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LearningMusician Chat >> Feature Article Chat >> Are You The Teacher For Me?      
 
Viewing 1-7 of 7 total messages      

Unknown User

May 24, 2007 - 9:05 AMReply to this message

Recently I have had the opportunity of receiving "prospective student" referrals from the music studio I teach at. I always appreciate the opportunity to talk to these people and try to answer any questions for them as best I can. Recently I have come across these individuals who after the initial introduction over the phone, don't seem to know what to say. So I began asking a series of questions to keep the momentum going. " How old is the student? " . " Has he or she had lessons in the past on this instrument and for how long ". " What is the purpose of taking these lessons, personal enjoyment, upcoming program at church or school, want to play in a band ? ". I want to know from the beginning what the expectations are of the parents or individual paying for the lessons. So the conversation continues as I explain the cost per month and so on. Up to this point they have let me talk and try to come up with all the questions they may ask. It seems that up to this point they are in agreement with everything I have explained, and we have a clear understanding of each of our expectations in pursuing this musical education. " So what would be the best day and time for you? ", I ask. " Oh, I'm just looking around. " They explain. By this point I know one thing for sure. Either they are dissatisfied with the cost or they don't know what they are looking for. And as I have found out the latter seems to be the case. They know they want the lessons from the beginning, but just are not sure what to ask or what they are even looking for. The personality we convey over the phone as teachers is huge, and as long as you don't have, as a friend of mine put " The personality of a turnip"; You should be able to put these people at rest and relaxed from the moment you start talking with them.

So here are some key topics to cover with the potential student.

1. Name and age. As you know just the basics

2. Have they taken lessons in the past or do they have any previous experience on an instrument. And if they have taken lessons for how long. If they are currently taking lessons from another teacher why are you deciding to change teachers. This is a key issue. If the student didn't like the songs he/she was being taught you better be able to come up with a whole new approach to meet their needs. If it was a matter of " they didn't like to read music but just wanted to play something by ear" you better be able to teach that. Remember every student is different and has different needs and expectations. You need to know from the beginning if you can meet those.

3. What is the purpose of taking these lessons. This is sadly not covered in the beginning and some teachers just want to get down to talking about the cost and getting an "OK". Most of the time it's assumed it's a new student. Even in that case you should know what they are expecting from you and if you can give the tools to accomplish this task. To be able to sight read, to play something by ear, to just learn a song, to audition for a performance, to play in a band. A really good teacher can cover all these in a series of lessons but must have the interest of the student in all these areas, and let's face it we live in a Burger King and microwave generation. I want it my way and now or I'm not working for it! You're goal is to meet their needs, and yes sadly some of them may never become proficient sight readers but neither are some of the musical greats of our time.

Greg S.













 

Unknown User

May 25, 2007 - 11:18 AMReply to this message
I think it's difficult to become quickly acqainted over the telephone, and I have gone to e-mail inquiries recently.

I send along 3 attachments 1) A Music Directory List (my profiles - Learning Musician is one) and a "Google Me" Invitation where they will learn a lot about me quickly). 2) A Student Information Form (for them to fill out and return by e-mail - this provides me with lots of answers) and 3) An invitation to make an appointment for their interview where I will give a lesson - A) Keyboard Orientation and 3 - 5 pre-music charts that can be quickly taught to a beginner of any age. B) A lesson using the music of Transfer Students.

By the time the Lesson/Interview is over, I know if this student/family are clients for me to consider inviting into my studio. If I am interested I give them my studio policy to read and we get together in e-mails to answer any questions they may have. There is a Registration Form for those who are ready to enroll, and a check for Tuition, Registration Fee, and Student Fund gets us started on a year round contract (30 day notice to terminate at any time) or a short term specific number of lessons for a specific purpose. I have just accepted 6 new students (4 beginners and 2 transfers from 3 families - also 2 interviews were eliminated as either they or I was not interested in continuing the process toward enrollment. Refer them to other better situations for them: for instance, a studio that offers, piano, guitar and drums for exploring music, a group lessons teacher, or a teaching acquaintance you know who would delight in the special needs of this student. These referrals are suggested kindly to them as being an option they should explore.

I consider this time well spent on my part. I now have a well-informed student who is eager to start, and I know quite a bit about the people I am getting involved with. Information is gold to me. I can tell you more about any specific area of the prospective client process from inquiry to interview and first 10 weeks of study - which is a crucial time frame to get off the ground successfully and musically. I owe my experiences to making improvements in the systematice processes since I started teaching in 1971. I am comfortable in what is working for me and I think some of it might be helpful for others while they are developing their own styles. It takes a lot of effort to examine your methods, ideas, and processes. When something works, it works like a charm, when it isn't working you have to replace it with something better. But, do stop doing what isn't working.

