The top 10 lamest excuses I have ever heard for canceling a lesson or quitting altogether (now with retorts!)

10) It’s too hot.

You don’t say! We live in the desert, in case you hadn’t noticed.

9) I’m, er…sick. (on the phone, with festive sounds in the background)

You will be after the 7 vodka tonics you’re in the middle of ingesting.

8) I can’t find a parking space.

Me neither.

7) Day after Halloween/Christmas/NewYear: “You said we didn’t have a lesson, so I didn’t show up.”

Of course I did! I love depriving myself of income and waiting around. Too true.

6) It’s boring.

You’re boring.

5) It’s too hard.

Right you are. Nobody has ever, even with persistence and hard work, gotten good at the cello. Your winning attitude will take you far.

4) Oops! I forgot! *valley-girl laughter*

You also appeared to have forgotten the rest of your skirt at the last lesson and that didn’t stop you. Put some clothes on.

3) You weren’t teaching me what I wanted to learn.

Can you imagine if student pilots tried to lead the lessons? It would rain Cessnas! What you’re really saying is that you didn’t like learning the nuts and bolts, which are necessary in any craft. Impatient students are my specialty, but I can’t persuade all of them.

2) My *insert relative here* died.

I think she has died three times so far. I can tell when someone is lying. Lying about something as serious as a death in the family seems like tempting fate, doesn’t it?

1) We found a cheaper instructor.

Yes you did.

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14 Responses

  1. I am particularly fond of excuse/retort #6. I've found that "You're (x)", where (x)= previously mentioned negative adjective is possibly the best retort ever. It's way better at 37 than it was at 10. Almost as good as "suck it!"

  2. Wow! I can tempt fate? Hadn't considered using it that way before, but there are some people I could do with less of 🙂

  3. I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't ask about the ones you can't print. Feel free to e-mail them, or save my teacher the trouble and e-mail directly to him. 🙂


    I did once put off a lesson because I just had a crappy cello week. Yes, I have them, too.

  4. I've been having some issues with students cancelling lessons lately too … it's incredibly frustrating/destablizing (as I'm sure you know)…

    Consequently I now have a 24 hour cancellation policy

  5. I have always had a 24 hour policy. But they still try things on for size. One dad called and said his daughter was sick about 30 mins before the lesson. He had tested the policy before and I had been generous and let it slide. This time, I told him I would have to ding him. He said, "In that case, I'll bring her." I was astonished. I said, "Isn't she sick? If she's sick, you can't bring her and then get us all sick!" and he came back with, "Well, if you're going to make us pay for a lesson not taken, which is unfair blah blah blah." It got heated. I actually said the words, "What use is a policy if I don't adhere to it? You signed an agreement saying you understood." He kept pushing me. Eventually I told him I would refund him if they promised never to darken my door again.

    Shame. She was a good student. It's always the parents. I try not to hold on to anger or a grudge, but with this guy, it's tough not to.

  6. Maybe it's time to try on a monthly or semester tuition policy. Then you don't need to worry about cancellations. It's all in the marketing. You can build in sick days (for the student) and "extra" lessons if they actually come to every one.

  7. I have always had a monthly tuition policy, as well. But some people can't afford to buy lessons in a 4 or 5 session block. Believe me, I am doing everything I can! I just sent out my lesson policy again, asking for payment by the first of the month, but people are really stubborn about spending money. In fact, it can sometimes be the people with more money that fight the hardest. (not always…some of my more successful clients pay for 10 lessons up front. I grant them extra clemency when they have to cancel) Yet more compelling evidence to think about IU…the only way I can insulate myself from the ups and downs of being a sole proprietor is by having some sort of university gig to guarantee at least some base salary.

  8. What's that funny circle with the circles cut out of it on the phone? You know, where the number pad is supposed to be.

    How are you supposed to text your best excuses with one of those?

  9. Maybe I need you as my instructor. I don't mind going slow…in fact I prefer it. The teacher I used to have (yes, I quit her) didn't like the basics and she wanted to move past them and skip over things I obviously needed to learn in order to play the next level up. She felt they were too basic. Well hello, I may have played violin for years but on bass clef I'm new, so basic is good.

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