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Question about lesson policies

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Gadgetech, Mar 26, 2014.

  1. Gadgetech


    Nov 12, 2011
    Greenville, SC
    I met with a possible new teacher today and the school has a couple policies that I'm not 100% on board with, although I understand their point. There are also some positives. Let me know if these are common for schools in your area and what your thoughts are. I'm going to start with lessons again and want to get started with the right teacher.

    - You can only pay for a full month of lessons
    - If you miss a lesson their is no option to make it up, nor any refund. I will travel at least 1 week a month so I know I'll frequently miss at least 1 lesson.

    - It's $100/month for 4 lessons whereas paying for 3 lessons at other schools would run me $90 (assuming I'm traveling 1 week a month).
    - They have a gig session once per month
    - They teach music, not how to play songs. I want to play songs yes but I'd much rather understand the theory, correct skills etc.
    - They have group outings to watch bands etc which I think is a great activity
    - Teacher is confident his method will get results. Sounds like marketecture but it works b/c I've never had a teacher tell me that their method will get results or I should find someone else. The lessons are very structured, based in proven techniques and the guy has a blues focus (can't go wrong there :D).

    I think the positives outweigh the negatives, it's just the negatives seem odd. I give the guy kudos b/c he's very upfront and unwavering about his policies. He knows what works for him and the results his students achieve. I may have answered my own question but I'd like the opinions of others.
  2. spanndrew


    Oct 14, 2013
    Atlanta, Ga
    A good teacher is worth losing the extra 10 dollars a month.
  3. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    This is normal. The going rate here is $75 to $100 a month for 4 thirty minute sessions. If you miss one tough. Four sessions for $100 = $25 per lesson. That is money well spent. One "how to book" costs that.

    The gig session are a plus. This instructor sounds like you have found a professional. Sign up and get started.
  4. DannyBob


    Aug 28, 2013
    Wow! That's a good deal! I'm currently on £13 for 1/2 hour, so £26 ($43) an hour, which would essentially be $172 a month (if your lessons are an hour long). Plus I don't get outings or gigs etc.....that $10 doesn't seem like much to lose to gain so much
  5. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    Don't miss any lessons.
  6. Gadgetech


    Nov 12, 2011
    Greenville, SC
    I wish it were that simple, work is the reason.
  7. lyla1953


    Jul 18, 2012
    Monthly agreements go for $135 here for 4- 45min sessions.
    12 months of weekly sessions are $120pm. Similar rules as far as missed sessions but the instructor can typically squeeze me in somewhere to make up.
    Be mindful that instructors will also cancel for various reasons and sessions can be also affected due to bad weather. You'll want to be able to make these up at no additional cost to you if possible.
  8. pudgychef

    pudgychef Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2005
    Chongqing, China

  9. joelns


    Mar 10, 2014
    The reason for the no refund policy is that instructors book a time slot. They can't easily refill one if you need to cancel. Hence the policy. I understand it. I sympathize. I don't like it. But I'm paying it for my son who is learning guitar.

    Find out what the policy is if they have to cancel because of whether, illness, etc. That make up should be at your convenience.
  10. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
  11. joeyw


    Nov 25, 2013
    Not trying to be a dick or anything but as a teacher, people who don't understand this are basically the bane of my existance. The reason you have to pay for a full month of lessons is because you probably won't make any crazy strides with your playing in less time then that, it also keeps it a little more organized. There is nothing legally binding people to be consistent for payment. Been on that end of the **** stick far too many times.

    The teacher is there, why should he/she have to A) Not get paid even though they're at work, and B) Have to take time out of their personal lives to make up the lesson? Just to get what they would've been paid otherwise. Usually "Acts of God" are covered (sickness, family emergencies, etc)
  12. BassChuck


    Nov 15, 2005
    This too has been my experience. I support it 100%.
    Perhaps if they know you'll be out of town 1 out of every 4 lessons something can be adjusted. When setting policies it's often is easier to take a hard line at the get go and then relax when situations dictate.
  13. Schilling


    Mar 15, 2007
    Why can't you have 2 lessons a week / does it have to be the same day same time every week?
  14. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    I am %100 behind the teacher, I know guys that teach like that. If you were to take a class at a school you think they make up classes YOU missed? A professor would fall out of his chair laughing.

    Also, I will not teach somebody twice a week unless they indicate they are actually progressing between each lesson. Most students will be overloaded with that much knowledge slammed at them and 20 minutes of practice between each lesson. Especially when the student is a working adult.
  15. This is very common in the piano world. Just google "piano lesson+policies" and you will see much that is more strict than this.
  16. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    The way my teacher pitched it; it's like your telephone or cable. You pay it every month whether you use it or not.

    Schilling - you aren't booking students, you're booking time slots. If the only open spots on a teacher's schedule are Tuesday at 7:30 or Saturday at 2:30, those are the only open slots. It's not "I'm teaching 5 hours Wednesday, so the first 5 students to show up will get a lesson."
  17. Gadgetech


    Nov 12, 2011
    Greenville, SC
    He indicated I could only pay for a full month, no option to pay by lesson and he doesn't teach on the weekends. Nor does he offer any consideration for sickness, family emergency etc. I understand the policy and he has a right to run his business the way he wants. I've communicated back with him my concerns, he addressed them in a very professional manner and we both can appreciate that I would check other options.

    Fortunately, I scheduled a lesson for today with another teacher at another school. He offers Saturday lessons, which solves 95% of my problems and is willing to fit me in elsewhere if/when I can't make it. I also like the Saturday option because I'm much more relaxed not having just left the stresses of work. I was impressed by how super laid back he is and how he communicates in a way that's easy to understand. So, looks like I have a new teacher!
  18. zontar


    Feb 19, 2014
    The initial option sounds good, but it won't work for everyone--if you've found someone who offers something better, then cool.

    I used to teach guitar (Different styles & levels) and a bit of bass (For beginners). The school had an official policy of no make ups for missed lessons, but often we would make them up if we knew ahead of time, and I had a time I could do it.

    Sometimes teachers are so booked up they can't offer make up lessons & some give you them with a senior student.

    When I took lessons that was the plan at one school.
    So when I missed bass lesson once I had a student who didn't play bass giving me the make up lesson.
    The gig sessions, etc though sound tempting.

    I took lessons with a school that had a band program--which is why I took bass lessons-although I never played bass in any of those bands.
  19. Gadgetech


    Nov 12, 2011
    Greenville, SC
    The teachers at this school put students into different groups/bands and have some jam sessions. Not quite the same thing but there are some performances.
  20. zontar


    Feb 19, 2014
    Same thing I did. Although we had weekly band practices.