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#2042046 - 03/02/13 10:30 PM Re: dead beats [Re: AZNpiano]  
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Barb860 Offline
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by Kreisler
As regards contacting the other teacher, I still feel it's perhaps best to remain silent unless asked for an opinion. If a teacher I didn't know well called me to tell me a transfer student was one month late on payment, I'd have a hard time deciding whether they were just bitter and whining about it or if they did indeed have solid business practices and were truly jilted by their clients.

I disagree with this view. Clients come and go, but colleagues more-or-less stay for the long haul. I think it is important to establish a good rapport with local colleagues and "team up," in a way, to combat problems that we share. It is especially true if the other teacher belongs to the same organization like MTAC (and in the same branch, no less).


I got the impression that Kreisler agrees with you, that teachers within an organization support each other, and he suggested I join one for this reason.


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#2042074 - 03/03/13 12:36 AM Re: dead beats [Re: Barb860]  
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Yes. I would only discuss a client with another teacher I knew well. I would never discuss a client with someone I did not know well. It just seems the courteous thing to do.

In the context of a professional organization, such a discussion seems more appropriate. Outside of an officially professional context, discussing a client seems impolite.

My suggestion also comes from the fact that I live in a smaller community. If I alerted other teachers about a client who didn't pay and they denied that client service, I can see a scenario where that client would inform their friends that I had them blacklisted because my makeup policies were inflexible and they were a few weeks late on a payment. My actions could be 100% true and justified, but word of mouth is a powerful thing, and bad press has a habit of ruining people even if the truth exonerates them. (Just ask any of several politicians!)


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#2042259 - 03/03/13 12:01 PM Re: dead beats [Re: Barb860]  
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Barb, the gray situation you have encountered is not one that would be helped by joining an association of music teachers. In essence, you *have* joined one, and it's PW, and our opinions differ.

There's no clear policy on what to do when a student's family runs into a rough patch of life. Or has financial setbacks. Or becomes less smitten with piano lessons. Or hears that another teacher might be more enticing.

We just all muddle through these things, trying neither to hurt anyone nor hurt ourselves.

#2042265 - 03/03/13 12:08 PM Re: dead beats [Re: Peter K. Mose]  
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Originally Posted by Peter K. Mose
Barb, the gray situation you have encountered is not one that would be helped by joining an association of music teachers. In essence, you *have* joined one, and it's PW, and our opinions differ.

There's no clear policy on what to do when a student's family runs into a rough patch of life. Or has financial setbacks. Or becomes less smitten with piano lessons. Or hears that another teacher might be more enticing.

We just all muddle through these things, trying neither to hurt anyone nor hurt ourselves.


Very well said, Peter!


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#2042429 - 03/03/13 05:55 PM Re: dead beats [Re: Barb860]  
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That fact remains that the parent signed an agreement and needs to honor it.


B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano
#2042630 - 03/04/13 01:23 AM Re: dead beats [Re: Barb860]  
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The fact remains that contracts are broken all the time in the real world and teachers need to realize it. In many Western countries even a significant majority of all marriage contracts are broken.

Originally Posted by Kreisler
...discussing a client seems impolite.

My suggestion also comes from the fact that I live in a smaller community. If I alerted other teachers about a client who didn't pay and they denied that client service, I can see a scenario where that client would inform their friends that I had them blacklisted because my makeup policies were inflexible and they were a few weeks late on a payment. My actions could be 100% true and justified, but word of mouth is a powerful thing, and bad press has a habit of ruining people even if the truth exonerates them. (Just ask any of several politicians!)


+1

Sometimes you need to take the high road and choose your long term success over extracting blood in the short term.

#2042696 - 03/04/13 06:17 AM Re: dead beats [Re: Barb860]  
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Unfortunately I think you will find that people like this will bad mouth you anyway in an attempt to cover up their lack of progress and real reasons for teacher hopping.

I've had countless transfer students in the past who start off by telling me how bad the previous teacher was or how inflexible they were. I don't pay much attention anymore as after a few weeks it becomes apparent that they just don't practice or want you to reschedule every other week. When they move on I have no doubt they say the same things about me but so far have never had any problems getting new business.

Most of the teachers I know don't particularly like spending their time constructing policies to protect them against people who take advantage. We would rather get on with the business of teaching. But we do need to make a living from this.

