Harry Potter and the Box of Kleenex

What a week it’s been!  Thanksgiving-Palooza ran for a successful 5 posts, I elaborately Christmas-ized my apartment, saw a terrific Straight No Chaser concert, had a meet-and-greet with cold December pavement, and…drumroll, please…


I finally saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:  Part 1!

I’ve been a fan of Harry Potter since 10th grade, when I spent an entire summer reading books 1-4 and falling head over heels for the fictional world of Hogwarts and its cast of characters.  I’ve read every book in the series, viewed every film adaption, memorized every film score (thank you, John Williams et al), and I even am the owner of a Platform 9 3/4 sign.  To sum up:  I’m a huge fan.

I could wax for hours on how much ass the movie kicked, but I’ll be succinct with my thoughts.  I found myself holding my breath for the first 15 minutes of the movie.  I was mesmerized for 2 1/2 hours, and never ONCE got bored. There are such deliciously wonderful actors in this movie, and it has been a real treat seeing them bring to life their fictional counterparts.  I was brought to tears several times throughout the movie, and I don’t feel the least bit embarrassed mentioning that fact here!  I loved the movie so much that I would gladly see it again in theatres, a statement I don’t utter often.  Deathly Hallows:  Part 1 really raised the bar for the Potter movie series, and I am ecstatic for the conclusion of the movie in July.

I shan’t tarry any longer on Potter talk.  So, grab my hand, and we’ll disapparate over to RAC Land…


My RACs over the weekend served as a great reminder that kindness can be rewarded with kindness.

Before I begin to comb the world for a Big Girl Job, I earn my keep through my own private voice/piano studio.  I currently teach about 15 students, who come to my apartment weekly for lessons.  It’s a very fulfilling job, and I am all too grateful that I can currently participate in this endeavor.

Sometimes, however, it can be a bit aggravating.  Not the lessons, mind you.  Simply the students who do not show UP to lessons.

When I first opened my studio, I didn’t mind if students couldn’t make lessons every week.  With only 4-5 students, I couldn’t exactly enforce a ton of rules and regulations.  But now, with 15-17 students in my pool, I sometimes have trouble finding time to fit everyone in.

Scheduling is very important to me.  I like to make sure everyone can commit to a time slot or at least let me know they need to cancel.  With an ample amount of students, I sometimes run out of time slots, and need to shift my own schedule around to accommodate them.

So…when someone commits to a time slot and DOESN’T show up without contacting me ahead of time?  I become a little like this:


Not only do I lose a week with that student, but I lose out on a week’s pay for that slot…AND, typically, I could have filled the empty block of time with someone else who was looking to schedule a lesson.

I often tell my students:  if you were scheduled to work at your job, and didn’t show up, would you be paid? No!  Absolutely not!  The unfortunate thing for me, however, is that even if I do show up, I may not be paid if students don’t show up, either.  So, to sum up:


Having Students Scheduled



Finding Students Missing



One Unhappy Blogger, Bub

To make a long story short (“Too late!”…anyone who is an avid fan of the movie Clue will get this reference…I’m looking at you, eduClaytion), I had two instances this weekend alone where students failed to show up for their lessons…and, did not attempt to contact me beforehand, either.

As my policy dictates, anyone who misses a scheduled lesson without contacting me beforehand MUST pay the lesson fee.  I hate to enact this rule, but after having so many students skip lessons, it was a necessity.  So, I was fully prepared to make my Thursday night student pay for her missed lesson, but when I saw her in school on Friday, my conscience took over.

It was this girl’s first piano lesson with me, and she had missed because she incorrectly read her lesson time, even after confirming it with me.  I had every right to make her pay for her lesson, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it on Friday.  Maybe it was her sincere apology…maybe it was because I was in need of an RAC for the day….whatever the reason, I let her mistake slide.

Apparently, this decision became a trend for the weekend, because I had another student who almost didn’t show up for her hour-long lesson.  I was putting the finishing touches on a “You-Missed-Your-Lesson-Hulk-Angry-Hulk-Need-Money” email when my student tentatively walked through my door, eyes all blurry and weepy.

Turns out that she had every intention of making it to her lesson that day…that was, until she came toe-to-toe with another car in the December snow.  She had grazed another automobile a mere two-minutes before arriving at my apartment, and she was clearly upset and shaken.  Physically, she and other driver were all right, with only minimal scratches to their respective vehicles.  However, I knew that mentally, she was still quite upset.

