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#2681515 - 10/12/17 11:24 AM "I'm sorry" and "thank you"  
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sonataplayer Offline
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Yesterday, I received an email from a student's Mom -- 45 minutes before her scheduled lesson -- saying that they were going to be putting lessons "on hold" for the time being. (We all know that usually means they're NOT coming back.) The student -- a six year old -- had been challenging. Sweet kid, but she had a very short attention span and a little bit of an attitude. So, I was not entirely shocked by the message, but the lack of notice initially raised my blood pressure a bit. However, four little words made all the difference in this Mom's approach: "I'm sorry" and "thank you." She apologized profusely for the late notice and she thanked me for her patience with her daughter. So, I'm not sure what surprised me more -- the abrupt termination of lessons or the gracious way she did it. It happens so seldom these days and it made all the difference.

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#2681634 - 10/12/17 09:45 PM Re: "I'm sorry" and "thank you" [Re: sonataplayer]  
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Morodiene Offline
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Morodiene  Offline
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Originally Posted by sonataplayer
Yesterday, I received an email from a student's Mom -- 45 minutes before her scheduled lesson -- saying that they were going to be putting lessons "on hold" for the time being. (We all know that usually means they're NOT coming back.) The student -- a six year old -- had been challenging. Sweet kid, but she had a very short attention span and a little bit of an attitude. So, I was not entirely shocked by the message, but the lack of notice initially raised my blood pressure a bit. However, four little words made all the difference in this Mom's approach: "I'm sorry" and "thank you." She apologized profusely for the late notice and she thanked me for her patience with her daughter. So, I'm not sure what surprised me more -- the abrupt termination of lessons or the gracious way she did it. It happens so seldom these days and it made all the difference.

Those 4 words go a long way, don't they? Certainly, I don't really know if a student has ended things in a way that didn't in some way throw me off. Often, I start to think what I did wrong. Unless it's a student that I've secretly been hoping they would arrive at the same conclusion I had week ago - that they need to find another teacher.

But rejection of any kind can be tough to take.


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#2681638 - 10/12/17 09:58 PM Re: "I'm sorry" and "thank you" [Re: sonataplayer]  
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DFSRN Offline
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Dear Sonataplayer, first I will note that I am a Baby Boomer. I would think the person who was discontinuing lessons would call you on the phone as a matter of respect instead of an e-mail. You can't email a health care provider 45 min before an appointment and not expect to be charged. I coordinate student nursing externs and the first thing I tell them, if you cannot make it to work, you cannot email you must call. I have been taking 2 hour piano lessons weekly for about 3 and a half years. If I miss, which is seldom, I pay for my lesson. Customers need to realize the student is slotted studio time and these teachers work as a job. If I were to stop taking lessons, I would give the studio a 30 day notice or at least pay for that month if I stopped all of a sudden for whatever circumstances.

What really surprised me, I was talking to a parent whose child was taking lessons. When I asked who was the teacher, the parent did not know the teachers name.


Deb
"A goal properly set is halfway reached." Zig Ziglar
#2681640 - 10/12/17 10:10 PM Re: "I'm sorry" and "thank you" [Re: Morodiene]  
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DFSRN Offline
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Morodiene I think it is important to be respectful when leaving a service that is provided. However, I don't think I would view it as what I did wrong. I think it could be a person's level of commitment. I took lessons for 10 years as a child, once I told my parents I wanted lessons and they made the investment in a piano and lessons I could not stop them. I am glad now I had those lessons and my parents made me continue. I had a friend who stopped lessons, but wanted to learn to play the piano and still wishes she could play. When I asked why she stopped, she said it was too hard and took a lot of time.


Deb
"A goal properly set is halfway reached." Zig Ziglar
#2681651 - 10/12/17 10:59 PM Re: "I'm sorry" and "thank you" [Re: DFSRN]  
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Morodiene Offline
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Morodiene  Offline
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Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted by DFSRN
Morodiene I think it is important to be respectful when leaving a service that is provided. However, I don't think I would view it as what I did wrong. I think it could be a person's level of commitment. I took lessons for 10 years as a child, once I told my parents I wanted lessons and they made the investment in a piano and lessons I could not stop them. I am glad now I had those lessons and my parents made me continue. I had a friend who stopped lessons, but wanted to learn to play the piano and still wishes she could play. When I asked why she stopped, she said it was too hard and took a lot of time.

I know, but I can't help thinking back and wondering if there was just one more thing I could have done to reach the student. I've learned to let it go over the years, but that's jut how my mind works. Most of the time, I'm sure, it has more to do with the student and their own situation than it does with me. smile


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#2681766 - 10/13/17 08:54 AM Re: "I'm sorry" and "thank you" [Re: DFSRN]  
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malkin Offline
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Originally Posted by DFSRN

...What really surprised me, I was talking to a parent whose child was taking lessons. When I asked who was the teacher, the parent did not know the teachers name.



