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I've been working with my teacher for one year and a half. a 50-minute-long lesson a week/60$ each. Very recently, there were several times when my teacher finished my lesson within 40 minutes. Well, lacking 10 minutes of lesson could be minor, but that means a lot to me.

Should I bring up this time matter with my teacher? Just don't know how to start the conversation without upsetting her.

Any advice is welcome.

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Yes, it's worth discussing. I never allow myself to do this unless I warn in advance.

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Thank you for the reply. So do you think 10 min means a lot?

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That 10 minutes adds up to 12 dollars.. so yeah I think that's alot. I mean if your agreement is 50 minutes at 60 dollars, why would you agree to stop earlier? You are not getting what you are paying for, or am I missing something?

I would just bring it up next time shes trying to finish the lesson early.

Hope you'll sort it out :-)

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When your teacher attempts to end the lesson early, have you considered saying ‘since we have 10 min left, can we xxxx’. ? Fill in blank with a suggestion for what you would find useful.


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Originally Posted by dogperson
When your teacher attempts to end the lesson early, have you considered saying ‘since we have 10 min left, can we xxxx’. ? Fill in blank with a suggestion for what you would find useful.

This is really good advice!


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Originally Posted by Einaudio
That 10 minutes adds up to 12 dollars.. so yeah I think that's alot. I mean if your agreement is 50 minutes at 60 dollars, why would you agree to stop earlier? You are not getting what you are paying for, or am I missing something?

I would just bring it up next time shes trying to finish the lesson early.

Hope you'll sort it out :-)

It's not just the $12! Ten minutes is 20% of the whole lesson time. That's a big chunk to cut out of instructional time. And 50 minutes isn't that long to begin with. That's a perplexing problem. The only problem I've ever had with teachers is not going OVER time.

You could approach it by saying "well, we're in luck, there's still 10 minutes" and pretend as if she just read the clock wrong. That might be enough to spur her into being more respectful of the lesson time, and also allow for it to be a mistake if she's just forgetting when you started.

Another option would be to give her time signposts during the lesson before she ends things and you have to disagree with her. So, find a reason to mention when the lesson is, say, half over, and find a reason to say what time it ends somehow. It would be hard for her to end at, say 4:50 when you have already said something about how 5pm is when it ends. "Ooh, that's tricky. I could spend the rest of our time until 5pm working on this, haha" or something kind of like that. Or, "look at that. We're exactly halfway through our lesson and that went very quickly!"

Last edited by TwoSnowflakes; 10/16/20 10:06 AM.
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I wouldn't worry about upsetting her, she should worry about upsetting you. If she thinks ten minutes isn't important then tell her you'll have 60 minutes this week thanks very much smile

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Yes, it's worth discussing. Those ten minutes add up. You can get a lot done in that time. The next time your teacher tries to end the lesson early, say something to the effect that you really need the full lesson time and that you'd like to continue working to the end of the lesson. If she objects, then you have to decide how committed you are to this teacher and how committed the teacher is to you as a student.

I'd even say that an hour lesson that's 50 minutes long is pushing it, unless the teacher is doing significant paperwork for the student.


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Originally Posted by Stubbie
Yes, it's worth discussing. Those ten minutes add up. You can get a lot done in that time. The next time your teacher tries to end the lesson early, say something to the effect that you really need the full lesson time and that you'd like to continue working to the end of the lesson. If she objects, then you have to decide how committed you are to this teacher and how committed the teacher is to you as a student.

I'd even say that an hour lesson that's 50 minutes long is pushing it, unless the teacher is doing significant paperwork for the student.


Whether 50 min is acceptable as a one hour lesson timeframe should be defined snd agreed during the introductory period.


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If it's become shorter, I wonder if the teacher is at a loss for what to do the last 10 minutes. A teacher should not be at a loss, but teaching skills are unequal across the board.

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I'd think of it in terms of what I get for the money. Could I get better elsewhere? Does the teacher set her time depending on the recipient's ability to absorb what the delivers? Could you profit from that extra 10 minutes and, more importantly perhaps, does she think it's beneficial?
She perhaps needs to clarify that it could take some folk longer than others, though that could be a hornet's nest.
Give her the benefit of the doubt if the the work she sets is sufficient until next time.


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Is it temporarily? Did you get extra minutes in the past that were comparable to this?


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Would you stay with this teacher for $60 per 40 minute lessons? It's really hard to measure instruction by time. She can so easily just have you to play some pieces again while the clock runs so you get your full 50 minutes but not give you much instruction or useful feedback.

Did you practice? Sometimes teachers may be discouraged when you haven't done your homework. If you want to bring it up, just say directly that the lessons have been shorter and ask why, and whether you should change to shorter lessons.

