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#2268638 - 04/29/14 11:56 AM Feedback on Student Quitting  
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 256
bmbutler Offline
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bmbutler  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 256
Have a student that has been with me for about 1 1/2 years. Had a gut instinct that this student would leave eventually. He is rude during his lesson (not listening, playing while I am talking, etc.). I do call him on it, but the next week brings more of the same. He did get better for a long period after our last year studio get together before the recital. He did something that caused a lot of problems for everyone after I had told him 2 times to stop. I was very angry when he did it the third time and we went for almost 7 months of him behaving and not being rude.

I have a tight studio policy that clearly states that I have a no make-up policy unless I have to cancel. Parents have texted me the past three weeks a few days before his lesson asking for a reschedule due to ball schedule. I cannot and will not reschedule a lesson and policy is clear on subject. Well, parent comes to the door with child at last lesson (late I might add) with a note from other parent that this month will be their last and student will stop after recital which is June 1.

Here is my question - should I allow child to partipcate in the recital or end lesson after last end of month lesson? Feedback appreciated.

Normally would allow without question, but this family has been a pain from the beginning (not telling me the truth about needing a new teaching when coming to me - hence the redflag), timing of lessons (no joke), father telling me through the child that "he is not progressing fast enough." About 6 months ago, child came to lesson with piano and vocal music of popular singer. WAY above child's head. Mother and child understand this. Father does not and doesn't understand why his child can't play it now.


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#2268675 - 04/29/14 01:19 PM Re: Feedback on Student Quitting [Re: bmbutler]  
Joined: Sep 2011
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MaggieGirl Offline
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MaggieGirl  Offline
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If I did not want him to be in the recital and his last day was May 31, I would tell the parent that they do not need to wait the 30 days to quit, that they can quit today with no penalty/no recital.

If I generally felt good about the student and parent, I would let them do the recital since it is on June 1st. if it were June 15 I would say no quite easily. But you have a month with the student and they are paying and have been paying towards the recital.

#2268710 - 04/29/14 02:34 PM Re: Feedback on Student Quitting [Re: bmbutler]  
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 261
JazzyMac Offline
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JazzyMac  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 261
World Traveler
I think letting him play in the recital only shows that you are the bigger person. And it lets everyone go out with smiles versus frowns.

On another note....

I've always wondered this: Why is it okay for the teacher to cancel a lesson, but not the student? I've been inconvenienced a few times by two piano teachers, but the minute I needed to cancel or reschedule, I get *policy* thrown in my face. The teacher may have a lot of students and a business to run, but the student also has things to juggle. I think of it as a sign of two-way respect.

#2268728 - 04/29/14 03:11 PM Re: Feedback on Student Quitting [Re: bmbutler]  
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 1,090
bzpiano Offline
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bzpiano  Offline
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Joined: May 2011
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Irvine, CA
Jazzy Mac, sounds like you need "Pay As You Go" lesson type.


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#2268730 - 04/29/14 03:19 PM Re: Feedback on Student Quitting [Re: JazzyMac]  
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 7,203
AZNpiano Offline
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AZNpiano  Offline
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Orange County, CA
Originally Posted by JazzyMac
I've always wondered this: Why is it okay for the teacher to cancel a lesson, but not the student? I've been inconvenienced a few times by two piano teachers, but the minute I needed to cancel or reschedule, I get *policy* thrown in my face. The teacher may have a lot of students and a business to run, but the student also has things to juggle. I think of it as a sign of two-way respect.

Unfortunately, without a firm policy in place, a lot of students will find ways to cancel, postpone, or re-arrange lessons. That's human nature.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
#2268738 - 04/29/14 03:40 PM Re: Feedback on Student Quitting [Re: JazzyMac]  
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,622
chasingrainbows Offline
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chasingrainbows  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,622
NJ
Originally Posted by JazzyMac
I think letting him play in the recital only shows that you are the bigger person. And it lets everyone go out with smiles versus frowns.

On another note....

I've always wondered this: Why is it okay for the teacher to cancel a lesson, but not the student? I've been inconvenienced a few times by two piano teachers, but the minute I needed to cancel or reschedule, I get *policy* thrown in my face. The teacher may have a lot of students and a business to run, but the student also has things to juggle. I think of it as a sign of two-way respect.


jazzymac, I understand your point, however, it seems that bmbutler has tolerated a lot more than any teacher should tolerate, and IMO, this family wants to "have the last say."

As far as your policy question, rather than hijack this thread, why don't you post a new topic? I would love to respond.

bmbutler, I would let them go now. I wouldn't continue lessons with them, but that's my own feeling.


