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Teaching Integrity

April 2, 2013
Posted in: Singing, Human Interest
When integrity exists, the student is put first of all - and that’s how it should be.


Founder & CEO | Sage Music

The life of a music teacher can be difficult.  I remember when I first started teaching nearly 15 years ago. I barely cobbled together an existence by teaching a handful of my own private students in addition to teaching at a few students at each of 4 different music schools.  Add to that some gigs and performances and you can see how a musician might be stretched thin.  Including all the travel time, preparation time, teaching time plus rehearsal and performance time involved, I was working 60 or more hours a week for only 15-20 hours pay.  It was a difficult situation for me and a reality for many music teachers.

Because of this experience, one of my primary goals in building Sage Music is to provide a place where my faculty can work full time if they choose, or near full time so that they will their have financial needs met and still have time left in the week to pursue their own artistic and performing passions without the worldly struggles that I endured.  When they don’t have to stress about work they way I did, they can all be fully focused on the creation of music and art, and on teaching and making music with the many wonderful students at our school without distraction.  It's the best situation for both our faculty and our students.

As I work very hard toward this goal, I booked a new student for our voice teacher Stefanie.  Even though the majority of our students are adults and all of Stefanie’s current students are adults, the new student was a very excitable young girl, aged 7. She was full of smiles, enthusiasm, and very much wanted to be a singer.

Stefanie taught the first lesson and then broke the news to me and to the girl’s mother: she was too young for voice lessons. Stefanie recommended that she study piano instead.  Stefanie could have taken the student and we could have collected the income, but it would not have been in the best interest of the student.  Because of Stefanie’s recommendation about her age, I did not charge the student for that first lesson since I made the mistake of booking a student that was too young.  We moved the student over into the piano studio because she seemed equally excited about it, and it was age appropriate.

This is why Stefanie works here; she has integrity.  I believe in the people that I have hired to work here. And I prefer to invest in people over things. I believe in my faculty as teachers, as performers, and for just being good people.  When integrity exists, the student is put first of all, and that’s how it should be.

Stefanie: I’d like to publicly thank you for being professional and showing integrity, even when it was against your own financial interest to do so. It was the right thing to do.

Read Stefanie’s article: How young is too young for voice lessons?

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