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Re: Missed class policy [Re: Osho] #2716280
02/22/18 01:02 AM
02/22/18 01:02 AM
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I allow students to only schedule lessons (a month out at a time) they know they can attend. They're expected to take a lesson every week, but life happens! Vacations, federal holidays, visiting friends and family, work duties, illness, weird school holidays....LIFE!
I make up for that potential financial loss by charging at the very upper end of what the market dictates in my area. And I still offer make ups for those scheduled lessons that are missed for acceptable reasons. I mean, I'm here either way. A last minute cancelled lesson? Great, I'll get all those lesson plans done and won't have to do it in the morning. You can swing a make up at 10am (when I don't normally teach), fine, let's book it.
Makes little difference to me which hours of the day are dedicated to what, as long as I get all my responsibilities covered.
I believe my flexibility is one of the reasons I have a full studio at all times.
At the end of the day, I want my students to grow. Missing lessons all the time, paying for lessons they're not taking, that creates negative energy between student and teacher. Can't grow when there's resentment in the air.
Not answering emails (because she doesn't want to do deal with the question) is childish. I don't get that mindset at all.

In any case, all of this should have been in writing before you took up with a teacher. As you search for a new teacher, find one who uses a contract.

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Re: Missed class policy [Re: Osho] #2716285
02/22/18 01:25 AM
02/22/18 01:25 AM
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malkin Offline
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Honestly, if I were concerned with "financial loss" I wouldn't spend a nickel on piano lessons.

Is email your teacher's preferred method of communication? Are you using the correct email address?

Once again: If you are not satisfied with your current teacher, don't continue with your current teacher. If you continue with your current teacher and you continue with this sort of discussion, then you are looking for something else.


Learner
Re: Missed class policy [Re: malkin] #2716298
02/22/18 03:45 AM
02/22/18 03:45 AM
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Portland, OR, USA
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Osho Offline OP
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Originally Posted by malkin
Is email your teacher's preferred method of communication? Are you using the correct email address?

Once again: If you are not satisfied with your current teacher, don't continue with your current teacher. If you continue with your current teacher and you continue with this sort of discussion, then you are looking for something else.

I think my teacher prefers no communication outside the class hours. She is either too busy or uninterested or both. I have emailed her piano technique related questions, recordings of the pieces I am supposed to work on etc. to seek comments. I almost never get any replies. She will mention in the class that she did receive those emails though - so I definitely am using the correct email address. It is the same email address from where she sends invoices as well.

As I said in the OP, I am satisfied with the teacher in her teachings and I have improved. I am not happy with the missed class policy. So, it is not a black and white 'satisfied or not' situation. If I was not happy with her teaching, I would have left these classes already and would not have bothered to even start this thread.

My objective behind this thread is to better understand what is the 'norm' and 'acceptable' behavior as this is the first piano teacher I have had.

Osho


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Re: Missed class policy [Re: Osho] #2716322
02/22/18 07:15 AM
02/22/18 07:15 AM
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Hi Osho
I would be curious to hear what the teachers on this thread think about receiving questions and videos between lessons, as I have always assumed it would not be acceptable for me to be doing this as a student. And, absolutely, I have had questions..... I’ve just noted them for my next lesson

Do teachers factor in this kind of communication between classes when they set their fees and plan their time?


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Re: Missed class policy [Re: Osho] #2716360
02/22/18 10:23 AM
02/22/18 10:23 AM
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malkin Offline
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Originally Posted by Osho

My objective behind this thread is to better understand what is the 'norm' and 'acceptable' behavior as this is the first piano teacher I have had.


Whether it is "the norm" or not, it's okay to ask your teacher to clarify the policy, express your feelings, and quit if you are dissatisfied.


Learner
Re: Missed class policy [Re: Osho] #2716406
02/22/18 01:20 PM
02/22/18 01:20 PM
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I have at times sent my teacher a video, question, etc via email and text. She has always responded. I can't say if that is the norm, but I don't do this frequently. Maybe one a month I'll contact her outside of normal lesson time. I did however ask her first if this type of communication was OK.


