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Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? [Re: EDV] #2959896 03/23/20 06:08 PM
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My piano teacher has given me two options.

1) The usual lesson, sort of, just via video chat.
2) He will send me a list of instructions that I will follow and record, not stopping for screw-ups, and not editing the video. With that, he will construct a five-day practice plan. Rinse and repeat next week.

I love the second option.


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Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? [Re: EDV] #2960058 03/24/20 01:17 PM
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Okay people, I am thinking I agree with most of you and will probably go the Skype lesson route.
Problem is.... my lessons are usually 2 hours long. Not uncommon for a call to drop after 50 minutes or so ( Skype related ) Also, although I use webcam on a laptop, most people only know how to use Skype via cell phone... and again "Not uncommon for a call to drop after 50 minutes or so, due to low battery".
In view of these issues, I am not liking my chances of giving a long lesson. The other thing is, I am considering charging 50% less for Skype lessons ( even though it's twice the trouble ). So if I go from 2 hour lessons, to 30 minute lessons, charging 50% less.. well, you do the math.

Any advice on this matter greatly appreciated !

Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? [Re: EDV] #2960074 03/24/20 02:49 PM
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The main reason for not charging less is that you're still offering your expertise. Put it this way, if you offer expertise at HALF rate, then when the crisis is over, how is it that you can suddenly be back to being worth double?

In my studio, "everyone" is under stay-at-home orders (except essential functions), so we are doing two shorter lessons per week. This is actually ideal for beginner children, but there is no chance of that in "normal" times.

Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? [Re: EDV] #2960082 03/24/20 03:43 PM
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I think that EDV is saying that with Skype you can have disruptions such as calls dropping, and other problems. 2 hours of lesson might actually contain 60 - 90 minutes of the teaching that a normal 120 minutes would contain. If so, the same thing isn't being delivered.

EDV, what if you charge "per lesson" rather than "per time" ? In fact, in my present profession (I am also a trained teacher) there is a "unit rate" which goes "per word" or "per hour" but I charge "per project", and use the "unit rate" as a basis for calculation. Two projects containing the same number of words may involve much more work in one than the other. Similarly, for some projects we have "per hour" - I will calculate my fee based on how many hours I think it will take, promise that I will not raise that fee if it ends up taking longer, but will reduce the fee if I discover it takes much less time. Here, too, it's "per project". As a teacher you are not producing widgets at an assembly line, you're teaching.

In fact, does teaching involve "per hour" really? I remember when I did one-on-one teaching in a regular arrangement over a year (languages), I might spend up to an hour preparing material for the hour-long lesson. The charge is only for the lesson, and not the preparation. Your fee for a lesson that is 60 minutes, or 45, or stretches to 80 because it's going so great and you have the time - is it actually really a per hour fee, or a per lesson fee (or 'lesson slot' fee, if you want to avoid the 'makeup' conundrum)?

Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? [Re: EDV] #2960083 03/24/20 03:43 PM
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I agree... however I also think that given the chance, most people would choose "the real thing" and not the Skype lesson. The Skype lesson is limited in so many ways it's not even funny. On the other hand the safety factor, which most students will appreciate , has a value of its own in the current circumnstances.
I am a little worried about two way video chat, video and audio quality are usually poor during high internet traffic times... I might be able to get around that problem by using the "send video message" feature. Done it before and does improve the video quality

Last edited by EDV; 03/24/20 03:46 PM.
Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? [Re: EDV] #2960100 03/24/20 06:08 PM
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I meant that if a 2-hour lesson doesn't last on Skype, perhaps two 1-hour lessons would (or two 50-min, if that's the technology limit). Of course in-person is ideal but when you're forced to have an alternative...or a student could choose to take a break/quit.

I find that certain types of question/answer or playing/feedback don't strictly need to be live exchange, i.e., an audio or video recording can be sent and comments given (or a demonstration recording sent back). This is not a traditional "lesson" but is part of the teacher offering expertise. You can't not-charge for doing that kind of stuff outside of "face time" but that definitely starts to sound like project-based work than hours-based.

Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? [Re: EDV] #2960105 03/24/20 06:31 PM
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I think the big elephant in the room is how many parents are willing to continue with piano lessons, given what's going on in the world. Their reluctance to accept online teaching format is merely masking their current state of mind. Let's face it: piano lessons are not essential to life. It's more like a luxury item, like eating out and fine dining.

I tried teaching online. It works better than I though it would, and my students feel the same way. The real reason that most students are taking a long break right now is that parents have a ton of "stuff" going on (fear, social distancing, job loss, home-schooling, etc.), and they just can't handle another non-essential item in their lives.


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Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? [Re: EDV] #2960122 03/24/20 08:17 PM
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I'd like to add that for a music lover, music is a VITAL part of life... the only part that makes sense, a refuge, an oasis, an escape. With so much frustration, fear and hopelessness in the current situation, music is the one thing that will keep us sane. That is the way I've always felt. Musicians' lives are often chaotic, relationships do not last, money problems and many other problems come with the territory, but music sometimes gives a kind of meaning to our lives, so in that sense I would say, music is ESSENTIAL to many of us. And with church gatherings and sports banned , music might be the only activity right now offering physical, emotional, and spiritual fulfillment.

