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#2309859 - 08/01/14 03:02 PM Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why?  
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I decided this past week after six months with the same teacher that I need to fire him now. I'm just fed up with the lousy treatment I'm getting. Not only is my thirty minute lesson never longer then 25 minutes, but I keep getting passed on to this total loser because my teacher is too busy doing other things like squeezing in extra students to make more cash. It's just a miserable situation.
But while I feel good about this, it has been extremely difficult to find a new teacher. There are three well-known academies that I could approach, but one is insanely expensive
(all piano teachers are 100.00 an hour and you can't take a lesson for shorter then that!), and the other two don't start registering people until the fall. So I scoured Craig's list and another site and there are so many strange characters out there that I really started to despair.
I think I finally found someone who sounds decent.

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#2309861 - 08/01/14 03:05 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]  
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My question is...did you decide at some point to sack your own teacher and why?
I kept getting placed with this replacement teacher who after each piece I played would comment, very good, or not bad..or coming along. And that was it!I just felt fed up with the soddy and unprofessional treatment. It was very clear that the studio I was studying in was only interested in making money.No body works for free, but there has to be some integrity and respect in music lessons.

#2309888 - 08/01/14 04:09 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]  
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Originally Posted by alans
I keep getting passed on to this total loser because my teacher is too busy doing other things like squeezing in extra students to make more cash. It's just a miserable situation.


Sounds like you are learning in a factory. Have you ever considered private lessons with teachers who teach out of their own home or studio?

http://www.mtna.org/parent-and-student-resources/choosing-a-music-teacher/

#2309897 - 08/01/14 04:37 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]  
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You're right it was exactly like a factory. Most of the teachers I've contacted through online search sites teach out of their own homes, or come to your home.
A lot of people are out of town now or are going out of town. Then there are the
teachers who teach-piano, voice,flute, trombone,timpany. I really prefer to
avoid them.

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#2309901 - 08/01/14 04:46 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]  
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You definitely are in your rights to fire your current teacher. Unacceptable.


With those teachers that charge $100/hour, can you see them every other week? What were you paying your current "teacher"? If they are teaching 30 minute lessons, that might be your first clue something's up. You really can't get a good amount of teaching in that time, and unless there is a particular reason for it, adult students need at least 45 minutes. I prefer an hour. While I don't charge $100/hour, I do have some students who can only afford every other week, or feel they can make enough progress on their own that this suits their schedule better. Check that out.

You don't say where you are, but you may also want to get in touch with your local MTNA chapter and ask for referrals. The MTNA website does a teacher search but only lists those who are certified which is only a fraction of the good quality teachers that belong to this organization.

Keep searching, and be patient. At this point having no teacher at all is better than a bad one.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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#2309904 - 08/01/14 04:51 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]  
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Thank-you for your helpful comments.much appreciated. I'm always interested in
hearing about this ideas for 45 minutes because I'm an adult and I find it
really tiring to concentrate for that long a period of time after working a full day on the job. So I've been happy with thirty minutes. But many teachers suggest
forty-five, why do you think that is better?
the school that charges 100.00 is the Royal Conservatory of Music which is located a few short blocks from where I work in Toronto.I just discovered that
there is a small group of their teachers who will teach you biweekly and all
teachers teach for thirty minutes if that is requested,so if I can't find anyone
else I'm going to go for thirty minutes lessons every two weeks. I really need
weekly lessons but I just can't afford fifty dollars a week right now.Morodiene
can you please tell me which book you use for your absolute beginners? i spoke
with one teacher who is a Juliard and Eastman grad(I'm not going with him
because even though he only charges 40.00 an hour, he insists on hour lessons),and he said it is inadvisable to use Faber. I was very surprised by that.

Last edited by alans; 08/01/14 04:53 PM.
#2309907 - 08/01/14 04:54 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]  
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The other thing about the two teachers I've had in the past year, is that I find
*they* run out of things to teach by thirty minutes and it makes me really uncomfortable. I hope that is a reflection on their lack of skill rather then mine but it has happened to me twice.

#2309921 - 08/01/14 05:20 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]  
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Originally Posted by alans
Thank-you for your helpful comments.much appreciated. I'm always interested in
hearing about this ideas for 45 minutes because I'm an adult and I find it
really tiring to concentrate for that long a period of time after working a full day on the job. So I've been happy with thirty minutes. But many teachers suggest
forty-five, why do you think that is better?

