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#2694364 - 12/05/17 01:53 AM End of year etiquette for piano teachers (in USA)  
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Osho Online content
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Osho  Online Content
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I read in another thread that someone mentioned that he/she generously tips the Piano teacher at the end of the year.

This is the first year I have had Piano classes. I wonder what is the etiquette for 'end of the year holiday season' gifts/tips for Piano teachers - especially in USA? Is there a 'norm'?

Thanks,
Osho

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#2694421 - 12/05/17 09:06 AM Re: End of year etiquette for piano teachers (in USA) [Re: Osho]  
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Originally Posted by Osho
I read in another thread that someone mentioned that he/she generously tips the Piano teacher at the end of the year.

This is the first year I have had Piano classes. I wonder what is the etiquette for 'end of the year holiday season' gifts/tips for Piano teachers - especially in USA? Is there a 'norm'?

Thanks,
Osho

There's no norm, but I personally love to get gift cards for restaurants or Starbucks along with a little note of thanks from the student. In fact, a note from the student means much more to me than money or a gift.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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#2694430 - 12/05/17 09:22 AM Re: End of year etiquette for piano teachers (in USA) [Re: Osho]  
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I will give a gift card, card and a box of chocolates. I will not tip because I don’t tip professionals, I just pay them their rate and any other extra depends on the relationship we establish and maintain, if any.


🎼 Learning piano since May 2017
#2694436 - 12/05/17 09:32 AM Re: End of year etiquette for piano teachers (in USA) [Re: Osho]  
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I do not tip my teacher at the end of the year, but I buy a small present Or a gift card with a personal note. I did think about tipping, but I try to put myself in my teacher’s shoes: I would not expect or even want a tip at the end of the year

I get a very small present from her as well, which I do not expect. This year it was a Christmas cactus, which was quite thoughtful, Last year a handmade gingerbread man with my name on it


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
" I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho
#2694502 - 12/05/17 12:52 PM Re: End of year etiquette for piano teachers (in USA) [Re: Osho]  
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I do not usually give my teacher a gift, although I have done so a couple of times when I had something I thought he would like (e.g., a special recording). I don't think there is any expectation, but it may depend on the teacher. I do not think a tip would be appropriate, as PerAspera said--but again, it may depend on the teacher. I do always make a donation to the Golandsky Institute, where my teacher is on the faculty--but that's because I support their mission.

I come from a family where the adults stopped giving each other gifts and found it eased everyone's holiday stress. Others have more holiday gift-giving spirit, I know.


1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Chopin, Waltz in E minor (op. posth.)
Schubert, Op. 90 no. 2
Mendelssohn, Op. 19 no. 2
#2694595 - 12/05/17 08:34 PM Re: End of year etiquette for piano teachers (in USA) [Re: Osho]  
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musicpassion Offline
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I think the holliday teacher gift tradition is becoming less common. Maybe 25% of students in my area (and my studio, but I hear the same from other teachers) will give a gift or card. The cards can be really nice, and that's the direction I'd encourage.

I've never had a student just hand over cash as a tip. It seems to me tips are generally given to lower wage workers, but I could be wrong.


Pianist and Piano Teacher
#2694601 - 12/05/17 09:10 PM Re: End of year etiquette for piano teachers (in USA) [Re: Osho]  
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Osho Online content
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Thank you all for the input. It seems a thank you note, a gift card and some holiday chocolates might be most appropriate.

regards,
Osho

Last edited by Osho; 12/05/17 09:10 PM.
#2694636 - 12/06/17 01:18 AM Re: End of year etiquette for piano teachers (in USA) [Re: musicpassion]  
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AZNpiano Online happy
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Originally Posted by musicpassion
I think the holliday teacher gift tradition is becoming less common.

It depends on where you live. I used to teach at one of those run-down districts, and teachers there don't expect any gifts for Christmas from their students. Zero.

