix is a discomfort with the idea that piano teaching is actually a business. In my opinion that's absolutely right.

I think it's also about society not valuing teachers. I think it's also about the struggle to be perceived as a serious professional. I think it's about the frustration of someone with no training or experience thinking they are equipped to participate in the profession while publicly badmouthing others in the field.

It's complex. And the fact that people feel strongly won't be overcome by admonitions to calm down.


Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
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#1554649 - 11/10/10 12:35 AM Re: rant about phone call [Re: Overexposed]  
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Elissa, on the off chance you are referring to my admonition to "calm down" that was meant wholly and totally tongue in cheek. Of course Ann and you and others have the complete right to be steamed over the belittling comments. Here's an icon for you: [Linked Image] or [Linked Image] or even [Linked Image]


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
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#1554739 - 11/10/10 06:38 AM Re: rant about phone call [Re: Overexposed]  
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I haven't been here for a while, and frankly I'm a bit surprised this is still such a hot topic.

As John says above, those offended do indeed have every right to be steamed - but.....why STAY steamed? Seriously.

The comment came from someone who hasn't got a clue. She doesn't know what she's talking about.

Sure, it was irritating and offensive, but what good does it do you to hold on to the anger and irritation? None whatsoever.

Let it go, it is a waste of YOUR PRECIOUS energy to stew over it.

Learn from it, decide what you might do in the future, but I quite seriously, and very respectfully, suggest that staying steamed is worse than useless, it is damaging.




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#1554950 - 11/10/10 03:14 PM Re: rant about phone call [Re: Overexposed]  
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John, I wasn't thinking of you at all!!!

casinitaly, I don't think any posts have been about the OP for a while in this thread; I think it has been people trying to give lessons in zen to those they judge to be emotionally immature.

My point is that the steamed-up posts in this thread *now* are posts telling people to chill out/grow up/get over it.

In my experience telling people what they should be feeling is a pointless exercise, and judging people's feelings is definitely a waste of precious energy. How about just appreciating that everyone is at a different place in terms of their sense of identity as a teacher, and while some teachers work in communities where they are valued and respected, others struggle to be taken seriously as professionals. And that's deeply frustrating. And no doubt teachers will need to vent about some new version of this thread's story again in the future.


Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
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#1555049 - 11/10/10 05:36 PM Re: rant about phone call [Re: Overexposed]  
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For what it's worth, I am no longer steamed over the situation. I'm likely to run into this woman next Tuesday and I feel no animosity. Just a certain guardedness and desire to just mind my own business.

The question came up about whether posters overreacted to this story of the rude caller. What I can say is at the time of the call I maintained composure. My way to deal with the anger I felt after the call was to post here on PW. And the discussion that followed was helpful.

So an offensive incident occurs, I feel angry after the call ends, I post about it, get perspective and a plan for how to deal with similar situations in the future. Emotional reactions happen. But at least I didn't have an outburst like the woman who called me.

casinitaly, I agree that it is harmful to hang on to anger. But it can also be helpful to take a glance back at what just happened, and briefly discuss it as a way to cope. I too am surprised that this thread is still alive though, but I have to admit I've gotten a kick out of it. smile

#1555101 - 11/10/10 06:35 PM Re: rant about phone call [Re: Overexposed]  
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I now realize that what I wrote sounded like it was directed at the OP, when what I MEANT was that in general "when this sort of thing happens, you (as in anyone, all of us) feel upset and angry" and that holding on to anger isn't good for anyone. I could have expressed myself better.

I guess I was being as "zenny" as the others, trying to warn of the evils of holding on to anger - simply because I've been there and done that and then regretted the total waste of time and energy. It is a hard lesson to learn, and if you are (if one is smile ) sensitive (and I certainly can be over the top sensitive at times!) - it is easy to be offended and riled up.


Anne, you're perfectly right - discussing what happened, whether it is a vent or just a question of "hmmmm what do you think about this" - is a great coping strategy.I'm a firm believer in venting in a "safe" place - it helps avoid serious problems, can help you regain some perspective, and heck, it just feels better to say "I can't believe someone said that to me, can you?"


