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Student cancelling last minute recital #2341576
10/26/14 10:29 AM
10/26/14 10:29 AM
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USA
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chasingrainbows Offline OP
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I texted one of my more musical (but never practices) teen who is closing my recital to confirm she would attend and she texted back that she feels unprepared and is not coming. This is the second time she cancelled last minute. Last year she was doing part of a medley with another student. This year, she was closing with a big piece. I am furious. 2 of her 3 pieces were prepared -- but they happen to have family visiting and I was even accommodating enough to tell her to come later and/or to bring the family members. I am tempted to text back that I am very disappointed. She has let me down twice now and I'm close to dropping her. Sports and art seems to trump piano, and she misses a lot of lessons.


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Re: Student cancelling last minute recital [Re: chasingrainbows] #2341645
10/26/14 01:42 PM
10/26/14 01:42 PM
Joined: Nov 2007
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UK
Nikolas Offline
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ouch!

If you don't need the money dump your student.

If you need the money, keep having lessons and DON'T include your student in the recitals!

grrrrrr...

Re: Student cancelling last minute recital [Re: chasingrainbows] #2341672
10/26/14 02:58 PM
10/26/14 02:58 PM
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Posts: 16,652
Boynton Beach, FL
Morodiene Offline
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I would let her know you're disappointed, but not in text. She should have told you in person, or at the very least called you. To text is rude for serious conversations such as this. Wait until your next lesson. I'd just respond "OK" in text, then tell her how you were disappointed when you see her next. I think she should at least attend as an audience member, but that is really something for her parents to assert, and I'm guessing they won't. You can suggest it though.

At her lessons, I would stress to her the importance of following through. If she commits to something, she is responsible for being ready for it. That means she needs to practice regularly early enough in order to be ready for it. I'm sure you're not assigning music too hard for her or giving it to her without enough time, but it's worth asking if you are at fault for her failure. She needs to know upon whose shoulders this rests.

It's important to come to an agreement about this. If it means you don't invite her to participate in recitals, then you don't.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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Re: Student cancelling last minute recital [Re: chasingrainbows] #2341678
10/26/14 03:05 PM
10/26/14 03:05 PM
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Sweden
Basia C. Offline
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This is not an issue to discuss through texting. Focus on the recital instead, and on creating the best experience possible for the students who are attending. You cannot do anything about the student right now, so just leave it for the moment and put you efforts on the recital.

Later, when you have calmed down and have the possibility to discuss the issue in person with the student, set aside some time to talk to the student. Teens can be self-centered and self-concious. It may seem obvious that a recital is disturbed, that other players are affected negatively, that the impression of the performances is not as planned when someone drops out like that, but you really need to take the time to discuss it with the student. Try to broaden his perspective from seeing just his performance, to see the whole event. Maybe make him responsible for some part of the planning for the next recitial? If you get him involved, he might get a slightly different perspective.

Perhaps you could have a workshop for all students, where you discuss the process of preparing a recital. What makes a recital fun, or successful? Perhaps you could give them an assignment to go to a professional recital and to take notes afterwards. What did they like about it, and what was interesting? This could later be discussed at a group lesson. You might want different age groups for this of course.

I am not a teacher, but I just thought it was sad to hear about someone dropping out like that. He just has a lot to learn about how his actions affect others as well, and it is a long time project to try to teach him that.




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Re: Student cancelling last minute recital [Re: chasingrainbows] #2341769
10/26/14 07:43 PM
10/26/14 07:43 PM
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Orange County, CA
AZNpiano Offline
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Yes, you should fire the student immediately. You've been more than kind.

Different people have different levels of tolerance for rudeness.


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Re: Student cancelling last minute recital [Re: Morodiene] #2341778
10/26/14 08:12 PM
10/26/14 08:12 PM
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USA
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chasingrainbows Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
I would let her know you're disappointed, but not in text. She should have told you in person, or at the very least called you. To text is rude for serious conversations such as this. Wait until your next lesson. I'd just respond "OK" in text, then tell her how you were disappointed when you see her next. I think she should at least attend as an audience member, but that is really something for her parents to assert, and I'm guessing they won't. You can suggest it though.

At her lessons, I would stress to her the importance of following through. If she commits to something, she is responsible for being ready for it. That means she needs to practice regularly early enough in order to be ready for it. I'm sure you're not assigning music too hard for her or giving it to her without enough time, but it's worth asking if you are at fault for her failure. She needs to know upon whose shoulders this rests.

It's important to come to an agreement about this. If it means you don't invite her to participate in recitals, then you don't.


Hi Morodiene. Thanks for the input. I hope you don't mind if I use some of your language. I can't expect much, since the Mom also texted with similar excuses.