I have 30 minute lessons. The more I work the more material my teacher piles on me. In 30 minutes I already get my plate full for the week.

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I have 3 music teachers for 3 different instruments and because their schedules are back-to-back with students, sometimes they will run late a couple of minutes (especially now since people are online). I'm flexible with a couple of minutes lost every once in a while, but if it's more than 5 minutes short every time, or close to every time, then I will start to question how things are going:

1) Do you think there's nothing left to do for those 10 minutes and that's why you're ending earlier and earlier? If so, I suspect you should go down to 45 minutes.
2) If #1 is not the reason and there's no good reason for being shorted, I'd have a conversation with the teacher. You shouldn't be paying for 60 minutes and not get 60 minutes.

I'm also wondering why it's a 50 minute lesson you're having. Normally, lessons run in 15 minute increments...30 minutes, 45 minutes, 60 minutes. Are you getting shorted or is that just the way your teacher's studio works?


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@WeakLeftHand 50min makes a lot of sense. You plan a lesson per hour and then you have 10 minutes for yourself between, and some time if you run late


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Originally Posted by wouter79
@WeakLeftHand 50min makes a lot of sense. You plan a lesson per hour and then you have 10 minutes for yourself between, and some time if you run late

Sure, but not if it's shortened even more down to 40 min. The teacher shouldn't cut a student's lesson because they are running late.

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This a tricky situation ....

You need to be careful of "cutting off your nose to spite your face".

If you like the instruction you are getting and enjoy working with this teacher, that carries a lot of weight.

It is not always easy to replace that.

The best is to come up with some constructive way to utilize the "remaining time" when your teacher appears to be finished with the lesson.

For example .... how about suggesting that you spend that time performing a recent piece and asking for critiques on her technique ?

Or .... spend the remaining time ... practicing the material you will be practicing during the week and asking for her comments as you play.

Or ... spend the time "sight reading" something of the teacher's choosing with (or course) comments from the teacher.

Anything like that.

Try not to get into complaining about not getting your "full" lesson time. You might "win" but lose something more valuable.

Good Luck


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Originally Posted by wouter79
@WeakLeftHand 50min makes a lot of sense. You plan a lesson per hour and then you have 10 minutes for yourself between, and some time if you run late

I get that. My therapist works like that, pay for 60 minutes, get to “talk” for only 50 because the therapist needs the 10 minutes for doing session notes. I get that. But that’s not how music lessons work in my area...you pay for 60 minutes, you get the full 60 minutes. And teachers almost always book in 30, 45, 60-minute increments. But then, I live in a very competitive city (Toronto) and we have very qualified teachers everywhere...so we get the full time. That’s just the way it normally/usually works where I live. I understand the norm might be different elsewhere.

The only thing that makes me a bit uncomfortable in my area is that some teachers/studios charge an admin fee per year. One of my teachers charges it and the other two don’t. I pay it and don’t complain because I like that teacher. I think that is a remnant from the higher-income neighborhoods.


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Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
Originally Posted by wouter79
@WeakLeftHand 50min makes a lot of sense. You plan a lesson per hour and then you have 10 minutes for yourself between, and some time if you run late

I get that. My therapist works like that, pay for 60 minutes, get to “talk” for only 50 because the therapist needs the 10 minutes for doing session notes. I get that. But that’s not how music lessons work in my area...you pay for 60 minutes, you get the full 60 minutes. And teachers almost always book in 30, 45, 60-minute increments. But then, I live in a very competitive city (Toronto) and we have very qualified teachers everywhere...so we get the full time. That’s just the way it normally/usually works where I live. I understand the norm might be different elsewhere.

The only thing that makes me a bit uncomfortable in my area is that some teachers/studios charge an admin fee per year. One of my teachers charges it and the other two don’t. I pay it and don’t complain because I like that teacher. I think that is a remnant from the higher-income neighborhoods.
To me it seems like a Goldilocks dilemma: for a 60 minute lesson, 50 minutes is too short, but 60 minutes is too long. The teacher needs enough time for a bathroom break, but not enough time to shop on Amazon. Some teachers do need a longer gap between students if they are doing activities relates to the lesson, such as writing out instructions or making notes on progress. But even in that situation, the student would (should) probably still be there to receive the information.

In the case of the OP, the agreed upon lesson time is 50 minutes and the teacher should respect that. It's okay for the student to end the lesson early ("We need to stop now. My head is going to explode with all the new stuff we covered today"), but the teacher shouldn't ever run out of things with which to work on with the student.

Last edited by Stubbie; 10/16/20 06:22 PM.

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