Wealthy clients tend to give gifts.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
#2694699 - 12/06/17 08:22 AM Re: End of year etiquette for piano teachers (in USA) [Re: Osho]  
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Hypothetical: You are assigned a teacher through a music school. You and the teacher hit it off -- a good musical relationship that you value. You later learn that your teacher and others at the school have separate private studios, but are contractually forbidden from taking into their private studios students first assigned to them by the school. Your teacher (and the others) receive from the school much less per lesson than what you pay the school and what they receive from private studio students.

Is a monetary gift (a check enclosed in a nice card with a personalized thank-you note) in recognition of those circumstances inappropriate?


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#2694736 - 12/06/17 10:17 AM Re: End of year etiquette for piano teachers (in USA) [Re: Osho]  
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To me there is something demeaning about giving money to a piano teacher beyond tuition, as some sort of holiday cheer. Doesn't matter whether this involves a music school or a private studio.

#2694778 - 12/06/17 12:21 PM Re: End of year etiquette for piano teachers (in USA) [Re: Osho]  
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I still think it’s inappropriate. If the teacher is unhappy with the arrangement he has with the school he is free to terminate the contract and focus on his private studio. If he is with the school then he should be happy with the pay and not expect “gifts”. There is a fine line between a gift and a “bribe”, and in this case I would consider it a bribe so the teacher would have to give the “gifter” some special attention and better quality lessons. Would you write a personal check to a great dr from a hospital owned clinic because the doc was so good and he would make so much more money if he had his own practice?


🎼 Learning piano since May 2017
#2694791 - 12/06/17 01:06 PM Re: End of year etiquette for piano teachers (in USA) [Re: Osho]  
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Speaking as both a student of piano and a teacher (of English) - cash, in my opinion, is inappropriate. I would be really taken aback if anyone gave me cash.


A gift card for something the teacher might like could work - (even better if you are certain they would like it).

A little gift is always appreciated but not expected.

A hand written card would always be a winner, again, in my opinion.


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Currently working on: Chopin Waltz in Amin (post), Chopin Nocturne in Cmin (post), McDowell To a Wild Rose
#2694808 - 12/06/17 03:04 PM Re: End of year etiquette for piano teachers (in USA) [Re: Osho]  
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hreichgott Online content
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I've received everything from monetary gifts to cookies to potted plants. I welcome it all smile


Heather W. Reichgott, piano http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com

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I love Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and new music
#2694883 - 12/06/17 06:41 PM Re: End of year etiquette for piano teachers (in USA) [Re: hreichgott]  
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Originally Posted by hreichgott
I've received everything from monetary gifts to cookies to potted plants. I welcome it all smile


Yes. Its all good!

My students come from many different cultures, countries, traditions, income levels, age groups, etc.

If they want to give me something at Christmas, it is a gift, and I am thankful.


Piano teacher and Blues and Boogie-Woogie pianist.
#2694915 - 12/06/17 09:19 PM Re: End of year etiquette for piano teachers (in USA) [Re: Osho]  
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PerAspera, I respectfully disagree with you on several areas. One that the teacher would expect a gift and would have to give special attention and better quality lessons to the person who tipped them. I am the person who wrote in another forum I tip generously at the end of the year and put cash in a card with a thank-you note. I truly do that out of respect to my teachers efforts. To suggest that a teacher would give "better quality lessons" to a person who tipped than those who did not, is really degrading to the profession. I believe (for most) professionals are committed to their profession and take pride in their craft and would provide quality lessons to all students irregardless if they are tipped. Realizing that, some students are more vested than others and may take full advantage of what that teacher can offer.

Professional is defined as a person who has an area of study and is skilled. I consider licensed hairdressers professionals, how many of you tip hairdressers? I have also never worried about the amount of the tip I give impacting my haircut. Chances are if the hairdresser does poor work he/she will not have many customers.

