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Accompanying for free


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#1 Norway

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Posted 04 July 2019 - 12:02

I just wondered whether people generally accompany their own exam entrants for free, and if so, to what level. Having never been thanked for doing this, I've just changed my Ts and Cs to "will do grades 1-3 only."


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#2 HelenVJ

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Posted 04 July 2019 - 12:15

I've never found that Grades 1-3 are necessarily easier than the higher grades. Younger candidates are likely to do anything - skip beats, be unreliable rhythmically etc (allthough that's more likely with other teachers' candidates than my own). I don't charge my own students for reheasing or warm-up as that's part of the lesson, but I do charge for the playing in their exams, including travel time. Why would I do it for free?


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#3 Dorcas

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Posted 04 July 2019 - 12:24

I only teach piano. Once a neighbour asked me to accompany her child on the clarinet, as the teacher was moving to a new job.  I rehearsed every day for a week, and was given a bunch of flowers.   A friend asked me to accompany her student, and the rehearsal was so difficult my attempts ended there, although I was paid for my time.  To be honest, my own teaching schedule makes accompanying more or less impossible,   I think placing restrictions on what you can or cannot do for your own students is more than reasonable.  Charging your own students for accompanying in the exam is perfectly fair, and restricting the grades you wish to work with is fine too.  I would draw the line at rehearsals, unless they required home visits or additional venue hire, or took up so much time it impacted on my own teaching in some way.


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#4 Lucid

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Posted 04 July 2019 - 12:25

I accompany my own students for free. I know technically I should charge a fee for the exam time and travel, but it's something I've always offered and rarely have students doing exams so it doesn't make too much of a dent. I've always been thanked by both my own students and other teachers' students when I accompany, but I can appreciate the way you feel if they never thank you. It doesn't take much to say thank you, especially if you have generously offered your time to them for free, so they should show their appreciation. Do they not realise that they would usually have to pay an accompanist for an exam and for the practice sessions leading up to it?

 

As a general rule I accompany up to grade 5 level, and have only done the odd couple of grade 6s depending on what the chosen pieces were. I tend to be able to manage up to grade 5 with not too much time having to be spent learning the pieces, but I usually find grade 6 upwards is too demanding and I don't have the time to properly practise that level of piece. I would then help to find a good accompanist who can easily cover the repertoire.

 

Lucid :)


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#5 Norway

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Posted 04 July 2019 - 12:36

I should add that the examiners always thank me for playing, but the penny still doesn't drop with the candidates! And it feels like doing a piano exam all over again ill.gif - the candidate can go wrong but the accompanist isn't meant to!


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#6 Aquarelle

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Posted 04 July 2019 - 12:38

I have only ever accompanied my own students and never above Grade 6 so far. I don't charge as they practise with me in lesson times. Also the exams are always at the same place as the lessons and I have to be there anyway. It's a bit different from the normal  UK situation. 


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#7 BadStrad

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Posted 04 July 2019 - 13:26

OH sometimes accompanies other teachers' students for their exams.  He always charges his normal hourly rate for rehearsals and the exam.  The music doesn't usually require him to practice at home so he doesn't charge for "prep" time.  If he taught a melodyline instrument, he'd still charge for the exam as it's still his time and travel.

 

When you give something for free, as Norway's discovered, it's rarely valued.  (Not even a thankyou!!!)  And for us, living in a community where everyone knows everyone if the neighbour's kid got a freebee then who else should?  Friends' kids?  Kids whose parents you know well after teaching their umpteen kids?  Etc.  It's easier, and fairer to keep the same T & Cs for everyone.


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#8 BabyGrand

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Posted 04 July 2019 - 14:47

I don't charge for accompanying or playing duets for an exam with my own pupils, on the instrument I teach them.  I do charge to accompany anybody, including my own students, on an instrument I don't teach them - i.e. if I teach a child piano and they ask me to accompany them for their clarinet exam, then I would charge.  

 

However, I do say in my Ts and Cs that I will accompany my students when it's possible, and I don't make any guarantees.  If I'm not able to take time off on the exam date, or the music would take me too long to learn, etc, then they would have to find (and obviously pay) another accompanist.  They know it is something I choose to do and not something I have to do.  Most are appreciative....not all, but most.  


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#9 BabyGrand

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Posted 04 July 2019 - 14:50

I should add that the examiners always thank me for playing, but the penny still doesn't drop with the candidates! And it feels like doing a piano exam all over again ill.gif - the candidate can go wrong but the accompanist isn't meant to!

Oh yes!  I don't think they ever expect you to be nervous, but of course teachers and accompanists get nervous too!!  


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#10 violin star

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Posted 08 July 2019 - 17:20

I don't understand people who accompany for free -if you don't value your own time you can't expect anyone else to! 

 

I generally have several exams on the same day at the same venue and charge each student the cost of a half hour lesson which I add to the invoice when I do the exam entry..  This covers the exam admin,  warm up and playing for the exam.  If only one student is doing an exam I charge extra for travel time too.  

 

The MU recommends something like £40 fee just for Grade 1 so I think my students are getting a bargain.


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#11 violin star

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Posted 08 July 2019 - 17:23

I should add this is for Grade 1-5.  Above that I would charge more as I need to practise and the pieces are much longer.


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#12 edgmusic

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Posted 08 July 2019 - 17:44

I value my own time but if I choose to accompany my own students as a favour, I do.

I feel each individual teacher should be free to decide whether or not to charge,without having to worry about what others think.
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#13 Sautillé

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Posted 08 July 2019 - 20:52

I agree with violin star. I get lots of enquiries and I also accompany my own pupils. I absolutely hate doing it (really!) but it’s part of the job. I charge one lesson fee for the exam and similar for rehearsals unless they are one of my pupils in which we play every week in lessons from many weeks in advance.
I don’t charge a massive increased fee because although I can, and do, do it, I hate it so much that I could never say I was an amazing professional accompanist. I also usually accompany at avenue that is c10m from my house so it’s not a massive inconvenience for me.
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#14 mel2

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Posted 08 July 2019 - 21:35

I included exam accompaniment as one of the services I offer besides piano lessons and aural coaching.
Not a single enquiry or request for accompanying or coaching in 2 years!
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#15 ma non troppo

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Posted 08 July 2019 - 21:41

I agree with Violin Star - we are not a charity! Why would you do this for free? I will go further and say (controversially I presume) that in doing it for free you are devaluing other professionals and making it harder for them to earn a living. I feel this about teachers who massively under cut the going rate for lessons too - perhaps someone who doesn't have to make a living out of teaching, who has a partner who supports them etc.
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