Piano teacher, BA Music, MTNA member
#2268741 - 04/29/14 03:51 PM Re: Feedback on Student Quitting [Re: bmbutler]  
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 1,090
bzpiano Offline
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bzpiano  Offline
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Joined: May 2011
Posts: 1,090
Irvine, CA
In my opinion, if his last day is May 31, means that he will be no longer your student June 1st. Non-students are not allowed to participate in recital. If you do not want him to participate in recital, you can say so.



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#2268747 - 04/29/14 04:02 PM Re: Feedback on Student Quitting [Re: bmbutler]  
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 7,203
AZNpiano Offline
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AZNpiano  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 7,203
Orange County, CA
Originally Posted by bmbutler
About 6 months ago, child came to lesson with piano and vocal music of popular singer. WAY above child's head. Mother and child understand this. Father does not and doesn't understand why his child can't play it now.

You need to educate ignorant parents. Such ignorance is common.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
#2268755 - 04/29/14 04:25 PM Re: Feedback on Student Quitting [Re: bmbutler]  
Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 273
BrainCramp Offline
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BrainCramp  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 273
USA
You said that one parent arrived with a note from the other parent. Are the parents separated or newly divorced? That may explain a lot of the bad behavior by the kid and the parents.

Also, it sounds like the father's expectations of the kid are unrealistic. That's hard on the kid. The kid doesn't know his father is an ignoramus. He just knows that he isn't measuring up in Dad's eyes.

It may not be the kid's fault at all that his lessons are in turmoil.

Does the kid WANT to play in the recital? If so, why not let him, if you think he'll behave appropriately? A recital is a progress milestone, and I think he's entitled to that. If he doesn't want to then there's no problem.

Just my 2 cents.


#2268769 - 04/29/14 04:58 PM Re: Feedback on Student Quitting [Re: bmbutler]  
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 5,625
Gary D. Offline
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Gary D.  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 5,625
South Florida
It's not fair that some kids get the parents they get, but it's not fair also that we as teachers have to deal with the results of horrendous parenting.

Usually the rudeness comes from parenting. Either kids mimic bad behavior at home, or they their parents are permissive and allow rude behavior.

When students are rude AND their parents are rude, I have no problems saying: "Adios."

What is painful to me is dealing with respectful and reasonable students with very rude parents.


Piano Teacher
#2268897 - 04/29/14 10:12 PM Re: Feedback on Student Quitting [Re: bmbutler]  
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,113
Morodiene Offline
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Morodiene  Offline
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Boynton Beach, FL
I would ask the child if he wants to play, and tell him if he wants he can, but he has to be prepared. If he doesn't practice and doesn't sound good then he won't participate. You are under no obligation to let him play, of course, but it sounds like he's acting out and trying to get parent's attention with his behavior. You are just the unfortunate person caught in the middle. Try to be as patient with this kid in these last few weeks, in spite of his behavior. I'm not saying excuse his behavior, but try to teach him things that you think will stick with him down the road. He may look back on his lessons with fondness - you never know.


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#2268924 - 04/29/14 11:25 PM Re: Feedback on Student Quitting [Re: bmbutler]  
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 2,012
Peter K. Mose Offline
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Peter K. Mose  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 2,012
Toronto, Ontario
Tough call. I'd say if your spring teaching season goes past the June 1 recital, then these parents are dictating their own end of your season by calling it the end of May.
I might hold them to their word, and bid the family adios before the recital. You'll all be relieved.

But that is indeed being kind of nasty back at them. You could instead just try to be a wonderful, cuddly teacher for a handful of final lessons and see what happens.

They may want you back next fall!

#2269910 - 05/01/14 10:53 PM Re: Feedback on Student Quitting [Re: JazzyMac]  
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 3,999
ShiroKuro Offline
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ShiroKuro  Offline
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not in Japan anymore
Originally Posted by JazzyMac
I've always wondered this: Why is it okay for the teacher to cancel a lesson, but not the student? I've been inconvenienced a few times by two piano teachers, but the minute I needed to cancel or reschedule, I get *policy* thrown in my face. The teacher may have a lot of students and a business to run, but the student also has things to juggle. I think of it as a sign of two-way respect.


Are you perhaps interpreting the policy incorrectly? It doesn't mean that it's "ok" for the teacher to cancel the lesson, what it means is that if the teacher cancels the lesson without notice, the student doesn't pay (or gets a make-up lesson). The result: the student doesn't pay for lessons not received. But if the student cancels (without giving sufficient notice), the student still has to pay for the lesson because the teacher can't replace that work time. This policy has always made perfect sense to me (as a student).


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