This week I lose 8 – possibly 9 – students. The majority of them are because of graduation. However, a couple are because of the economic hardships that American families are facing right now.
I’m always willing to work with people who are having troubles. I remember when I lost my day job in October 1990, right when I was starting to make some significant inroads in my singing career – getting roles with Opera Theater of Northern VA, bit parts with Washington Opera, etc., and thinking of going back to school for my masters. I had to go to Marianna, my teacher, and Gillian Cookson, my coach, and tell them that I had to stop working with them because I had no income and was having trouble even finding temp work (the job I’d had for 3 years used MultiMate word processing software, and suddenly the standard was WordPerfect, which I didn’t know). Both of them agreed to work with me on a deferred payment basis. I worked with them for no charge for about 6 months, and as soon as I started working again and had some income, I paid them both. I have extended this courtesy to people who I felt were talented and who I would hate to see interrupt their studies. And I’ve been compensated. Emotionally and financially.
I am not willing to work with people who are deadbeats. That sounds harsh, and I don’t mean people who don’t have money. I mean those who for whatever reason are willing to take your services and defer payment without making arrangements. If this kind of deal exists in your own head and you haven’t talked it over with me, it’s not an arrangement, it’s taking advantage. And it’s not going to happen any more. I don’t care how talented you are, if you aren’t upfront, there’s no relationship, professional or otherwise.
I only meant to post a link to an article from Making Music magazine about how “Music Fits the Budget,” but I went off on a rant. Ah well. I have that right, don’t I?