This no longer surprises me. Parents often don't know their kid's preschool teacher's name, nor the special education teacher, nor the speech therapist. Parents will report that they have taken a special needs kid for a private evaluation, but they cannot remember the provider's name or qualifications (like was that person a psychologist or a chiropractor?!) I've had parents come to drop their kid off at school come to the wrong classroom and even to the wrong school.


Having power is not nearly as important as what you choose to do with it.
– Roald Dahl

#2681767 - 10/13/17 09:05 AM Re: "I'm sorry" and "thank you" [Re: malkin]  
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Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted by malkin
I've had parents come to drop their kid off at school come to the wrong classroom and even to the wrong school.

Hopefully it wasn't the wrong kid, too!

I think we are in an era where kids are bombarded with opportunities and encouraged to fill up their schedules with everything and anything they like. This makes it very hard on parents to get their children to all the places they need to be, so it doesn't surprise me that these kinds of mistakes happen. I think it's very important for parents to limit the activities they let their child do so that they have time to just play (and I'm not talking video games).


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#2681862 - 10/13/17 03:42 PM Re: "I'm sorry" and "thank you" [Re: Morodiene]  
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Rich Galassini Offline
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Originally Posted by DFSRN

What really surprised me, I was talking to a parent whose child was taking lessons. When I asked who was the teacher, the parent did not know the teachers name.



This happens to me quite a bit. It happens in our school and on our sales floor. It no longer surprises me although usually someone in the family can remember a name, but usually only one parent or the children themselves.


Originally Posted by Morodiene

I know, but I can't help thinking back and wondering if there was just one more thing I could have done to reach the student. I've learned to let it go over the years, but that's jut how my mind works. Most of the time, I'm sure, it has more to do with the student and their own situation than it does with me. smile


This is a sign of an educator who truly desires to reach students. Congrats Morodiene because this kind of analytical thinking has likely improved your teaching. When looking over a rare piano restoration we can often learn something about our process by really looking critically at the final product. I think it makes us produce better instruments.

Cheers,


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
(215) 991-0834 direct line
rich@cunninghampiano.com
Check out the Science Channel's "How Its Made" featuring our piano restoration:
http://www.cunninghampiano.com/how-its-made/
#2681915 - 10/13/17 06:55 PM Re: "I'm sorry" and "thank you" [Re: Rich Galassini]  
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Morodiene Offline
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Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
Originally Posted by DFSRN

What really surprised me, I was talking to a parent whose child was taking lessons. When I asked who was the teacher, the parent did not know the teachers name.



This happens to me quite a bit. It happens in our school and on our sales floor. It no longer surprises me although usually someone in the family can remember a name, but usually only one parent or the children themselves.


Originally Posted by Morodiene

I know, but I can't help thinking back and wondering if there was just one more thing I could have done to reach the student. I've learned to let it go over the years, but that's jut how my mind works. Most of the time, I'm sure, it has more to do with the student and their own situation than it does with me. smile


This is a sign of an educator who truly desires to reach students. Congrats Morodiene because this kind of analytical thinking has likely improved your teaching. When looking over a rare piano restoration we can often learn something about our process by really looking critically at the final product. I think it makes us produce better instruments.

Cheers,

Indeed. Everything is a learning process, even if it takes us a while to realize it at first. wink


private piano/voice teacher FT

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#2681946 - 10/13/17 09:57 PM Re: "I'm sorry" and "thank you" [Re: sonataplayer]  
Joined: Jul 2017
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DFSRN Offline
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Virginia
Morodiene, you must be a wonderful teacher to worry about reaching your students and consider if you are doing something wrong. Maybe parents do not realize the intellectual benefit of music lessons such as discipline, math, eye-hand coordination, improved test scores, memorization abilities. Music lessons is also important for older adults. I sent you my publication Prescription for Music Lessons (focuses on the older adult) to your school email listed on your profile.

I can't imagine how the teacher would feel if the parent does not consider it important enough to know the teacher's name. It send the message you are not important. I also think it is important to appreciate the teacher's efforts. I tip my teacher at the end of the year. People generally don't major in music for the money, it is for the love of it and it has been a life effort. You can go to college and become an accountant in 4 years. You can't start from scratch and study music for 4 years and become a good pianist in that amount of time. My teacher told me he had to audition to get in and then play to get out. He had to memorize 45 minutes of music and play in front of an audience for his senior recital and the was only for his BS degree. Not sure what he had to do for the MS. I have a hard time with 2 lines.