By the sounds of it Barb was not being inflexible as she had already offered make up lessons which they failed to show up for (or pay for). If there was something about her teaching style that they did not agree with then they should have said rather than keep booking lessons and then cancelling them. Whatever their situation is being honest is not that difficult. I have read this thread again and can't see where Barb had threatened them with a rigid policy or made any attempt to 'extract blood'.


Pianist and piano teacher.
#2042798 - 03/04/13 12:09 PM Dead beats [Re: theJourney]  
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Originally Posted by Barb860
I feel that I should inform this new teacher of my situation but want to keep things professional.

In other professions, it is a common professional courtesy to inform other members of the profession about potential or chronic problems with clients.

Originally Posted by theJourney
What better way to give a clear and unambiguous message to a teacher that they were worth less than what they were charging than to withhold partial payment?

Seriously? Kidding, surely?? Such oblique messages might be common in the world of children.

The "clear and unambiguous" way to convey such a sentiment is to SAY exactly that, and hopefully face-to-face.


In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.
#2042820 - 03/04/13 12:55 PM Re: Dead beats [Re: LoPresti]  
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Originally Posted by LoPresti
Originally Posted by theJourney
What better way to give a clear and unambiguous message to a teacher that they were worth less than what they were charging than to withhold partial payment?

Seriously? Kidding, surely?? Such oblique messages might be common in the world of children.

The "clear and unambiguous" way to convey such a sentiment is to SAY exactly that, and hopefully face-to-face.


I agree with you.

Unfortunately, that is not the way consumers are trained to think and act these days. Especially, if the basis of a mutually beneficial and respectful relationship was not lain. If the relationship is there, the respect and the money will be too.


#2042829 - 03/04/13 01:32 PM Re: Dead beats [Re: Barb860]  
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If you attached a lien to their house, you might get their attention. The cost of such action might be greater than what they owe you, but why let people get away with stealing from you?


Gary
Essex EUP-111 at the mountains
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#2042879 - 03/04/13 03:07 PM Re: dead beats [Re: Barb860]  
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"now...this family is shopping for a new piano teacher. An acquaintance of mine told me that she received a call from them and will agree to an interview.... do you share regarding former students' bill paying delinquency? I feel that I should inform this new teacher of my situation but want to keep things professional..."

I guess you're somewhat between a rock and a hard place, Barb. The greater profit for you is to devise a means to prevent such losses, and distressful waste of your time, in the future (a signed work agreement and clearly-stated studio policy). I guess continuing to invoice them for several more months would not cost much time or money. If you can contact them by phone and determine what the problem is, that may settle it as long as you don't count on hearing the bankable truth spoken. Other than that, I would cut my losses if I were you.

It seems to me that you do want to have a talk with the new teacher, and I don't really know why not, other than the possibility of talk in the backchannel (which is pretty much inevitable, no matter what you do or don't do). If your motive is to protect the other teacher, but not to assassinate their character, it seems fairly harmless. If you wish to unburden yourself of your feelings about this, do it with someone you know better, and trust.

Anyway, they are gone from your studio, so be glad for that. Requesting a reference from a former teacher may turn such types around, for the future. Or, if you're that curious, you can check the credit history of prospects... though I would imagine that structuring your payment schedule to prevent significant exposure would be the better way.

"...What better way to give a clear and unambiguous message to a teacher that they were worth less than what they were charging than to withhold partial payment?..."

Now that's just insulting--- in both directions. It is not profitable to put the worst construction on a bad situation, without really knowing.


Clef

#2042902 - 03/04/13 03:56 PM Re: dead beats [Re: Jeff Clef]  
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update:

this morning I received an email from the students' parents, stating they had left a check for $ owed under my front porch mat. Got it. The note apologized for the lack of communication during the past several weeks.







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#2042907 - 03/04/13 04:03 PM Re: dead beats [Re: Barb860]  
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Originally Posted by Barb860
update:this morning I received an email from the students' parents, stating they had left a check for $ owed under my front porch mat. Got it. The note apologized for the lack of communication during the past several weeks.


Great Barb!!
Maybe they read this thread!


Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
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#2042931 - 03/04/13 05:03 PM Re: dead beats [Re: Barb860]  
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Glad it turned out well. It is amazing how many people will allow someone else to walk all over them. Calling someone out when they do something wrong is totally appropriate (but our culture is going down the tubes with political correctness!)


