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#14366 - 04/02/03 07:22 AM Re: 6th grader blahs
GeeTee Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 12/26/01
Posts: 391
Loc: Midwest
NancyK, You are da bomb!!! I'm afraid that sometimes we must confront the students with the plain truth of things. Your approach makes me think about sports teams and how coaches sometimes have to handle the perpetual slackers (they sit the bench)until they start practicing like they're a part of the team!

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#14367 - 04/02/03 11:55 AM Re: 6th grader blahs
John Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/29/01
Posts: 2454
Loc: Bellingham, WA
(double post boo-boo) \:o

[ 04-02-2003: Message edited by: John ]

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#14368 - 04/02/03 11:56 AM Re: 6th grader blahs
John Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/29/01
Posts: 2454
Loc: Bellingham, WA
This hits SO CLOSE to home! (NancyK's post)

Yesterday I had a student who had not finished for the 3rd week his composing assignment (literally had to choose 8 more notes to a given rhythm in G major to complete his piece).

I told him that we could not begin his lesson until he finished it, and asked him to improvise about 3-5 minutes until he found something he liked, and then write it down.

It was 3:30 and I skipped lunch that day, so I went into the kitchen and has a wonderful tuna salad while he worked.

OFF-TOPIC - My new fav.....get tuna fish and mash it until it's all "de-clumped", add sweet relish, FINELY chopped red onion and cucumber (adds wonderful moisture and texture), maybe also red pepper, mayo.....mix passionately.......YUM!

BACK ON TOPIC

I have recently decided due to increasingly tight schedule and trying to juggle performing, accompanying, and writing to offer for the FIRST TIME EVER........gasp!

30 minute lessons. Basically my 2003 change is this:

Offer lesson length based on PRACTICE, and charge more for the shorter lessons. Some students simply do NOT deserve 60 minute lessons and computer time based on effort. My monthly fees are:

$100 ~ 30 minute
$135 ~ 45 minute
$160 ~ hour

(Basically it's $50/hour rate for 30 minute lessons and $40/hour rate for hour lessons. This is still a cheaper hour rate than a local music school).

I will be cutting many back to 45 and 30 minutes soon for SOME, simply based on effort. While I LOATHE the idea of 30 minute lessons, if students are practicing an average of 10 minutes a day, we'll just cover 2 pieces and a warm up (or whatever) to match their effort. I might as well make more money by squeezing in more 30 minute lessons to the ones who want "Basic Piano" (i.e. - little commitment) and continue to offer "Comprehensive Piano" to those that qualify.

I know some may find this cold and harse, but H-E-DOUBLE BAR LINES, I'm adapting to the current social climate in my area (often affluent families who add piano to a myriad of other activities and have little supervision on daily practice). There is psychological freedom in knowing you are offering the best instruction you can at the moment, and leaving it up to the parents and children to decide IF THEY WILL TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT.

I realize a more anal interview process MAY have weeded out a few weeds, but as a business person I just want to OFFER a quality service (which I really do enjoy passionately!), and worry less about trying to control the variety of familys and lifestyles that exist today. (Would Master Lisa approve?) \:D

rant over :p

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#14369 - 04/02/03 01:45 PM Re: 6th grader blahs
Jalapeņa Offline
Star Member

Registered: 02/20/03
Posts: 1143
Loc: New Mexico
John, here's my response: Why not? If they don't make much of an effort, why should you? Continue offering the longer lessons to those who want them & are willing to pay, but offer 30-min. lessons to the lazy students & allow their parents to pay you to eat tuna sandwiches if they please. If I had to rely on piano teaching to make a living, that's what I'd do. My motto is the same as Dr. Lisa's: "Why suffer if you don't have to?"

I was just talking to Lisa about this subject today. My thoughts are to give the lesson even if the student hasn't practiced enough or completed his/her entire assignment, but make the student use his/her lesson time to do the work s/he should have done at home between lessons. If that means putting the student to work on written theory or composition or whatever while I sip a glass of iced tea & eat a snack, then so be it. I'm not in the mood to knock myself out for a student who doesn't do his/her part.

