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#2117281 - 07/13/13 11:42 PM Re: How far parents willing to drive for piano lessons? [Re: bzpiano]  
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Piano*Dad Offline
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Williamsburg, VA
Originally Posted by keystring
I wrote in as comments began to drift to older students heading for a career, because "parents willing to drive" suggests young children. I wrote that for a young child of 6 or 7, long trips of an hour or more to lessons is not ideal because such children tire more quickly


I don't find this particularly controversial. This is something most parents get intuitively. And no one seems to have disagreed with you. In fact, a review of the thread shows no one talking about substantial numbers of their seven year old students taking 2 hour trips to lessons. The discussion of long trips got more intense precisely in reference to older students with serious musical pursuits (and I'm one of those who brought that up). I have some experience at that, having schlepped a young one from Virginia to Ohio for training. And no, I haven't yet handed him the car keys for that. grin In fact, on most of the trips we left the driving to Delta, American, or USAir.

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#2117284 - 07/13/13 11:43 PM Re: How far parents willing to drive for piano lessons? [Re: Piano*Dad]  
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keystring Offline
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Originally Posted by Piano*Dad
Quote
I wrote in as comments began to drift to older students heading for a career, because "parents willing to drive" suggests young children. I wrote that for a young child of 6 or 7, long trips of an hour or more to lessons is not ideal because such children tire more quickly


I don't find this particularly controversial.

Neither do I. You asked why I thought it involved younger children, and that was my answer to that question.

#2117286 - 07/13/13 11:48 PM Re: How far parents willing to drive for piano lessons? [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
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keystring Offline
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Last edited by keystring; 07/14/13 03:26 AM.
#2117903 - 07/15/13 06:48 AM Re: How far parents willing to drive for piano lessons? [Re: bzpiano]  
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Chris H. Offline
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UK.
Distance seems to be a big issue for parents over here. I find that the vast majority of my students live within a mile or two and quite a lot are within walking distance. The main factor is that family commitments and schedules are stretched to the limits. There is simply not time for people to spend an hour driving to and from piano lessons. Most complain to me if the journey takes longer than ten minutes due to traffic or road works. I also teach in a school where it is just more convenient for parents who then don't even need to bother taking their kids anywhere outside of school hours.

This has actually influenced my decision whether or not to move house. If I moved even five or ten miles to the next town I would probably lose over half my teaching practice.


Pianist and piano teacher.
#2117945 - 07/15/13 09:49 AM Re: How far parents willing to drive for piano lessons? [Re: bzpiano]  
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Williamsburg, VA
Quote
This has actually influenced my decision whether or not to move house. If I moved even five or ten miles to the next town I would probably lose over half my teaching practice.


Ouch, Chris. That's terrible lock-in. And it doesn't say a whole heck of a lot positive about the motivations of the families that make up that half of your student population.

If you did move, how long do you suppose it would take for you to push the numbers back to normal?

#2117983 - 07/15/13 11:40 AM Re: How far parents willing to drive for piano lessons? [Re: bzpiano]  
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For us a lesson can't be more than 40 minutes away and that long of a drive is really for areas she is already excelling and we can't find the same instruction close to home.

I was one who never thought I'd drive 20 minutes(later I was driving the 40) And then I was the mom who said she would never have before school lessons for her kid (started these 2 years ago) and then I was the mom who said - You have to be there at 5am?! It's not important enough that we would ever have to be 30 minutes away and have to be somewhere at 5am (this weekend began lessons where I have to get up at 3:45am to get her there and ready by 5am).

I think parents driving their kids long travel times tend to be highly committed...because now they have invested not only their money but also a lot of their own time.

#2118015 - 07/15/13 12:58 PM Re: How far parents willing to drive for piano lessons? [Re: bzpiano]  
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Chris H. Offline
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UK.
If you live in a more densely populated area there will always be a piano teacher in close proximity. The problem I have is that there are several teachers in my town so many people simply go with the closest or cheapest. The more motivated and commited students might stay loyal and be willing to travel further but these students do not make up the majority of any full time teaching studio.

If I did move it would probably take a year to get back to a full book but that's a long time to manage on a part time income.


Pianist and piano teacher.
#2118027 - 07/15/13 01:16 PM Re: How far parents willing to drive for piano lessons? [Re: bzpiano]  
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The Monkeys Offline
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Vancouver BC
I think it is not if the parents are willing to drive a longer distance for lessons. If they see the value, most will. MaggieGirl would do. I have a close friend drive her kids 1 hour one way for piano lessons.

For what I know, this is how parents find piano teachers:
1. Referral
2. Search by qualifications

This is how parents select piano teachers:
1. Available lesson time that fits schedule
2. Distance
3. Price

In the populated regions, with the above process, parents are most likely able to find a piano teacher close by. It is not that the parents are not willing to drive, it is just that they don't have to.

Referral should be the top student source of a teacher. If it is not, there is a problem.

And the dark secret: the difference, it is not the musical or teaching skills. Like all service oriented business, it is the people skills.

#2118040 - 07/15/13 01:41 PM Re: How far parents willing to drive for piano lessons? [Re: bzpiano]  
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Chris H. Offline
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Chris H.  Offline
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UK.
Monkeys, I would agree with almost everything you said except that parents seek teachers by qualifications. In all my years of teaching I have hardly ever been asked about qualifications. The mistaken assumption is that highly qualifified teachers are not needed for teaching a beginner the basics. I have been told countless times by people that they are just looking for a teacher to 'get them started' and that they will look for a better (more expensive) teacher if they turn out to be any good at it. Same thing with spending money on a decent instrument unfortunately.

Also a lot of people now find teachers through Internet searching. So it's not the musical skills, teaching skills or people skills that count. It's the IT skills!


Pianist and piano teacher.
#2118050 - 07/15/13 02:02 PM Re: How far parents willing to drive for piano lessons? [Re: bzpiano]  
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childofparadise2002 Offline
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Parents need to have some ideas about music instructions in order to find the right teacher. I never had instrument lessons as a kid. As an adult student, I found my first teacher based on recommendations from a local music school, personality, and qualifications (the teacher had a bachelor’s degree in a music field). Within a few months I was able to see that the teacher’s training and what I needed from a teacher were a mismatch. I learned my lesson, and did research (there are actually lots of books and articles out there for parents). Later on when I looked for teachers for me and for my children, I was able to find teachers who have the qualifications that suit our needs, and who have the right chemistry with the students.

I have been and still am willing to drive my kids for an hour (even when they were 6) to the right teacher (or class) if that activity is what my kids are good at and enthusiastic about.

#2123333 - 07/26/13 01:32 PM Re: How far parents willing to drive for piano lessons? [Re: bzpiano]  
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Daytripper75 Offline
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I drive my daughter 21.57 miles 2x a week. We probably pass 200 piano teachers on the way to her lessons. Totally worth every mile.

#2123628 - 07/27/13 01:46 AM Re: How far parents willing to drive for piano lessons? [Re: Daytripper75]  
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Peter K. Mose Offline
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Peter K. Mose  Offline
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Toronto, Ontario
Originally Posted by Daytripper75
I drive my daughter 21.57 miles 2x a week. We probably pass 200 piano teachers on the way to her lessons.


I hope you wave at a few of them. Though if you waved at them all, you'd be waving constantly. We're everywhere....

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