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Originally Posted by NobleHouse
Originally Posted by Andamento
For everyone who participated on this thread, a big THANK YOU to you all. After much thought on all these wonderful ideas, I have changed a few key aspects of my pre-lesson MO:

1. (The phone consultation is still the first step.)
2. If we decide to move ahead from there, I will email my welcome letter, with attachments for my registration forms. (Inquirers used to receive these at the interview.)
3. There will be no deadline for forms submission. They can peruse and return them via email at their convenience, if they decide to enroll, and indicate when they'd like to start lessons.
4. I'll follow up via email to confirm I received their forms, and will let them know their starting date and time, based on their preferences within my availability.
5. They can bring the check for one month's tuition to the first of the trial-period lessons we've set up. No extra trip to drop things off.
6. We'll confer toward the end of the third lesson about whether moving beyond the four-lesson introductory period is a good option.

No music purchases will be required during the trial period. (I will loan students books from my library, and if we determine we're moving beyond the initial four-week period, I will purchase their own materials then that they can reimburse me for later. If they are discontinuing, I'll just collect the books they borrowed for their month of study.)

I freshened up my registration forms today, then attached them to an email I sent from my studio account to my personal email, just to see if I could make it work. (I'm so non-tech-savvy, LOL!) It worked!

Anyway, that's where I'm at in my thinking right now. I feel good about these changes I've made, and am hopeful it will yield better results than I've had lately. Thanks a million for all your great advice! I knew this was the place to ask. smile


Good Luck going forward! Be sure to keep us updated as to how it is going.


Thanks, NobleHouse. I will.

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Originally Posted by Peter K. Mose
Andamento, this sounds good - congratulations. We can all get in ruts. Or maybe I should only speak for myself!

Peter


Thanks, Peter. You aren't only speaking for yourself--I get in ruts, too.

When something is working for a while, then doesn't, it's a good time for some self-examination. Thank you for chiming in while I was ruminating. smile

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Originally Posted by malkin
Originally Posted by Andamento

... I also specify that if they enroll, they should deliver those items in person, as our postal service is horribly unreliable.


Is it not possible that some of the so called unreliability of the USPS comes from people who have said, "The check is in the mail" when in fact it isn't?


That can be true, but the lateness of delivery that I referred to involved things like a reminder for a dentist appointment, which was sent two weeks prior to my appt., but showed up in my mailbox two weeks after the appointment! There was also a bill from a different business that arrived a month late. No check in the mail from them, although I wished it was that way instead of me having to send them a check!

Also, birthday cards sent from my mom to my kids never did get here at all.

The only example of "The check is in the mail" was the piano family who sent one the day after it was due. It did arrive six days later. Interesting to see various cities listed where it had traveled to before getting to me--only one rural county away from where the check had originally been mailed.

Edited to add that that family did indeed mail the check the day they said they did, evidenced by the earliest postmark date. It seems the envelope wanted to do a little sight-seeing, including going out of state, first.

All that to say I don't really want to rely on the postal service and have them fail when delivering prospective new clients' registrations and initial tuition checks.


Last edited by Andamento; 04/17/18 12:52 PM.
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Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
Andamento, sounds like a very solid plan. Does this mean you are doing away with an interview altogether in person?


Thank you, ChasingRainbows. Yes, I'm doing away with a separate, in-person pre-interview / free mini-lesson. Most of what I discussed in those interviews will be put into the initial phone consultation or sprinkled throughout the one-month trial period.

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Good to hear! Keep us posted on how your new interview process works.


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I "interviewed" six piano teachers via email, and then three in person before deciding on the current one I've been with for the long haul. I was very specific about what I was looking for, and forthright in how far I'd been in practicing and lessons. Everything that I've read in this thread was taken into consideration as well. Payment, appointments, scheduling, etc. Of course, some of it can't be helped (as I've noted in a couple of threads here and there), but as I lucked out, my teacher quit her school and went to her studio full time. Win-win. To this day my teacher still remembers things from my initial email. This is Teacher #3

Teacher #1 was almost a similar situation...although I was less knowledgeable about the entire process.
Teacher #2 I had no choice--the only game in town. Our relationship evolved so much that for the holidays she sent me short piece she'd composed herself.

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Originally Posted by bennevis
I don't see there's much to be gained from a pre-lesson interview that cannot be achieved from a phone call.


Disagree. Just the other day, I had a trial lesson, and I'm darn happy I did: On the phone, the mom said her daughter was "excited to get going, loves to play the piano, and can sit still and focus". When I had the lesson in person, the little girl did not show the slightest inclination in following anything I was trying to show her, would only glance back at her mom in shyness every time I asked her a question, and had difficultly grasping basic spatial aspects of the keyboard (Up vs. down, back keys vs. white keys, etc). I told the mom to hold off a bit on lessons and wait until she was older.

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Originally Posted by Opus_Maximus
Originally Posted by bennevis
I don't see there's much to be gained from a pre-lesson interview that cannot be achieved from a phone call.


Disagree. Just the other day, I had a trial lesson, and I'm darn happy I did: On the phone, the mom said her daughter was "excited to get going, loves to play the piano, and can sit still and focus". When I had the lesson in person, the little girl did not show the slightest inclination in following anything I was trying to show her, would only glance back at her mom in shyness every time I asked her a question, and had difficultly grasping basic spatial aspects of the keyboard (Up vs. down, back keys vs. white keys, etc). I told the mom to hold off a bit on lessons and wait until she was older.

Hey, send her to me!

I'm teaching a 5-year-old girl who's not in school yet. I'm doubling as her preschool teacher. She's already on my 2-year-plan to finish the primer book.


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Hi everybody. Following up with you on this topic, as some of you requested.

