". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Today's Memo

Warning: vent mode ON.

If you are a parent whose child takes music lessons (or lessons of any kind) with a private instructor, please keep in mind that your child's teacher, as much as he or she may enjoy working with your child, is not doing it for sheer recreation but because the income earned is a necessary part of the household budget. So when you are late with a payment, not only your teacher but your teacher's family suffers the consequences. And when there are two piano teachers in the family with almost 20 students between them, and more than half of those students are late with payments in the same month, the consequences for that family rise from the level of merely inconvenient to significantly stress-inducing.

If you are one of those really cool parents who always pays your child's private lesson teacher on time, you're my hero! Keep it up!

If on the other hand your child's teacher is currently awaiting your payment, please take care of it now. And if you value that teacher, please don't put him or her in the position of having to scramble to meet bill payments or sacrifice his or her dignity by begging you for the money you have committed to pay for his or her professional services.


elephantschild said...

My neighbor across the street does daycare out of her home and complains about the same thing. And we're not talking about dirt poor people, to judge by the fabulous late model cars I see dropping children off.


elephantschild said...

Yes, as a matter of fact the CARS themselves are driving the children to daycare and dropping them off.

I did say they were fabulous late model cars, didn't I?


AmusedMomma said...

Perhaps a late fee would induce people to pay on time?

Over the 10 years our two oldest took piano lessons we never were late on a payment as we knew that others were depending on those fees which were EARNED!

I'm sorry to hear others are treating you this way. That stinks!

Michelle said...

Yes, I can totally relate! But, I think I have kind of shot myself in the foot on the payment issue. We have gone to a semester fee (easier to figure for taxes) but have allowed parents to break those payments down as needed. Most are really good, but I just finally received one check today (2/3's of their balance) and they have one week of lessons left before summer!

They have gotten much better since we have gone to the semester system though. And attendance is much better.

BTW - I like your color scheme too. In this house of three little girls, we can't have too much pink!

Michelle said...

I'd like to vent further in your venting space - the other thing that annoys me is when students just don't show up! There is no phone call or otherwise. So, I disrupt what I'm doing to wait.....for nothing!

Does this ever happen to you? I know it's May, but good grief - I have things I'd like to be doing too! It's a beautiful evening out - I could have taken my family for a walk!

Cheryl said...


No problem! Vent away! And yes, this happens to me all too often. And it is particularly hard to take when there is an expectation of a make-up lesson because when there is no notice given (or very last minute notice) there is no opportunity for me to make other plans for that time, meaning that it is essentially wasted (especially if another student is coming directly after).

elephantschild said...

At the conservatory where my Dd took cello, there was a written policy handed out to parents at the beginning of each semester: you only get to do a make-up lesson if you've given the teacher 24 hrs advance notice that you're going to miss the lesson.

No show = no make up.

Cheryl said...

I have tried different things over the years with make-up lessons. I have had the same policy EC mentions but have still had the expectation that the lesson be made up and have had some rather tense exchanges as I tried to remind the parent of the policy. I'm not sure if people don't read what I give them or if they forget. In recent years to facilitate make-ups I have set aside a week at the end of the term during which people who need them can have them. This seems to work better because with busy schedules during the year it is always hard to schedule make-up lessons.

As far as payment goes, I offer two options--by the month and by the quarter with the quarterly option receiving a discount. This, too, has seemed to work overall. But there is always the stray forgotten check and occasionally a month (like this one) in which there are so many forgotten checks that we feel the pinch.

I hope all of this isn't coming off sounding like I think my piano students are horrible. In fact, they're generally a great group! I realize that sometimes things happen and sometimes people honestly forget. And most of my families are willing to take the responsibility when things do happen. But I think there are a few who haven't looked at the missed lesson and the forgotten check through the eyes of the teacher and considered the teacher's plight when there is a whole series of these events.