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  #1  
Old 02-06-2013, 02:53 AM
SntmntlGk SntmntlGk is offline
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Default Teacher cancelling lessons

Just feeling like I need to vent and wondering if I'm overreacting.

I am a beginner and the first thing I did after I got my drums was find a teacher. This particular teacher owns a drum shop in my town and seems to be the only instructor anyone knows of around here (small town, sigh).

I called to find out if he had any open times available, pricing, etc. Went to my first lesson and paid for the month in advance as requested, and since then he has cancelled every week - including the days we have rescheduled.

After having him cancel on me today for the third week in a row, I asked if he could refund my money for the lessons I have not had and that we could try again some time when our schedules allow for it. Am I in the wrong doing that?

Feeling bummed out and frustrated. I am still spending time practicing on my own but really want to work with someone in person to give me some direction! I also can't be rescheduling my lessons every week, I work, go to school, and have kids. My time is valuable too!
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  #2  
Old 02-06-2013, 03:20 AM
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Angus Macinnes Angus Macinnes is offline
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Default Re: Teacher cancelling lessons

Doesn't sound unreasonable to me for you to ask for a refund. He is supposed to be the professional and in so should keep his appointments. Good luck on finding an instructor.
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Old 02-06-2013, 03:23 AM
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Dr_Watso Dr_Watso is offline
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Default Re: Teacher cancelling lessons

That's the pits. I have two sides to my answer:

1) Of course you shouldn't have to put up with that. You're paying for a scheduled service and any court in the US would side with you if you needed to take it that far. How far in advance is he calling off the appointments?

2) Unfortunately, it sounds like he's the only game in town. Someone you don't want to piss off. He likely has some pull with any and all musicians around town and could potentially make things less than comfortable, not to mention you'll be out of a (albeit flaky) teacher who's anywhere near you.

I'd just play it cool no matter how things progress... I assume it's not really that much money, maybe 120ish? If you don't end up getting any lessons, you should get it back for sure, but don't be all over him to get it, just be as cool as your own finances will allow. If you need the cash to make rent, you might have to get a bit uppity, but then you maybe should have other focuses than lessons right now anyway.

PS, if I had a dollar for every musician who turned out to be a flake on me, I'd have enough to pay for dinner out tonight. Nature of the beast. Sometimes they're just busy, other times they're just self-absorbed jerks.
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Old 02-06-2013, 03:23 AM
dmacc dmacc is offline
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Default Re: Teacher cancelling lessons

Teachers are there for the learner - the learner is not there for the teacher. While I can understand unforeseen issues needing to reschedule, your situation seems excessive.

I actually focus on working with adult learners and wish like heck you lived near me. That being said, begin the search for a new teacher.
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  #5  
Old 02-06-2013, 03:35 AM
SntmntlGk SntmntlGk is offline
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Default Re: Teacher cancelling lessons

Thanks for the replies, and thanks for letting me vent!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Watso View Post

Unfortunately, it sounds like he's the only game in town. Someone you don't want to piss off. He likely has some pull with any and all musicians around town and could potentially make things less than comfortable, not to mention you'll be out of a (albeit flaky) teacher who's anywhere near you.
I thought about this too, the fact you mentioned it tells me it was a legitimate concern. I called one of the other music shops in town just to see if they knew of any instructors and he was the only one they knew of. They asked if I was looking for someone else and said they'd ask around and call me, now I'm worried about him finding out about my "shopping" and getting p'ed off.

He did actually just reply while typing this and said refunding me wouldn't be a problem and that we could try again this summer, so that's good. I suppose between now and then I can try out someone else IF I can find anyone...if not I'd be willing to give him the benefit of doubt and try one more time just because of the lack of teachers around here.

Dmacc, that's cool you focus on adult learners. I wish you were anywhere near me too!
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  #6  
Old 02-06-2013, 03:43 AM
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slowrocker slowrocker is offline
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Default Re: Teacher cancelling lessons

I had an instructor who canceled the first two weeks on me. I can the next week and he gave me the lesson for free. That's a nice $40 saved. Any instructor who isn't giving you your money's worth isn't worth going to. I would ask for my money back and then leave if it were me. If he cared about being a good instructor he wouldn't be acting this way. I would search for a good private instructor. Lots of people need extra money these days and just because they are not considered a teacher doesn't mean they can't help you become great.
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  #7  
Old 02-06-2013, 03:49 AM
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Dr_Watso Dr_Watso is offline
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Default Re: Teacher cancelling lessons

Quote:
Originally Posted by SntmntlGk View Post
He did actually just reply while typing this and said refunding me wouldn't be a problem and that we could try again this summer, so that's good. I suppose between now and then I can try out someone else IF I can find anyone...if not I'd be willing to give him the benefit of doubt and try one more time just because of the lack of teachers around here.
Sounds like you're in good shape, and I'd probably go ahead and call him later during the summer just to check in... It's great that you're seeking some instruction!
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  #8  
Old 02-06-2013, 02:09 PM
Toolate Toolate is offline
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Default Re: Teacher cancelling lessons

Any chance he is sick and doesnt want to tell you what he has? My teacher went this way (diabetes) and after a year or so, finally told me.
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  #9  
Old 02-06-2013, 06:32 PM
SntmntlGk SntmntlGk is offline
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Default Re: Teacher cancelling lessons

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Originally Posted by Toolate View Post
Any chance he is sick and doesnt want to tell you what he has? My teacher went this way (diabetes) and after a year or so, finally told me.
Maybe, I guess that's another reason why I'd be willing to give him a second chance if I can't figure something else out between now and then. After my initial pissed off reaction I realized he might just be having a really crappy month or something.