The first family to inquire about lessons since I implemented a four-week trial period instead of doing the interview/free lesson format has just completed the trial period and is continuing on, I am pleased to report.

It worked out very well, and I am hoping it will with potential new students, as well. Maybe parents feel more confident in making a decision about a piano teacher for their children when they've seen child and teacher work together a few times, rather than for just a brief lesson on one day?

I don't know, but so far, so good. smile

Thank you again for all the helpful comments on this thread. I really appreciate it.

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Just one other word of warning...Loaned out books don't always get returned. (I've lost many in the past and even now have to chase up materials loaned out to students I've had for many years).

It may be advisable to use downloaded materials, or books you really don't mind 'losing' until the first couple of payments are in hand.

Good Luck with everything.

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Andamento, it's great that your new system is working! I let a couple of kids deviate from my usual process this summer (because of summer) and was reminded that I was right to change from old ways.

Pet peeve about loaned out books - I've had people borrow sheet music or books and often enough to remember, they come back with markings that don't erase cleanly, pages folded/dog-eared, cover damaged, etc. Maybe I'm old school but I take good care of my stuff and would never dream of returning something I borrowed in considerably worse condition. Photocopies I don't care about but some of these are out of print or otherwise hard to find. I haven't outright lost a book (music book or English reading book) yet but it does take up mental energy to follow up.

Music, books, tools, money...don't lend it unless you don't mind never getting it back.

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Hello again. Per the requests of a few of you, I'm bumping this thread back up to let you know things are going very well with students staying on after the 4-week Introductory Period I established last year. (Which replaced the pre-lesson in-person interview / free trial lesson format I'd previously done.)

The dry spell (or whatever you'd call it) has ended -- no more of this take-a-free-lesson-and-then-don't-sign-on business -- and I am happy to report that all who have done my 4-week trial period have stayed on.

Needless to say, I am pleased with this turn of events. smile Thanks again for your encouragement and words of wisdom.

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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by Candywoman
I often try Ivan Sings by Khachaturian to see if a student can pedal at the intermediate level. There is half pedalling in there, in other words, pedalling down after the off beat eighth and then letting the pedal go on the next beat.

What you are describing is not half pedaling. It's called legato pedaling. Ivan Sings does not require half pedaling.

Of the dozens of transfer students I've had in my life, maybe three can pedal correctly.



If only 3 can pedal correctly, curious what do the other dozens of transfer students do?


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Originally Posted by hello my name is
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
What you are describing is not half pedaling. It's called legato pedaling. Ivan Sings does not require half pedaling.

Of the dozens of transfer students I've had in my life, maybe three can pedal correctly.

If only 3 can pedal correctly, curious what do the other dozens of transfer students do?

Pedal incorrectly? LOL


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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by hello my name is
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
What you are describing is not half pedaling. It's called legato pedaling. Ivan Sings does not require half pedaling.

Of the dozens of transfer students I've had in my life, maybe three can pedal correctly.

If only 3 can pedal correctly, curious what do the other dozens of transfer students do?

Pedal incorrectly? LOL

How descriptive do I need to get?

These students are deaf. They can't tell when harmonies blend together and form some polychord in a Chopin Nocturne. But you shouldn't be surprised by the results coming from teachers who call legato pedaling "half pedaling."


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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
... But you shouldn't be surprised by the results coming from teachers who call legato pedaling "half pedaling."


Ouch, that gotta hurt. laugh

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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by hello my name is
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
What you are describing is not half pedaling. It's called legato pedaling. Ivan Sings does not require half pedaling.

Of the dozens of transfer students I've had in my life, maybe three can pedal correctly.

If only 3 can pedal correctly, curious what do the other dozens of transfer students do?

Pedal incorrectly? LOL

How descriptive do I need to get?

These students are deaf. They can't tell when harmonies blend together and form some polychord in a Chopin Nocturne. But you shouldn't be surprised by the results coming from teachers who call legato pedaling "half pedaling."


I see. I thought it was a more mechanical situation, but yes, descriptive because I want to know.


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I have not read any replies but I will answer as a student. When I was looking for my teacher, I sent out a list of questions via email. We had a fairly detailed conversation that way about her teaching style, what was expected, prices etc. We arranged a “first meeting”, however she ended up listening to me play and giving feedback, which imho is a lesson. I insisted on paying her for that lesson because it made me feel uncomfortable to receive a service from a private instructor with no payment. If it really had been just a discussion then fine, but there is really no need for a free lesson. You can’t tell if it’s going to be a fruitful relationship from one free lesson.

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Originally Posted by sara elizabeth
I have not read any replies but I will answer as a student. When I was looking for my teacher, I sent out a list of questions via email. We had a fairly detailed conversation that way about her teaching style, what was expected, prices etc. We arranged a “first meeting”, however she ended up listening to me play and giving feedback, which imho is a lesson. I insisted on paying her for that lesson because it made me feel uncomfortable to receive a service from a private instructor with no payment. If it really had been just a discussion then fine, but there is really no need for a free lesson. You can’t tell if it’s going to be a fruitful relationship from one free lesson.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Sara Elizabeth.

You made a cogent point with this:

Quote
You can’t tell if it’s going to be a fruitful relationship from one free lesson.


That is one significant reason I decided to eliminate the one free lesson and to instead move to a trial month--paid at the regular monthly rate.

You treated your teacher respectfully, paying her for that first lesson. Though I am not your teacher, this teacher thanks you. smile

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Originally Posted by Andamento
[
Quote
You can’t tell if it’s going to be a fruitful relationship from one free lesson.


That is one significant reason I decided to eliminate the one free lesson and to instead move to a trial month--paid at the regular monthly rate.



Andamento, I lean in your direction in the abstract. But isn't it more awkward to have a new student abandon you after a month than after an hour? How often does it happen? Or has it ever happened?

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