I knew, at this point, it would be in extremely bad form to make her pay for a missed lesson.  So, I offered to let her just take half of her lesson at a half hour rate.  But, as she stood there, teetering on the verge of waterworks, I knew deep down that she really didn’t want to partake in a lesson today.


I know what it’s like to be shaken up from a car accident, albeit a minor one.  I know how horrible it feels to know you just hit someone else…to know that you could possibly have done more damage.  And, on top of it all, I just know what it feels like to have a shitty day:  you aren’t going to want to sing about it, that’s for sure.


So, my Saturday RAC took the form of me offering my poor voice student a pass on her lesson, a warm cup of cocoa, and snowball cookies.  I got her calmed down and smiling again, with the aid of my impish little dog, Bailey, and sent her on her way.  I stood in the doorway as I watched her drive off, happy with myself and my actions, knowing that doing for others really does make you feel great…and that it also puts you out $55.

Yep.  My two RACs for the weekend cost me a total of $55.

However, here’s the cool part.  Just yesterday, I received a note of thanks from a colleague of mine who I collaborated with during a musical theatre student workshop.  Inside the note, he thanked me profusely for my help and included….you guessed it…a $50 gift card, good for any place of my choosing.  I did not expect to be reimbursed for my actions during his workshop:  I had considered it as a volunteer opportunity for a good cause and a good friend.  So, the $50 gift card I now held in my hand was something I had not expected…but you better believe I took it as the Universe saying, in hushed tones only I could hear “Hang in there…little acts of kindness DO matter after all.”

And that’s cool….and rather Christmas-y.  Happy holidays all!

RAC #35 & 36 : Gave two students free passes on missed lesson fees

Results:  don’t know if it’s related, but got a kick-ass gift card a day later equaling the costs of both lessons


9 responses to this post.

  1. What a great post! I don’t know if I like the story or the references better. The Tom Hanks “League of Their Own” pic is perfect for the moment you’re describing. On top of that you snuck in some Hulk AND Shawshank. Sweetness with some sweet-Os on top.

    As for the tale you tell, my oldest sibling Sister Sarcasm has been teaching piano for years. Youve gotta have the missed lesson policy. Collecting is tough, but a little gried up front saves an ongoing line of it.

    And yes, I LOVE CLUE! You’ve got me reciting the movie verbatim from that point on now. I will make a reference to one of my classes in honor of you on Tuesday. No one will know but I will laugh.


    • I threw all the movie references in to activate readers’ Movie A.D.D. (trust me, there’s a rare strand of this). “There’s no crying in baseball!” is one of my favorite movie quotes of all time.

      I hate to have to enact the policy for missed lessons, but, like your sister knows, if one student stands you up, they all will. Unfortunately for my wallet this week, I was feeling a little lenient. Woe to the next poor 7-year-old who dares try to blow me off! They will face my fierce wrath and ire! I will evoke tears!

      And, to close out the comment…”Flames! Flames! On the side of my face! Heaving, heaving breaths…heaving breaths…”


  2. I HATE IT WHEN PEOPLE BLOW ME OFF! It is rude and not very nice!!! Since you have such a large number of students, I think you should instate a policy that requires students to give you notice or they shall be subjected to being charged for the missed lesson. Other companies do it, so should you! Your time is as valuable as anyone else.

    With that said…
    Loved your post 🙂


    • Oh, E.T., I DO have that policy. If students miss a lesson WITHOUT telling me, they absolutely have to pay for it. I allow 24-48 hours notice to correctly cancel a lesson without penalty, but anything before a lesson or on the day of the lesson, they’re going to have to handle the consequences. I’m going to have to crack down harder on this, even though sometimes there are circumstances that make me bend my rules.

      Thanks for stopping by…looking forward to reading more about Paris and that subway system you love so much!


  3. That is definitely your money coming back to you. A reward for your compassion and understanding. 🙂


  4. Impish little dogs are so comforting. It’s the niche they fill.

    It doesn’t do wonders for your budget, and you can’t barter them for groceries, but compassion and empathy have a value, as well. Good for you, AB. ‘Tis the season (or is Tis’? No, it’s ‘Tis.)


    • My dog is quite impish. Tonight, she complained (yes, she complains) that I hid her hangar (yes, she plays with plastic hangars) from her reach, and wouldn’t quiet down until I retrieved it. Hmm….I wonder who trained who…

      ‘Tis ’tis…err, it IS ’tis. Although, I can’t for the life of me remember why it’s got an epiphany…um, an epilepsy…WAIT! An apostrophe!


  5. It is good too read your blog again!, i see some interesting updates here..


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