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Does your teacher do this? (Or if you are a teacher, which, if any, do you do?)


techfiddle
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I'm kind of curious. We're having a very long discussion on suzukichat about studio policies. I'd like to ask some questions, if I may. Among those of you who take private lessons, do you teachers request some or any of the following; similarly, if you teach, do you request that your students do any of the following:

1. Prepay by the month

2. 24 notice of cancellation

3. Group lessons mandatory (probably not with adult students, I would guess)

4. Recital performance mandatory (ditto)

5. No make-up's or make-ups only with 24 hour notice, but no make-ups if student does not call

6. Lesson is considered cancelled if student is more than 15 minutes late

7. Payments always due as scheduled, whether student is absent or not

Please indicate If there are other issues which you think should be included in this list.

Thanks,

Connie

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1. Prepay by the month

[*] this year I pay all the teacher by the month. Last couple of years we had a college student and I used to pay her per lesson on the day of the lesson.

2. 24 notice of cancellation

[*] when possible I'm sure that's appreciated but if kid is sick or whatever so far they are very understanding.

3. Group lessons mandatory (probably not with adult students, I would guess)

[*] kids are in 2 orchestra which serves as group lessons this year, last year they had group lessons on strings but not for piano.

4. Recital performance mandatory (ditto)

[*] yes.

5. No make-up's or make-ups only with 24 hour notice, but no make-ups if student does not call

[*] there is no make-up for orchestra, our piano teacher always tries to have a make-up lesson if possible, I don't think we've missed any violin/cello lessons, my guess is the teachers would try to do a make-up.

6. Lesson is considered cancelled if student is more than 15 minutes late

[*] no policy in place.

7. Payments always due as scheduled, whether student is absent or not

[*] no policy in place, but if I missed the first lesson of the month (when I normally pay) I would just pay at next lesson.

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1. Prepay by the month?

Five techers I had, only one asked for pre-pay 10 lessons.

2. 24 notice of cancellation.

No definite policy.

3. Group lessons mandatory (probably not with adult students, I would guess)

**Annual student recital. Adult students get another assignment only after passing

the previous one.

4. Recital performance mandatory (ditto)

5. No make-up's or make-ups only with 24 hour notice, but no make-ups if student does not call

6. Lesson is considered cancelled if student is more than 15 minutes late

** No definite policy

7. Payments always due as scheduled, whether student is absent or not

** Teachers have to make a living too. I get pay no matter when I work or when I am

unable to unexpectedly.

Please indicate If there are other issues which you think should be included in this list.

** It is a good policy that teacher charge 10 or a number of lessons in advance, so students

will adhere to a plan. It helped me as I was a student.

Thanks,

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1. I prepay both piano and violin at the first of the month, for the month

2. For piano I need 24 hours notice, violin, I need at least 12

3. No group lessons, but I don't take suzuki, and I am in 4 orchestras

4. No, if we don't want to, we don't have to, but it's highly encouraged

5. Sometimes make ups with violin, piano only if I give 48 hours notice

6. No policy

7. Payment is due the first time in a month I come, if i'm absent the 1st, I pay the second week

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1. Prepay by the month

1) yes 2) no me)no

2. 24 notice of cancellation

all) unless sick

3. Group lessons mandatory (probably not with adult students, I would guess)

1) yes 2) no me)no

4. Recital performance mandatory (ditto)

1) yes 2) competitions and some recitals me) no

5. No make-up's or make-ups only with 24 hour notice, but no make-ups if student does not call

all) with advance notice

6. Lesson is considered cancelled if student is more than 15 minutes late

1) yes 2) teacher comes to my house me) yes

7. Payments always due as scheduled, whether student is absent or not

1) yes 2) no me)no

8. Do you offer discounts for families?

all) no

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Your policies are excellent.  The only difference in my own

policy, is that if a student is late, I do not cancel but

rather cut off the lesson at the prescribed time.  Trying

to reschedule is so difficult, so it is completely their

responsibility if they want a shortened lesson or not.

As for the 24 hour notice, I am somewhat more flexible,

but state that it is totally my discretion whether it will be made

up or not.  However, if the private studio is a primary

income, I think it is obviously crucial to stipulate as clearly as

possible these issues you list.  One other issue is how

prepared and committed to their lessons the students are - I

generally won't keep students if I feel they are not working to

their potential. This keeps your reputation solid and

alerts the student and parents to the necessity of adequate

practice.  Hope this helps.

"http://www.vivoviolin.com/forum/index.php">http://www.vivoviolin.com/forum/index.php

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I'm pretty informal with my students, as I don't do it for a living, but I have to say all these requirements are reasonable from my experience.

