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#15159 - 07/26/06 10:33 AM ideas for "student teacher assistant"
eatvegs Offline
Contributing Member

Registered: 07/05/05
Posts: 23
Loc: midwest
Hi, everyone. I have a family with three children, two of which I currently teach. I would like to teach the third, but the family has stated that it will be difficult for them financially. So, I have been trying to think of ways to help them, I know, I have never given discounts, nor do I really believe in them. However, I know that this student will not be able to afford it without some kind of assistance.

The students oldest sister is going into sixth grade. I was thinking maybe I could "hire" her to be my "assistant" (or does anyone have any ideas for names?) I was thinking that she could punch holes in my papers, do stapling, and a few other ideas.

Does anyone have any ideas about what I could have her do, or has anyone everydone this with one of their students?

#15160 - 07/26/06 11:41 AM Re: ideas for "student teacher assistant"
xstitch4me Offline
Star Member

Registered: 08/15/04
Posts: 2167
Loc: Idaho
Well, just my opinion....would you take on any other student for free? It's all up to you how you fill your time. I personally feel that piano lessons are a luxury. I won't take on any student for free.

I do have one family with five kids that I teach. It came to my attention that they couldn't afford it this fall so together we agreed to send them every other week - three one week, the other two the next week. That way, I'm not really out any money. I'm still getting paid for teaching them the same amount as anyone else - it's just for half the time. It does take a big chunk of change from my salary but I'm also teaching a little less. It will be interesting to see how the kids progess - I think coming every other week will be a detriment to them but we shall see.

Follow your heart. Do what feels good to you. That's the joy of being an independent piano teacher.

#15161 - 07/26/06 03:35 PM Re: ideas for "student teacher assistant"
Rhondo Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 12/06/05
Posts: 275
Loc: GA
If the other two students are good students and you don't want to lose them, maybe you could offer a partial "scholarship" to one or both of them and then charge your full rate for the third child until you can see how he/she progresses.

This way, you will still be paid something for teaching all 3 kids - and hopefully, if the others feel they have "earned" a scholarship they might work harder to keep it. The parents might find some incentive to ensure practicing with this arrangement also.

Of course, don't paint yourself into a corner. I would put a definite time frame on any special arrangement just in case it doesn't work out.

Xstich is right. You can do whatever feels right for you. Good luck

#15162 - 07/26/06 03:50 PM Re: ideas for "student teacher assistant"
eatvegs Offline
Contributing Member

Registered: 07/05/05
Posts: 23
Loc: midwest
This family is a wonderful family, always pays on time, always is prompt in attendance. I like the idea of a partial scholarship.

I thought I remember that someone had written about scholarships and had some web site for more information. Does anyone remember that?

#15163 - 07/27/06 06:55 AM Re: ideas for "student teacher assistant"
shannonspiano Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 07/01/04
Posts: 689
Loc: WI has scholarships available for students who need a hardship scholarship help.

#15164 - 07/27/06 03:27 PM Re: ideas for "student teacher assistant"
Rhondo Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 12/06/05
Posts: 275
Loc: GA
My comment was referring to a scholarship offered by you to the family. You can reduce their tuition by $100 and call it a "scholarship".

However, you might be able to convice your local music teachers association to award a scholarship(s) to your students. Of course, you would have to set it up so that everyone is aware of it and detail the requirements so that anyone's student could apply and be fairly considered. You could make it a scholarship based soley on financial need and/or with a combination of talent and/or participation in piano related activities.

#15165 - 07/27/06 04:56 PM Re: ideas for "student teacher assistant"
GailS Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 01/23/06
Posts: 617
I offer limited ways to lower costs for parents with more than 2 children. They are not in my policy letter and I don’t mention them unless someone expresses a financial concern. Really, they are only offered to families that have been with me for quite a while.

(I think they have similarities to what xstitch4me described doing with the family that has 5 children)

The first plan saves half a tuition: Three children pay two full tuitions and an added half tuition. One student comes bi-weekly and 2 of the children come each week.

A lesson block is scheduled for the older or more advanced child to attend bi-weekly. Only students who are at least middle school age and are at level 3A or above are eligible for this bi-weekly option.

The bi-weekly student is assigned a lesson block that is less convenient than others (usually the last lesson of a weekday or my first morning lesson on Saturdays). They also understand that if I need that block they get moved. That way I don’t lose income on a block I can assign to a full time student.

The second plan saves a full tuition: For three children paying two full tuitions. Two children share a lesson block by attending bi-weekly and a third child comes each week to a second lesson block.

This plan works when two older children have already been taking lessons for awhile and a younger sibling is added. The older children then come to bi-weekly lessons in one of the 2 blocks already “owned” by the family and the new student takes over the other 30 minute block and attends every week. That option allows adding the third child without any extra expense and because the lesson blocks are in use by the family every week they have no restrictions on available times. Again, the older students have to be in middle school and at level 3A.

Hope that made sense.

#15166 - 07/27/06 05:03 PM Re: ideas for "student teacher assistant"
Manon Troppo Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 10/10/05
Posts: 318
The website for music study scholarship is actually . (I found out about MusicLink about 1 1/2 years ago or so.) Scholarships are the best methods since it's FAIR to BOTH teacher and student. The teacher doesn't get cheated out of money (via discounts) and the student can pursue music study without worrying where the $$$ would come from.

The nice thing about scholarships is that it potentially weeds out those who want CHEAP, bargain-basement lessons from those who TRULY want to study music but have no financial means to do so. The MusicLink Foundation has stringent scholarship standards. The student has to have an excellent attendance record and practice record. Definitely NO room for slacking off here! So from now on I'm just going to let prospective students know about MusicLink. They can't do stupid stuff while on that program. That's for sure.

I've offered similar things to prospective students (and my ex-students). I still do extend that offer, actually. Basically we'd barter services. It was some sort of work-study program. They'd work for me (office work, cleaning, etc.) in exchange for music instruction. It worked out for a while, but they started to flake out and one of them didn't pay the remaining amount of tuition as promised. Their attendance and practice record worsened, too. I'm really sick of the discount mentality. People don't realize that what we're service providers, not retailers.

My local branch of MTAC used to offer free lessons for those with financial need, but it discontinued the program as soon as some of the participating teachers found out that some of the so-called "needy" students were driving to lessons in their tricked-out, expensive cars! And I've heard fellow MTAC teachers recount their horror stories about a mom who was begging to have her child's lessons discounted because the family was having some serious hardship (and she was a really good drama queen at that, too!). So she got their wish...then guess what! This "destitute" mom actually owned a FANCY MERCEDES! That's why I DON'T do discounts of free stuff. The teacher usually ends up being the stiffed and wronged one. I've had family friends asked me about lessons and they asked for discounts (SUCH NERVE!). They said they "needed" the discount--some money problems. Yeah, right. They have nice cars (yes, the car stuff again!) and they normally buy designer handbags to boot!!!

So anyhow, my MTAC branch then started a scholarship/fundraising program about 2-3 years ago. (We do Practice-A-Thons for various charitable or humanitarian organizations.) This has proven to be MORE effective than the free lesson program. It's a win-win situation for all parties involved.
If noise means uncomfortable sound, then pop music is noise
to me. - Masami Akita (Merzbow)


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