This has been discussed before here I know but I would still like to know your current opinions.
I'm thinking of changing teachers -I havent confirmed this 100%- and I'm not sure how to break this to my current teacher (Ive been with him for nearly a year minus couple of months). What is the 'usual' étiquette in this situation.
We've currently stopped the lessons for a couple of weeks (he's away on a work trip). It nearly goes without saying that I dont want to hurt his feelings but I also want to avoid the awkward explanation part that will not be that constructive I think. I was thinking of writing him an email stating that Ive decided to stop the lessons...but Im still not secure with the reason why I would stop the lessons.
The most direct way would be in the vein of: You have helped me a lot and I would now like to benefit from another perspective. However, perhaps in the future, I could again return to taking lessons with you and I hope that you would have me back. (the latter part Im more or less paraphrasing what Yixi had suggested in a previous thread).
The escapist part of me would just like to say: Owing to some circumstances, Ive decided to stop the lessons for the time being.
And leave it sort of at that. There might be less chance of the teacher feeling hurt by it.
To add, obviously Im only going to inform him of this once Im 100% sure that I can continue with the new teacher.
Thank you for reading and hopefully contributing
Thanks Damien. It's also that he keeps on remarking that I've been making progress, etc. So it might come across as a not too pleasant surprise.
I agree about saying for whatever reasons you can't have lessons anymore. You can say that your finances are tight right now or you need that money for an emergency. Just make sure he doesn't know your new violin teacher.
First, find your new teacher. Then tell your old one something like this, "I wanted to say how much I've appreciated working with you for the past year. I've learned a lot, and my playing has certainly improved, but I also feel that changing teachers might the best thing for me at this point. I'll be studying with (name)."
Paul's advice is good. Honest, forthright, and final is the best approach. If you have not scheduled your next lesson with him, I would call him to tell him -- it's much like a break-up in that it's more polite to not do it via email/text. If you have scheduled the next lesson, I would email him to inform him (so that he knows that he has room for a new student in his studio), but say that you'll still be attending the next lesson, and you can say your good-byes then.
Most people don't want to hear the bad news about why you're not choosing them, and also understand that a large number of factors are beyond their control. However, for those few who might be genuinely interested in learning from their mistakes (from a student!), it would be dishonest to not tell them if/when they've asked; and then they've asked for it. Moreover, the best teacher for you is the one you learn from best; another teacher might be better for another.
I switched teachers a few years ago, and I bet I could have done it better, but when my teacher went away on vacation for a while, and came back and called to schedule, I said I wasn't going to continue lessons, either because I was switching teachers, or I didn't go into the details for what I was going to do.
Paul and Lydia, the honesty factor is what causes me dilemma, and this is why I called that the other part of me escapist.
Why exactly are you switching teachers?
When students quit on me (as their teacher) I had no trouble thinking of why they might be doing so. If they had told me why, I would have considered their opinions, but weighted them more lightly than my own.
If you are currently occupying a place in a teacher's studio, it is courteous to pay for whatever lessons you have scheduled. Whether or not you want to attend those lessons is up to you, but payment should be made. Just because you've made a decision to move on to another teacher does not mean that your remaining lessons can't be productive, though. (However, beginners should probably not overlap lessons between two different teachers.)
Whatever you do, don't offer "critiques" of your soon-to-be former teacher's teaching or teaching style. That's pretentious and inappropriate. They know way more than you do about the violin and how to teach it.
I would leave with as much gratitude as possible. As PP mentioned, “I am ready for a change in my life.” is both accurate and polite. I wouldn’t offer anymore details.
Lydia, actually no lessons were scheduled. He went on a trip and I had my vacations coming up so we said we'd confirm later. you have given me stuff to ponder over and incorporate though, thank you.
I agree with Paul and Lydia.
If you call your teacher on the phone and (s)he asks you "Was there something wrong with my lessons" or "why are you not satisfied," you can deflect and pivot: "I enjoyed my lessons but I think it's time for me to move on. I'm sure we'll see one another in town from time to time."
You might want to check if your current teacher has a policy on discontinuing lessons--perhaps check their studio policy if they have one. Not every teacher has one. Also, if a student wants to transfer into my studio, I won't accept them until they have quit with the current teacher. As a teacher, I don't want the possible perception of raiding another teacher's studio to be an issue.
I see what Jim is saying, but from a client's point of view, you want to have something lined up because you don't want to end up with no teacher at all.
Mary, thanks for the advice.
Honesty is always the best approach IMO, so that sounds good. Beside, never blow up your bridges, you may wish to go back to him/her in the future.
Tammuz, I think it is very thoughtful of you to take such concerns with your teacher. I know a few music teachers and they have mentioned to me that it is common for students to just stop showing up for lessons when they quit or change teachers without giving any notice!
Thanks Timothy. If I were in his position, I would want to at least be informed in a proper way too.
OK, so I eventually wrote an email to my teacher that I would be continuing with someone else for the moment and that when I'm ready that it would be a pleasure to work with him again if he would have me back (again, I have Yixi to thank for this last part - but it's also true, I don't want to close that door for good), He responded in an exceptionally understanding and warm way, very positive. He's a really nice person, so I hope I have been fair here. Thanks all for your kind and helpful advice and for telling me to be straight up about it. Im happy with how it worked out.
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