2017 was our 20th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments.
Over 100,000 members from around the world.
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad) SWEETWATER Cyber Week Deals
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
Who's Online Now
71 members (bubbaXzone, anotherscott, Bostonmoores, Ajax69, An Old Square, 19 invisible), 1,030 guests, and 571 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
#2188559 11/26/13 10:08 AM
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 77
R
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
R
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 77
I've been with my teacher for over a year and I don't cancel often - maybe happens every couple of months for a good reason. I'm a nursing student and I have my exams in December and I let her know that one week I would like not to have a lesson as I would be having an exam that day and I have so much studying to do and she told me she didn't think that was a good enough reason and she expects me to come (or, I am guessing, not come and pay the full fee)...but she doesn't have a strict cancellation policy and has always just said tell me 48hrs in advanced bla bla bla. I'm thinking of just paying for the lesson and asking for a printed copy of her cancellation policy! I understand it's her income and everything but I'm letting her know within the allotted time and I don't want to show up to a lesson not having practiced and being stressed from school exams!
Am I being unreasonable or is she just trying to change her policy on me...


If they cut off both hands, I will compose music anyway holding the pen in my teeth. - Shostakovich
(ad)
Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 13,837
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 13,837
http://ottawasuzukistrings.ca/makeuplessons

That being said, you should hold your teacher to her policy. If she allows makeups with advance notice, then ask to schedule the makeup.

If there's not a strict policy, then you can always try to negotiate.

This is one of those areas in which not having a strict policy and charging per-lesson can cause problems.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 17,326
M
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
M
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 17,326
Great article, Kreisler, and I think it's great that it comes from the perspective of a parent rather than a teacher. When a teacher says such things it always comes across as us being greedy.

RaindropPrelude, I think this came up before, didn't it? Ask your teacher what is the best way to handle this, because you feel you are being respectful of her policy, but clearly you are not form her reaction. Whether you go or not, you should pay her for her time, I think. Not being prepared for lessons is never an excuse not to go however, because much can be done to help you through this busy period and lessons can be a source of enjoyment in a stressful time simply because it's *you* time.

I recently had an adult student who wanted to cancel because she hadn't practiced. That is the absolute worst time to cancel, IMO. How can I as the teacher possibly inspire my student to get back into practicing again? How can I spark a love for the pieces she's working on? How can I possibly help her jump start progress again with whatever time - even 5 minutes a day - that she has to practice in the coming week? If I don't see her none of this will happen.

Lessons are not a performance: a time where you show off what you've accomplished and if you've accomplished nothing it's a waste of everyone's time. Lessons are where you share your struggles with someone who can help you through them and you come out - hopefully - feeling refreshed and recharged.


private piano/voice teacher FT

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 2,356
P
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
P
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 2,356
Originally Posted by Morodiene


Lessons are not a performance: a time where you show off what you've accomplished and if you've accomplished nothing it's a waste of everyone's time. Lessons are where you share your struggles with someone who can help you through them and you come out - hopefully - feeling refreshed and recharged.


I wish I agreed with Morodiene 100%, but I don't. Maybe 50%. Every student knows that a lesson is indeed a performance. Maybe older teens and adults feel this even more than kids. You are being judged, and if you haven't practiced, well, it's gonna be a lousy lesson.

It also depends greatly on the teacher. There are plenty of teachers who get angry if you show up without practicing. I'm not one of them, nor is Morodiene, but we may not be the norm.

My advice for the OP: change your lesson to another day that week, after your exam, and still have your weekly lesson. If you don't want to do this, you have two choices: either pay for the missed lesson, or don't. Only you know what sort of payment relationship your have with your teacher.


Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 3,462
D
3000 Post Club Member
Offline
3000 Post Club Member
D
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 3,462
Originally Posted by RaindropPrelude
I've been with my teacher for over a year and I don't cancel often - maybe happens every couple of months for a good reason. I'm a nursing student and I have my exams in December and I let her know that one week I would like not to have a lesson as I would be having an exam that day and I have so much studying to do and she told me she didn't think that was a good enough reason and she expects me to come (or, I am guessing, not come and pay the full fee)...but she doesn't have a strict cancellation policy and has always just said tell me 48hrs in advanced bla bla bla. I'm thinking of just paying for the lesson

My piano teacher always gave me the chance to cancel my lesson, but ... I was required to have a make-up lesson which I could choose 5:00 am in the morning or 6:00 am in the morning. Both times were available. So I think if you are too busy with nursing, then you can't possibly have time to put in the piano practice that's required.

Your nursing class cost you money and you can't ask them for a refund on the days you can't make your nursing classes.