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Re: Missed class policy [Re: Osho] #2716408
02/22/18 01:36 PM
02/22/18 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by SchroedersCat
I make up for that potential financial loss by charging at the very upper end of what the market dictates in my area.

This is an important variable. It's like if you book a "premium" type airfare, you get more flexibility for changing flights and such vs. the lower fare classes have restrictions. I'm closer to the middle range with some restriction and my market considers that acceptable value (they would leave if they didn't) so my studio is full too for the hours that I want to be teaching.

Originally Posted by Osho
I think my teacher prefers no communication outside the class hours. She is either too busy or uninterested or both. I have emailed her piano technique related questions, recordings of the pieces I am supposed to work on etc. to seek comments. I almost never get any replies.

Originally Posted by dogperson
I would be curious to hear what the teachers on this thread think about receiving questions and videos between lessons, as I have always assumed it would not be acceptable for me to be doing this as a student. And, absolutely, I have had questions..... I’ve just noted them for my next lesson

Do teachers factor in this kind of communication between classes when they set their fees and plan their time?

Scheduling and other administration are almost always done between classes. With music and technique questions that are specific and straightforward, I'll answer quickly. Even a short video, if it's a specific part of a piece, needing clarification on fingering or hand position or something, that's straightforward. If the answer is long and complicated (I could write the long email and it may or may not be read/understood) or it's generic "seeking comment", it would be better to handle it in person (i.e. at your next lesson). There is no student who is doing this excessively so I've not had to address it directly.

Back to the subject of fee range - for what I'm charging, I'm perfectly happy to do this kind of communication between classes. I think a reasonable level of outside of lesson time support is part of the "cost of doing business" and the "educational service provided" and I would not reduce the fee in order to reduce the support or vice versa. Besides, I can respond to emails whenever whereas the peak lesson times run on a tight schedule.

Last edited by mostlystrings; 02/22/18 03:00 PM.
Re: Missed class policy [Re: Osho] #2716426
02/22/18 02:37 PM
02/22/18 02:37 PM
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When I started with my current brass teacher, there was always something I ended up confused about after every lesson, and I emailed. He patiently replied every time.

That problem has disappeared with time, fortunately.

I don't remember that ever happening with a piano teacher. The only emails were about schedule changes.

Send a video? That's just foreign to me. I share lots of videos with my peers, but sending one to a teacher feels like trying to get away with a free lesson.


gotta go practice
Re: Missed class policy [Re: Osho] #2716436
02/22/18 03:19 PM
02/22/18 03:19 PM
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I remember a few years ago when I saw a 'client' who was passed on to me because my predecessor retired early and unexpectedly, from burnout. The first thing he asked for was my (private) email address because he used to email my predecessor 'occasionally' with questions that he "thought of", and expected to do the same with me, as I was taking over his job.

I nipped that in the bud pretty smartly.......(burnout is not something I intend to inflict on myself).


"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."
Re: Missed class policy [Re: Osho] #2716477
02/22/18 05:15 PM
02/22/18 05:15 PM
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Dogperson, my own teachers never made themselves inaccessible, therefore, I'm the same way. I guess a lot of teacher habits come from how they were themselves "raised" educationally.

It makes me happy that my students are curious and have burning questions they want answered before their next lesson. I enjoy answering those emails/texts. I enjoy the research that goes into answering the hard questions. Keeps me learning too!

If I start to feel the line of questioning belongs in the lesson, or that my time is being taken advantage of, I re-direct them gently. "That's a pretty complicated question there, best to be discussed in the lesson, so I can SHOW you how it all works". It's usually my senior students (as in, senior citizens) who have this boundary issue. Maybe because they're retired and have so much time to think about their lesson work??

