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#923870 - 02/14/09 02:57 PM Scheduling lessons
Soni63 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/14/09
Posts: 1
Loc: Secaucus, NJ
Hi, I'm a seasoned new teacher. I taught piano for eight years 20 years ago, then life made me busy (work, marriage and baby) and I had to give it up due to lack of time. When my daughter turned nine last year I made the plunge to start teaching again.

I'm currently a self-employed Music Together Director/Teacher. Teaching Music Together classes and running the business keep me busy during the day while my daughter is at school and my husband at work. I reserve a couple of hours after school on weekday afternoons for piano lessons and deliberately do not schedule lessons on weekends in order to have time with my family.

My five elementary-school-age piano students fit nicely into my weekday afternoon teaching schedule, but it was inevitable that I'd eventually run into a conflict. I've recently been approached by two moms whose children can only take piano lessons on weekends. One child is clearly overscheduled during the week with other activities; the other relies on his mother for transportation to my home for lessons, and she gets home from work very late.

I'm torn between giving in to both parents' requirements and fulfilling my desire to be with my family. As it is, I already give up my Saturday mornings to teach a Music Together class that's very popular with families with two working parents. I do it because the tuition from that class represents a good 30% of my business income. Scheduling two piano lessons on top of that would encroach even more on my already-limited time with my family. And as spring approaches, our weekends will become filled with many family events, from birthdays, communions and graduations to simple get-togethers. How often will I have to cancel a weekend piano lesson due to social commitments?

Additionally, the entire point of leaving behind a full-time corporate Human Resources career to run a Music Together business was to have more time for my family. I deliberately waited until my daughter was older to start teaching piano again.

My husband strongly advises me not to give in for several reasons besides family time. He feels that to do so would set a precedent and make it impossible to refuse another parent who demands weekend lessons. He's right, of course, but I still feel torn. I'm not going to lie: in this economy, we can certainly use the income from these two students.

As far as I can tell, there's no compromise in this situation: The parents aren't available on weekdays; I'm not available (or don't want to make myself available) on weekends. I either teach on weekends, or I don't. However, before I make a decision, I'd like to ask other teachers in this forum for their insight. Perhaps you see things from a perspective that for some reason I can't see. Do you teach on weekends? How does it affect your personal time? How do you manage family time and social commitments/vacations if you do?

Thanks in advance for your help.
"Enjoy every sandwich" -- Warren Zevon

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#923871 - 02/19/09 09:59 AM Re: Scheduling lessons
musdan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/05
Posts: 1228
Hi and welcome to the forum.

By chance I just read your post and wish I could help - you will get many helpful suggestions on the Piano Teachers Forum.

Hope you are able to work things out. \:\)

#923872 - 02/19/09 10:04 AM Re: Scheduling lessons
guest1013 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/13/07
Posts: 1239
I think you already know the answer. Your time to be available to your family is important and you cannot give up the weekend time. Second, I think these potential students will be a headache, they are likely to cancel lessons because they are too busy or cannot get there. For example, the first student is over scheduled - so when will practice occur? And it sounds likely they'll need to cancel from time to time. So it doesn't sound like the aggravation to your husband and family will be worth the sacrifice of taking them on as students.

#923873 - 02/19/09 12:41 PM Re: Scheduling lessons
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
I think you should save your weekends for yourself and your family. I had 5 children at home when I started teaching, the youngest was 2. I also scheduled my lessons so that I had either Friday and/or Monday lessons to be the last days filled - this allowed me 4 days of "off" and 3 teaching days which were plenty for me (Tuesday-Wednesday-Thurday).

I still keep Fridays clear so that my retired husband and I can "take off" for 3 days of mini-jaunts if we want to.

Mondays I keep clear because so many holidays are on Monday, and that usually meant Monday students got less lessons per year, because the day was a "holiday". I avoided the whole issue by not scheduling Mondays. I used Mondays for planning and organization.

Now I teach Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and would add Tuesday afternoon if needed.

I did Saturday morning lessons many times for only those who needed a Saturday, but it never worked out because they had so many interruptions to their scheduled Saturday mornings - usually at the last minute.

Just look at the pro's and con's of it and do the best thing for yourself and your family.



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