Why should piano teachers take a backseat to all the other occupations?


http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/goldsparkledress.jpg
Diane
Jazz/Blues/Rock/Boogie Piano Teacher
[Linked Image]
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,654
B
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
B
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,654
Hi Raindrop, perhaps I'm missing something here, but it appears to me that based on what you posted, you shouldn't have to pay for the missed lesson if you notify your teacher 48 hours in advance. You also say, "she doesn't have a strict cancellation policy". Can you phone her and have a conversation about this?

I think it's important from the beginning for the teacher to not only provide her cancellation policy in writing, but to discuss it in person or at least over the phone with the student (or potential student). If the student cannot agree to the teacher's policy, both parties know right then and there.


Piano Teacher
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 77
R
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
R
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 77
Originally Posted by Diane...
Originally Posted by RaindropPrelude
I've been with my teacher for over a year and I don't cancel often - maybe happens every couple of months for a good reason. I'm a nursing student and I have my exams in December and I let her know that one week I would like not to have a lesson as I would be having an exam that day and I have so much studying to do and she told me she didn't think that was a good enough reason and she expects me to come (or, I am guessing, not come and pay the full fee)...but she doesn't have a strict cancellation policy and has always just said tell me 48hrs in advanced bla bla bla. I'm thinking of just paying for the lesson


My piano teacher always gave me the chance to cancel my lesson, but ... I was required to have a make-up lesson which I could choose 5:00 am in the morning or 6:00 am in the morning. Both times were available. So I think if you are too busy with nursing, then you can't possibly have time to put in the piano practice that's required.

Your nursing class cost you money and you can't ask them for a refund on the days you can't make your nursing classes.

Why should piano teachers take a backseat to all the other occupations?


Um, that's pretty rude and presumptuous. My degree is very demanding yet every day I practice about 1 1/2 hours, more on weekends, but during my exam period where I have 5 EXAMS IN A ROW, I find it a bit of a struggle to keep up with my practicing and I hate coming to a lesson unprepared. It's a waste of the teachers time and my time to have a repeat of the lesson a week before.


If they cut off both hands, I will compose music anyway holding the pen in my teeth. - Shostakovich
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 77
R
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
R
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 77
Originally Posted by Morodiene
Great article, Kreisler, and I think it's great that it comes from the perspective of a parent rather than a teacher. When a teacher says such things it always comes across as us being greedy.

RaindropPrelude, I think this came up before, didn't it? Ask your teacher what is the best way to handle this, because you feel you are being respectful of her policy, but clearly you are not form her reaction. Whether you go or not, you should pay her for her time, I think. Not being prepared for lessons is never an excuse not to go however, because much can be done to help you through this busy period and lessons can be a source of enjoyment in a stressful time simply because it's *you* time.

I recently had an adult student who wanted to cancel because she hadn't practiced. That is the absolute worst time to cancel, IMO. How can I as the teacher possibly inspire my student to get back into practicing again? How can I spark a love for the pieces she's working on? How can I possibly help her jump start progress again with whatever time - even 5 minutes a day - that she has to practice in the coming week? If I don't see her none of this will happen.


Yeah that's it exactly - my lessons are fun, but I hate showing up unprepared. But it's not that I don't want to practice, it's just that my school comes first during exams. I'm going to just pay for the lesson and ask for a very clear outline of what constitutes an acceptable cancellation and what does not.


If they cut off both hands, I will compose music anyway holding the pen in my teeth. - Shostakovich
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,701
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,701
Originally Posted by Peter K. Mose
Every student knows that a lesson is indeed a performance. Maybe older teens and adults feel this even more than kids. You are being judged, and if you haven't practiced, well, it's gonna be a lousy lesson.



Disagree with this.

Obviously, if a student has long period of not practicing, then no progress can be made. But here or there, if one can't find the time to practice, lessons can still be productive. You can simply practice slowly and methodically with the student in the lesson (which is actually needed anyways from time to time, as a refresher about what productive practicing actually entails), or you can do a myriad of activities including sight-reading, theory, flashcards, improv, music history, etc. A good teacher would know exactly how to spin an unprepared lesson into an inspiring experience.

Last edited by Opus_Maximus; 11/27/13 02:08 AM.
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,701
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,701
Originally Posted by Morodiene


I recently had an adult student who wanted to cancel because she hadn't practiced. That is the absolute worst time to cancel, IMO. How can I as the teacher possibly inspire my student to get back into practicing again? How can I spark a love for the pieces she's working on? How can I possibly help her jump start progress again with whatever time - even 5 minutes a day - that she has to practice in the coming week? If I don't see her none of this will happen.

Lessons are not a performance: a time where you show off what you've accomplished and if you've accomplished nothing it's a waste of everyone's time. Lessons are where you share your struggles with someone who can help you through them and you come out - hopefully - feeling refreshed and recharged.