I've never had a student send a video of themselves playing. That would throw me for a loop! But I do have a senior student who sends me audio clips of pieces she hears in commercials or tv in general, so I can tell her what it is! It's like my own personal game of "name that tune" using a poorly recorded clip from a tv speaker to phone recorder, sent via text, then played back on my own tiny phone speaker. Fortunately for this student, I like this fun and silly challenge. I had to phone my mom and sister to figure out some of them, it's become a family game. "It's definitely French." "No, it's post modern Jazz". "Guys, I think it's a piano cover of Radiohead?" "Oh, lord, let's start over."

Re: Missed class policy [Re: TimR] #2716487
02/22/18 05:54 PM
02/22/18 05:54 PM
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Portland, OR, USA
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Originally Posted by TimR
Send a video? That's just foreign to me. I share lots of videos with my peers, but sending one to a teacher feels like trying to get away with a free lesson.

I have never sent a video to my teacher, but have sent her 1-2 minute audio of my playing of one piece we were working on - but only one time so far. I never got any response on them and went I met her in the class she said that she had not listened to it yet. So, I never sent her anything else after that.

Osho


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Re: Missed class policy [Re: Osho] #2716547
02/23/18 12:01 AM
02/23/18 12:01 AM
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I actually do assign my students to send video or audio recordings. For the children, it's part of what we do to "pass" a piece, makes them have recording/performing experience, and I suggest they can share it with grandparents and such. On occasion I identify something in the environment that should be addressed such as persistent noisy sibling or out of tune instrument or some other issue that only happens at home.

However, I generally don't respond with written feedback because it takes time to do so thoughtfully. Whatever we need to work on I just make a mental note for later. I would write the feedback in special cases such missing regular lessons due to extended illness or travel or for example sometimes an advanced student has a short notice audition/performance and something needs to be heard before the next lesson.

Re: Missed class policy [Re: SchroedersCat] #2716620
02/23/18 10:05 AM
02/23/18 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by SchroedersCat
But I do have a senior student who sends me audio clips of pieces she hears in commercials or tv in general, so I can tell her what it is! It's like my own personal game of "name that tune" using a poorly recorded clip from a tv speaker to phone recorder, sent via text, then played back on my own tiny phone speaker.


Yesterday my daughter showed me that Siri is pretty good at this.


gotta go practice
Re: Missed class policy [Re: Osho] #2716684
02/23/18 03:03 PM
02/23/18 03:03 PM
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California
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Hi OP -- it is super common. Especially for teachers with large studios. The reasoning is they have already sold that time slot to you, regardless if you show up or not.

I personally did not practice that, but I did not teach for a living and I am a horrible business person.


Dogperson-- I loved getting questions from my students in between lessons, but again, I think time is the issue and I was you could say bright-eye and bushy-tailed and very interested in what my students were up to. If a teacher is super busy with lessons it just wouldn't work very well.


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Re: Missed class policy [Re: Osho] #2716999
02/24/18 11:54 PM
02/24/18 11:54 PM
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Osho,

I had the same question a while ago and I was pretty much ganged up on in the Teacher's forum. So far I've noticed in this thread that Gary has remained objective in the fact that an even trade in respect, given availability, can work (given all other variables are also okay).

I shall say that some time after I made that particular post, I unfortunately had to leave the school. It was more than the scheduling. It was other things as well (not applicable to this topic). But scheduling was huge.

Communication might help given that you're both adults, however, sometimes the teachers feel that adult students are not serious, and they are not willing to take us through the elementary stage. If you ask me, yes, my job is more important that piano lessons (for now). If I don't work, I can't pay for lessons...and that's a lose-lose for all.

