Please forgive the non-teacher here, but I've a dilemma and am hoping for a good outcome all around.

I had an introductory lesson with a new teacher yesterday and, although I really liked both him and what he offered to teach me, I'm not sure I can go back for lessons with him.

The good: he approached the piano from an angle I hadn't addressed before - different attitude toward theory (lots of chord/ harmonic studies - fascinating to me). He's a pro performer and improviser and, although teaches "traditional" lessons, will also get me going on a little "cocktail" style piano for fun. He was the first teacher I have had that talked about, and corrected, hand positions, arm weight, posture, etc. He's very close to my job, reasonably priced, and quite personable. I really liked him!

The not so good: pets. Specifically cats.

I love pets. I always have had a dog and deal with the shedding. A little pet hair never hurt anyone. I'm not a germiphobe or clean-freak; at home I dust surfaces I see once a week (I'll thank you not to look at the top of my refrigerator) and ignore it the rest of the time. Clutter's no problem as long as you eventually find what you're looking for.

But in this case the catbox odor, while not quite enough to knock a ferret over, would certainly give one pause. The animals had free reign of the studio and the fur was quite thick in places. When I got home, I had to change clothes because my own dog couldn't get enough of this smell-o-rama and wouldn't leave me be.

The last teacher I had had a studio cat too, that would park itself on top of the table containing your sheet music, chew on your books, and bite when you tried to move it off. Or nest in your coat that was on a chair, leaving lots of long, fine fur behind. I'll admit that I generally prefer cats at a distance, I'm a dog person and I know some folks just don't care for dogs. Different strokes.

Am I being too picky? Are studio pets the norm? We have a very small teacher pool here and it's relatively difficult to find someone competent, with open studio time spots, who wants to take on an adult student.

But, now that you've listened to me complain, what to do; I need to let the man know my decision soon. The gentleman doesn't offer in-home lessons and I certainly am not going to tell him his home reeks, or should I be honest and tell him? I feel that's being presumptuous on my part; I'd be very upset should someone tell me my housekeeping's not up to their standards.

I have read another thread about students being resistant to being switched from in-home to in-studio lessons and in my case would be happy to pay a little more to study with this man at home and not for reasons of my convenience.

I apologize, this got much longer than I intended, but I would appreciate your thoughts.


Collector of sheet music I can't play.

Chickering & Sons Quarter Grand (age TBD; currently under restoration)
Casio Privia PX-160