Exactly. One of the best things I ever heard is that "Lessons are elevated practice sessions". Let's face it; once somebody is beyond the first or second year of piano study (where there is the most "Teaching" and "explaining" going on - THIS is a quarter note, THIS is what a fermata means, THIS is how you count up the lines and spaces, etc), lessons really become a student going through his/her pieces and the teacher correcting things along the way or pointing out ways to improve difficult sections. And how do we do this? By practicing.

Have your student play a small excerpt many times slowly, each time pointing out things that their attention should be drawn to during each repetition. Talk about how you (Or other great pianists), would and have practiced this section. Have them practice it in many different ways (Dotted rhythms, staccato, blocked, skelatonized, etc). Talk about WHY each of these things works. Doing this easily fills an hour or more.

Last edited by Opus_Maximus; 11/27/13 01:48 AM.
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 17,326
M
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
M
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 17,326
Originally Posted by Opus_Maximus
Originally Posted by Morodiene


I recently had an adult student who wanted to cancel because she hadn't practiced. That is the absolute worst time to cancel, IMO. How can I as the teacher possibly inspire my student to get back into practicing again? How can I spark a love for the pieces she's working on? How can I possibly help her jump start progress again with whatever time - even 5 minutes a day - that she has to practice in the coming week? If I don't see her none of this will happen.

Lessons are not a performance: a time where you show off what you've accomplished and if you've accomplished nothing it's a waste of everyone's time. Lessons are where you share your struggles with someone who can help you through them and you come out - hopefully - feeling refreshed and recharged.


Exactly. One of the best things I ever heard is that "Lessons are elevated practice sessions". Let's face it; once somebody is beyond the first or second year of piano study (where there is the most "Teaching" and "explaining" going on - THIS is a quarter note, THIS is what a fermata means, THIS is how you count up the lines and spaces, etc), lessons really become a student going through his/her pieces and the teacher correcting things along the way or pointing out ways to improve difficult sections. And how do we do this? By practicing.

Have your student play a small excerpt many times slowly, each time pointing out things that their attention should be drawn to during each repetition. Talk about how you (Or other great pianists), would and have practiced this section. Have them practice it in many different ways (Dotted rhythms, staccato, blocked, skelatonized, etc). Talk about WHY each of these things works. Doing this easily fills an hour or more.
Yes! And I actually prefer when we get to this point, because it's more creative and fun than the "this is a quarter note" stage - even though I try to make that as fun as possible for the student wink . Unless the student is preparing for a performance, then lessons are not performances. Students who approach lessons in that manner usually get extremely nervous, and that is counter-productive.


private piano/voice teacher FT

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 13,837
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 13,837
I think there are different kinds of lessons. Some are like critiqued performances, some are like elevated practice sessions, still others can be informational - digging into the history and style of the repertoire. I've had some great lessons where you spend a half hour refining a single phrase. Or theory/analysis. Etc...


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 2,356
P
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
P
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 2,356
To many a student, a lesson is indeed a performance. And something to get nervous about. The good teacher can try to mitigate this nervousness if he or she wishes by setting a more relaxed lesson tone, but it's still there. It comes from the student, and a teacher has to understand this.

Clearly such nervousness is there for Raindrop, who opened this thread: she doesn't want to come to her lesson if she feels unprepared.

Last edited by Peter K. Mose; 11/27/13 12:27 PM.
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 18,534
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 18,534
Originally Posted by Peter K. Mose
Every student knows that a lesson is indeed a performance. Maybe older teens and adults feel this even more than kids. You are being judged, and if you haven't practiced, well, it's gonna be a lousy lesson.

Peter, some years ago I learned something invaluable. I had a "study buddy", a student overseas taking lessons too, and we shared anything that came along. We decided one day that lessons are not performances. You are in there in order to learn how to do things. You are in partnership with your teacher in shaping your abilities: he observes and guides you - what skills do you still need to get, what can you do in a better way, what things should you keep doing because they are helping you succeed. If you have this attitude, and if your teacher is also there to shape your abilities, then weaknesses are almost exciting. "Hey - here's a weakness. If it gets changed, boy will my playing of anything take off!" The piece is merely a vehicle for that.

It helped my friend enormously, because she'd get excited when a piece was wonderful at home, and then in the lesson her enthusiasm gave her butterfingers. She'd go home disappointed. The minute she changed her focus, the anxiety vanished, and as an unexpected plus, she played a lot better. When not wanting to perform anymore, she actually performed well. What an oxymoron!

There are some secondary factors to this. The good teachers I've known generally focus on some particular skills they are trying to impart, or a given thing in the music which comes down to the same thing. If you are weak in counting, if you play with a stiff wrist, and they are working on that, then the teacher wants you to work on the counting, or the wrist, and wants to see that you have worked on that thing. Instead of trying to play wonderfully, work on this simpler thing - the response might be "Is that all he wants? Hey, I can do that." This kind of work also requires different kinds of hours: you can only maintain it for 15 - 20 minutes, and those few minutes are powerhouses when done consistently.