Prepay monthly is the best way to make sure students show up.

A lesson appointment is as much a reservation of the teachers tiem as it is a transfer of knowledge. Teachers shoudl understand that ocassional things come up and most will work with you, but if it's as much as 10% a week, there is no way a full tiem teacher can make these up (and that's just one lessone missed every 10 weeks - from the students perspective) Since I don't need the money, I have the benefit of being able to "threaten" students with dropping them if they get to be a problem. I had a big problem with several students not showing up or cancelling at the last minute time after time. It instantly got better when I let one go and put my foot down with the others.

Putting on a recital is a huge hassel for a teacher, so it shows dedication. You should be grateful.

Don't like group lessons, probably because I have no idea how to implement them effectively.

Late comers through everything behind - because I can't do a lesson in 15 minutes.

Teachers barely survive monetarily, they have bills just liek everyone else. The electric company and landlord expect their money when it is due. It trickles down.

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1. Prepay by the month

I pay as I go. Can pay in advance if I can.

2. 24 notice of cancellation

Best to cancel in advance but can cancel on the same day as the lesson.

3. Group lessons mandatory (probably not with adult students, I would guess)

Private or group lessons, whatever is convenient for you.

4. Recital performance mandatory (ditto)

Optional, but prefers you participate for motivation.

5. No make-up's or make-ups only with 24 hour notice, but no make-ups if student does not call

Make-ups with notice, No-call no-show will probably let you make-up.

6. Lesson is considered cancelled if student is more than 15 minutes late

Teacher is very understanding that parents and students work and doesnt mind a little tardiness. Just as long as it doesnt become a habit.

7. Payments always due as scheduled, whether student is absent or not

Pay however its convenient for you. Just as long as you pay your lessons.

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Regarding mandatory recital performances: Those of you who have this policy, would it ever occur that a teacher would forbid the student to give a prepared recital if the student were willing to do it? If there were concerns about the degree of preparedness, would it seems fair to allow the student to know in advance (say a few weeks rather than a couple of days before) that there were concerns and the possibility that the recital would not take place?

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While I don' t have enough students right now to give a studio recital i would say that as a student it can actually be very helpful to be allowed to give a performance insufficiently prepared. I know that the one or two times I have felt that I was unprepared for a performance have done more to improve my practice habits than all of the successful performances combined.

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Poppiviola and stillnew,

Another perspective to consider is the parent.  Though

teachers must have their own guidelines on evaluating who is

prepared to perform on recitals, parents naturally want this

valuable experience for their kids.  I would certainly not

allow someone to perform unprepared, but rather make sure the

repertoire is absolutely appropriate for each student.

 Though I am not  Suzuki trained, the Suzuki program is a

great example for allowing early performance experience for kids -

at all levels of ability.  

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I actually have not had many adults desiring to play  on

recitals - either they are just coming to me for advice and run

throughs prior to auditions or concerts

or they are studying to maintain their current level.

 However, if you do have a studio of adults, then I'm sure it

would be very helpful to put on a recital showcasing their hard

work.  If they are not interested in solo performance

recitals, I would encourage them to perform by volunteering

in church performances, nursing homes, charities,

benefits, anything to keep them playing in a meaningful way and

contributing to the community.

"http://www.vivoviolin.com/forum/index.php">http://www.vivoviolin.com/forum/index.php

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From a parent:

1. we pay at each lesson and I believe most of our teacher's students do also

2. no policy in place - very understanding teacher - would rather a sick student not show up and infect him with whatever bug is going around

3. does not have group lessons as a rule - most of his students are in either school or local youth orchestras which serve this development need well

4. periodic recitals, students only perform if ready skills-wise and emotionally

5. he's somewhat flexible with his schedule and will schedule a make-up lesson when possible - that said, we try not to miss a lesson

6. no policy in place - we've never been late more than a minute or so - I believe if you show up late, he simply gives you a shortened lesson for the full lesson fee.

7. don't know if I understand this question or not - we pay as we go - if a lesson is missed on short notice and the circumstances warrant, we usually pay for the missed lesson at our next lesson. He doesn't insist on this - we do it out of respect for his professionalism and believing that it is the right thing to do. It has only happened once due to sudden illness and when presented with the payment, he credited it to our account and gave us a make-up lesson.

Our teacher is a wonderful professional in every sense of the word. He is a Juliard grad, former concertmaster of a major orchestra, conductor of youth orchestras, and his students participate in master classes with prominent performing artists. He is very connected with other professional musicians in the U.S. and abroad and is highly respected within the community of artists. We consider him our guide in the world of violin music. Our son has been with him for 2 years now and we are extremely satisfied with the results they have achieved together.

