Had to fire my guitar teacher this week

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by agentmatt, Feb 13, 2014.

  1. Teal_66

    Teal_66 Member

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    You did the right thing! I had to do that once too, because I had a teacher who had no structure, no path, and was all over the place. I never knew what the heck he was going to teach me next. I learned a lot of nothing. Money was not the issue, and it really shouldn't ever be. Of course, we must pay - but it's the knowledge that matters.

    My current teacher (and you should look for someone like this) is very structured. I have been with him for two years. Every year I do a sheet of all of my goals. The sheet shows all of my weaknesses, and what I want to learn. He goes home and works up an entire plan just to address my needs. He really puts time into it. Every single minute of every class is addressing my sheet, and never ever anything else.

    I didn't know this, but he is a contributing professor to the curriculum in the guitar class at the local high school, and he told me that the goals on my sheet have become part of that curriculum. Pretty amazing.

    Also - try to find a teacher that does not move to the next thing until you have the current thing down. My teacher revels in joy when I finally learn something that he's been teaching. 50/50
     
  2. flavaham

    flavaham Member

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    I don't care how much this guy is charging, the whole thing seems extremely out of line to me. I get having a policy and/or a contract as people will flake out and not come to there lessons if they are uninspired. But it is on the teacher to make sure that this doesn't happen. I don't know what he was teaching you on guitar but I can pretty much guarantee that you can find someone else who will teach you as much if not more than this guy.

    I'm sorry to hear that this happened to you. There are good teachers out there. Sometimes it's difficult to find the right one. I'm with Guitarjazz here, if I see someone who is super eager to learn, I'll do it for free...at least for a while.
     
  3. agentmatt

    agentmatt Member

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    You are free to think whatever you want, it wasn't about the money. I think you maybe lost or out of touch since many people in this country and around the world would love to be paid $17 an hour let alone $34. I live in a rural conservative area and everything is relative. As stated the lessons started as a gift from my wife so I didn't do research on said teacher. There were red flags from lesson 2 that I should have paid attention to. That was MY fault. I am self employed for 15 years now. I have no problem with someone wanting to making money or establishing what they FEEL they are worth. However the block of time I set aside for the lesson was time I had no chance of getting paid. But I set that time aside. I took the lessons seriously, showed up every week(except 1) with CASH in hand, on time, paid attention and practiced at home what I was suppose to. I guess I just don't understand why this teacher or anyone feels they should get paid for a service they did not provide. This guys policy ALLOWED for 2 weeks vacation a year. WTF. I haven't had to ask for "vacation time" or a "day off" in a long time. I am willing to pay more for lessons. I don't want Mary Had a Little Lamb sh*t. Perhaps instead of defending all teachers and insulting me you could recommend a quality teacher in my area.
     
  4. arthur rotfeld

    arthur rotfeld Member

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    Is everything relative? What's a box of Cheerios cost out by you? An entry level Hyundai? An MRI? A Blues Jr.?

    I imagine rent, taxes, and such vary, but many things don't, or at least not much.
     
  5. arthur rotfeld

    arthur rotfeld Member

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    More on topic, looks like there's lots of teachers out in Lancaster (just did a google search). Shouldn't be hard to find a good replacement.
     
  6. JonnyQ

    JonnyQ Member

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    The whole sad saga reminds me of a daytime television small claim's court case. Biggest lesson: don't sign contracts unless you are comfortable with the terms and conditions.

    Talk with a prospective teacher before hand. If they don't have time for you or don't seem cool in a brief phone call conversation, chances are they are not for you regardless of rate or expertise.
     
  7. GhostMan

    GhostMan Senior Member

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    No good instructor needs a contract.
     
  8. Chad.C

    Chad.C Member

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    How many other people does this guy teach?
     
  9. sfarnell

    sfarnell Gold Supporting Member

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    In this day and age of Yelp and Youtube, the guy is a total idiot.
     
  10. lifeinsong

    lifeinsong Member

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    The guy sounds like a control freak. Policy is one thing but there also needs to be a human element that obviously wasn't there. You did the right thing and while there are plenty of instructors that charge more these days, I agree with you that $34 is a significant amount of money considering our current economy.
     
  11. InkStained

    InkStained Member

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    Honest to gawd, is this a real experience? Or an article in the Onion?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  12. JonR

    JonR Member

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    Better, his fingers.
     
