As I mentioned in my earlier post, this has been a week of ill students. It has also, I’m sorry to say, been a week of tardy students and lessons cancelled at the last minute.

I try to be as flexible as possible. Really I do. I hate charging for lessons cancelled at the last minute, and I attempt to reschedule students. If a student is late I often teach past the time we should have ended. But sometimes I can’t do that, as another student is waiting for his or her lesson.

The plight of a private music teacher is often a struggle. If we come down hard on a student (or parent) we may lose the student. If we don’t, it becomes acceptable to make last minute cancellations. I never charge for illness, so of course if a person isn’t troubled by lying that makes all of this very easy. I don’t think my students or parents are apt to lie like that, though … I have a great bunch of students and parents. For that I’m grateful.

In any case, to make a living off of music lessons, when not charging monthly, is very difficult. And yes, I could, and maybe should, start doing the “monthly charge” thing. But I’m not only a teacher; I’m a performer. And I don’t really like to be “owing” students lessons due to my schedule. (Thus, one of the reasons I attempt to be as flexible as possible.)

So parents … students … if you read this blog (I think only a handful of you do) please understand. This is my job. I don’t get paid sick days. I don’t get paid vacation days. If I don’t work—if you don’t come to a lesson—I lose income.

And … sniffle, sniffle … my poor children are starving.

All right, all right, not really! We don’t starve here. (As you can clearly see when you look at me.) I’m just joking about that.

Mostly it’s about responsibility and courtesy and all that jazz.

Sometimes, I know, I fail in the courtesy department. So I hope folks hold me accountable to that. Really. Of course do it nicely … I can cry too, you know?!

Okay. Ramble over and out. Sorry to be a whiner today.

On the bright side; my students are really surprising me these days! This week I had two students who even “wowed” me with their hard work. (Practice does pay off, you know?) And I honestly do love teaching. Students make me smile, laugh, and sometimes shake my head at the crazy things they say … it’s quite fun. Really.

So …

Sorry I’ve moaned about lessons today
but if you just call me ahead of the day—
you know I want 24 hours at least—
you’ll keep me from turning from teacher to beast!

Of course if you’re ill please don’t come to see me.
Get plenty of rest, and drink cups of hot tea.
I like folks who share, but please don’t share your flu,
and I promise I’ll not share my illness with you!

Don’t you just love bad and silly poetry?

Or not. ;-)


  1. I have actually sent letters/e-mails like this to my students in the past when I’ve had “epidemics” of cancellations. For illness, I offer makeups, but for “oh, we forgot, can’t come tomorrow because of a birthday party/soccer game/visit from grandma” there are no makeups. Period.

    Parents have been mostly ok with that. I’ve only had two parents get upset with my asking them to be courteous about cancellations. But you know what? Their kids were my worst practicers anyhow. Once I realized that, I suggested they find other teachers who would tolerate abusive student/parent behavior. And I was much happier. They probably were too!

  2. Patricia Mitchell

    I send out emails to my students & parents on occasion, titled Oboe Notes! and they are aware of my policies. They just need a gentle reminder now and then. I’ll offer makeups nearly any time. It’s just the way I am. I don’t mind if it isn’t a constant problem.

    I am much more flexible than most instructors I know, because my performance schedule is so crazy and I ask my students and parents to be equally flexible. I really do love my students and I don’t like to lose any of them if I can help it.

  3. Hm… poetry…

    Don’t quit your day job Patty ^^

  4. Patricia Mitchell

    Day job? Am I supposed to have a day job?