23 July 2010

Auditions and interviews "At my house"?

| JessicaNumber
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As real estate is not particularly affordable for artists and people running new businesses in Canberra, I’ve been teaching piano and preschool music from my house and to make some extra money I’ve also been interviewing for various part-time or casual jobs with people who are also working from home.

The business community is accustomed to meeting in neutral locations such as restaurants but this doesn’t work as well when you have a lot of heavy equipment to set up or plan on making a lot of noise so it’s definitely not an option for musicians!

So I’m occasionally going alone over to the house of someone I’ve never met or maybe met once or having strangers show up at my house after a 2 minute telephone conversation in which they expressed an interest in piano lessons.

I haven’t had any bad experiences with this (beyond the occasional no-show) but naturally family and friends can become concerned as this is not the usual professional paradigm. I generally like to let people know where I’m going and when I intend to be finished although to make matters more complicated I’ve also had friends misunderstand the nature of the 7pm visit to an acquaintance’s house – obviously if they think I’m having fun they aren’t going to call the police if I don’t come home!

I wonder if any of the experienced home business people and artists have any thoughts on whether the “meet me at my house” audition or interview should be regarded as unusual or ideas about good meeting places and personal safety in Canberra.

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JessicaNumber4:29 pm 26 Jul 10

Thanks for the great advice everyone.

Ebmilly thanks for your interest, yes I do teach older ladies. Adult students are motivated, practice hard, pay attention in lessons and learn quickly. In other words they are dream students (although admittedly not as cute as kids!)

If you have someone who knows where you’re going and what you’re doing, and have a mobile phone on you, you’re probably just as safe as an office worker.

I was taking piano lessons at the teacher’s house for two years way back in the 1980s. Why would it be unusual to do so today? Where do they think the “cottage” part of “cottage industry” comes from? Where do they think the “garage” part of “garage band” comes from? Or the “home” part of “home schooling”?

“Not the usual professional paradigm” my arse. They’re just concerned that you don’t fit into their paradigm of “wear a suit, drive to work, sit in a cubicle all day”.

Tell them you’ll call them at Xpm, just so they can learn to relax and appreciate the fact that there is this thing called “community” where people interact with each other and behave themselves according to accepted social norms. It was something we were really into during the 70s and 80s.

Hi Jessica

I work from home as a designer and I’ve had the same issue, where people want me to meet at their home to discuss their business etc. I am pretty uncomfortable with it; not only as a safety thing but more over as a level of professionalism, I don’t want to be meeting around someone’s kitchen table.

I think meeting in a neutral space helps to level the playing field and starts the relationship at a good level.

Tricky one. But I think a good rule of thumb is, if you’re not comfortable with something, don’t do it.

P.s do you teach piano to older ladies? My mum is looking for a teacher to help her refine her skills.

troll-sniffer9:39 am 23 Jul 10

Ah yes, the old media-induced society ain’t safe chestnut again. Life’s not really as risky as you might think from your experiences with all the media you are subjected to. Today’s media literally overload society’s ability to make balanced assessments of personal risk, as every incident within a thousand kilometres is reported and is processed by the brain as local news, so assaults in Sydney, the Gold Coast etc are stored in your brain’s database as relevant to you, whereas in reality they aren’t.

You just need to be a bit careful when making plans. A good idea is to request a number you can call the person back on (and call them) so that you have at least that much info about them. I doubt the piano lessons subset are a hotbed of avarice and lust but you never know, especially now you have posted this!

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