  13. agentmatt

    agentmatt Member

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    Honest story. Control freak is a good description of the guy. A bit OCD as well. Complete germaphobe. I wasn't allowed to touch his stuff including picks, guitars, amps, cables you name it. He had a little area of the basement blocked off where his amps and pedals were. Guitars hang on the wall behind them. The day I paid to talk gear I asked if we could go back there to show me his gear. You would have thought I asked to sleep with his wife. I would love to upload his policy/contract here but probably shouldn't. As I already stated I shouldn't have signed the dam thing & paid attention to the red flags. I was just excited to be taking lesson with someone that seem to have the same taste in music. I was not a newbie. He knew this. I told him 1st day my goal was to build confidence so I could jam with others. No. Come in, sit down. I will read to you from a guitar book about strumming, including quotes from Keef & others about the guitar. Every other lesson he would give me the 1st 4 chords of a key & the major scale & minor blues scale fingering(I told I already knew those). All the while he was constantly looking at the clock behind me. Based on recent research it seems the going rate around her is $20-25 for 1/2 hr. At $17 I got what I paid for. I guess you could say I got a lesson alright.
     
  14. agentmatt

    agentmatt Member

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    This is the guy that when I mentioned I was considering purchasing a better acoustic($800-1000) offered to sell me a Takamine F390 for $1200. Hey he did put a Fishman pickup on it & it had a gator case. After checking online and on TGP it seems the guitar was worth around $600-800 MAX. When I told I thought he was priced high he got insulted.
     
  15. Swain

    Swain Member

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    It sounds like the instructor is a bit over the top with his contract. At least, from what I've read here.
    And it does seem like he is a hot head. Totally unprofessional, IMO.
    Although, I teach full time. And I will say, you are indeed reserving a block of time. When you have a regularly scheduled time/day, that is reserved for you.
    If you miss a lesson, I understand that you don't want to pay for it. Well, neither does the instructor. My policy is this; If you miss, you pay. If I miss, I pay.

    Although, it does seem that in your case, the instructor is fairly unrealistic and without any real common sense.

    I just wanted to mention the thing about missed lessons. Because, for most students it is their hobby. However, for the instructor it is their way of making a living.

    I always ask students to consider what they would want from their employer. And then, to treat their instructor as they would wish to be treated at their job.

    An example would be late payments. If your employer just "forgot" to make your check out, would it be "okay" if he had it for you next week?

    Just adding these thing for people out there who might be considering lessons. Because these are things I wish more people took into consideration.

    I hope you find a solid instructor, and you continue with your studies. It can be a really rewarding experience when it works well.

    :)
     
  16. Swain

    Swain Member

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    He got insulted?

    He sounds like a newbie all the way around.

    Seriously, ask around and get references. There are great instructors out there.

    And yeah, rates around here are $120.00-150.00 for 4 half hour sessions.
     
  17. JonR

    JonR Member

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    I feel sorry for this guy, personally, he's obviously not a happy man, has a pile of psychological problems. But that's not your problem of course - you're better off out of it, and it's something to put down to experience.
    It helps to let off steam here about it, and it's a good warning to others.

    Never sign a long-term contract until you've had at least one lesson with a teacher. No teacher should ask you to commit without a trial lesson, to see if you get on with each other.
    It's debatable whether you should expect a short free trial session. Some offer that. Personally (London UK) I charge. But if that goes OK, I offer an option of booking a block of 5 lessons at a discount. The option is always open to pay for each lesson individually, but at full cost.
    Payment in advance for the next lesson can be a good idea, because it takes care of short notice cancellation on their part, or them just not showing. If it turns out I have to cancel for some reason, the money goes towards the next lesson. It's also a way of keeping them focussed if they don't feel ready to pay for 5 in advance.

    It should be a professional-client relationship. You're not just paying for the hour he's teaching you, but for the preparation he's put into it beforehand. (That's why teachers are paid more than average.)
    At the same time, you have some control over the process. He is not the ultimate authority: you're hiring him to perform a service - like a lawyer or an architect. You respect his knowledge and experience, but what he provides has to be tailored to your requirements. If it doesn't seem to be, he has to explain to you how (in fact) it is.
    You should also be prepared for him to give you things you hadn't bargained for: inspiration, broadening your tastes, new views on music.
    But if it doesn't go the way you hoped, if he's not answering your "brief", then either you get him back on track, or you cancel. (The exception would be where you'd knowingly signed up with someone because of his personal style or reputation, and you expected him to just show you how he did things. Like a masterclass, essentially.)
    You should never have to lose more than the cost of one lesson - but that does mean you need to be really sure before you book a course of several. (Personally, if I had a student that had booked five, but wanted to cancel after one or two, I'd feel obligated to pay him back the difference. Hasn't happened yet...)
     
  18. TubeStack

    TubeStack Supporting Member

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    More stories, please. This guy cracks me up. :rotflmao
     
  19. filtersweep

    filtersweep Member

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    Thank you!

    I was thinking more like $100/hr- the going rate around here for anyone wise enough to learn from.
     
  20. pima1234

    pima1234 Supporting Member

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    For as much as I don't like some of the teacher bashing that occurs here (as a career teacher myself, I'm a bit sensitive to it), it's pretty clear that this guy is one of the ones that give us a bad name.

    And as noted right above, yeah, good teachers should be compensated properly.
     

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