Letting a Student Go

Occasionally as a teacher you run into a situation where a student is just not working within the parameters of your studio.  Whether it be a personality clash, lack or progress or tuition issues, sometimes things just don’t work out.  How do you set up the release of student while still staying on good terms with the family?

If you and student just aren’t clicking then it is time to let them go.  There are lots of teachers and there will be one that is the perfect fit for each student.  Think about what issues are causing the clash and lay them out to the parent or student.  Sometimes it could be that the student doesn’t click with the teacher’s methodology, or there is a fight for who is the boss of the lesson, or the teacher and student don’t communicate the same way.  It is ok to let students go.  It takes a brave and personally secure teacher to release a student in hopes of them finding a better fit for the student’s musical education.

Sometimes students just don’t make the progress you demand in your studio.  Obviously, this isn’t about a bad week or even month, but a longer term issue.  As a professional, the teacher must think about the product of their studio and the message it conveys to prospective students.  A teacher can love a student dearly and enjoy their lesson time but still realize that the student isn’t the best fit for their studio.  At the same time, if a student is consistently underprepared for lessons and is wasting their parents’ money and the teachers time, then spell out the reasons that you are letting the student go.  Different studios have different expectations as to caliber of students and what standards need to be upheld.

I am a big proponent of giving students notice or putting them on probation.  Sometimes all it it takes is the knowledge that they might have to leave a studio to create some introspection to turn an attitude around.  Giving my students the benefit of the doubt to a certain point is always important to me.  However, if things are still not working, then it is time to make a decision.  If the student is just not a good fit, then help the student find a new teacher who might work better for them.  Music teachers have lots of connections and know each others teaching styles. 

Obviously, letting a student go is a big decision from a professional as well as financial standpoint.  Don’t think that your teacher has understand this decision lightly.  Sometimes a student and teacher just aren’t the best fit.  Keep looking, you will find your perfect teacher or student.

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