students quitting

Tags:

Sara said: Aug 4, 2009
 Violin
191 posts

Is any one having a hard time getting and retaining students these days in this hard economy? I have had some students quit due to finances—some haven’t even given me any notice, they call up and quit lessons the day before their regular lesson time.
How do you handle it—I would really prefer some notice before hand—even if I had to do a lesson scholarship for a student to come to a finishing point and not just quit cold turkey. Any thoughts on the matter?

“What is man’s ultimate direction in life? It is to look for love, truth, virtue, and beauty.” Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

Jennifer Visick said: Aug 4, 2009
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

I’ve recently begun putting a “how to quit or change teachers” item in my studio policies. Basically I need at least four weeks notice—or if they must stop coming immediately, they still have to pay for the following four weeks of lessons (This is for during the school year, when I have everyone’s schedule pre-planned from Sept-June).

Sara said: Aug 5, 2009
 Violin
191 posts

Good idea to put that in the policy. Thanks!

“What is man’s ultimate direction in life? It is to look for love, truth, virtue, and beauty.” Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

Jennifer Visick said: Aug 5, 2009
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

oh, and I also ask that they schedule an exit interview (parent-teacher only, if the student is young) as well as a “last lesson”.

The exit interview allows me to “sum up” what the student has been learning so if they are changing teachers, they have an idea of what to tell the next one that they’ve been doing. (I give them a list, which they can hand to the next teacher. I can’t count the times when I’ve had transfer students come in with no idea how to articulate what they’ve been working on….)

The last lesson allows me to “close” the relationship with the student, so that they are prepared to either go practice on their own (or quit practicing on their own); or help them get ready to take instruction from another teacher, even if that teacher has different methods or techniques than I do. It’s my “blessing” on whatever they so choose to do with their musical life after they are no longer under my “wing”, so to speak… The last thing I want is the next teacher feeling like they’re fighting my shadow (and some students can be confused… “but my first teacher said ALWAYS or NEVER this…” !)

Connie Sunday said: Aug 6, 2009
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

>> “but my first teacher said ALWAYS or NEVER this…”

Some of my students are also in piano class in public school, or string orchestra or orchestra classes; I make it clear from the beginning that they are not to say “but Ms. Sunday says..”, and that they need to do as their public school teacher says, so they can get good grades and go on to their next level. I think it’s important sometimes to say this to students.

Normally, the difficulties don’t occur with parents who are themselves educated (I have lots of professors’ children, and children of business people, as I would imagine everybody does); most of my difficulties in the studio are with parents who are not familiar with classical music, do not attend concerts or listen to classical music, and do not read the literature (though I offer it here and in links to materials they can purchase used on Amazon or get through inter-library loan). Bless them, they just have no clue, many of them.

Educating the parents is a big job. I think handing out reading materials would be a good idea. I would love to see a copy of what is handed out to the parents. I only have a one page policy, and of course, lots of stuff online, but frequently these same parents are not computer literate.

But back on topic, regarding economic conditions, I have found that so far, I don’t see a devastating affect on my studio, but I do think things are rather slow. Luckily, I live in a city where the primary source of income is the university and the medical centers, so we’re fine. I would think it’s much worse in some other locales.

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:
http://beststudentviolins.com/library.html#handouts

Laura said: Aug 6, 2009
 
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
358 posts

So far so good, although I am aware of a few situations with single parents, parents recently losing their jobs, etc.
I certainly can’t be so hard-harded about such matters, if things ever take a drastic downturn for the familes, music lessons are every bit an “extra”, unfortunately.

I agree that closure is important. Even if it came down to one more time, free of charge, to have a chance to say goodbye and offer some helpful suggestions on anything they can do on their own if they want to keep up (assuming that hopefully one day they will be able to resume lessons with me or another teacher).

Laurel said: Aug 7, 2009
Laurel MacCullochViolin
Langley, BC
120 posts

I dunno, I’ve been trying to re-start my home studio and haven’t had much interest so far. Plus at the school I teach at, there hasn’t been much new enrollment, which has been going on for a good 10 years now—just a dud area I guess.

Or maybe it’s just me. :(

Laurel

Sara said: Aug 7, 2009
 Violin
191 posts

I should have thought to do the one more lesson. Wonder if it’s too late to offer that. It’s been a week.
Thanks.

“What is man’s ultimate direction in life? It is to look for love, truth, virtue, and beauty.” Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

You must log in to post comments.

A note about the discussion forum: Public discussion forum posts are viewable by anyone. Anyone can read the forums, but you must create an account with your email address to post. Private forums are viewable by anyone that is a part of that private forum's group. Discussion forum posts are the opinion of the poster and do not constitute endorsement by or official position of the Suzuki Association of the Americas, Inc.

Please do not use the discussion forums to advertise products or services