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Double Lesson Gift Voucher


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#1 Suzy

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 08:14

My sister’s friend has asked me for a gift voucher for her son and daughter’s law Christmas present. She would like an hour’s piano lesson for both of them together. I’ve never done vouchers before but I have said yes and made the voucher up. Her son and daughter in law are in their twenties and both have a little bit of experience with the piano from years back and her daughter in law is currently in a brass band.

I’m really not sure what to do in a one off hour lesson, never mind a double one! It’s so difficult when you don’t know what level they are at and how able they will be at reading music. I thought my main goal would be to get them playing a duet as that would be good fun. I would really appreciate any suggestions. Thank you!
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#2 agricola

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 08:45

Could you get in touch with them before the lesson and ask what they would like to get out of it?  I try to avoid these one-off lessons as they rarely lead to a long-term commitment and you can waste a lot of time racking your brains for suitable things to do.  If they have played before, however briefly, you might ask them to prepare a piece each for the lesson.  I think I would just divide the hour between them rather than trying to do something with both together.


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#3 HelenVJ

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 09:04

An hour could end up being a very long time, especially for two unknown quantitites. It can't help being a bit hit and miss, while you check out their level and musical tastes etc.  Sorry not to sound more positive. You could spend ages looking out suitable material, just for a one-off lesson. Already I've had 2 requests from Piano Mums who don't play themselves wanting to buy lessons for their partner - though they did at least suggest a series of 5. But I won't do this without first having a meeting with the prospective students, seeing where they're at and what they'd like to do.


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#4 BabyGrand

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 15:13

I actually don't think a one-off lesson is too bad.  Better a single lesson where you know that's all there is, than a voucher for 5 or 10 lessons, and then they may or may not continue. 

 

If they can both already play / read music, then I think your idea of a duet sounds good.  smile.png   I would probably have a few different options - some improvised (like from Forrest Kinney's books), some from music, and some which could be learned by rote; and at a variety of levels.  Start with something very straightforward at the start of the lesson, and take it from there.  I would get in touch with them before the lesson and just check what their playing/reading level is, and whether they have any particular goals/requests, but I would still have a mix of things ready because "I can read music quite well" could mean about 10 different things to different people.  If there's something at the end that they can play - and maybe you record them playing together and send the video to them? - that's success.  You can always drop little titbits of technique / theory in along the way (in case they are expecting more "tuition", and they will either respond keenly or be disinterested, and you can adapt accordingly.  

 

Treat it as a one-off, give them a fun hour at the piano, and if either of them do decide they'd like to carry on with more lessons, that's a bonus.  Have fun!  smile.png


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#5 Dorcas

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 15:25

In these circumstances, I suggest the give puts my contact details in a Christmas card and leave it to them to arrange after the holidays.  It can work, but I once issued a gift certificate for four prepaid lessons, years ago, and the student still hasn't turned up to claim them!  


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#6 tangoallegro

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 19:03

In these circumstances, I suggest the give puts my contact details in a Christmas card and leave it to them to arrange after the holidays.  It can work, but I once issued a gift certificate for four prepaid lessons, years ago, and the student still hasn't turned up to claim them!


I agree. My partner had the same situation after making a voucher by request, for 4 lessons. The student never arranged lessons and in the end the voucher was refunded. However, I must be fair and say that my partner has had success where another person gifted lessons decided to continue.

I had three negative experiences providing vouchers myself. The worst was as a surprise for a teenager student. However, when I turned up at the house, mum asked if I could perform a short concert to the family - the teenager was mortified and had no interest in beginning music lessons. Nightmare. No more vouchers for us.
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#7 ma non troppo

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 22:41

I must say I find similarities between this and buying someone a pet as a surprise (although not as bad, obviously. A dog is for life and not just for Christmas, as they say.

I don't do this - I can't as I have a waiting list. Someone did contact me about buying piano lessons for his wife on FB but I suggested she contact me first and that I don't take someone on without meeting them first.

I think it is telling that some of the above posters relate tales of a voucher being purchased and then no further contact. If an adult really wanted lessons themselves they would find a way to arrange them without them being bought as a "surprise" . Come to think of it, that goes for many presents!
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#8 BabyGrand

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Posted 15 December 2018 - 00:04

I must say I find similarities between this and buying someone a pet as a surprise (although not as bad, obviously. A dog is for life and not just for Christmas, as they say.

I don't do this - I can't as I have a waiting list. Someone did contact me about buying piano lessons for his wife on FB but I suggested she contact me first and that I don't take someone on without meeting them first.

I think it is telling that some of the above posters relate tales of a voucher being purchased and then no further contact. If an adult really wanted lessons themselves they would find a way to arrange them without them being bought as a "surprise" . Come to think of it, that goes for many presents!

I agree, but I think there's a difference between buying a voucher for a one-off lesson - which is akin to any of those "experience" vouchers one can buy, for a helicopter ride or a photo shoot or whatever - and buying a set of lessons.  I, too, wouldn't take on a new pupil without meeting them first, and currently have no places anyway.  So I have said no to a similar request myself.  But I could fit in a single lesson!  So I would say yes to the former, and no to the latter. 

 

I would have Ts and Cs stating that I would not refund, whether the lesson is taken or not, and that the lesson is to be arranged at a mutually convenient time, and taken with X months, etc. 

 

If they enjoy their one lesson and want more, they can go on my waiting list.  If they're happy with just the one hour, then that's fine too.  If they don't want to take the lesson, that's their choice.  No harm done either way. That's my perspective, anyway.  smile.png


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#9 The Great Sosso

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Posted 31 December 2018 - 17:30

I've done this twice. The first time was a voucher for a friend's husband, for six lessons.  He was self-taught, but had poor technique and listening skills, so everything was rather bashed-out.  He came along for the six lessons, but then had to travel for business and said he'd get in touch on his return to continue lessons, but never did so.  I didn't chase him, as I rather suspect he didn't want to continue but was embarrassed to say so.  I think he was one who thought he wanted lessons, then upon realising that it would require hard work and a certain amount of unpicking bad habits, thought better of it.  I assume he is still very happy banging away at things at FF volume, and using the pedal like a jackhammer.  At least that voucher was fully redeemed.

 

The second voucher situation was another person who had expressed a wish to learn, alongside her son, and the Dad bought her a series of six lessons for Christmas.  However, she was far too busy to commit, and like Dorcas, I am still waiting for her to finish the series of lessons two years later.  I did chase her and remind her of the outstanding lessons once but heard nothing, and I assume she has written off the money (I didn't issue Ts and Cs, but if she turned up asking for a refund, I'd just hand over the cash).

 

If I am asked again, I think I will suggest that it's not usually the best way in to learning an instrument, and that I'd want to meet the student first.

 

Doesn't really help you, Suzy though - sorry.  If I were you, I'd get in touch and find out what they want to get out of the lesson.  If they don't know, find out their skill level and teach them a duet for the hour, and then wave bye bye.

 

TGS X


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