Heres's my thread on the same topic: http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...non-flexibility-etc-etc.html#Post2561700

Last edited by JazzyMac; 02/24/18 11:58 PM.
Re: Missed class policy [Re: Osho] #2717021
02/25/18 01:54 AM
02/25/18 01:54 AM
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Hi Osho, I read more of your posts.
You'll be interested to find this is a hotly debated issue among piano teachers, from what I see in piano teaching groups, so I'm not so sure you can find a "common" or "what's accepted". That's the wonderful thing about being a piano teacher, you decide your rules. What I've seen happen on these groups is often piano teachers get burned so many times that they decide to implement very strict policies to make it easier on everyone -- if it fits, it fits, if you don't like it, you can go somewhere else, kind of thing. Younger teachers seem to be less savvy and after getting close to burn out, decide to change their ways and not tolerate being pushed over. Sometimes this can lead to what I might consider extremely inflexible situations, but it really is an individual case by case basis. One thing I have seen that simplifies things, is in the teacher's favor, but is advertised in a way that make sense to students, is to treat piano as a class, where you pay tuition, not "per lesson". Therefore, if, like say you miss a class in college, you do not get a refund, neither do you get a makeup because that lesson was supposed to happen on that specific day and time. My old teacher used to allow makeups, but then I think she changed it, probably cause she was having to do so many makeups and it can be difficult to juggle your schedule around like that with many students, so now she allows one or two makeups a year to account for sickness, and had a "swap list" where students could call one another to switch times, which worked pretty well, for when soccer season or the like came around.

If a teacher misses a lesson, I think a makeup makes sense, but I have heard before ones who treat it like they are salaried, and you are paying for a sick day. That's a little odd to me as the teacher-student relationship is not quite an employer-employee situation. Maybe I heard that one wrong, but I wonder if that's what is being implied here in the saying that if a teacher misses a lesson it's OK.


As for whether you should be paying for sending videos to her. Technically, yes, you should be paying for that time, it is like consulting time, and if your teacher feels it is not included in the lesson price, then she has the right to not spend time on it. Your teacher should not be working for free if you are paying her by the hour. Now if you are in a tuition kind of situation, it depends on whether that is offered explicitly and you have worked it out beforehand. I personally encouraged my students to send me questions if they had them. I think it's strange that she would not reply to your email about cancellation-- is she not tech savvy?




~piano teacher in training~
Re: Missed class policy [Re: hello my name is] #2717026
02/25/18 02:28 AM
02/25/18 02:28 AM
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Originally Posted by hello my name is
...I'm not so sure you can find a "common" or "what's accepted". That's the wonderful thing about being a piano teacher, you decide your rules.


It is the same with being a student. Teachers set their own rules; students choose a teacher to work with.

Originally Posted by hello my name is
...piano teachers get burned so many times that they decide to implement very strict policies to make it easier on everyone -- if it fits, it fits, if you don't like it, you can go somewhere else...


Originally Posted by hello my name is
One thing I have seen that simplifies things, is in the teacher's favor, but is advertised in a way that make sense to students, is to treat piano as a class, where you pay tuition, not "per lesson". Therefore, if, like say you miss a class in college, you do not get a refund, neither do you get a makeup because that lesson was supposed to happen on that specific day and time.




Originally Posted by hello my name is
If a teacher misses a lesson, I think a makeup makes sense, but I have heard before ones who treat it like they are salaried, and you are paying for a sick day. That's a little odd to me as the teacher-student relationship is not quite an employer-employee situation. Maybe I heard that one wrong, but I wonder if that's what is being implied here in the saying that if a teacher misses a lesson it's OK.


I think the general sense of these discussions is that teachers reschedule to accommodate their absences, while not offering make up lessons to students to students who are unable to attend a lesson at the regularly scheduled time.


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Re: Missed class policy [Re: JazzyMac] #2717029
02/25/18 03:05 AM
02/25/18 03:05 AM
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Originally Posted by JazzyMac
Osho,

I had the same question a while ago and I was pretty much ganged up on in the Teacher's forum. So far I've noticed in this thread that Gary has remained objective in the fact that an even trade in respect, given availability, can work (given all other variables are also okay).

I shall say that some time after I made that particular post, I unfortunately had to leave the school. It was more than the scheduling. It was other things as well (not applicable to this topic). But scheduling was huge.

