\"\"
Piano Forum logo

Soccer Moms (Read 1365 times)

Offline love_that_tune

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 81
Soccer Moms
« on: September 27, 2016, 05:09:45 PM »
Does anyone have some nifty tranquilizers for when trying to teach piano to a child with a mom who has three kids in soccer and an excessive need for lessons in everything else?

I have 1/3 of my students lessons in their home.  This works out with referrals, for instance, because I have 7 students within a couple of miles of each other.

I've tried to hang in there with a nine year old who misses one in four lessons, but it's driving me nuts.

Mom just said they're all going away next week and the following week with a holiday is out.  She asked me to do makeups at a time that is not convenient for me because I would have a gap before the next students.  When I said that wouldn't work because of the time gap, she said, why didn't I just read a book. 

I want to cancel this relationship.  Why do I feel guilty?

Offline jpahmad

  • PS Gold Member
  • Jr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 59
Re: Soccer Moms
«Reply #1 on: September 27, 2016, 07:42:11 PM »
Yeah, that's a bad relationship.  Make-ups? You travel to the house and do make-ups?  Gross.  Do you have a written out policy?

Offline love_that_tune

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 81
Re: Soccer Moms
«Reply #2 on: September 27, 2016, 08:48:07 PM »
Yes I do.  i needed you to say gross.  Thanks.

Offline bernadette60614

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 525
Re: Soccer Moms
«Reply #3 on: September 27, 2016, 09:25:53 PM »
Our son's music teacher has a contract which each parent signs by semester.

In the contract, it is stated that there are no make-up lessons. Ever.  Period. Full-stop.

I would suggest you use this language in your own contract with all your clients.

Offline quantum

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 5737
Re: Soccer Moms
«Reply #4 on: September 27, 2016, 10:13:21 PM »
Update your studio policy if needed to provide clear language to what is acceptable in your studio.  Issue a warning if the actions continue, and if behavior persists dismiss the student.  You should not feel guilty for setting basic ground rules for your studio and dismissing a student if they do not follow them.  IMO it is unacceptable to let a parent walk all over you and be inconsiderate with your time. 

Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline Bob

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 16052
Re: Soccer Moms
«Reply #5 on: September 27, 2016, 11:41:01 PM »
If they're not serious you don't have to be either.  They're still useful for income or for testing things, like new pieces.

Glancing over the post I'd say ditto on the policy.  But for rescheduling you don't have to give reasons why or be that flexible.  Make up a lesson?  Sure... But that time doesn't work... Neither does this other time... Or that one...  You don't have to let them see your calendar or give reasons.  Or make up a reason that it can't work then.

Maybe... Tell them they have to travel to you if they break the lesson time and need to make it up.  If that works and it's less work for you.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline mjames

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2477
Re: Soccer Moms
«Reply #6 on: September 28, 2016, 12:16:14 AM »
I say make sure you still get paid for the lessons they missed, and like Bob said, if they're not serious you shouldn't be either. Milk da *** dry I tell you.

Offline love_that_tune

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 81
Re: Soccer Moms
«Reply #7 on: September 28, 2016, 02:00:33 AM »
Made me laugh.  I needed that.

Offline 1piano4joe

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 416
Re: Soccer Moms
«Reply #8 on: September 28, 2016, 05:55:35 PM »
Hi love_that-tune,

I am a retired science and math tutor. I did over 95% of my students lessons in their home. There were so many, many problems it would make your headspin.

I ALWAYS evaluated each situation based on the circumstances. Did I enjoy working with that student/family? How far did I have to travel? How often did the BS occur?

I sat in my car many, many times. I went to the library and sat there.  I got something to eat or a cup of coffee. I took a bathroom break. Often I would call my next student and try to go early.

Perhaps the most bizarre situation was when I kept a student for several months when they cancelled every single week. Why in the world would I tolerate this you ask? I received so many referrals and got so many new students from them. That is why. They would brag how great I was to their friends. How would they know if they rarely took a lesson?

Anyway, I have easily spent that much money on advertising that wasn't cost effective. Hmm....sit in your car for an hour and get another student for your time. Okay, I'm exaggerating but only slightly.

They would cancel 2 or 3 times for each new student referral I received but sitting 3 hours in the car for 1 new student taking how many lessons in a year was so worth it. If I lose $150 for the 3 times I sat in the car WITHOUT payment but make over $1500 more from the new student then it was worth it. This makes even more sense for piano teachers since you often have students for more than one year. So, maybe a piano teacher could make $10,000 over a period of many years! I tutored chemistry and after the school year was over so were the lessons. So, I constantly had to find new students.

Finally, I did something that airlines and hotels do. I double booked the time slot! I let them think they had an appointment. When they cancelled, I just laughed because they were cancelling an appointment they didn't actually have. However, one time I never got the phone call. So, I cancelled on them.

I couldn't take it anymore and gave it up. Driving to homes and there is no one there. Last minute cancellations. I found notes on the door telling me they got called into work! What is wrong with these people? Couldn't they at the very least telephone me? I got my share of bounced checks too. They made good but it was still an inconvience. Dogs scaring the daylights out of me. A cat once scratched its claws on my $300 leather jacket. They said they would pay to fix it but that never happened. They dropped me like a hot potato!

I could go on and on but the memories are annoying me so...

I hope that helps, Joe.

P.S. The least inconvience was when either the first or last lesson of the day cancelled. If it was the 1st then I just started my day an hour later and when the last cancelled I went home an hour earlier which I sometimes liked. When the 2nd lesson of the day cancelled I would call up the 1st and see if I could go an hour later but this sometimes backfired because they would cancel  on me too. Also, when the next to last cancelled I would call the last and try to go an hour earlier. This way I got home earlier and didn't have to sit in the car for an hour.

Offline love_that_tune

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 81
Re: Soccer Moms
«Reply #9 on: September 28, 2016, 07:24:38 PM »
OMG yes, humor is very helpful.  I decided to dump this family because they were taking up too much of my time thinking about how annoying they are.

My most horrible memory was going to a house where a nanny came down stairs and dad a bit later, if you know what I mean.  They have 5 kids.  i tried to do the lesson but the nanny has the tv the size of Kansas on so loud in the other room I have to tell her to turn it down.  Just then several kids come screaming and running down the stairs trying to catch their escaped bird.  The kids nails looked he had been gardening.

I'm teaching in the suburbs of Boston.  Getting more students is not an issue.  Nouveau riche are the most awful relationships.

My take a way from this experience is to tighten up my communication at the beginning.  I have a great contract.  I am reasonable sickness, behavior issues, etc.  This family just has gone way too far. 

So yes, I've seen a lot.  I have a great bunch of families right now who have been appreciative and respectful of my time.  And most of all, they really appreciate how well their kids are doing playing the piano.

Trading war stories might be fun.