Meri’s Musical Musings

For music teachers: Warning signs you are about to get a bad student

Posted on: October 5, 2010

If a piano student, he student wants to only take piano lessons on a keyboard.

The student is a beginner and the parents or the student wants lessons less often than once a week.

The student is overloaded with activities and only have one time slot they are available, and you don’t want to teach at that time.

If the student is a child, the parents don’t want the child to do exams.

The parents are not willing to help students with their music practice, at least to get them started doing it or to provide incentives for doing it.

The child is in a sport that usually requires a significant time commitment (here, it’s usually hockey)

The student only wants to play for fun.

The student has had frequent changes of teachers. (More often than once every 2-3 years)

The parents or students are more concerned with how nice you are, the way you dress, or the neatness/cleanliness of the teacher’s home than how well the teacher teaches.

Neither the students or parents remember the previous teacher’s name.

The parents don’t want to reveal their address.

The parents do not want to read your studio policy carefully and sign it.

The student only wants to learn to play by ear.

The parents or students are “trying out” several teachers with only one lesson.

The parents or students are mostly concerned about price and location.

The student or parents try to negotiate your lesson fee, especially when they obviously do not deserve it.

The parent or student wants you to teach at a time after you’ve already taught for 5-6 hours.

The parents want to limit their purchase of music books to 1, or not invest in more than $25 of them, or worse, expect the teacher to cover books in their lesson fees.

The student is a teen or adult and the parents still want you to come to their home for lessons and there is not disability that justifies that.

The student or parents bought a cheap new instrument of a brand that is not one of the major ones.

The students or parents want the student doing Grade 6 (or 8 in some systems) as quickly as possible.

The student wants to do a fairly high level exam soon after they began their studies, yet they struggle with basic playing concepts, have poor tone, have problems playing even simple rhythms correctly, and has poor accuracy identifying intervals even at lower levels.

The student has been in the beginning books for at least 1 1/2 years even when the student has studied with reputable teachers

The student or parents only want 1/2 hour lessons and the student is too old for that length of lesson, takes a long time to learn even an early elementary piece, or is at a playing level that such a lesson length is too short.

The student does not want to learn music theory.

The student or parents only give you one means of contacting them.


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  • None
  • V V: Wish I had read this before I fell for their scheme ! Oh well - have posted my experience on Yelp and N49 and hoping others can avoid the pain of fal
  • clariniano: Thanks for the additional information. It was actually Yelp that deleted my reviews, because of so-called bias. I too have seen the horrible technique
  • No Thanks: Former Teacher at the Ontario Conservatory of Music I took lessons at the Ontario Conservatory and when I left for private lessons from another tea
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