It's better because in 30 minutes, you lose about 5 minutes on either end of the lesson getting in and settled, perhaps a bit of "how are you" kind of thing before getting down to business. With the 25 minutes left, you have to cover scales or other technical exercises (5 min.) , sightreading (5 min.), theory (2-3 min. if the next assignment is self-explanatory and there were no questions on the previous assignment), and that leaves 17 min. to cover the 4-5 pieces you were working on if you are a beginner, plus introduce new concepts and new pieces for the upcoming week. That leaves 3 min. per piece assuming 4 pieces are worked on, and 5 min. to work on new material. During all of this there is no time to spend on actually walking through learning any of the new pieces, it's just in going through the new material. Any questions asked or issues in a piece means something in the above gets cut out. Usually this means technique, theory, or sightreading, and then it cuts into the repertoire.

Even with a 45-minute lesson this is tight, that is why hours are recommended for adults. Adults have more in-depth questions and want to spend the time on theory and sightreading that younger students may be happy to skip over. If you can manage 45 minutes to start every week and then switch to one hour every other week once your music becomes a bit longer then I'd try to make that work.

Quote
the school that charges 100.00 is the Royal Conservatory of Music which is located a few short blocks from where I work in Toronto.I just discovered that
there is a small group of their teachers who will teach you biweekly and all
teachers teach for thirty minutes if that is requested,so if I can't find anyone
else I'm going to go for thirty minutes lessons every two weeks.
Not ideal, but if that is all you can do, that is all you can do. PErhaps take a bit more time to search for a teacher that is the right fit and not such a high fee. I don't know what the going rate for Toronto is, but 100/hr still seems high to me.

Quote
Morodiene can you please tell me which book you use for your absolute beginners? i spoke with one teacher who is a Juliard and Eastman grad(I'm not going with him because even though he only charges 40.00 an hour, he insists on hour lessons),and he said it is inadvisable to use Faber. I was very surprised by that.
Well, considering the rate of the other teachers, $40/hr seems like a great deal, if not a little on the cheap side. Faber is OK, I use it with some adult students. The method doesn't make the teacher, it's just a tool and none of them are perfect. A good teacher finds a method that closely resembles what they believe should be taught and when, and then they supplement as needed. If all they do is teach everything as the book does, that's a big warning sign.


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#2309952 - 08/01/14 06:27 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]  
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$40/hour is a great deal as long as he/she is a good teacher. Obviously, a Julliard graduate would be an excellent pianist, but that doesn't guarantee being a good teacher. Personally I would take the hour long lesson just for a month to give him / her a chance.

The most important aspect of a good teacher is the teacher's investment in you as a student. Money aside, if you stick with a good teacher, your teacher will become much more than a casual bystander that observes and provide comments and suggestions. Over time your teacher will become a mentor and a friend. If you are lucky the two of you would develop an understanding and have wonderful exchanges in ideas as adults, a priceless experience. I cannot even imagine having a different teacher.

Keep looking. A good teacher is worth the effort of searching. The Royal Conservatory of Music is highly respected institution. You should not hesitate to interview some of their teachers for private lessons. Yes, good teachers are expensive but they are worth it.

#2309967 - 08/01/14 06:47 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]  
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Also, as Morodiene has mentioned, the method book is not as important as the teacher. When I started, my teacher insist on teaching from her own method book. This is a bit odd to me, but I had no basis to object other than some professors I had in college that insisted on using their own textbooks wasn't the best experience. Usually, the hope is if the professor was awful in lecture, you'd hope the textbook could help you, but not if you're using the same professor's textbook, and he had the same incomprehensible logic as a writer, you're kinda sunk. Anyway, it turned out my teacher is very good, and she could teach out of any method book, her own or otherwise, so that's the most important part. Don't be concerned if a teacher have preferences in method or repertoire books. The most important part is to get minimal reading skills in place and start playing simple original classical music as soon as possible.

#2309971 - 08/01/14 06:57 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]  
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I think the best way to get a feel for teachers is to talk to other students.

Keep playing and the right teacher will show up. Music has that way about it.


Enjoy.


"Imagine it in all its primatic colorings, its counterpart in our souls - our souls that are great pianos whose strings, of honey and of steel, the divisions of the rainbow set twanging, loosing on the air great novels of adventure!" - William Carlos Williams
#2309978 - 08/01/14 07:19 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]  
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I have tried thirty minute lessons and although I found them fine, now that I take a weekly one hour lesson I could never go back. The thirty minutes was so whirl wind it was doubtful anything meaningful was imparted. The freedom just to take five or more minutes away from the piano to discuss an important issue is highly important, watching the clock during the lesson is counter productive as I was doing in the thirty minute lessons. Also in thirty minutes lessons something usually gets sacrificed and it is important to play everything on a weekly basis.

