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Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: P.M.] #2027247
02/05/13 03:23 AM
02/05/13 03:23 AM
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Canada
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Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: LoPresti] #2027248
02/05/13 03:23 AM
02/05/13 03:23 AM
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Orange County, CA
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Originally Posted by LoPresti
Not making fun of anyone, but the Starbucks idea did capture my imagination . . . and let us not forget Google . . .

I've googled potential clients before. What's wrong with that? The last two students' parents googled me before they came to have lessons with me. Believe it or not, it is done, not as an invasion of privacy, but a matter of research.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: P.M.] #2027265
02/05/13 05:03 AM
02/05/13 05:03 AM
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Well I must say this is all completely new to me. I'm sorry but the idea that a psychopath who meant to harm someone would do so by booking a piano lesson just seems too far fetched. For a start you even have a contact number for them because you have spoken on the phone to begin with. There must be easier ways for them to go about this. Not to mention the fact that at some point you will have to let them into your home in order to start teaching them, what then?

The biggest problem I have with meeting in public is that I can't imagine doing a consultation lesson without having a piano to use. As far as I'm aware Starbucks don't have one.

I think it's very sad that people feel this way but if it really bothers you there are some practical steps you can take to minimise the risk. Not taking adult students is one of them. Like I said you can turn away anyone who shows up without a child for a start. You could set up CCTV and make your students aware that they are being watched. Tell your neighbour when you are teaching and ask them to listen out for anything out of the ordinary or maybe even be around for that first meeting. Also ask lots of questions on the phone, you can tell if someone is serious about lessons even at this stage. But you won't eliminate the risk altogether, I'm afraid it goes with the territory for teachers who work alone out of their own home.


Pianist and piano teacher.
Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: P.M.] #2027294
02/05/13 07:44 AM
02/05/13 07:44 AM
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It's not a totally ridiculous idea - anyone who is a sociopath will use any excuse to find a victim - request to view a house and get the estate agent alone, etc, etc. For a new adult student I make sure my husband will be at home. PM, can you have a friend or neighbour around for the first lesson? After the first lesson, you have to trust your instincts. Either they are into piano, or they're not.


Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: currawong] #2027314
02/05/13 09:13 AM
02/05/13 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by currawong
Originally Posted by adak
Is the OP really small? If not, a normal or big person could always fight the student if they are dangerous.
Are you kidding? I don't know about anyone else, but I've never had a physical fight in my life. Who knows what I could do if my life were actually threatened, but to say that I "could always fight the student if they are dangerous" seems pretty far-fetched to me.


No problem. Spring loaded fallboard. Push a button and WHAM! then they're trapped while you call the cops.


gotta go practice
Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: P.M.] #2027323
02/05/13 09:34 AM
02/05/13 09:34 AM
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There were times I wasn't sure about meeting a new male adult student. It is a concern for women. I did let my husband know, and made sure he was in the home when I met the new student. Could you possibly bring a male friend with you to the first lesson? They could wait out in the car and once you get in and see what things are like you can text them at an agreed-upon time to let them know all is OK. I would even go so far as to say, "I have my friend waiting for me in the car - you can never be to careful these days!" or something like that.


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Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: P.M.] #2027325
02/05/13 09:36 AM
02/05/13 09:36 AM
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Australia
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I go to teach in the homes of total strangers. Often on the back of nothing more than an email, or maybe a phone call. Never been a problem, nor do I anticipate it ever being one.

If I worried too much about things like that, I would probably never leave the house.

It is entirely possible, that more members of the public, have suffered at the hands of piano teachers, than the other way round laugh


Rob
Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: Chris H.] #2027326
02/05/13 09:40 AM
02/05/13 09:40 AM
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Boynton Beach, FL
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Originally Posted by Chris H.
Well I must say this is all completely new to me. I'm sorry but the idea that a psychopath who meant to harm someone would do so by booking a piano lesson just seems too far fetched. For a start you even have a contact number for them because you have spoken on the phone to begin with. There must be easier ways for them to go about this. Not to mention the fact that at some point you will have to let them into your home in order to start teaching them, what then?