Both my wife and I are very involved in and supportive of our son's music education. We closely monitor and assist him with his practice routine (he practices 3 hours daily). We're very involved with the youth orchestra where our son is concertmaster. We constantly play classical music in our house, especially recordings of pieces our son is learning. We attend all the public performances that time and budget allow us.

I'm not really sure of the motivation behind your questions, but I would like to add that I strongly believe that the music teacher/parent relationship should be founded on mutual respect and professionalism. Over the course of our son's music education, we've experienced mediocre and excellent teachers. When I consider our current teacher's education, experience and abilities, I have the same respect for him that I would for professionals in the fields of medicine or law. And he knows we feel that way about him from our actions.

Teaching music is a profession for some. For others, it is just a way of bringing in extra income. We've experienced both types of teachers. As a consumer, I want the best that I can afford and have found that we are better served by paying the higher fees of the pro, and investing more of ourselves into the effort so that we maximize the outcome. Our current teacher doesn't have a formal policy that we are expected to comply with, but we have a very clear understanding of his expectations vis-a-vis our's and our son's commitment to his music education. That is the underlying foundation of our relationship and the administrative stuff is never an issue - we stay focussed on the goals.

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1. we prepay by the month because it is the easiest way to do it.

2. We have never cancelled, we would only do so for a very very good reason because we have absolute respect for the teacher, I think that if we had to cancel he would probably make every effort to reschedule, but it has never come up. He has scheduled extra lessons when my daughter has wanted them.

3. No group, but it is always a pleasure to catch the end of the lesson before ours.

4. Not wanting to play in the recital has not occurred, I am sure if it did he would deal with it compassionately.

5. When there has been a scheduling conflict like a roller skating party invitation at the same time and he has heard about it he has always done his utmost to make things work out happily for our child.

6. I don't think we have ever been 15 minutes late we try to arrive a little early, sometimes with traffic we have been a bit late he has always been very understanding and kind about it.

7. once I forgot the checkbook, I apologized and he said it was not any problem at all. We paid the following week.

He has never given us any studio policies, like the previous poster's teacher this teacher has our absolute respect. He is a kind and noble man, a great teacher, and an excellent violinist.

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From a parent.

1.  We pay by the term which is a three month period.  We

give post dated cheques for the entire year.

2. We have never discussed this however we would always try to give

24 hours notice.  It has never happened yet in two years.

3. Group lessons are not mandatory.  Many of our teacher's

students play in orchestra as does our daughter.

4. Recital performance is not mandatory however it is strongly

encouraged by our teacher.  Our daughter plays in at least 6

recitals a year plus three youth orchestra performances, etc.

 She also encourages her students to take part in competitive

and non-competitive music festivals.

5. Again I am not sure what the official policy is.  Our

teacher is amazingly generous with her time I think because

she recognizes the commitment to practice which our daughter

demonstrates.

6. If we are late I presume that the lesson would just end at the

regular time.

7. If we fail to attend we would still have to pay.

My daughter's teacher is one of the most kind, positive and

talented people I have ever met.  She truely inspires

greatness in all dedicated students who attend her lessons.

 She is university educated in music and plays first violin

with the Kitchener/Waterloo symphony.  I consider us to be

blessed to have found such an incredible teacher.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Mr. Strasbaugh, you asked why this question was asked..? Not for any negative reasons, but for purposes of research. I participate in and/or moderate a half dozen or so YahooGroups with the focus on violin pedagogy, and by asking this question, I gather information to report to other teachers, so we can discuss our own policies.

Which we have done, on suzukichat, suzukiUSA, string_teacher_support, piano_teacher_support, even bavs, and elsewhere (Google). It's a matter of staying in touch with other teachers, world-wide, and learning from each other. I've learned a great deal in this way, and I think others have, and that our students benefit from this exchange.

Connie

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We have a rather unique arrangement where the teacher comes to my house, does a lesson for me and my son and then goes to his cousin's and his friends. The order changes sometimes, but he has enough students in the neighborhood to make it work. We pay by the lesson. Cancellations are rare because if I can't make it somebody else just takes my time and vice versa. It also gives us some flexibility. Sometimes I take a long lesson and my son takes a short one if he has a lot of homework and sometimes he takes almost all of the time if he has an audition coming up. It would be unusual that both of us had something come up at the last minute.

The only time that we did a last-minute cancellation was when we had a power failure - no lights no heat.

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