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#1555140 - 11/10/10 07:19 PM Re: rant about phone call [Re: Overexposed]  
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Hi Cheryl, I didn't take your post personally. Just chiming in. Good to hear from you!

#1555386 - 11/11/10 05:55 AM Re: rant about phone call [Re: Overexposed]  
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Hi Ann, .... I'd rather err on the side of being careful and cautious than take the risk of giving offense.
I've seen too many threads on too many forums go sour because people wouldn't (or couldn't) be attentive to how others were responding to their words.

I'm glad you didn't feel singled out!

I think we all have a lot to contribute and though I'm not a piano teacher, I do teach freelance and one of the best things I got from this thread was the post about our fees not being "wages"...... so many people just don't get that, and it is something that we do sometimes have to transmit - delicately perhaps, but we do need to deliver that message.



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#1556208 - 11/12/10 01:19 PM Re: rant about phone call [Re: Overexposed]  
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Ann, this may sound weird but when I read your post I assumed it meant "it's highway robbery" on the part of the students to be getting so much from a teacher for so little money. In my neck of the woods, $15 for 30 minutes is about half the going rate for an average teacher. Are you certain she wasn't being critical that your rates were too low?


Best regards,

Deborah
#1556283 - 11/12/10 02:54 PM Re: rant about phone call [Re: Overexposed]  
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Hmm. Yes, I'm positive. But if it comes up again, I could turn the tables on her. Say something "Oh, no, I don't feel my students are robbing me. But you can certainly charge more if you would feel you'd been robbed if only charging the going rate." LOL!

#1557025 - 11/13/10 08:01 PM Re: rant about phone call [Re: Overexposed]  
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Here, as opposed to there
At $15 the only robbery is that being done by whomever is paying for the 30 minutes.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $

#1557049 - 11/13/10 08:53 PM Re: rant about phone call [Re: Overexposed]  
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Sorry but these discussions never cease to amaze me. This is a free country, bastion of capitalism. She has the right to "open shop" for whatever price she pleases. Your professional organizations have not lobbied for the "certification" of piano teachers, thus everybody and their uncle could theoretically do it. Let her hang her shingle.. she will get the students who deserve her. What you need to do is maintain high standards and provide the best service and education you can to your own students. If they leave you to go to the pseudo-teacher, they either can't identify quality teaching, in which case they will get what they deserve, or you are not doing a good enough job to deserve to be paid tuition at appropriate market value, in which case you need to figure things out (and of course I am far form implying anything negative about your teaching)..

By the way, yes 15 dollars for 30 minutes is far from robbery (it would be called a pittance around here) and you know it. The lady in question need not matter... Ignore her.

#1558966 - 11/16/10 01:02 PM Re: rant about phone call [Re: Overexposed]  
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YIKES! I TOTALLY misread the librarian's meaning. It was all a MISUNDERSTANDING. I saw her today at the music club meeting. I was polite but busied myself talking with someone else.

Then I overheard the librarian saying where she was from lessons cost a lot more than they do here. (!!!) She went on to say that teachers charged $60 an hour for lessons in the middle east (where she has spent the last 8 years)...and also that lessons cost more in Philadephia where she lived before that.

Deborah/gooddog was right!

Just thought I'd give this update. All this discussion and it turned out to be based on a misunderstanding.

#1558984 - 11/16/10 01:26 PM Re: rant about phone call [Re: Overexposed]  
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Originally Posted by Ann in Kentucky
YIKES! I TOTALLY misread the librarian's meaning. It was all a MISUNDERSTANDING. I saw her today at the music club meeting. I was polite but busied myself talking with someone else.

Then I overheard the librarian saying where she was from lessons cost a lot more than they do here. (!!!) She went on to say that teachers charged $60 an hour for lessons in the middle east (where she has spent the last 8 years)...and also that lessons cost more in Philadephia where she lived before that.

Deborah/gooddog was right!

Just thought I'd give this update. All this discussion and it turned out to be based on a misunderstanding.


