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Payment etiquette (tipping)
#1949959 08/27/12 04:26 PM
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I just had my first lesson in over 30 years! I am extremely excited but also uninformed on certain aspects of being a piano student again.

is tipping your instructor appropriate? Is it expected?

Thanks,

Jonathan

Last edited by Jonathan Alford; 08/27/12 07:25 PM. Reason: Title change
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Re: Payment etiquette
Jonathan Alford #1949985 08/27/12 05:08 PM
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I remember reading this topic long ago when I was a lurker on the forums.

I think the general consensus was no, but a small gift never hurts (not all the time, at least for me - I'd be uncomfortable!). But you may want to do a search.

Of course I always appreciate the small handmade things students bring me more than Starbucks Giftcards...

Re: Payment etiquette
Jonathan Alford #1949986 08/27/12 05:10 PM
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I accept Starbucks gift cards wink.

Some of my students bring me a small gift at Christmas and after our June recital, but it's in no way expected.

Practicing is way better than tipping!

Last edited by LadyChen; 08/27/12 05:12 PM.
Re: Payment etiquette
Jonathan Alford #1950005 08/27/12 05:50 PM
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Usually a small gift at the end of each semester. I've received everything from starbucks cards to plants to handmade items. I guess Chocolate is my favorite!


~Stanny~

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Re: Payment etiquette
Jonathan Alford #1950014 08/27/12 06:14 PM
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Lately, I've been giving my teacher tomatoes from the garden.
We have had so many I've been giving them to everyone I know.


Learner
Re: Payment etiquette
Jonathan Alford #1950018 08/27/12 06:33 PM
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Oh Yum, what a thoughtful gift!


~Stanny~

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Re: Payment etiquette
Jonathan Alford #1950207 08/28/12 02:56 AM
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I got potatoes freshly dug from the garden of a student. They were wonderful!

Re: Payment etiquette
Jonathan Alford #1950229 08/28/12 05:41 AM
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In lieu of tipping, why don't you just voluntarily increase the tuition and tell your teacher "You're awesome"?

I have one student whom I've taught for eight years, and he has never given me one present, not even for Christmas.


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Re: Payment etiquette
Jonathan Alford #1950246 08/28/12 07:00 AM
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I tip my hairdresser and my waitress, but not my doctor or lawyer.

It's not a matter of relative incomes, but of trade vs profession. And custom, of course.

Piano teachers? Profession, I would think, so no tipping.


gotta go practice
Re: Payment etiquette
Jonathan Alford #1950274 08/28/12 08:33 AM
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I occasionally tipped and generously.. kind of surprise. i was undercharged and my teacher was underpaid. I hope he is doing better these days.


accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)
Re: Payment etiquette
Jonathan Alford #1950305 08/28/12 09:19 AM
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I've given my teacher gifts of desserts, wine, and cash as a thank you at the end of the season. After I did my exam I sat and writer her a long note about my experience of the whole thing and brought desserts to celebrate the fact that I survived! She also teaches my 2 kids so the thank you is from all of us.

She is very appreciative of everything and seemed almost embarrassed by the cash in the card. But I don't yet know her well enough as to what gift card would be appropriate so cash it was.

I think she was most touched though by my long note about my exam and her help in preparing me for that..


Coming back after a long while.
My recent Recordings: Faber
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Re: Payment etiquette (tipping)
Jonathan Alford #1950527 08/28/12 05:08 PM
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I wouldn't recommend tipping. However, providing a thoughtful gift around holiday time is nice. Practicing, being prepared for lesson, and not asking for numerous reschedules (which get turned down, anyway) make the biggest gifts of all to a teacher! smile


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Member NGPT, MTNA/TMTA/PMTA, NFMC/SJFMC
Re: Payment etiquette
TimR #1950660 08/28/12 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by TimR
I tip my hairdresser and my waitress, but not my doctor or lawyer.

It's not a matter of relative incomes, but of trade vs profession. And custom, of course.

Piano teachers? Profession, I would think, so no tipping.


Exactly my thoughts... I think a gift would be nicer. If possible, find out what he/she really likes... smile



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Music is my best friend.


Re: Payment etiquette
Jonathan Alford #1950664 08/28/12 11:17 PM
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Agreed. Practicing regularly and consistently, remember to bring all repertoire we're working on to lesson, having the courtesy to inform me if you know you can't make it to a lesson, paying tuition on time and saying thankyou at the end of each lesson is better than adding $50 to each quarterly invoice but doing none of the above.

That said, it is a really lovely gesture to offer a small gift or card with a thoughtful message inside at christmas time - especially if the teacher has gone out of their way for you.

Re: Payment etiquette
Jonathan Alford #1950665 08/28/12 11:20 PM
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It sounds like our poster is going to have lessons only occasionally, and perhaps pay cash. I suppose such a situation might invite tipping more readily than the periodic-billing and pay-by-check-or-credit-card procedures more common among us here.

Nevertheless, I'm with Tim. A tip would make me feel uncomfortable and unprofessional.

The one thing I think we can all agree on in answer to Jonathan is that no, a tip is certainly not expected.


Re: Payment etiquette
Jonathan Alford #1950800 08/29/12 07:28 AM
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Thanks everyone - sounds like a gift is really appreciated and tipping is uncomfortable for most,

AZNpiano mentioned giving my instructor a voluntary increase in tuition. Would that make you uncomfortable?

Jonathan

Re: Payment etiquette
Jonathan Alford #1950842 08/29/12 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Jonathan Alford
Thanks everyone - sounds like a gift is really appreciated and tipping is uncomfortable for most,

AZNpiano mentioned giving my instructor a voluntary increase in tuition. Would that make you uncomfortable?

Jonathan


This would not make me uncomfortable. But if you're considering giving a voluntary increase in tuition, I would guess that your teacher is undercharging.

Re: Payment etiquette
Jonathan Alford #1951100 08/29/12 05:11 PM
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I have one family who always gives me more than the quarterly invoice. Initially they gave me $20 over, + now they give me $50 over. I think it's a really nice gesture. I was a bit embarrassed initially though, & think gifts are a little less awkward.

My mum has a student who always gives her $10 per lesson over her set fee & same thing - initially she was embarrassed but now she appreciates the sentiment.

Re: Payment etiquette
TimR #1951148 08/29/12 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by TimR
Piano teachers? Profession, I would think, so no tipping.


Yes, piano teachers are professional, so, no tipping, but a small gift would be fine.


Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
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Re: Payment etiquette
Jonathan Alford #1951481 08/30/12 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Jonathan Alford


AZNpiano mentioned giving my instructor a voluntary increase in tuition. Would that make you uncomfortable?

Jonathan


It certainly would. It is an implicit statement that you are more knowledgeable than your teacher about his or her profession and tuition rates. It's well-meaning yet condescending.

Unless your teacher is a clueless amateur at piano teaching, don't do it.



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