BTW in my one hour lesson there is no time spent on theory, sight reading, scales, exercises or chit chat and I still find we don't have any problem filling the hour. I take your point about concentration over an hour but I find that if I change onto another piece during the lesson it is fine. If I am struggling with a piece on the day I will leave it, perhaps coming back to it later in the lesson.

Can't believe you don't have a huge choice in Toronto but understand the difficulty in finding a good teacher.


Problems with piano are 90% psychological, the other 10% is in your head.

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#2309986 - 08/01/14 07:38 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]  
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I am very grateful to all of you for your excellent advice and support.
Morodiene you sound like a truly inspiring teacher and your breakdown of one lesson is very beneficial to me. I love studying the piano and I feel for the first time in my life,after many many false starts I am ready for it. The thought that there might possibly be someone out there with a true love and passion to teach is very exciting for me.and I never thought it wasn't all about the book used but the teacher.i so look forward to meeting someone one day who is like so many of the wonderful teachers you have here. I just must continue looking. Thank-you all very much.

#2309989 - 08/01/14 07:44 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]  
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Wow. Some teachers are way bad. It is not all about the student or helping but just about themselves and money.

I love to help. I'll teach any beginner/intermediate for cheap and Im sure I will be miles better than some of those academy teachers.


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#2309994 - 08/01/14 07:48 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]  
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If you found the $40/hour Julliard/Eastman grad was a good teacher for you, I wonder if you could pay for the hour, but only take a 45 min. actual lesson? He wouldn't be losing any of his fee, but in fact gaining some free time. And maybe you would like the entire hour down the road at some point.


#2310018 - 08/01/14 09:23 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]  
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Amazing to me that anyone could run put of things to teach you in half an hour! They obviously aren't trying. I'm sure you'll find a better teacher!


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Currently working on:
Chopin, Waltz in E minor (op. posth.)
Schubert, Op. 90 no. 2
Mendelssohn, Op. 19 no. 2
#2310023 - 08/01/14 10:10 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]  
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You might try your local university if they have a music department. When I took up piano again I found a great teacher at my local university who was working on his PhD in piano. This might be a bit stereotypical, but most university students are needing cash, and many of the music students teach music/theory. Check out the department's webpage and see if they have a list of students who teach. If not e-mail some of the piano professors and they might be able to refer you to one of their students. They tend to be cheaper too :-)

Another resource might be music festivals. Some will have local teaches adjudicate. Perhaps one of them could teach.

I have found the best teachers seem not to advertise anywhere. They might have a webpage, but you kind of have to know they exist in order to find it! They seem to rely on word of mouth.

A teacher is very important. Don't be afraid to leave to find a new one if it isn't working out.

#2310057 - 08/02/14 12:51 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]  
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Alans, so far as I know, I am one of the only studio teachers in Toronto who genuinely specializes in the adult learner at the piano. It's my life, and I've been doing it for a long time. A few mouse clicks and you can learn plenty about me. Regrettably, I am out of your price range.

You need to see someone every week, not every other week, for at least 45 minutes and preferably an hour. Don't avoid Craig's List, and don't avoid the teacher who teaches two instruments. But piano performance degrees from famous music schools is most likely what you *don't* want in an early-level teacher. Better to work with a local church organist, or a public school music teacher.

Send me an email if you want more thoughts.



#2310061 - 08/02/14 01:13 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]  
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Originally Posted by alans
I decided this past week after six months with the same teacher that I need to fire him now. I'm just fed up with the lousy treatment I'm getting. Not only is my thirty minute lesson never longer then 25 minutes....

Why is this? Is it because he is late, or because he ends early?

By the way, your budget is too small. If $40 an hour is too much for you (that is a very cheap price), you are probably going to end up with a teacher who has no clue what they're doing.


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2310076 - 08/02/14 02:38 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]  
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Is the term "fire" appropriate? Isn't a student - teacher relationship different from employer - employee?

#2310080 - 08/02/14 02:48 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: noobpianist90]  
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Originally Posted by noobpianist90
Is the term "fire" appropriate? Isn't a student - teacher relationship different from employer - employee?


the term "fire" is sometimes used outside of the general workplace. When done so it immediately exaggerates the situation for heightened effect but also as in this case high lights the OP's frustration. But then again I am no specialist in language, but old enough to have seen quite a bit of change in the way we use English.


Problems with piano are 90% psychological, the other 10% is in your head.

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#2310088 - 08/02/14 03:26 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]  
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Quote
Have you had to fire your piano teacher?


