"Because it's a professional service and an hour of my time." I said as pleasantly and as evenly as I could.
"It's an hour of our time, too!" she replied, "and we're just coming to find out whether we want to do this or not."
I'm still shaking my head.
It's the same thing as asking a restaurant to give you your first meal for free so you can decide whether you like the service and the food well enough to eat there again.
Or going to see a doctor, lawyer, or accountant for advice and expecting not to be billed.
During a lesson I give much more of myself than just the knowledge acquired during 13 years offering private vocal instruction. (Plus 20 years of training, a university degree, a teaching credential, and ongoing performing, directing, studio experience, and professional development.)
In each lesson, I constantly work to be alert to the needs and development of each student. I want the lesson experience to meet the individual's musical needs, and build their skills and confidence as a performer, while making the lesson time an enjoyable experience.
This is a delicate dance to. An skilled teacher is able to reinforce what the student is doing well, at the same time she carefully directs the student's attention toward details to be adjusted. At the same time we pass along the tools and motivation needed to work on those adjustments during the student's independent practice time during the coming week.
Teaching voice and piano is something I love to do. Making music is something we, the student and I, do for the joy of it.
And it is also a professional service.
Fortunately this sort of misunderstanding is extremely rare and easily resolved.
(c)2009 Kay Pere ~ Effusive Muse Publishing