The biggest problem I have with meeting in public is that I can't imagine doing a consultation lesson without having a piano to use. As far as I'm aware Starbucks don't have one.

I think it's very sad that people feel this way but if it really bothers you there are some practical steps you can take to minimise the risk. Not taking adult students is one of them. Like I said you can turn away anyone who shows up without a child for a start. You could set up CCTV and make your students aware that they are being watched. Tell your neighbour when you are teaching and ask them to listen out for anything out of the ordinary or maybe even be around for that first meeting. Also ask lots of questions on the phone, you can tell if someone is serious about lessons even at this stage. But you won't eliminate the risk altogether, I'm afraid it goes with the territory for teachers who work alone out of their own home.


Perhaps because you are not a woman you can't relate to the fact that we do have something to fear. Most of us cannot defend ourselves nor appear threatening, and if we are trying to make a living at teaching, it's not easy to turn away prospective students. I have to be cautious walking from my studio which is locked form the outside at night to my car parked 50 feet away. I don't live in paranoia, but I do have to be cautious, because if I'm not the consequences could be deadly.

Yes, listen to your gut instincts on the phone interview, which should be somewhat extensive. If you have a weird feeling about the student, DO NOT set them up for a lesson. I've learned to listen to my instincts on this.


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Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: P.M.] #2027336
02/05/13 10:22 AM
02/05/13 10:22 AM
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Morodiene, I can fully relate to your fears. In the same way that I'm sure you can relate to the fact that male teachers might feel uncomfortable being left alone with female students and of course children. There is a slight risk, yes. But in the scheme of things piano teaching isn't up there on the list of risky occupations.

Besides, all the concerned so far have been about women teachers finding themselves alone with an unknown male student. I get that bit. But the OP specifically stated that they were advertising lessons for children so presumably they would never find themselves in that situation.

I would be interested to hear from the OP on the responses so far and whether or not they feel that there has been much practical advice given in this thread other than scaremongering and stories of students turning up on drugs. I would be surprised if they don't go and rip their posters down in fear.


Pianist and piano teacher.
Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: AZNpiano] #2027352
02/05/13 11:04 AM
02/05/13 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by LoPresti
Not making fun of anyone . . . and let us not forget Google . . .

I've googled potential clients before. What's wrong with that? The last two students' parents googled me before they came to have lessons with me. Believe it or not, it is done, not as an invasion of privacy, but a matter of research.

But -- but -- AZN,

The "research tool" is SEVERELY flawed! A close friend if mine, known for 30 years, shows up as owning and managing a corporation in the mid-West, as an individual designer of advanced heating systems, and as a professor of Macro-Economics at an Ivy League university. In fact, he is NONE of those things, nor has he ever been!

Why wouldn't an intelligent and thinking individual like you use personal references? They have worked well for a few thousand years.

Ed



In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.
Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: catpiano] #2027353
02/05/13 11:05 AM
02/05/13 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by catpiano
This might be weird, but I google every single one of my students/students' parents before I contact them...


You teachers do know that your prospective students are googling you as well, don't you?


Learner
Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: P.M.] #2027355
02/05/13 11:14 AM
02/05/13 11:14 AM
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Yes but it's usually quicker and more informative for them to look at our websites.


Pianist and piano teacher.
Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: Morodiene] #2027356
02/05/13 11:15 AM
02/05/13 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
. . . Could you possibly bring a male friend with you to the first lesson? They could wait out in the car and once you get in and see what things are like you can text them at an agreed-upon time . . .

And I thought we agreed: NO TEXTING during lessons!
(Is that a gerund?)

OOPS! Wrong thread . . .