Thinking further on it, I guess I'd be more surprised if he usually is this bad considering he's the only teacher anyone knows of in town. I know he teaches a lot of younger band kids too, and I can imagine he'd have a lot of angry moms on his hands if he does this all the time. Maybe he does. Who knows.
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  #10  
Old 02-07-2013, 12:27 PM
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Pocket-full-of-gold Pocket-full-of-gold is offline
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Default Re: Teacher cancelling lessons

Quote:
Originally Posted by SntmntlGk View Post
Maybe, I guess that's another reason why I'd be willing to give him a second chance if I can't figure something else out between now and then. After my initial pissed off reaction I realized he might just be having a really crappy month or something.
Still doesn't help your situation though does it? Not to appear unsympathetic, but the reason is somewhat irrelevant. If you're being bumped, you're being bumped. What does it matter if it's due to an ongoing illness, poor time management or just lazyness? Either way, you're missing out and not getting what you expected out of the arrangement.
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  #11  
Old 02-07-2013, 02:24 PM
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jeffwj jeffwj is offline
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Default Re: Teacher cancelling lessons

I am usually teaching every week, with very few cancellations. I can tell you that in November, I had a few weeks that I had to take off certain days - for the PASIC convention, VMEA convention, and one other conflict. My students were totally understanding, since I am usually there all the time. They also knew that I had to go to PASIC for my book signing, since the book came out this year.

I did make sure to explain to new students that this is not a regular occurrence. I also tried to give priority for rescheduling to the students whose days were affected the most.

Jeff
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  #12  
Old 02-07-2013, 09:38 PM
Otto Otto is offline
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Default Re: Teacher cancelling lessons

I don't pay for services before they are rendered...at least if the $ is significant.(more than the cost of a fast food meal)
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  #13  
Old 02-07-2013, 11:12 PM
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jeffwj jeffwj is offline
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Default Re: Teacher cancelling lessons

Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto View Post
I don't pay for services before they are rendered...at least if the $ is significant.(more than the cost of a fast food meal)
Drum lessons are a reserved block of time. It is quite understandable to require payment in advance. Now I am talking about studying with a full time musician. Full time at my job means the same as any other job. The mortgage still has to be paid. I can't tell the bank, "My 4:30 didn't come in this week - sorry the payment is light."

Even doctors require payment if the person is a no show. The difference is - the doctors hire people specifically for billing and payment. And of course, if the doctor is not paid, it will go to a collection agency.

Most drum teachers cannot afford the luxury of having a billing dept., so it is quite understandable to require payment in advance.

Before I had my policy of payment in advance, I have had to tell "no call/no show" students that I could not keep them on the schedule until they paid for missed lessons. It is much easier now with payment in advance. But, in response to the OP, I do not charge for lessons that I have to miss. I tell the students in advance so they can subtract that amount from the payment. If something comes up within the month, the lesson will be credited to the next month.

It was correct for that teacher to refund the amount for the lessons the OP missed (based on the instructor canceling) if he didn't want to make them up the next month.

Jeff
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Last edited by jeffwj; 02-08-2013 at 02:53 AM.
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  #14  
Old 02-08-2013, 02:25 AM
SntmntlGk SntmntlGk is offline
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Default Re: Teacher cancelling lessons

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pocket-full-of-gold View Post
Still doesn't help your situation though does it? Not to appear unsympathetic, but the reason is somewhat irrelevant. If you're being bumped, you're being bumped. What does it matter if it's due to an ongoing illness, poor time management or just lazyness? Either way, you're missing out and not getting what you expected out of the arrangement.
Good point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffwj View Post
Drum lessons are a reserved block of time. It is quite understandable to require payment in advance.
Jeff

Glad to read this, I was starting to wonder if I was just a sucker shelling out for lessons in advance because I've never done this type of thing before.
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  #15  
Old 02-08-2013, 03:39 AM
12x7 12x7 is offline
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Default Re: Teacher cancelling lessons

What is this guy really gonna teach you? How to be unprofessional, or how to be a flake?
Teaching drums to a young student is more than just drums, it is a relationship, mentor student. This guy may have some real excuses, but if they were real, he would be straight with you.
Look for another teacher, find a local college or something. You are worried about him getting pissed off? How can he get pissed off when it is completely his fault. There is nothing he can say to anyone regarding him not teaching you lessons and your leaving.
maybe some internet private lessons--skype or something. bandhappy.com has that set up, and is worth a look..
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  #16  
Old 02-08-2013, 04:01 AM
SntmntlGk SntmntlGk is offline
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Default Re: Teacher cancelling lessons

Checking at the college is an excellent idea. I did vocal lessons there in a former life when I was a vocal music major, but I don't think you have to be enrolled in the music program to take lessons. Somehow forgot about that!

Internet lessons would be a good back up plan.
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