Last edited by EDV; 03/24/20 08:19 PM.
Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? [Re: EDV] #2960126 03/24/20 08:33 PM
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EDV
You’re right about the value of music but if you have lost your job, are worrying about how to feed your kids and whether you will lose your house, lessons are no longer a priority. In the US, a significant percentage of households do not have $400 in savings. Basic biological needs will come first.


"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
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Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? [Re: EDV] #2960177 03/25/20 12:34 AM
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And to that end, I have never seen job losses like it is now. I wasn’t around during the Great Depression but I hazard to guess that is the only thing that comes close. I hope it will only be a blip, a temporary thing of only a few months. WestJet Airlines in Canada has laid off half its workforce, 7000 people. I suspect the mass layoffs around the world will come shortly, if not already. I’m also hoping it won’t happen to me but who knows, anything can happen these days. Mortgage, food, utilities, medications...if it happens to me, piano lessons will definitely be on the chopping block. No choice. Surviving comes first.

Wow, what a sad post. I really hope the employers can hang on long enough to not lay off their workers.

Last edited by WeakLeftHand; 03/25/20 12:38 AM.

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Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? [Re: EDV] #2960241 03/25/20 10:11 AM
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Good point, falling demand for discretionary or luxury goods/services would mean price would have to come down? Otherwise, people would choose alternatives or only "the 1%" would be able to access them.

Personally, I'm fortunate to be able to absorb a bit of loss. So far, there's only been one reported layoff in my studio (beginner and intermediate children; any adult students are parents), but more may be yet to come. I cannot find it in my heart to let a student go for financial reasons especially right now, so if someone is in that situation but still wants to learn, I'll find some small way to accommodate them, within my limits. Not everyone will be able/willing to do that, and it does set up a possibly awkward conversation in the future (when this is all over), but I'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? [Re: EDV] #2960246 03/25/20 10:39 AM
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Hey strings
Why not just have the financial conversation now? Such as ‘ you’re a very motivated student, so I would like to .... ‘
‘Of course , This can’t be permanent but I want to help out until you are back on your feet financially ‘


"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

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Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? [Re: EDV] #2960268 03/25/20 11:53 AM
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When a parent gives an indication, I open the conversation. I also put it in the update emails in general terms so if they read it, they should know, but I wouldn't approach individual families unprompted. If from their end it's not about money but even spending the time/energy while everything else is in chaos, I would understand that too.

Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? [Re: EDV] #2960666 03/26/20 12:18 PM
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I feel it's kind of selfish to try and convince someone to do something they obviously don't want to do because you will lose a benefit. I understand the concept of not wanting to lose money, but you should value your Students feelings and respect them equally to yours. I apologize if I come off as rude, but the whole "Well Skype doesn't do __ and ___ as well as in person" and the music is essential to life argument seems kind of like you are trying to convince us and yourself that pushing your student is the right thing to do.

To be honest if I expressed to a teacher that I was considering cancelling lessons temporarily because I was concerned about my safety and they tried to 'push' me into still coming, I would be very turned off and probably start thinking about finding a new teacher. But again, these are just my opinions. To think that you are immune from this illness and are inviting people into your home is very irresponsible. Young, healthy people are dying from this and your student (and yourself!) are not immune.

Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? [Re: EDV] #2960802 03/26/20 06:47 PM
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The call dropping doesn't seem like such a big issue to me. You just call back (takes less than a minute), or you plug in the phone. It's a minor annoyance, hardly a big obstacle.


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Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? [Re: EDV] #2961211 03/28/20 09:04 AM
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Update: My students seem to want to go along with Skype lessons, though I'm not sure if that will last. Lucky for me they are mature students with fairly secure jobs. I hope I can adapt to this new medium, I am sure most teachers would agree it's not ideal, although private students tend to be more motivated than regular school students.

Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? [Re: EDV] #2961255 03/28/20 11:48 AM
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EDV, I read somewhere recently that in order for this to succeed the teacher must believe in it. If not, how will your students believe in it? Perhaps a change of attitude is in order?

If you haven’t already please take a look at some threads in the Adult Beginners Forum, where students have been rather positive about their experience with online lessons.

Heres’s one:

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...-zoom-for-piano-lessons.html#Post2959798


Last edited by WeakLeftHand; 03/28/20 11:50 AM.

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Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? [Re: EDV] #2961260 03/28/20 12:14 PM
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I had my my first lesson on Zoom yesterday and it went quite well. I think you will find that most teachers who teach online prefer Zoom to Skype. It seems to work better for music.


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Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? [Re: zillybug] #2961280 03/28/20 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by zillybug
I had my my first lesson on Zoom yesterday and it went quite well. I think you will find that most teachers who teach online prefer Zoom to Skype. It seems to work better for music.


Agreed. My teacher also used Zoom for my lessons.


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Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? [Re: EDV] #2961310 03/28/20 03:02 PM
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EDV, I sent a PM (private message) a few days ago. Look for the flashing envelop in the upper right screen.

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