BTW, your tuna recipe is the same as mine. Yum! \:D

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#14370 - 04/02/03 02:36 PM Re: 6th grader blahs
Jalapeņa Offline
Star Member

Registered: 02/20/03
Posts: 1143
Loc: New Mexico
John: Dr. (Master) Lisa is without a computer for the moment, but since you brought up her name, I decided to call her & ask her what she thinks. \:D Here's her response (I'm typing EXACTLY what she told me to type)...

She approves, with the following caveats: IF the student initially starts with 45- to 60-min. lessons, IF you don't advertise the 30-min. lessons, & IF you (not the student or the parent) initiate the switch to 30-min. lessons. IOW, it should be YOUR option to cut back. She says she did this with a former student of her's named Jill, who was a good student but had no time. She says the 30-min. lessons kept them (her & Jill) from driving each other nuts.

Dr. (Master) Lisa's recipe for Tuna Salad: Mash tuna (Albacore White ONLY); add chopped up seedless English cucumbers & a little grated radish (if desired); moisten with Cucumber Ranch salad dressing; add salt, pepper & dill weed to taste. Note: Lisa no longer adds dill weed to her tuna salad, due to an unfortunate vomiting incident that she had after eating at the Golden Corral restaurant when she was 8 months pregnant. \:o \:o \:o

[ 04-02-2003: Message edited by: Jalapeņa ]

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#14371 - 04/02/03 04:06 PM Re: 6th grader blahs
John Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/29/01
Posts: 2454
Loc: Bellingham, WA
Yep, tell the Big ML that all 3 fit my plan (well, I may still advertise the 30 minute lessons since I teach the 4-5 set).

Also, thanks for the image of Lisa vomitting. Priceless.

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#14372 - 04/02/03 05:45 PM Re: 6th grader blahs
Jalapeņa Offline
Star Member

Registered: 02/20/03
Posts: 1143
Loc: New Mexico
Why don't you just advertise 30-min. lessons for the 4- to 5-year-olds? I know from experience that the 4- & 5-year-olds do much better with shorter lessons. Also, IMO, 45 mins. is the ideal lesson length for most students over the age of 5. Of course (& Dr. Lisa concurs with me on this), the decision to cut back to 30 mins. should be done on a case-by-case basis by you, the teacher. The problem with advertising 30-min. lessons is that most parents are CHEAP & will opt for what they perceive to be the bargain price. They don't stop to compute the value of the longer lesson. They just look at the $$ amount they have to shell out every month. Besides, you really don't want parents thinking of your tuition in terms of cost per hour. You want them to think of tuition in terms of buying an exclusively reserved time slot for their child.

Off topic: IMO, no tuna salad should be without peppers! ;\) \:D

[ 04-02-2003: Message edited by: Jalapeņa ]

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#14373 - 04/03/03 05:14 AM Re: 6th grader blahs
ChristyA Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 05/24/02
Posts: 270
Loc: Midwest
Just had to share what my husband's former piano teacher does (still does) when students don't practice--they have to clean the toilet. I haven't had the guts to ask my students to do that--but wouldn't that be great! My house could use a good cleaning!

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#14374 - 04/03/03 08:44 AM Re: 6th grader blahs
John Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/29/01
Posts: 2454
Loc: Bellingham, WA
Kinda like "____ or get off the pot!"....or "Practice or get off the bench!". \:o

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#14375 - 04/03/03 10:03 AM Re: 6th grader blahs
Lilla Offline
Star Member

Registered: 10/30/00
Posts: 1573
Loc: Chicago
At first I thought this BR detail was very odd but now I remember that in my parents music store - where they rented rooms to teachers - each teacher was required to clean and scrub their teaching room once a week. So I guess with that logic - perhaps figuring it's the responsibility of all participants in the studio - it makes sense.

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