Gratuities for teachers - What is appropriate?

Share your piano experiences with other adult students

Postby 65-1074818729 » Wed Apr 28, 2004 1:52 pm

I realize this is not the most profound subject to be found on this forum, however the matter I am referring to is “gratuities for teachers”.

I do not “tip” at each lesson; however at the end of the year (last lesson before Christmas) I give the teacher the equivalent of one extra lesson. ($20.00) I have a very good teacher whom I have been with for a number of years. I really want to give what is appropriate, however, I am not in contact with other piano students and have no where to find this information.

I realize this is a personal thing; however I would be interested in hearing what other adult students do regarding this issue.
:cool:
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Postby 65-1074818729 » Thu Apr 29, 2004 4:28 am

When I submitted my first thread on this subject above, I said I wanted to hear "what other adult students do regarding this issue"

I really didn't mean to exclude anyone. I would be interested in hearing from everybody. :O
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Thu Apr 29, 2004 7:10 am

Let me take a stab at this. I, and I think most teachers, think of teachers as professionals. I've said as much in several places on the main part of PEP. As a non-teaching professional scientific consultant myself, I don't expect or want gratuities, as that smacks of non-professional vocations, rather than professional work.

That said, I think it's not only appropriate, but probably well deserved, for teachers to receive gifts at Christmas and other occasions. Similarly, if a teacher spends extra unpaid time with a student, preparing for a competition or whatever, some form of recognition of that extra effort is appropriate and desirable. Realizing that most piano teachers are not rich and aren't likely to get rich teaching piano, a monetary recognition on appropriate occasions is a good idea, as is a gift certificate or any other form of readily convertible reward. Another possibility: if your teacher sponsors events at which refreshments are served, offer to pay for them in light of the teacher's donated time. We have offered several ideas along these lines in our article, Taking an Active Role in Your Child's Piano Training. The bottom line is that there are lots of ways to recognize your teacher, not all of which could be called gratuities, but which would be greatly appreciated, nonetheless. :;):

P.S. I think this is a very good topic. Thanks for bringing it up!




Edited By Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor on 1083330659
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Postby Mins Music » Thu Apr 29, 2004 4:59 pm

I was reluctant to answer this one Aflat, because I live in Australia and here the 'tipping' system isn't used - we don't even tip waiters (their wages are much higher than in the States I believe).

Gifts and cards at the end of the teaching year is a pretty common thing here, but again, not expected - it's always a delightful surprise when it DOES happen.

I have a personal philosophy on gift giving - "It is better to give then receive" (from the Bible, so it's not really 'mine' :D )
and as soon as you feel that you HAVE to give a gift, it loses it's significance. I would hate to think my students give me presents because they feel they HAVE to, but am very touched with cards that are given throughout the year, just because they've thought of me and appreciate me - THAT makes me VERY happy :)
"I forget what I was taught, I only remember what I've learnt." - Patrick White, Australian novelist.
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Postby 65-1074818729 » Fri Apr 30, 2004 6:36 am

Dr. Zeigler,

You brought up some interesting points. After taking lessons from my teacher continuously for several years, I believe I have become somewhat comfortable with the teacher/student relationship that we have. This to some degree, has caused me to loose sight of the fact that she is truly a professional. When I look back on it, there have been missed opportunities where I could have provided assistance; music festivals, etc.
I will bear your comments in mind.

Mins,

Thanks for your comments as well. Your thoughts seem to echo those of Dr. Zeigler.
At first I was hesitant to post this question, as it seemed a bit frivolous, but now I am glad I did.
:;):
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Fri Apr 30, 2004 7:30 am

Glad that Mins Music and I could help. :D

Congratulations on becoming a Super Member! :cool:
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Fri Apr 30, 2004 8:19 am

I have very much the same sentiments as John about 'tipping' the piano teacher. It's never occurred to me in some 50-odd years of teaching (I started when I was one-and-a-half) to expect a tip in addition to a teaching fee. In fact, I (and I'm sure many others) have often given lessons for nothing, or next to nothing, to deserving students who couldn't afford it. I felt it was partly a payback for a couple of teachers who did it for me when I was a kid from a poor family, and partly because that's just the way we teachers are. But I have received some very nice gifts from students who wanted to show their appreciation in a special way; that's different--it's not tipping.

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Postby Mins Music » Fri Apr 30, 2004 7:35 pm

Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor wrote:Congratulations on becoming a Super Member! :cool:

DITTO! I like your avatar A flat!

And never ever think that ANY question ANYbody ever has is frivolous - there's probably about fifty people who read this board who have thought the EXACT same question! Thanks for posting Aflat, it's questions that keep the board alive! :)
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Postby Mins Music » Fri Apr 30, 2004 7:39 pm

Dr. Bill Leland wrote: It's never occurred to me in some 50-odd years of teaching (I started when I was one-and-a-half)

:laugh: LOL!!

I think I speak on behalf of a lot of people who post here, we're really glad you do too! :cool:
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Postby 65-1074818729 » Sat May 01, 2004 3:41 pm

Dr. Bill,

Thanks for your input.

Mins,

You do have a way with words. Thanks for your kind comments.

By the way, your featured article in PEP on Top Ten Qualities of a Successful Piano Student is very well done.
Congratulations. :cool:
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Postby Mins Music » Sat May 01, 2004 6:38 pm

AFlat wrote:your featured article in PEP on Top Ten Qualities of a Successful Piano Student is very well done.
Congratulations. :cool:

:) Thank you Aflat!
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Postby 110-1089657553 » Wed Jul 14, 2004 8:53 am

I have never tipped a teacher, but I enjoy giving gifts at Christmas and for birthdays. Usually I will give a gift certificate to his/her favorite store or restaurant--something that is "monetary" but not so monetary as handing over cash. Piano teachers I'd had tend to be pretty poor, so I see my gift as giving them a much-deserved opportunity to spoil themselves a bit.
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