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#2042944 - 03/04/13 05:41 PM Re: dead beats [Re: Barb860]  
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The Monkeys Offline
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Originally Posted by Barb860
update:
this morning I received an email from the students' parents, stating they had left a check for $ owed under my front porch mat. Got it. The note apologized for the lack of communication during the past several weeks.


Just curious, did you do something to make them pay? Or they just made the payment on their own?

#2043098 - 03/05/13 12:01 AM Re: dead beats [Re: The Monkeys]  
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I sent them a letter restating our agreement from 2 years ago when they started lessons.


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#2043102 - 03/05/13 12:08 AM Re: dead beats [Re: Barb860]  
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Good job. A snail mail letter or an email?


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#2043104 - 03/05/13 12:14 AM Re: dead beats [Re: bzpiano]  
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Snail mail.


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#2043121 - 03/05/13 01:46 AM Re: dead beats [Re: Barb860]  
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Originally Posted by Barb860
I sent them a letter restating our agreement from 2 years ago when they started lessons.
What?!?!? No Mafia goons to cement their feet in the river?

No letters with parts of magazines (to avoid detection) warning them that they'll be looking the roots of the flowers if they don't pay.

No voodoo magic, or regular black magic?

Nothing?

grin

(Of course I'm kidding and this is just another way of showing that sometimes snail mail is MUCH better than anything else! Honestly!)

#2043290 - 03/05/13 11:05 AM Dead beats [Re: Nikolas]  
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I know it is in "your part of the world" -- Have you been visiting the town where my father was born?


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#2043293 - 03/05/13 11:22 AM Re: dead beats [Re: Nikolas]  
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Originally Posted by Nikolas
Originally Posted by Barb860
I sent them a letter restating our agreement from 2 years ago when they started lessons.
What?!?!? No Mafia goons to cement their feet in the river?

No letters with parts of magazines (to avoid detection) warning them that they'll be looking the roots of the flowers if they don't pay.

No voodoo magic, or regular black magic?

Nothing?

grin

(Of course I'm kidding and this is just another way of showing that sometimes snail mail is MUCH better than anything else! Honestly!)


LOL, very true. However, I have also been in similar situations where they never did respond to letters and phone calls, and it was no small sum that was owed.

I'm glad it worked out for you this time, Barb.


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#2043674 - 03/06/13 01:20 AM Re: dead beats [Re: Barb860]  
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Originally Posted by Barb860
update:

this morning I received an email from the students' parents, stating they had left a check for $ owed under my front porch mat. Got it. The note apologized for the lack of communication during the past several weeks.



That's great news. Who knows what kind of personal issues were going on?

Send them a handwritten note reflecting positively on the two years you taught their children and let them know that if -- as their circumstances may change again -- they want to return in future they are welcome, if there is space in your studio. Keep them on your Christmas Card list.


#2043677 - 03/06/13 01:26 AM Re: dead beats [Re: Barb860]  
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For me, digital=free (e.g. imslp.org) and paper=quality (e.g. Henle and your editions, such as the excellent "Piano Stories for Piano 4 Hands" by Nikolas Sideris).

There are already distributors that specialize in digital formats and that have their own sales, distribution, display and protection schemes worked out, such as musicnotes.com (and probably others that specialize in classical). You might work with one of them as distributors on the digital front and keep concentrating on what you do very well now without having to make those investments.

#2045002 - 03/08/13 11:50 AM Re: dead beats [Re: theJourney]  
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Originally Posted by theJourney
Originally Posted by Barb860
update:

this morning I received an email from the students' parents, stating they had left a check for $ owed under my front porch mat. Got it. The note apologized for the lack of communication during the past several weeks.



That's great news. Who knows what kind of personal issues were going on?

Send them a handwritten note reflecting positively on the two years you taught their children and let them know that if -- as their circumstances may change again -- they want to return in future they are welcome, if there is space in your studio. Keep them on your Christmas Card list.



Personal issues? Highly doubt it. She presented them with their agreement and they figured out correctly that they were caught. Send them a Christmas card or note? Really???? I would let it go and not contact them again. After she was treated the way she was, you want her to write that they could return. Gosh! I don't allow someone back in my studio when I have been treated with disrespect. Parents could have (I am sure) cared less about the two years. If they did, she would not have been treated badly.


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#2045265 - 03/08/13 10:15 PM Re: dead beats [Re: Barb860]  
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"...this morning... they had left a check for $ owed under my front porch mat... The note apologized..."

