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Topic: Answers anyone?  (Read 1320 times)

Offline classiejzz

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Answers anyone?
on: August 10, 2005, 08:48:02 PM
Hi. I've been a member of pianoforum.net for some time now and I recently began giving piano lessons. I teach a few younger students just with the pure basics: finger numbers, rhythm, etc. My rates are quite reasonable: $10-30 min, $20-60 min. I can see how this might seem expensive to some but from my understanding it is a very cheap price.

I was talking to my cousin recently and he was interested in lessons for his 9 year old daughter but he argues that the price is too much. He talked me down to $8 for 30 minute sessions insisting that I should cut him some slack since he was family. Somehow I agreed to that and then he insisted that I email him some charts and other instructions to get his daughter started so he wouldn't have to pay for the first few introductory lessons. I agreed, seeing as though that did make some sense but now I just feel cheated. I really understand wheres hes coming from but how do I know where to draw the line. I don't want people to take advantage but I do want to be somewhat laidback. Advice?

Offline Siberian Husky

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Re: Answers anyone?
Reply #1 on: August 10, 2005, 08:59:39 PM
easy but hard to do..its a matter of reminding him that regardless of being family..whats going on between you two is business and nothing short of it..i too believe in cuttin some slack in situations like these..afterall..they are family and close people to you..but really put it in perspective and flip the tables on him..for instance tell him how he;d feel if you pulled up to whetever he worked..for instance..insurance salesman..and you got upset because you didnt recieve the lowest quote..or he worked at a restaurant and you constantly expected free drinks..or meals half off...this is the best way to rid of this problems..
(> <)

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Offline pianistimo

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Re: Answers anyone?
Reply #2 on: August 10, 2005, 09:19:51 PM
i agree with siberian husky, yet i see your predicament.  sometimes we just give in to relatives for the sake of peace in the family.  but, for anyone else, i would actually raise the rates.  the going rate here for professional pianists is minimum $40- $50. per hour.  so that would be $20 -$25. per half hour.  this is a living wage and not a subsistence policy.

in terms of making a living, you come to a point sometimes where you have to make a determination if a job is worth it (lessons being missed occasionally,etc.)  it is at these times that most teachers write up a contract and have it signed by the parents/student.  this contract gives you info about them, and visa-versa.  then you are not looking for a telephone number you don't have, or address you can't remember, or birthday (keeping track for birthday reminder and age of student).  and, they sign and keep their policy which states things like:  what you do for missed lessons (do you keep the money, or reschedule if they call a day ahead?), payment plan (NEVER by the week, always by month or semester - since they have more committment), do you want cash or check or combo?  i found check easier to keep track of.  and, how much practice per lesson (1/2 hour lesson=1/2 hour practice every day at least).

and, as siberian husky pointed out, if you get to the point where you are really relying on the income for living purposes, say it.  tell your relatives that you are able to gain other students that will pay more, so you might have to teach her on the weekend or another time other than the times you can have other students.  that way, there will be no hard feelings since you are just being honest about your time.

Offline galonia

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Re: Answers anyone?
Reply #3 on: August 11, 2005, 12:37:59 AM
With teaching relatives, I'd be less concerend about the money aspect but more concerned about family relationships - I refused to teach a young cousin a couple of years ago, and my grandmother was livid.  She asked if it was because I was worried that I won't get money for it (my uncle is not very well off).  I said I'd be happy to teach her for free, but I don't want to damage relationships with my uncle or with my grandmother, if one day I have to discipline the child.

What if your cousin's daughter does not do her practice or the homework you set her, and you tell her off?  If your cousin is willing to use the family connection to get a discount price on the lesson, then he will be willing to say, "She is related to you, cut her some slack"  Or, "You know she is very busy at school right now and has other things going on, ease up a bit"

These things would make me very uneasy, which was the reason I refused to teach my cousin.

On the other hand, I agreed to teach my mother's god-daughter (and this girl's mother is my god-mother, so we are very close) - because the girl's mother said, if you need to tell her off, do it, and we will not hold it against you.  I felt confident that I would be able to teach this girl just like any other student, without favours being expected, and it worked really well.

Offline raffyplayspiano

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Re: Answers anyone?
Reply #4 on: August 11, 2005, 12:41:51 AM
i think that u are charging a good price.  It is hard to find a 30 minute lesson for less than 20 dollars a class (at least where i am)

i know family is family, but u need to make your money, so be strict about what you charge.  best of luck to you!

**Raffy plays the piano**

Offline ludwig

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Re: Answers anyone?
Reply #5 on: August 11, 2005, 01:38:55 AM
hey clasiejzz,

galonia is right. I wouldn't teach close friends and family because of the relationships. It would have an effect on it surely. Think of all the times when the kid don't practice and you'll have to be strict about it and made him/her cry, or if they didn't have the money for a week (maybe you need to get them to pay upfront for the term) etc...

Sounds like your cousin is taking advantage of you, don't be bullied into anything you don't want to do. If he's reasonable, explain your case and set some rules or policies so its available for the parents at all times.

btw, there's a teaching board, you can post questions there with regards to any problems you're having, and good resources for teaching :)

"Classical music snobs are some of the snobbiest snobs of all. Often their snobbery masquerades as helpfulnes... unaware that they are making you feel small in order to make themselves feel big..."ÜÜÜ

Offline jeremyjchilds

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Re: Answers anyone?
Reply #6 on: August 11, 2005, 01:47:58 AM
I definetely agree,  I Don't teach family or friends...

Your rate is reasonable, your family is unreasonable.. don't worry too much about it.

I made the mistake of charging two different rates once...not a pretty picture.

I wish you all the best...just remember, everyone starts at some time, and are less confident. Don't feel bad about your decision, just don't do it again...
"He who answers without listening...that is his folly and his shame"    (A very wise person)

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