I just got reamed by the piano teacher. You know, one of those nice ladies that teaches piano and YOU hire THEM?
Pixie wanted to take piano, so I asked around and found this lady. (Note: I did not get a referral from anyone I knew who had children going to her.) I initially picked her because she satisfied the MOST IMPORTANT criteria for child-related extra-curricular activities:
Driving distance from my house.
I set up a “get to know us” meeting so we could figure the whole thing out (I never took piano and have no idea about practicing, etc). Also, Pixie is a, um, how do I say this….wiggly, bright child. People either find her totally delightful or kinda annoying. The Teacher seemed to like Pixie well-enough, so we agreed to do some lessons with her this summer. The Teacher seemed surprised that we didn’t have a piano (gosh, doesn’t everyone?). She was not really happy that I wouldn’t rush out and get a piano–for a 6 year-old who MIGHT like it. (We have a keyboard that we got for Sunshine when she did piano for a semester, and it seemed reasonable to me to start out with).
Unbeknownst to me, our keyboard cord got misplaced at some point recently. When I kept asking Pixie if she had practiced, she finally told me she couldn’t (after a few days of wandering down to the basement and getting side-tracked, apparently). So I had to put 6 (6!) batteries in the stinkin’ keyboard for her to practice. Turns out, they only last for about 20 minutes. I made the whole family try to search for it last night, but no dice.
In an effort to streamline my life, I try to schedule the girls’ activities on the same days. This (in theory) provides the chance for a few days a week off from running around like maniacs. Thus, Sunshine has guitar lessons about the same time as Pixie’s piano lesson. But, since I have adhered to the first rule, I can swing it as they are only about 5 minutes away from each other.
It’s a bit twisted to watch, but this is how Monday afternoon runs: Scoop Toddler up from her nap, ply with snack and milk as I dash to the school to pickup the older girls. I hurry older children along, plying them with snacks once we’re all back in the car. I dash Sunshine to her guitar lesson. Re-insert younger two into the car. Dash to piano. I leave Toddler in the driveway as I rush Pixie in. (I should amend that to read: attempt to rush Pixie–she is a major dawdler). I explain that Pixie is a bit tired because of adjusting to 1st grade (yay for year-round school) and that she only got to practice for 3 days. (I didn’t tell her why, as I was pretty sure that would not go over well. ‘Cause, ya know, PIANOS don’t need a power cord.)
I told her all of this in an attempt for her to be gentle to my young child and to have some perspective, that we will be better prepared in the future, this has just been a long week for her. Well, Teacher was not happy with the lack of practice. Then, she says, “Usually, my parents sit in on the lesson.” Um, really? ‘Cause you never mentioned that in the CAREFULLY SET UP MEETING I HAD WITH YOU BEFORE WE STARTED PIANO. I told her that I have my baby with me, need to pick up my other daughter from her lesson, and am not prepared to stay today. She is kinda not happy, again.
(I was frazzled, embarrassed, and so wanting this to be a positive experience for Pixie, but this Teacher is staring to bug me. As Pixie wanders around the studio and touches things, Teacher keeps telling her not to. My heart is staring to become very stressed-out for my lovely child. Beginning to think this is not a good fit.)
I start to cry as I am SO FRUSTRATED with this Teacher. I tell her I would’ve been happy to sit in on the lesson if she had let me know, and that that was the WHOLE POINT of our meeting. She seems surprised by this. I can’t do anything about it at this point. I should’ve just cancelled the lesson at this point, but Pixie was so excited that I didn’t. I dashed back to the car (and Toddler) to go pick up Sunshine. (I know that this seems like a lot of dashing–it is. Their lessons are only 30 minutes and having to extract/intract Toddler eats up a bunch of time). I get back to pick up Pixie, having tried to pull myself together and figure out if I need to give this one more week, if I am just stressed and overwhelmed at how tight I scheduled this. Or if this lady has kinda NO PERSPECTIVE and we’d do better somewhere else. She meets me at the door with Pixie and (avoiding eye-contact) starts going on about how Pixie isn’t ready for piano at this level (weird, ’cause she was LAST WEEK!), how we seem so busy, yada yada yada, as she hands me back the tuition check I put in Pixie’s homework folder. EXCUSE ME?? She mentions that she didn’t know I had a toddler and how she just didn’t remember what it was like. YA THINK??
How does this woman interface with families??? I can only assume she takes kids that are only children, who’s parents have a music degree and who have a grand piano and studio for the child to faithfully practice everyday. GRRRRRRR……She even did the whole song and dance at our first meeting about how parents should not expect their children to be these fantastic performers, but just to love music through this experience.
I seriously wanted to poke her with something sharp. But then I realized, we had been dumped. I was in a bit of shock. Then, I got mad. Now, I am glad to know that we won’t be working with this teacher and that we found this out before we had committed to a whole semester of classes. Pixie seems okay, I just have to let the experience blow over.
I mentioned to Pixie that Teacher was not teaching (well, us, anyway) anymore this summer and did she want to try Irish Step Dancing next?