To reiterate, you don't have much time to say what you want to say about yourself, learn what you need to learn about them in a phone call. It is important that you are prepared for every inquiry, no matter how casual it might be. Otherwise, you are leaving everything up to luck and taking a risk with whom you allow into your established studio family of musicians. I feel everyone must have respect for the teacher, and be a serious enough candidate for me to issue the invitation to join. I don't want behavior problems, or people with little commitment to the learning process. I refuse to teach in chaos or confusion and that means qualifying the interviewee as being able to meet me at least half way in my expectations.

I offer this with good intentions!

Betty
 

Gladys Premo

Offering piano lessons, hymn improvisation lessons, and conducting lessons in Hartsville, South Carolina

October 15, 2007 - 11:34 PMReply to this message
A student or student's parent/guardian should have in mind what the goals are. The wise teacher will give the student time to offer information in an open manner, and give personal information pertinent to his/her creative endeavors. In other words, I ask, Do you wish to play for your own enjoyment, or do you want to perform for others?." Other examples of questions are: "What type of music do you want to play, or what is your inspiration for desiring to learn more." I like to ask the perspective students if they have access to music, or if they would care to order. I talk of learning to play piano as though it is as easy as drinking water. It is so natural. My first lesson is getting to know you, and demonstrating just how easily you can approach the piano. You will be playing your fist lesson.
It's fun--It's easy--It's Piano Praise!
 

Diane Quick

October 19, 2007 - 12:24 PMReply to this message
On my registration forms, I have places to determine if they have had lessons, etc. I might just add the question of "Why?" Having a website like this or being in a music studio, where you are on the website with your pic and basic philosphy and education. The viewers can find out if that is a teacher for them. Just like reading a book, you can like it or not within the first few pages, and teachers portray their style by their "resume" on line. Even e-mails and phone calls give much in the non-tangible areas. Hopefully, the teacher goes one step farther and finds the lesson books that also fits the students. (Maybe another topic??? do you use the same books for every student?) dq
 

Rebecca Price

May 3, 2008 - 3:19 PMReply to this message
Hi ladies and gentlemen,

These postings are going on my wall, as this process really means everything as I recieve new applicants, and know how I respond is quite important! I am grateful to see that other good and experienced teachers want very much to be selective while presenting a very good interview. I like your ideas, they reflect mine, too and it is really nice not to feel so alone (at times) with this business! Thank you everyone!!

Rebecca Price
Miss Becky's Violin Studio

------------------
On May 25, 2007 - 11:18 AM, Betty Patnude wrote :
> I think it's difficult to become quickly acqainted over the telephone, and I have gone to e-mail inquiries recently.
>
> I send along 3 attachments 1) A Music Directory List (my profiles - Learning Musician is one) and a "Google Me" Invitation where they will learn a lot about me quickly). 2) A Student Information Form (for them to fill out and return by e-mail - this provides me with lots of answers) and 3) An invitation to make an appointment for their interview where I will give a lesson - A) Keyboard Orientation and 3 - 5 pre-music charts that can be quickly taught to a beginner of any age. B) A lesson using the music of Transfer Students.
>
> By the time the Lesson/Interview is over, I know if this student/family are clients for me to consider inviting into my studio. If I am interested I give them my studio policy to read and we get together in e-mails to answer any questions they may have. There is a Registration Form for those who are ready to enroll, and a check for Tuition, Registration Fee, and Student Fund gets us started on a year round contract (30 day notice to terminate at any time) or a short term specific number of lessons for a specific purpose. I have just accepted 6 new students (4 beginners and 2 transfers from 3 families - also 2 interviews were eliminated as either they or I was not interested in continuing the process toward enrollment. Refer them to other better situations for them: for instance, a studio that offers, piano, guitar and drums for exploring music, a group lessons teacher, or a teaching acquaintance you know who would delight in the special needs of this student. These referrals are suggested kindly to them as being an option they should explore.
>
> I consider this time well spent on my part. I now have a well-informed student who is eager to start, and I know quite a bit about the people I am getting involved with. Information is gold to me. I can tell you more about any specific area of the prospective client process from inquiry to interview and first 10 weeks of study - which is a crucial time frame to get off the ground successfully and musically. I owe my experiences to making improvements in the systematice processes since I started teaching in 1971. I am comfortable in what is working for me and I think some of it might be helpful for others while they are developing their own styles. It takes a lot of effort to examine your methods, ideas, and processes. When something works, it works like a charm, when it isn't working you have to replace it with something better. But, do stop doing what isn't working.
>
> To reiterate, you don't have much time to say what you want to say about yourself, learn what you need to learn about them in a phone call. It is important that you are prepared for every inquiry, no matter how casual it might be. Otherwise, you are leaving everything up to luck and taking a risk with whom you allow into your established studio family of musicians. I feel everyone must have respect for the teacher, and be a serious enough candidate for me to issue the invitation to join. I don't want behavior problems, or people with little commitment to the learning process. I refuse to teach in chaos or confusion and that means qualifying the interviewee as being able to meet me at least half way in my expectations.
>
> I offer this with good intentions!
>
> Betty
 

