Ending Music Lessons in a Break-up Text
Do your parents end music lessons with you in a text? I have had this happen several times in the last two years. The first time it happened, I was stunned. It was so abrupt. I didn’t see it coming. I thought the family was really enjoying piano. It felt so cold. I thought, “Wow, they didn’t even bother to call me.”
It became necessary to deal with my personal feelings. It really bothered me. I felt I had been slightly delusional. I had honestly thought that I meant more to them then just being a business. I thought we were becoming friends. I had to question if I should have known better.
I Thought We Were Becoming Friends
I’ve heard more than once that you shouldn’t be friends with your students parents. It’s been said that it will never end well. I haven’t been able to live that way. I have become friends with many of the families from our studio. Some of the friendships have lasted for decades. These relationships are something I treasure.
As a result, I was hurt that they didn’t bother to call me or at the least send an email. It felt like a teenage break-up text except that we were adults. Didn’t we know better to call each other?
Monday Reality- Get to Work Saying the Right Thing!
It happened on a Monday morning over my coffee. It knocked the wind right out of my sails going into the new week. She was scheduling her week by ending music lessons first thing. She wasn’t wasting anymore time!
How, should I respond? What should I say? Should I call back and try to convince them to stay? Offer them an alternate time? She had a story she wasn’t telling me- should I ask about it? Did I even want her to tell me all of her reasons for ending music lessons?
I find dialogue in a text tricky. It is so easy to misintrepret. I just don’t have the desire to try to talk about the complexities of sticking with music lessons in a text. I’m sure the parents don’t either. If they are ending music lessons in a text, from my viewpoint they are done. They probably don’t want to talk about it or they would have called me.
Texting is a Safety Zone For Them
It seems strange to say, but I have now grown accustomed to lessons being ended in texts. Parents are doing it more and more now. It’s becoming normal.
Who can blame them? Texting gives them a safe space. They maintain the right to leave, without me trying to convince them to stay. They can choose to ghost me if I do get all whacky in a text. Which I won’t. It is a pressure-free zone.
The Niceties Do Help Ease the Awkwardness
Sometimes the parents will thank me and compliment my teaching. It’s like saying, “It’s not you it’s me.” I feel like the compliments are put in there to make me feel better. And to tell the truth, it does. Who doesn’t question everything in a break-up situation?
The Scheduling Excuse Has Validity
Often they will tell me that it isn’t working out with their schedule anymore. This is fair. Learning an instrument isn’t just about making it to class. What they aren’t saying in the break-up text is their schedule didn’t allow the time and energy that practicing at home requires. It is a long-term family life-style decision. Learning an instrument takes years.
They do need to come to class. They do have to practice at home to grow. There does need to be personal buy-in from the student. The parents don’t want to spend their time nagging their students to practice. They have all kinds of stuff going on. They really all have to have a strong why and want to.
Pouring Out Our Moxie For Our Students
Truthfully, I get tired. When I am teaching a music lesson, I bring my experience and passion. I extend my love and support to the students and pour myself out. Teaching takes a tremendous amount of performance energy. They do take my mojo and my moxie.
Ending Music Lessons with No Manipulation Ever
It takes excruciating effort to try to convince people to stay. (Especially knowing that they really want to leave.) And why would I? I am not going to beg, or manipulate ever. That serves no constuctive purpose. In order for us to be successful together, they need to want it. When they choose to leave, they open the space for someone who does want to be there.
Giving Grace and Parting Ways Well
To bring my professional best to them, I bless them and let them end music lessons well. I return the text immediately. I tell them I enjoyed working with them. I compliment the student. There is always something positive to say. I let them know that I hope that they will take lessons again in the future.
It does make me a little sad. The deeper part of me, the non-business part of me aches a little inside. I grow to love each one of them, and I will miss them. Discontinuing lessons seems harder on me then them. But, I get to give grace in the parting and that’s good for my soul.
Handling the Financial Loss
As teachers we do take a financial hit when it is abrupt. That unwelcome truth is there to deal with like a lurking enemy. They are our paycheck.
As a result of people leaving abruptly, I have had to put a 3 weeks cancellation notice into my policies. This helps to alleviate the sudden financial loss. It gives me time to find a replacement student and keep my income fairly level.
This policy is especially important when teaching siblings and the family decides to “take a break.” In one sudden break-up text ending music lessons, two to three students can be lost. That money loss hurts fast.
The financial loss just makes the break-up text worse. Ending music lessons may save them some money on the short-term, but there is an expense to me. Its a reminder that we don’t only teach for the love of music. We also do this to make a living.
So, there you have it. Once again, our emotions get tied up with our money. Being a professional teacher that minds her own business means planning ahead for inevitable losses.
All Good Things Come to an End
All good things must come to an end at some point. And often when it does, it can feel like a real bummer. It helps to accept the time we get with our students. This means valuing the relationship for however long or short it lasts. Its also helpful to remember- just because they break-up with their music teacher in a text, doesn’t mean they are quitting music forever.
They Can Come Back to Music Lessons
They will return when they are ready. We have had several families come back over the years. Sometimes when they return they switch instruments. (Maybe they were studying guitar with my husband, and now they want piano instead- or vice versa.) Perhaps, only one of the siblings returns this time. However they return, I feel honored. It’s personally rewarding to know that we ended music lessons well. As a result, they want to come back to us.
Choosing Not to Be Offended
It’s my choice how I choose to respond to parents ending lessons in a break-up text. I can consciously choose to not be offended. Allowing our students to leave however they choose, provides them grace to grow in the parting. They are now free to go on happily with their lives. There is nothing strange between us should we meet in the grocery store. They can feel safe to return to my studio if they want to. The phone is on.
Here is more useful information on understanding the dynamics of texting relationships:https://www.verywellmind.com/understanding-the-dynamics-of-texting-in-relationships-4769077