Telling a potential student no

Here is a journal entry from 17 May 2006.

Yesterday I did something that was hard yet necessary. I told (by email) a potential student that I did not think I could help her with her goals. I explained why, and it seemed harsh – not my style of expression – I mean the information. I’m not used to bringing bad news. She’s 27 with no musical experience and wants a pro singing career, with piano too. I told her i could help her sing better but could not promise her a pro career and I think this is what I had to do. To participate in her dream would not feel right. She wanted to know how long it would take to master singing. I tried to answer in a way that doesn’t seem mean or bitter, but telling her that I can’t help her because she’s unrealistic is not pleasant.

As I think about this, it becomes apparent that her issue is my issue. Degrees of difficulty are not so relevant here. The basic issue of coming late to the game is something I have struggled with. How late is too late? How long is too long? When does lofty become stupid?

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