Here’s the question of the day: What should I do about a no-show for a free piano lesson?
I have given 10-year-old Margalen lessons here and there over the past year when her mother thinks to call and schedule a time. It seems like we have made little headway, mostly starting over each time and never graduating from the initial book in the Alfred series. I don’t know if that’s because I really don’t know how to teach piano or whether she may have some real learning disabilities that make this more difficult.
In any event, I had come up with some additional things for today’s lesson in the hope there would be a breakthrough. I bought her a similarly easy book of holiday music thinking she could show off to her family if she could sit down and play something like Jingle Bells.
I also bought a set of music flashcards with the thought that they might provide another approach to learning how to read music. I don’t personally remember needing anything like this when I was a kid. Instead we learned things like “Every Good Boy Does Fine” and “FACE” and “Good Boys Do Fine Always” and “All Cows Eat Grass” to give us the necessary clues to decode the musical score.
So here I sat armed with all this new ammunition while 4:00 came and went without even the typical phone call to say she would be late.
Should I regard this as the gift of an hour I would not have otherwise had today? Or should I lay down an ultimatum that I won’t tolerate missed lessons, even if there is no monetary exchange? Or should I call and ask if they would like to reschedule, knowing that it was definitely not Margalen’s fault that she didn’t show up for her lesson?
I am convinced that people are much less likely to miss an appointment if they know they will have to pay for the time one way or the other. But when there is no penalty for not showing up, it’s a whole different story.