When a Student Leaves

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    What do you do when a student leaves you, say, for college, a good thing, not because they didn’t like you or are going to another teacher? Do you have rituals, do you give them parting gifts?


    I never thought of having rituals or gifts for amicably departing students, though the imagination can certainly take flight at the thought of rituals for the oppositie situation. (Even when a student does switch to another teacher, I try to be philosophical about it. I like to stay on good terms with all my former students.)


    I don’t think you’re obliged to do anything though a small keepsake perhaps if you’re especially fond of them.

    I think they should be the ones giving you a nice present for nurturing their skills for so long and preparing them for college. My ex-ballet teacher often has students who leave to go abroad to study and they always drop by before they fly off with a big present for her.


    I believe Lyon & Healy sell small gold-coluored fingernail clippers with a harp logo on them for $2. Perhaps they offer a discount to teachers who buy in bulk? *g* It seems like a useful gift to give an amicably departing student you liked.


    And it sends them a message, too, to trim their nails!


    What about a card with a thoughtfully written note in it?



    I agree with “miso soup” on this one. I feel it is much more appropriate for the student to give the teacher a present when they leave. It feels like a loss when a long-time student goes to another teacher, unless they have been accepted by someone of such sterling repute that you feel proud and honoured to have produced such a student. It assuages the blow to receive an acknowledgement of all the hard work. A nice hand-written thank-you card is great because it doesn’t cost a lot and the teacher can keep it as a memento or even use it as a testimonial or reference, (with permission from the student).


    Keep it simple.


    Yes, but you insist that their pizza has anchovies on it.


    I agree with Elizabeth and Miso. It is the student’s place to give the teacher a card or gift as fits with their culture and mode of expression. As the teacher i see value in offering them a final vote of confidence and telling them I have enjoyed working with them and am excited for their new opportunities. I may then tell them to let me know of their successes and adventures as I am always happy to hear from them. I think once or twice I may have given them a score of mine with a note to that effect inside. Usually just verbal, though and something along those lines.


    Julie hit the nail on the head! I often give fingerings and scores to former students as they need them, or if I have come up with a really good adaptation of a part and feel they would benefit from it.

    Evangeline Williams

    I think a card is a definite.

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