Regarding doctors or health care professionals, there are organizational regulations/policies regarding the ethics of health care professionals accepting gifts from patients. In the health care facility I work, vendors cannot even bring any type of food or trinkets when conducting presentations. Health care professionals are very well paid and generally have no difficulty with securing full-time employment with overtime opportunities and benefit packages.

I imagine music teachers who work for studios are mostly contract employees which generally means a higher tax rate, no vacation, sick leave, or retirement plan. They probably are paid based on how many students they teach. If the studio closes for Christmas or any other time the teacher is probably not receiving a paycheck.


Deb
"A goal properly set is halfway reached." Zig Ziglar
#2695033 - 12/07/17 08:28 AM Re: End of year etiquette for piano teachers (in USA) [Re: Osho]  
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I often hear three things on these boards: First, that musicians and music teachers are underpaid and underappreciated. Second, that goverment (i.e., unwilling taxpayer donors) should subsidize music and underpaid musicians and music teachers. Third, that willing students should not directly express their gratitude to a teacher with a voluntary financial gratuity.

I suffer at the moment from a minor case of cognitive dissonance.


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"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins
#2695664 - 12/09/17 05:40 PM Re: End of year etiquette for piano teachers (in USA) [Re: Osho]  
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A coincidence, I suppose, but my piano tuner was here just yesterday. If he gave lessons, I would feel it was quite worthwhile to take them from him; I have learned many things during the hours in his company, and he plays--- well, he was taking his major in college in Performance. He communicates with music in such a vivid fashion that you could forget that the piano was the intermediary. He let it go, and started taking lessons privately. The life of a performing artist, he told me; so much travel, so much stress and tension, at best. "I have an eight-year-old son, and a new wife, whom I love very much.... This kind of life is better for me."

He offers me a rate which I understand is at a sizeable discount from his listed service fees, saying that he does this for customers like myself, who are long-time regulars, who are flexible as to the schedule, and who allow him to take the care of their pianos that he wants to give them (no one besides him has ever touched my piano, since the very first service call when it was brand new). We visit when he is here; I am careful not to distract him. I dropped something in the piano between visits--- first time ever--- which jammed the keys, and he came right over and set it right, refusing payment.

So. Christmas is almost here. I found that it was not much trouble to stop at the ATM and get cash to pay him. It seemed to me that he should at least get his full rate. And, I remembered the gratis service call. All put together, it was a nice folding size for twenties, generous if not excessive. He did not seem at all offended, and I do not see that a piano teacher should be, either, if thanks were given at the same time, in an attitude of respect and gratitude. A card or a little present--- why not, if you like. You could model the behavior for the benefit of your students. Giving is a practice which has the paradoxical effect of opening the giver up to receive. When we give, our own attitude of neediness or selfishness just slides off, and we naturally attain an open posture, in our mind and in our heart. When we give, we're thinking of what will help, delight, or uplift someone else.

The old Russian proverb says, "If you want money, buy a new purse." In other words, if you want something, make a place for it in your life. And if you can't accompany your gift with an attitude of respect and thankfulness, don't bother.

"Here's ten bucks, thanks for everything you did for my kid this year. It should be more, but... well... we're going out for dim sum, and if you don't really tip there, they call the police. (shrug), Merry Christmas."

"Oh, thanks so much for thinking of me, but I really couldn't. I hate to take the mink off a lady's back--- it's against our studio policy. Such a beautiful fur--- watch out for that duck sauce! But don't worry about me; I'm raising little Junior's fees, starting in January. So, Merry Christmas to you, too. And Happy New Year."


Clef

#2695708 - 12/10/17 01:02 AM Re: End of year etiquette for piano teachers (in USA) [Re: Osho]  
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PerAspera Offline
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I see no problem if someone wants to give a cash tip and some teachers will take anything so why not. I think one session fee or one month tuition should be a good tip, and another tip for the end of school year. Birthdays are also a good occasion for tips and there is a teachers day too.


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