Communication might help given that you're both adults, however, sometimes the teachers feel that adult students are not serious, and they are not willing to take us through the elementary stage. If you ask me, yes, my job is more important that piano lessons (for now). If I don't work, I can't pay for lessons...and that's a lose-lose for all.

Heres's my thread on the same topic: http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...non-flexibility-etc-etc.html#Post2561700

I remember that post.

Here's what I think most other teachers will not tell you.

We have our favorites, and we have people get on our nerves. When adults and parents of children are a pain in the butt, I hide behind rules. I know that if I give one inch, these people are going to take advantage, and if I do a favor one time, it will be expected in the future.

But behind the scenes I can be as flexible as I wish - after all, I made the rules in the first place.

So I don't have to make up same day cancellations, ever. There are some parents who call in before any lesson, and it happens a lot, and simply say that they can't make it that day. I know they are not facing huge issues. It's just not "convenient" that day, and they don't even bother telling me a day earlier because they don't plan that far ahead.

They lose lessons. Not my problem.

But other people are extremely cooperative, always pay on time, do not complain, and some of these people are high points of my week. Why would I want to miss teaching them? Is my life so busy, so important, that I can't make a reasonable effort to reschedule at my convenience, just making sure that a time I have will work for them?

That's all I'm saying.

I'll bet you that other people who don't SAY they will make exceptions actually do, for students they really like and enjoy teaching.


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Re: Missed class policy [Re: Gary D.] #2717036
02/25/18 04:42 AM
02/25/18 04:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Here's what I think most other teachers will not tell you.

We have our favorites, and we have people get on our nerves. When adults and parents of children are a pain in the butt, I hide behind rules. I know that if I give one inch, these people are going to take advantage, and if I do a favor one time, it will be expected in the future.

But behind the scenes I can be as flexible as I wish - after all, I made the rules in the first place.

So I don't have to make up same day cancellations, ever. There are some parents who call in before any lesson, and it happens a lot, and simply say that they can't make it that day. I know they are not facing huge issues. It's just not "convenient" that day, and they don't even bother telling me a day earlier because they don't plan that far ahead.

They lose lessons. Not my problem.

But other people are extremely cooperative, always pay on time, do not complain, and some of these people are high points of my week. Why would I want to miss teaching them? Is my life so busy, so important, that I can't make a reasonable effort to reschedule at my convenience, just making sure that a time I have will work for them?

That's all I'm saying.

I'll bet you that other people who don't SAY they will make exceptions actually do, for students they really like and enjoy teaching.


Again, I'm not a piano teacher,but I have a ton of private students, and this is certainly true for me and other teachers I know. Yes, we do have favourites. We try not to be obvious about it, but seriously, I think every teacher has favourites.

And yes, we make the rules to protect ourselves from the students we can't trust (or who haven't yet demonstrated that they can be trusted). We're not obliged to make up lessons any students miss - but if they have shown that they're interested, working and, let's be honest, respectful - they yes, we'll be as flexible as possible.

The mom who calls at the last minute to say little Giovanni can't come to the lesson because he has a project due tomorrow? Well, that's bad planning on their part and I don't even offer a make up lesson.
There are certain private students (lawyers) I won't even accept anymore because I know that their schedules are simply too unpredictable (I've worked extensively with them in the past, and i know it just doesn't work).

I really truly hate to charge for a lesson missed - and I will generally try to organize a make up lesson - but I make it clear at the beginning of the year that I have zero obligation to do so, and if it happens too often, I will suggest the student take a break until life is less hectic. When you have a lot of private students, your life can become a management nightmare if you aren't careful.


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Re: Missed class policy [Re: Osho] #2717039
02/25/18 04:52 AM
02/25/18 04:52 AM
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My teacher has a strict rule about not offering replacements on scheduled lessons missed by a student. So I never asked because I knew the rules, I just told her in good time I would not be able to come. But she offered to replace the lesson anyway on another day. I do not know whether she does this always, especially if people frequently miss lessons. If it was a public institution it would be questionable to bend the rules depending on the student, but as a private teacher she is allowed to give special favors.

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