First, something light to whet your appetites. Then the main event. If I may invoke the immortal words of Samuel L. Jackson in Jurassic Park, “Hold onto your butts.”
I was in a saxophone lesson until Gretchen Girl‘s 10:35 rehearsal (we’ll call her Singer H). The sax studio was super dry and my contacts were itching something fierce, so my eyes were red and watery. I met Singer H upstairs.
Me: Sorry I’m late, I was in a sax lesson until just now.
Singer H: Weird. [I’m beginning to wonder if that’s her default word.]
Me: Yeah, it was wicked dry in there so my eyes are itching and now my mascara is running and I look like a drama queen.
Singer H: … You play the saxophone?
I got in the car to go home and take out my stupid itchy contacts. My phone beeped at me four times rapid-fire. I figured some singer was having a crisis and needed my attention immediately. It could wait until I got my contacts out.
Okay, home. What is this all about now… oh. It’s a text from Singer D. One of her notorious multi-volume texts.
Singer D: (11:16) hey liz, its singer d:) the music faculty has decided 2 be very nice and letme take a semester off vocally..so i wont be needing you this semester. thank you
Singer D: (11:16) for always being prepared and i hope 2 use you again next semester:) because january didnt workout for us and im a poor college student!, i was wondering if we
Singer D: (11:16) (duplicate of previous message)
Singer D: (11:17) could meetup sometime this week and if i could get $100 back since the $80 was for last semester and my jury. i know its kindof wierd 2 ask and if i were in
Singer D: (11:17) a better financial state, i would let it go! ha i appreciate it so much and hope 2 see u soon:)
I took half an hour to compose a reply via email.
Sorry to hear we won’t be working together the rest of the semester! But it’s probably for the better to rest your voice a bit, take some of the strain off. If I’m around next semester I’d be happy to play for you again.
As for the $100, we discussed in our first rehearsal this semester that $60 would be for last semester’s rehearsals and we both agreed the flat $120 per month (my new billing policy) would cover any and all of our meetings in January – which ended up being two rehearsals and the two jury meets. I understand your financial situation, but it wouldn’t be fair to me since I performed the services we agreed to when you accepted the new policy. Even if I were to charge you the old hourly rate for January, it would still amount to $120, so I can’t really refund you for time I already put in.
I hope you have a productive, restful semester and you find yourself in good voice in the fall!
I would have liked to respond:
Excuse me? That’s not how it works. This isn’t “January not working out for us.” It’s you failing your jury. You don’t get a refund because you failed your jury. You agreed to pay me to play the piano. And I played the piano for you. Four times. In January. You pay me for it because I did it. The End.
Singer D emailed me with an apology!
I”m so sorry, you’re absolutely right about the payment. I forgot that just the $60 was for last semester. And you’re right, there were a few rehearsals and a jury. Sorry about that! I really appreciate the email and I do hope to work with you in the future:) You were always fabulous:) thanx again for everything and I’ll update you when it’s time to start again! Happy semester!
So, I guess the moral of the story is… I don’t know. Don’t do what she did.