This hits SO CLOSE to home! (NancyK's post)
Yesterday I had a student who had not finished for the 3rd week his composing assignment (literally had to choose 8 more notes to a given rhythm in G major to complete his piece).
I told him that we could not begin his lesson until he finished it, and asked him to improvise about 3-5 minutes until he found something he liked, and then write it down.
It was 3:30 and I skipped lunch that day, so I went into the kitchen and has a wonderful tuna salad while he worked.
OFF-TOPIC - My new fav.....get tuna fish and mash it until it's all "de-clumped", add sweet relish, FINELY chopped red onion and cucumber (adds wonderful moisture and texture), maybe also red pepper, mayo.....mix passionately.......YUM!
BACK ON TOPIC
I have recently decided due to increasingly tight schedule and trying to juggle performing, accompanying, and writing to offer for the FIRST TIME EVER........gasp!
30 minute lessons. Basically my 2003 change is this:
Offer lesson length based on PRACTICE, and charge more for the shorter lessons. Some students simply do NOT deserve 60 minute lessons and computer time based on effort. My monthly fees are:
$100 ~ 30 minute
$135 ~ 45 minute
$160 ~ hour
(Basically it's $50/hour rate for 30 minute lessons and $40/hour rate for hour lessons. This is still a cheaper hour rate than a local music school).
I will be cutting many back to 45 and 30 minutes soon for SOME, simply based on effort. While I LOATHE the idea of 30 minute lessons, if students are practicing an average of 10 minutes a day, we'll just cover 2 pieces and a warm up (or whatever) to match their effort. I might as well make more money by squeezing in more 30 minute lessons to the ones who want "Basic Piano" (i.e. - little commitment) and continue to offer "Comprehensive Piano" to those that qualify.
I know some may find this cold and harse, but H-E-DOUBLE BAR LINES, I'm adapting to the current social climate in my area (often affluent families who add piano to a myriad of other activities and have little supervision on daily practice). There is psychological freedom in knowing you are offering the best instruction you can at the moment, and leaving it up to the parents and children to decide IF THEY WILL TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT
I realize a more anal interview process MAY have weeded out a few weeds, but as a business person I just want to OFFER a quality service (which I really do enjoy passionately!), and worry less about trying to control the variety of familys and lifestyles that exist today. (Would Master Lisa approve?) rant over