So by "highway robbery" she meant on the part of the students, not the teachers?


private piano/voice teacher FT

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#1559001 - 11/16/10 01:52 PM Re: rant about phone call [Re: Overexposed]  
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Oh that's great news, Ann!


~Stanny~

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#1559004 - 11/16/10 01:55 PM Re: rant about phone call [Re: Overexposed]  
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People so often speak knowing what they mean but not realizing it sounds completely different to the other person - because the other person is not 'in on' the speaker's thoughts! smile

Ken


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#1559023 - 11/16/10 02:38 PM Re: rant about phone call [Re: Overexposed]  
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Yes, Morodiene, she meant the teacher is getting robbed.

Thanks Stanny! I am delighted!


#1559068 - 11/16/10 04:02 PM Re: rant about phone call [Re: Overexposed]  
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Phew!!! Librarians are cool after all!!!

[ALL the librarians I've ever known have been super fabulous, amongst my favourite people!!]

Ann, I know you are charging considerably more than $30 an hour, but even so, does this new slant on things make you think you should raise *your* rates???!!!!


Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
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#1559160 - 11/16/10 07:16 PM Re: rant about phone call [Re: Overexposed]  
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Elissa, I have been increasing my rates a little each year. But, yes, this gives me confidence to go ahead with the next fee increase. And yea for librarians who I have always liked also.

Last edited by Ann in Kentucky; 11/16/10 07:19 PM. Reason: spelling
#1559264 - 11/16/10 10:05 PM Re: rant about phone call [Re: Overexposed]  
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I like to say thank you for everyone who participate in this thread about highway robbery. I learned a valueable lesson here. I am glad that after all things turn out good. Thank you!


English is my 4th languages, please excuse my grammar. Thanks
#1559961 - 11/18/10 03:27 AM Re: rant about phone call [Re: Elissa Milne]  
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Originally Posted by Elissa Milne
Phew!!! Librarians are cool after all!!!

[ALL the librarians I've ever known have been super fabulous, amongst my favourite people!!]
I SO MUCH AGREE WITH THIS! I've never met a 'bad' librarian thus far in my life!

Quote
Ann, I know you are charging considerably more than $30 an hour, but even so, does this new slant on things make you think you should raise *your* rates???!!!!
Agreed here as well. As I said things in Greece are more than what Ann seemed to charge per 30 minutes... Although old student might be taking a lower fee raise, the new ones should go directly to the new pay rate I think. This is what I do actually (since slowly I'm discovering what fantastic teacher, person, composer, pianist, blah blah I am. laugh boyahahaha). No, but really, I have older students who pay around 30$ per hour and others who pay 50$ per hour or more. It would be weird for the 30$ to get them to 50$, but for the new ones they don't seem to mind at all! wink

#1559993 - 11/18/10 05:50 AM Re: rant about phone call [Re: Overexposed]  
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Can a word be said about professionalism in this discussion? It is an ongoing problem in both our professions for the same reason - no standards are set and "anyone" can do it in some fashion. $40 or $50 / hour is a professional rate. A good teacher will have a full background in piano and music, and knows the things being taught - hopefully will also know how to teach. That teacher is probably also preparing for each student's lessons in various ways, upgrading his/her own skills, finding new ways of teaching when problems come up. In any field a professional is expected to do more than the minimum, and often does work which is not counted in their paid hours. When the wage earner sees it's 5:00 s/he leaves and calls it a day.

Others will not have that background either in piano / music or pedagogy, or both. They may do no preparation, grab the first method book or random piece, and their teaching may consist of saying "that's wrong - watch me" (and maybe even give a poor rendition in worse case scenario). Is that person justified in charging the same rates? And if they do, does that make them "professional"?

It is right that the librarian thinks Anne deserves to be paid what her work is worth. But when this librarian finds students, will she have the same attitude - prepare the same way, and have something to offer a student? If she doesn't, will that student later have to go through major rehabilitation with another teacher as the dread transfer student - and possibly quit? I'm still back at the original observation, that she only asked "How much?" and not "How? (to teach)"

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