One of the pieces she was performing she learned last year, but also cancelled that at the last minute. It is very easy, but one she really likes and plays well. Likewise for the other 2--she learned them both within a week. The fact is, they had company and didn't want to "waste" the day at a recital. UGGHH


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Re: Student cancelling last minute recital [Re: Nikolas] #2341780
10/26/14 08:14 PM
10/26/14 08:14 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,924
USA
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chasingrainbows Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Nikolas
ouch!

If you don't need the money dump your student.

If you need the money, keep having lessons and DON'T include your student in the recitals!

grrrrrr...


Good advice. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.


Piano teacher, BA Music, MTNA member
Re: Student cancelling last minute recital [Re: chasingrainbows] #2341810
10/26/14 10:26 PM
10/26/14 10:26 PM
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 2,200
Toronto, Ontario
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Peter K. Mose Offline
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Recitals can feel like high stakes games for piano teachers. Even if they may be somewhat informal, our pride and professionalism rest on them. They are like a public calling card for our studios.

Students seldom view them in this light. To them recitals are often an annoyance, or a reason for intimidation or even outright fear.

I think you need to put your ego aside and simply decide that this student is not someone to count on when it comes to recitals. But don't give up on her as a pupil.

Last edited by Peter K. Mose; 10/26/14 10:27 PM.
Re: Student cancelling last minute recital [Re: Peter K. Mose] #2341816
10/26/14 10:50 PM
10/26/14 10:50 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,652
Boynton Beach, FL
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted by Peter K. Mose
Recitals can feel like high stakes games for piano teachers. Even if they may be somewhat informal, our pride and professionalism rest on them. They are like a public calling card for our studios.

Students seldom view them in this light. To them recitals are often an annoyance, or a reason for intimidation or even outright fear.

I think you need to put your ego aside and simply decide that this student is not someone to count on when it comes to recitals. But don't give up on her as a pupil.


Well-put, but the student should also be taught how to have an adult conversation with someone that may be seen as "confrontational" or negative in some way. It is perfectly acceptable for a teacher in this case to tell the student that the way in which she cancelled was unacceptable - probably worse than the cancellation itself. If chasingrainbows was told by the student that she was deathly afraid of recitals, or even, "I enjoy my lessons, but I really can't stand recitals. Can I just not do them?" then I'm sure she would have listened and understood.

So I do think that the delivery method and timing show a lack of respect - whether intentional or not - and that should be addressed.


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Re: Student cancelling last minute recital [Re: Morodiene] #2341838
10/27/14 01:07 AM
10/27/14 01:07 AM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 7,955
Orange County, CA
AZNpiano Offline
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Orange County, CA
Originally Posted by Morodiene
So I do think that the delivery method and timing show a lack of respect - whether intentional or not - and that should be addressed.

That's putting it lightly. I think the student is downright rude. The intent is not important to me. The action speaks for itself, loudly.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: Student cancelling last minute recital [Re: chasingrainbows] #2341851
10/27/14 02:23 AM
10/27/14 02:23 AM
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,179
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Candywoman Offline
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What some of your students are telling you is that they feel unprepared. This is the key to solving the problem. Do you stay on the recital pieces for at least seven weeks? Some students need even more weeks if they don't practice regularly.

Did you start some of the recital pieces well before telling them of the recital? For some students, the fear of a recital is lessened by letting them know about it several weeks or a month after they've begun a piece. You can reduce it even further by picking an old piece they've already learned and beefing it up for the recital. Many students do better if they have only one recital piece to perform.

The last thing a student wants to learn from a recital is how to be embarrassed. If they feel unprepared, they will come up with any excuse to prevent that from happening.

You might consider getting rid of texting as an option. It's too easy for your students to be dismissive of you and the recitals you provide.

There is no way I would send them that email in your other post.


Re: Student cancelling last minute recital [Re: Candywoman] #2341859
10/27/14 03:04 AM
10/27/14 03:04 AM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 7,955
Orange County, CA
AZNpiano Offline
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Originally Posted by Candywoman
Do you stay on the recital pieces for at least seven weeks? Some students need even more weeks if they don't practice regularly.

Are you sure seven weeks is enough time?


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: Student cancelling last minute recital [Re: chasingrainbows] #2341871
10/27/14 04:01 AM
10/27/14 04:01 AM
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 6,541
UK
Nikolas Offline
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Seven Weeks?!?!? If you're talking about advanced works, ok. Buy any method, or "recital piece" that goes along a method does NOT need that much time... :-/

Does it?

Re: Student cancelling last minute recital [Re: Nikolas] #2341883
10/27/14 05:32 AM
10/27/14 05:32 AM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 16,585
Canada
keystring Offline
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Originally Posted by Nikolas
Seven Weeks?!?!? If you're talking about advanced works, ok. Buy any method, or "recital piece" that goes along a method does NOT need that much time... :-/

Does it?


What Candywoman writes makes a lot of sense overall, and I support it wholeheartedly. You are used to performing. A student is not. You are used to playing the piano. It is still relatively new to a student. In addition, if this is a young teen, that is the time of self-consciousness. A student should have a piece absolutely nailed and then some. Not - to take the minimum time needed to sort of get the correct notes and musical effects, and then hope you can hold on to it while playing in front of a bunch of people. Students are not performers. They are learners.