In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.
Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: LoPresti] #2027363
02/05/13 11:35 AM
02/05/13 11:35 AM
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UK
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Originally Posted by LoPresti
Originally Posted by Morodiene
. . . Could you possibly bring a male friend with you to the first lesson? They could wait out in the car and once you get in and see what things are like you can text them at an agreed-upon time . . .

And I thought we agreed: NO TEXTING during lessons!
(Is that a gerund?)

OOPS! Wrong thread . . .
Ed?

You're grounded! A second time a similar joke!?!?!

You're grounded! grin

Really though...

I'm a big male, as I mentioned earlier, so I can't really relate, but in these cases just trust your instincts and use some common sense... Don't meet with a total strange in the woods for a first lesson! Just make sure your husband, boy friend, etc are there in the next room...

BTw, the last thing I expect would be to turn this thread into a gun related thread.

OOPS!

(For the record, I think that everything to be said on the subject has been said and I'm making a little fun, but not in the expense of anyone but myself! I hope this is clear)

Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: Chris H.] #2027367
02/05/13 11:51 AM
02/05/13 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris H.
Morodiene, I can fully relate to your fears. In the same way that I'm sure you can relate to the fact that male teachers might feel uncomfortable being left alone with female students and of course children.


Humans as a group are not very good at evaluating real risk as opposed to perceived risk.

We are fearful of things that have low likelihood of happening, and ignore those which really do pose a risk.

Except for people who frequent high crime areas, purchase drugs, etc., attacks by strangers are all but unknown.

That doesn't stop us from fearing them! We aren't very rational creatures, as you can tell from the flu shot thread.

It would be perfectly reasonable to advertise that you teach only students between the ages of 6 and 18. That should rule out most of those you fear.

And to stay safe: wear a seat belt, drink in moderation, don't smoke, get some exercise, use sun screen, get the flu shot.

And by all means have legal insurance. You are FAR more likely to have child slip on your stairs and sue successfully.


gotta go practice
Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: Nikolas] #2027379
02/05/13 12:16 PM
02/05/13 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Nikolas
Ed?

You're grounded! A second time a similar joke!?!?!

You're grounded! grin ...

Hi Nikolas,
Originally Posted by LoPresti
. . . OOPS! Wrong Forum . . .

Originally Posted by LoPresti
. . . OOPS! Wrong thread . . .

It is a developing theme, not simple recapitulation.

Anyway, I accept my punishment like a Man. KeyString has been trying to ground me (or otherwise silence my ramblings) for a very long time.

Ed


In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.
Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: LoPresti] #2027410
02/05/13 12:52 PM
02/05/13 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by LoPresti
KeyString has been trying to ground me (or otherwise silence my ramblings) for a very long time.

I respond to posts. No, that has not happened. Censoring takes many forms including making people appear silly.

Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: keystring] #2027412
02/05/13 01:00 PM
02/05/13 01:00 PM
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Los Angeles, California
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Get one of those dummy cameras mounted on the wall like they have in some mom+pop shops. They usually have a red light that blinks (which draws their attention to the fact that there's a camera watching/recording them). That makes them think twice about trying anything.


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Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: PianoManChuck] #2027632
02/05/13 07:46 PM
02/05/13 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by PianoManChuck
Get one of those dummy cameras mounted on the wall like they have in some mom+pop shops. They usually have a red light that blinks (which draws their attention to the fact that there's a camera watching/recording them). That makes them think twice about trying anything.
Should I risk derailing the thread any further and ask what on earth a "mom + pop shop" is?


Du holde Kunst...
Re: Screening Suspicious Sounding "Students" [Re: P.M.] #2027635
02/05/13 07:48 PM
02/05/13 07:48 PM
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Down Under
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Originally Posted by P.M.
While this may sound paranoid, I am looking at this realistically and would really appreciate some advice on what to do if I get a call from someone who sounds suspicious.
And in answer to the OP, if something sounds sus to me, I steer clear of it.


Du holde Kunst...
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