Deb
"A goal properly set is halfway reached." Zig Ziglar
#2682172 - 10/14/17 06:49 PM Re: "I'm sorry" and "thank you" [Re: sonataplayer]  
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Morodiene Offline
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Thanks, Deb, I'll check it out!


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#2682351 - 10/15/17 12:14 PM Re: "I'm sorry" and "thank you" [Re: sonataplayer]  
Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 329
Lakeviewsteve Online content
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Wisconsin, USA
Originally Posted by sonataplayer
The student -- a six year old -- had been challenging. Sweet kid, but she had a very short attention span and a little bit of an attitude.


Out of curiosity, how long had you been teaching the six year old? Did they enjoy lessons? Were there any good signs about this student, such as good practice habits, ability, or talent? Did you like this student? You only mentioned "challenging and an attitude."

I have vivid memories of taking lessons at that age and would have been devastated if they were terminated. I absolutely loved my piano teacher (Inez Camm - Wisconsin Conservatory of Music). I had recitals twice a year, and loved taking piano. I continued with lessons through college. I look at these lessons as a real gift now, and appreciate my mother for having exposed me to the piano at a very young age. Your post really made me appreciate this more so. I don't think a six year old has the ability to make real good decisions but I could be wrong. The child's parents are responsible for the decision to quit or continue. I hope they made the right decision. I can picture this kid having a tantrum with her mother leading up to the 45 minute termination notice. I hope they didn't make this termination decision in a fit of rage because it can impact this child for the rest of their life.

When I play for friends or have a recital these days, it is amazing how many people will say they took lessons as a child or at some point in their life but quit and wish they hadn't. Every time I hear it I encourage them to restart, but realize it is almost impossible for them to find the time, actually learn much, have the patience, etc. At six years old the brain is in such a formative state and the ability to learn things like the piano or foreign languages for example is extremely enhanced. I hope their parents aren't wasting this child's precious development time. I wish this child's parents had called or discussed this with you in person before they made this huge decision to QUIT. At least their decision could have been a better informed one.

Today I can play Chopin's Ballade #4 in F minor and regularly enroll / apply to take incredible master piano classes. If my parents had decided to terminate my lessons at 6, I would never have been able to appreciate this.

Thank you / Steve

Last edited by Lakeviewsteve; 10/15/17 12:32 PM.

Bösendorfer 170
#2682370 - 10/15/17 02:58 PM Re: "I'm sorry" and "thank you" [Re: sonataplayer]  
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DFSRN Offline
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Lakeview Steve, I am also happy my parents made me take lessons. Not only did they do that, my mother knew my assignments, talked with my teacher, and listened to me practice. If I practiced only what I knew how to play, she said you know that one you need to work on another one. However, I quit at the age of 18 and restarted at the age of 54. I do regret it, but you have to move forward. Regrading time, I simply to do not watch TV, or limit it to about an hour a week. I know people who go on Facebook for hours. Generally, everyone has some amount of free time, it is just deciding how you spend it.

My co-workers son wanted to take the Tuba, he said are you sure (his child had begged him). Now after a year he wants to quit. He told me, I told my son, I am paying for lessons and bought you a Tuba. You will play to you move out of the house (he is 10). He makes him practice an hour a day. He also talks with the teacher to see how his son is doing in private lessons. He told his son, don't let your teacher tell me your not doing what your supposed to do because you will never see another video game.

Adults have better focus, attention span, and can critically think. Generally if an adult takes lessons it is because they want to and no one is telling them to. I am so happy I was made to take lessons because without this experience I may have never started as an older adult. I am in my own world when I practice and don't think about the stress of daily life.


Deb
"A goal properly set is halfway reached." Zig Ziglar
#2682397 - 10/15/17 04:12 PM Re: "I'm sorry" and "thank you" [Re: DFSRN]  
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Hi Deb, Thank you for the post. I totally agree. I'm so thrilled to have continued with piano so many years. I lived in Europe for 12 years and bought my piano of my dreams new there. Now I get to go back to Europe for master classes and just love it.

I'm so thrilled my parents were not the Tuba kids parents! They never forced me to practice because I loved practicing on my own. That kid's parents should realize their kid made a mistake and move on!

All the best / Steve


Bösendorfer 170
#2682681 - Yesterday at 07:28 PM Re: "I'm sorry" and "thank you" [Re: Lakeviewsteve]  
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Steve, from my own experience, my parents made me take lessons, I also wanted to quit. I think this taught me to make a commitment and follow through. Today, I am glad they made me, I was not so happy then.


Deb
"A goal properly set is halfway reached." Zig Ziglar

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