"...That's great news. Who knows what kind of personal issues were going on?..."


A timely thought, thinking which there is often room to allow the benefit of the doubt. There are so many cases that need it! They may deserve it or they may not, but it helps keep my blood pressure from pegging the gauge.

Raising dead beats back into live beats is an impressive--- and near miraculous--- feat. I congratulate you, Barb. Also for communicating with the dead without a seance or even a channel. Their ears may have been hot as a stove, and they knew not why (or maybe they do read this forum; we don't know). Yet, as they searched their conscience, they resolved to make right this oversight, out of all those that there must have been.

I allow great credit for those who rectify sins of omission. This one may seem small, compared to what I see on TV every day. But I'll tell you, these venial sins add up, and from this end of my life, Judgement Day doesn't seem that far off. I would like to think, that when the time comes, piano teachers who have gone on before would be standing at St. Peter's elbow, saying, "Go easy, he paid the piano teacher's bill and left a nice note."


Clef

#2045340 - 03/09/13 02:40 AM Re: dead beats [Re: bmbutler]  
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Originally Posted by bmbutler
Originally Posted by theJourney
That's great news. Who knows what kind of personal issues were going on?

Send them a handwritten note reflecting positively on the two years you taught their children and let them know that if -- as their circumstances may change again -- they want to return in future they are welcome, if there is space in your studio. Keep them on your Christmas Card list.



Personal issues? Highly doubt it. She presented them with their agreement and they figured out correctly that they were caught. Send them a Christmas card or note? Really???? I would let it go and not contact them again. After she was treated the way she was, you want her to write that they could return. Gosh! I don't allow someone back in my studio when I have been treated with disrespect. Parents could have (I am sure) cared less about the two years. If they did, she would not have been treated badly.


So a relationship of two years (!) -- that the teacher has profited from and has been paid for fully -- is irrelevant to you?

Great idea of yours: Take offence, seeing yourself as some kind of disrespected victim, assume the worse about everyone and then burn bridges. You must have great karma! I bet you don't get near as many referrals as you could if you tried to understand others' situations, respected people yourself and assumed the best about people and gave them the benefit of the doubt while keeping communication lines open ...

If you ever find yourself overwhelmed or run into a rough patch in your life, we'll see how you do if everyone just assumes you are a bad person and treats you like ****.

There seem to be a lot of unchristian, sour, embittered, self-centered and entitled piano teachers out there in this world of ours!

I guess the best advice remains: Caveat emptor.


#2045425 - 03/09/13 10:20 AM Re: dead beats [Re: bmbutler]  
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Originally Posted by bmbutler
I don't allow someone back in my studio when I have been treated with disrespect. Parents could have (I am sure) cared less about the two years. If they did, she would not have been treated badly.

That's a great point! Sometimes you have to demand respect to get respect. Teachers who come across as caring and accommodating might get more referrals and clients, but usually not the right type of clients, either.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
#2045892 - 03/10/13 11:47 AM Re: dead beats [Re: Barb860]  
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You people need to get one thing perfectly straight:
YOU ARE NOT RUNNING A MINISTRY!
You do not have a money tree in the backyard for paying your bills. You have bills like everyone else. You need to eat.

I'm not a teacher. I have dealt with services to the public. There are so many people who want to think you're running a ministry. They rationalize that you've been paid enough. They don't need to pay any more than they have to. Some people will try to go from company(teacher) to company(teacher) not paying bills.

I would suggest you people set up a database in your local associations to keep track of deadbeats.

I would always ask nicely (demand) payment in advance. If they're not paid, no lesson. Some people like to play that game of paying later. Then they shoot off their mouths to get out of paying.

I could give you lots of examples outside of piano teachers. Lately I have been dealing with businesses whom; the employees think they can just shoot off their mouth to get away with free service. Lie, pick a fight, false accusations. I don't fight with them. I try to be nice and talk to them to avoid the extra charges. They shoot off their mouths. I just charge them. I don't fight. I don't need this BS! Then when they're charged. The owner finds out and ths S! hits the fan at that company. I'm finding out that we try to be nice to customers. Some just can't take that. Be nice, and they create a lie that you have an attitude. Try to take the fight to my company. At times, I think it isn't worth being nice. On the other hand. I see tons of appreciation from my residential customers for being nice to them. I get a bunch from them at Christmas.
I used to drive a taxi at night. You'd be surprised how many people expected a taxi ministry.


Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon
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