Crystal Huskey

Offering piano lessons, music theory lessons, and music history lessons in Snellville, Georgia

May 7, 2008 - 5:23 PMReply to this message
Betty,

Thank you for your comments, that is really helpful! All the things you include in your initial email are extremely good ideas. It is very useful to have their answers in writing, rather than trying to remember what they said in a phone conversation. Thank you for sharing. I have always asked all the questions mentioned, but I do tend to forget people's answers:)

Crystal
 

Rebecca Price

March 22, 2011 - 9:07 PMReply to this message

hi Betty,

I think your ideas are gold. I really like the boundaries you set with clients and potential clients. I have always been meeting with possible clients in an no charge interview, and while I feel it takes care of a lot of the questions I need to ask, sometimes it is headed nowhere, too. I just enrolled a little girl's family but in the process I felt I was beimg led around and "run" by the girl's father, I almost called it off. the funny thing is, he DID actually enroll according to my studio policy a couple days in advance of their first lesson. But I had told him students must ALWAYS pay in advance (usuallu a week) of their actual lessons. So I'm really relieved that he complied, or respected me enough to cooperate!! Actually this enrollment process isn't always easy for the families, either. So I could appreciate how he might be feeling.

But I'm going to read eveything you share, as I feel you are coming from wisdom, and a deep love of music and teaching. Thank you!
------------------
On May 25, 2007 - 11:18 AM, Betty Patnude wrote :
> I think it's difficult to become quickly acqainted over the telephone, and I have gone to e-mail inquiries recently.
>
> I send along 3 attachments 1) A Music Directory List (my profiles - Learning Musician is one) and a "Google Me" Invitation where they will learn a lot about me quickly). 2) A Student Information Form (for them to fill out and return by e-mail - this provides me with lots of answers) and 3) An invitation to make an appointment for their interview where I will give a lesson - A) Keyboard Orientation and 3 - 5 pre-music charts that can be quickly taught to a beginner of any age. B) A lesson using the music of Transfer Students.
>
> By the time the Lesson/Interview is over, I know if this student/family are clients for me to consider inviting into my studio. If I am interested I give them my studio policy to read and we get together in e-mails to answer any questions they may have. There is a Registration Form for those who are ready to enroll, and a check for Tuition, Registration Fee, and Student Fund gets us started on a year round contract (30 day notice to terminate at any time) or a short term specific number of lessons for a specific purpose. I have just accepted 6 new students (4 beginners and 2 transfers from 3 families - also 2 interviews were eliminated as either they or I was not interested in continuing the process toward enrollment. Refer them to other better situations for them: for instance, a studio that offers, piano, guitar and drums for exploring music, a group lessons teacher, or a teaching acquaintance you know who would delight in the special needs of this student. These referrals are suggested kindly to them as being an option they should explore.
>
> I consider this time well spent on my part. I now have a well-informed student who is eager to start, and I know quite a bit about the people I am getting involved with. Information is gold to me. I can tell you more about any specific area of the prospective client process from inquiry to interview and first 10 weeks of study - which is a crucial time frame to get off the ground successfully and musically. I owe my experiences to making improvements in the systematice processes since I started teaching in 1971. I am comfortable in what is working for me and I think some of it might be helpful for others while they are developing their own styles. It takes a lot of effort to examine your methods, ideas, and processes. When something works, it works like a charm, when it isn't working you have to replace it with something better. But, do stop doing what isn't working.
>
> To reiterate, you don't have much time to say what you want to say about yourself, learn what you need to learn about them in a phone call. It is important that you are prepared for every inquiry, no matter how casual it might be. Otherwise, you are leaving everything up to luck and taking a risk with whom you allow into your established studio family of musicians. I feel everyone must have respect for the teacher, and be a serious enough candidate for me to issue the invitation to join. I don't want behavior problems, or people with little commitment to the learning process. I refuse to teach in chaos or confusion and that means qualifying the interviewee as being able to meet me at least half way in my expectations.
>
> I offer this with good intentions!
>
> Betty
 
LearningMusician Chat >> Feature Article Chat >> Are You The Teacher For Me?      
Viewing 1-7 of 7 total messages