Re: Student cancelling last minute recital [Re: chasingrainbows] #2341900
10/27/14 08:01 AM
10/27/14 08:01 AM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,210
Virginia, USA
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TimR Offline
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If it really takes in excess of 7 weeks to prepare a piece, that piece is difficult for that student, right?

And very few of those pieces can be learned in a year?

So the student spends most of his time on what he may perceive as the same old boring piece that he never gets right?

I think of a performance as an enjoyable chance to shine, but I'm not sure I would under those conditions.


gotta go practice
Re: Student cancelling last minute recital [Re: chasingrainbows] #2341904
10/27/14 08:10 AM
10/27/14 08:10 AM
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Is participating in the recitals optional? If not, I think it should be.

As an adult, I wouldn't take lessons from a teacher who required me to be in recitals. Granted, I have a choice. But as a kid I found it just as horrible - worse, even, since I didn't have a choice. I still remember a piano recital when I was 10. Ugh. Looking back, I think it was one reason I quit lessons after 2 years.

This student and her mother are quite rude. But you aren't going to change that. The world is full of rude people. Most businesses don't "fire" customers with bad manners.

Next time I wouldn't even invite her to be in the recital. Clearly she doesn't want to do it, so don't even bother setting up the situation where she cancels and you get annoyed.

Re: Student cancelling last minute recital [Re: chasingrainbows] #2341910
10/27/14 08:40 AM
10/27/14 08:40 AM
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TimR Offline
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What do kids think of recitals?

Do they dread them? Are they a necessary evil, one of those mandatory events adults make them do, that are supposed to be good for them but they're not sure why? And really they're just an opportunity to fail in front of everybody?

Or do they eagerly look forward to them, like every athlete anticipates a big game? Are they the payoff for all those hours spent in the gym and the practice room? I've been on sports teams in high school, and I was a long, long way from ever being a starter, but even us scrubs wanted to get in the game!


gotta go practice
Re: Student cancelling last minute recital [Re: Peter K. Mose] #2341953
10/27/14 11:02 AM
10/27/14 11:02 AM
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chasingrainbows Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Peter K. Mose


Students seldom view them in this light. To them recitals are often an annoyance, or a reason for intimidation or even outright fear.

I think you need to put your ego aside and simply decide that this student is not someone to count on when it comes to recitals. But don't give up on her as a pupil.


Peter, if you read my post, this is the second time in a year she's cancelled at the last minute. She is not afraid of recitals. As I indicated, she misses a good deal of lessons (last minute cancellations), barely practices, if at all. The only reason I have kept her is because I believe in her and she possesses musicality. I can't say it is easy to watch her minimal progress and listen to her lame excuses. What's so infuriating is that the parents are also cancelling during the recital by text messages.


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Re: Student cancelling last minute recital [Re: chasingrainbows] #2341955
10/27/14 11:07 AM
10/27/14 11:07 AM
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Belgium
johan d Offline
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Are pupils obligated (or pushed to) to participate recitals?

Last edited by johan d; 10/27/14 11:07 AM.
Re: Student cancelling last minute recital [Re: BrainCramp] #2341957
10/27/14 11:09 AM
10/27/14 11:09 AM
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chasingrainbows Offline OP
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Originally Posted by BrainCramp
Is participating in the recitals optional? If not, I think it should be.

As an adult, I wouldn't take lessons from a teacher who required me to be in recitals. Granted, I have a choice. But as a kid I found it just as horrible - worse, even, since I didn't have a choice. I still remember a piano recital when I was 10. Ugh. Looking back, I think it was one reason I quit lessons after 2 years.

This student and her mother are quite rude. But you aren't going to change that. The world is full of rude people. Most businesses don't "fire" customers with bad manners.

Next time I wouldn't even invite her to be in the recital. Clearly she doesn't want to do it, so don't even bother setting up the situation where she cancels and you get annoyed.


I totally can relate to your dismay over performing. However, interestingly, the recitals I dreaded were those in which the teacher was mean and intimidating. Coincidentally, the pieces were also uninteresting.

I certainly can use improvement, however, because of my recital experiences, I have created a completely positive spin on performing. We play Halloween or autumn pieces that are short, easy and fun for Fall. For the Holiday recital, they play their choice of Christmas, Hannukah, or winter themed songs. These are songs that they like, they select, are easy and short. Nothing I give them requires more than 2 or 3 weeks of prep based on their level. I take into consideration how much practice time is devoted per student. I don't make anyone participate, but I encourage it. Perhaps my easy demeanor has given the impression that they can be very nonchalant about committing to performing.

The students who cancelled are those students who barely practice and miss many lessons. If I could drop them, I certainly would.


Piano teacher, BA Music, MTNA member
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