Of course there are teachers who are aiming at getting a wonderful performance of a few pieces in preparation for exams, recitals, or other venues. But I would not be interested in studying with someone who had this as their main focus.


Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 2,356
P
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
P
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 2,356
Thanks, key. The "study buddy" idea is a terrific one, as is the change-the-focus idea. Maybe we should all be writing on the Adult Beginner thread more often, because these thoughts should be shared more widely.

Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 3,462
D
3000 Post Club Member
Offline
3000 Post Club Member
D
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 3,462
Originally Posted by RaindropPrelude
and has always just said tell me 48hrs in advanced bla bla bla.

And I'm sure your piano teacher said something important, not just "bla bla bla"! I'm sorry, but you quoting her like that, just stood out to me a disrespectful & ... rude!

When I went to a piano lesson on occasion, unprepared, I always went home thinking "I am sooooo glad I went to that piano lesson, because I learned something so valuable! Look what I would have missed!! Standing under A GOOD piano teacher is as refreshing as standing under waterfall! Notice I said a "good" piano teacher!!

Anyways, you will always learn something important being with your piano teacher. Prepared or not!!!

I get paid all post-dated cheques at the beginning of the year, so money is never discussed. I get paid regardless. If I give student's a make-up lesson, it's because I want to, not because I'm begging for their money. Excuses are out of the way, and so are unnecessary phone calls. I can just concentrate on teaching piano lessons, and that's what we piano teachers are paid to do!!!


http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/goldsparkledress.jpg
Diane
Jazz/Blues/Rock/Boogie Piano Teacher
[Linked Image]
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 396
S
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
S
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 396
There has been a fair amount of feedback from a piano teacher perspective, but I wonder if a piano student's view might not also be pertinent.

If I think back long long ago to when I was in university, I can relate to RaindropPrelude's position. I don't know how demanding her nursing program is, but exam time can be utterly draining. It may not be a matter of not having practiced, but more a matter of too being weary and overstressed for a lesson to be of any use at all. Would anyone really want to insist on attendance of a zombie?

That said, how much lead time was the teacher given. I assume the exam period has been known for months. Just because the teacher may have a 48 hr cancellation policy, doesn't excuse providing short warning. Even one week's notice seems a bit slight and lacking in respect. Offering to pay in spite of more than 48 hr notice, if done in the right spirit, shows respect.

On the other hand, perhaps the teacher implied that 48 hr was plenty of notice. That the teacher expects a certain number of cancellations and factors that into her fee schedule. If the teacher initially communicated a "no worries, as long as you give me 48 hr notice", attitude, then it would be unsettling to have the teacher change the rules arbitrarily.






Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 13,837
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 13,837
Just to play devil's advocate:

You might also know months in advance that you won't be home during Christmas. Do you ask the cable company if you can only pay for 3 weeks of cable and internet service because you won't be needing them for those days?

The real question is: "What are you paying for?"

If you're paying for *the lesson*, then yes, money should be refunded if the lesson is not taken.

But if you're paying for the teacher's *availability*, then money should not be refunded since the teacher cannot resell the time.

Of course, most teachers write very specific policies that fall somewhere between those two extremes. The problem in this case is that the policy has not been clearly stated and we have a difference of opinion, so a negotiation must be made with merits on both sides.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,343
C
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
C
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,343
Maybe your teacher wants to see you allocate your energy such that you complete all your duties in the available time. In other words, if you were to study for your nursing exam in advance, the exam might take less energy than you thought, and there might be enough energy for you to have a piano lesson that day. You might even have time to practice that day.

To be able to alter how much energy you put into things is a good skill. When your teacher was young, she may never have switched a lesson. Ask her about that if you get a chance.


Moderated by  Ken Knapp 

Link Copied to Clipboard
What's Hot!!
Pianos - Organs - & Keyboards, Oh My!
My first professionally recorded piece
---------------------
Visit Maine, Meet Mr. Piano World
---------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
(ad)
Pianoteq
Steinway Spiro Layering
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Cateen plays I Got Rhythm
by pianoloverus - 12/02/21 04:38 PM
Cateen plays I Got Rhythm
by pianoloverus - 12/02/21 03:44 PM
My tech knows I am OCD
by RobAC - 12/02/21 02:09 PM
A little OT - a Thanksgiving Day piano float
by Rich Galassini - 12/02/21 01:50 PM
Preventing noise transmission
by happyhacker - 12/02/21 01:35 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
Forum Statistics
Forums42
Topics210,354
Posts3,150,258
Members103,492
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers

Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | MapleStreetMusicShop.com - Our store in Cornish Maine


© copyright 1997 - 2021 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5