Yes, and it was me. Now I have a much better one. I recommend you visit local colleges and talk to adjunct staff. You can usually audit their class on the first day and can tell a lot from their syllabus, and you might even find their resume on line (I did). Most of them have PH.D'S or doctorates of piano performance. Mine is very reasonable--you'd be surprised. smile

#2310092 - 08/02/14 03:44 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: earlofmar]  
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Originally Posted by earlofmar
Originally Posted by noobpianist90
Is the term "fire" appropriate? Isn't a student - teacher relationship different from employer - employee?
the term "fire" is sometimes used outside of the general workplace. When done so it immediately exaggerates the situation for heightened effect but also as in this case high lights the OP's frustration. But then again I am no specialist in language, but old enough to have seen quite a bit of change in the way we use English.
Ah I see

#2310100 - 08/02/14 04:30 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: earlofmar]  
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Originally Posted by earlofmar
the term "fire" is sometimes used outside of the general workplace. When done so it immediately exaggerates the situation for heightened effect but also as in this case high lights the OP's frustration. But then again I am no specialist in language, but old enough to have seen quite a bit of change in the way we use English.

Actually, I've fired students before, and I don't use the term "fire" for any effect. The students were awful, and I didn't want to put up with awfulness, so I fired them. Actually, the exact wording in my studio contract is "terminate."

Synonyms: dismiss, let go, refer out, etc.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
#2310121 - 08/02/14 06:32 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]  
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I am just hoping that it takes many years before my teacher resigns.. He's well in his sixties so I am afraid that sometime in the coming years he will quit and I would really really really regret that.


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#2310131 - 08/02/14 07:04 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]  
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I had to "fire" my first piano teacher. He just seemed to want me to learn by rote and didn't really have answers to any of my questions. On top of that he actually fell asleep in the middle of one of my lessons, so I suppose that was the final straw for me.

Don't be discouraged though, I think my current teacher is pretty great, and I found her on my second try.

#2310132 - 08/02/14 07:06 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: AZNpiano]  
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano

Actually, I've fired students before, and I don't use the term "fire" for any effect. The students were awful, and I didn't want to put up with awfulness, so I fired them. Actually, the exact wording in my studio contract is "terminate."

Synonyms: dismiss, let go, refer out, etc.

Do you fire students who just aren't up to your high standards?

I had this experience in my childhood, when my first teacher left (after one year) to further her studies abroad, and my mother decided to find the best teacher (by reputation) in town for my brother and me. The new teacher asked to look at our Grade 1 ABRSM results: I had a distinction; my older brother had a pass. She told my mother that she didn't think my brother was good enough to continue much further, and sure enough, she 'fired' him within a few weeks.

Later, I wondered whether the reason why she had such a big reputation in the neighborhood was because she fired any student that didn't have sufficient musical talent to come up to her standard.......



"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
#2310139 - 08/02/14 07:34 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]  
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I agree that "fire" is probably not the best term for this context. Whether as student or teacher, you're not really in the position of an employer. But that's good, because you don't need to feel responsible for the other person's livelihood/ musical career. If the professional relationship isn't working out, either party can move on. It doesn't have to be hostile.


1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Chopin, Waltz in E minor (op. posth.)
Schubert, Op. 90 no. 2
Mendelssohn, Op. 19 no. 2
#2310146 - 08/02/14 08:01 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]  
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I think that fire is an entirely appropriate descriptor of what was done. If you hired a plumber to install a new shower and they behaved inappropriately, I don't think anyone would blink if you said, "Unfortunately, I had to fire my plumber; he was incompetent!" A piano teacher might be an independent contractor, but you're still hiring them to provide a service to you. If for whatever reason they are unable to meet your needs, you fire them and (one hopes) find/hire a different teacher better able to meet your needs.


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#2310147 - 08/02/14 08:02 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: AZNpiano]  
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BrianDX Offline
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BrianDX  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 2,170
First Town, First State
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
[Actually, I've fired students before, and I don't use the term "fire" for any effect. The students were awful, and I didn't want to put up with awfulness, so I fired them. Actually, the exact wording in my studio contract is "terminate."

OK, maybe I need to understand something here. If you mean by their "awfulness" that they had poor work ethics, didn't show up on time, or were slow to pay, I can understand that.

If however you mean they were not very talented and struggled with their studies, then that is a different thing altogether.


Yamaha C2X | Yamaha M500-F
Groucho Marx: "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others."
Curriculum: Faber PA Level 5 (Finished as of 12/31/2017)
Current: Mazurka In G Minor (Faber) (OC); The Danube Waves (Ivanovici) (AR)
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