Thursday, May 30, 2013


I'm just so disturbed with the way human beings are. You really can't trust anybody. It's all about MONEY! MONEY! MONEY!

My kids' piano teacher was so perfect in her communication, in her mannerisms and the way she was so organized in delivering the classes - planning ahead of time, writing notes, detailed instructions. Everything was smooth in first year, but little bit of insincerity showed up in her way of teaching, the perfectionism was missing, but I still gave her benefit of doubt - being tired or too much traveling or whatever. I did not want to be picky about everything and not be a destructive  force in kids' future.

She made my kids' go through RCM exams which is no doubt good, but very expensive. Because of her suggestion, even though we did not plan, we went along with her. When you pay $100+ for theory and technique separately, and top of that dollar per minute for her teaching, is it wrong to expect a score in nineties, when kids' are ready to work hard. My son is like me, what he did wrong bothers him more than what he right. The testing day, he really felt bad that he did not get enough ear training to be perfect in his answers. Is it not teacher's responsibility to teach kids to work hard for higher score than think about passing score.

As a teacher, she should notice who is genuine and plan accordingly, but she has time for it. Luckily, I noticed a Concerto competition and informed about it, and then, that's a good plan.  I'm musical illiterate, she was supposed to be guiding us, but for her teaching to kids is a secondary job, earning something in the side, not a permanent, relying income. My advice to parents is when you choose a piano teacher, fund out her/his other part of life i.e., other than teaching as if they are deviated, they won't focus on your kid's needs. 

This is second time, I'm going through this hell, start off nicely, build up trust and bond, make students follow certain path, and when long term future is building...tada! raising fees! Pay or find another teacher, just like that pull off the plug. If not you, I have more kids, lined up - that's the attitude. Just 18 months ago, we joined her, and she wants to increase 11% or else pay full semester without installments. How can anyone rely on someone for such a long term by paying ahead of time? 

The higher you advance, the more money minded people you come across. Either they deliver or not, doesn't matter, pay us our money, we are high class people. And what can parents do, apply brakes on kid's goals. No! So you play the game!

The other day, I asked a well known for help when I got stuck on an actuary problem. He was the one who suggested to email him with questions or comments. He replied within a second to my email by asking who are you and why should I help. 

I was shocked, and thought to myself what an odd reply from a well known professor. I replied by saying that I am stuck and don't know, how you reached to that particular solution, and his reply was...

"But that is not an answer to my question. What is the basis for you demanding this work?
- Are you my student? Not to my knowledge.
- Are you an original purchaser of my manual? Then please send receipt.

I have hundreds of students, who are important and valid customers. My time is valuable to them."

I first thought that his email got hijacked. Otherwise, who will reply to some stranger, when they don't even want to help. You can always choose to be silent.

Coming back to piano teacher, morning she instructed me to find another teacher if I don't like the hike. And later in the evening, when I did not enroll for next semester, she emailed by saying....

"I did not receive the fall schedule request form, so I am assuming that you will not enroll for this fall. You may be disappointed with the fee increase, but I had no choice to make the increase due to yearly increases in fees I have to pay as a music teacher, such as association dues, office supplies and website use. I have attached a document for your review, which lists what the lesson fees cover. As you will see, lessons with a qualified teacher involves more than just the lesson time."

Her attachment states:


Private piano lessons are considered more than weekly standing appointments, in which a specific time slot is reserved for the studentOther than the actual lesson time, the tuition fee includes several teacher services:


Annual dues incurred by music teachers for national, state and local memberships, which allows students to participate in contests and performances
Mandatory volunteer services during local contests and performances
Fees and time organizing for Annual Spring Recital
Hard copy of a semester-end report and summary, which allows the student to view their progress and achievements
Attendance of monthly teacher meetings as part of professional development toward improvement of teaching
Monthly website fees to maintain organization of studio and accounting
Mandatory semi-annual tuning and maintenance of piano due to frequent/daily usage
Daily teacher availability and access to email for communication with students and parents
Office supplies, including printer ink and paper for photocopies of music available to students as needed, as well as printing of recital programs and newsletters
Music store visits to pick up music books and supplies as needed by the student for their convenience.

I understand, but what bothered me is her attitude. Why will she advice me to choose another teacher.  Why couldnt she just say these are the reasons or this is how it is, then I'll make decision whether I can afford or not. Why should she be like I don't care for your kids or their future or the plans which we made, all I care is my money. Where us that attachment, sense on duty or connection? See the caliber of a student, then act accordingly. Value someone if they are genuine. 

What surprises me is when you are a doctorate in music, you as a teacher should enjoy teaching a kid who is adapting to your teaching and progressing immensely, and under no circumstances should lose such a student as his prosper ness is guiding you to popularity and giving you self- satisfaction as a teacher. But naaaa..., I want my money right now. Teaching is not my hobby, it is just one way of earning money. 

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