Proposed Consent Agreement In the Matter of Music Teachers National Association, Inc. #00167

Submission Number:
00167
Commenter:
Jeryl Lynn Kleisler
Organization:
Tidewater Music Teachers Forum
State:
Virginia
Initiative Name:
Proposed Consent Agreement In the Matter of Music Teachers National Association, Inc.
Matter Number:

131-0118

Our chapter is part of the Music Teachers National Association. I find it very disturbing that the FTC would go after our small organization claiming that we practice unfair methods of competition. That could not be farther from the truth as I can attest to over the past twenty five years as a member. It is very apparent that the people who made this claim do not understand our group or the life of a music teacher. Neither national or the local or state organizations promote unfair competition practices amongst the teachers. It is, though, an understood code amongst teachers that you do not unfairly solicit students away from other teachers if you are a person of integrity. There is no repercussion if this happens by our local, state or national organizations. Imagine working countless hours week after week for five, ten, or fifteen years or more with a student to shape them into an excellent and competent musician only for someone to decide they want to take your student and solicit them away from their teacher after they are accomplished and enter the student in competitions and claim them as their own. This does unfortunately often happen. Alot of outside work goes into grooming a student (recitals, theory test, Guild Auditions, Keyboard Skills Auditions, etc.). SOLICITING SOMEONE ELSES STUDENT IS UNFAIR OR DECEPTIVE PRACTICES. Music teachers do not make alot of money and many would be considered under or at the poverty level. I know of only a very small amount who can do this is and financially survive. Most people can only afford to teach if they work other jobs also or are married and have additional income coming in to the household. To maintain a livable income depends upon the success of one's students. For someone to be able to unfairly solicit your student(s) is taking food off the table for some. It can also, in some respects, be linked to stealing someone elses intellectual property. Alot of ideas and teaching goes into shaping a student into a musician. It also takes many years, and a student cannot be easily replaced. Most people can only maintain a studio of about 25 or so students (due to time) and so the ability to increase income is restricted. Losing students can mean the difference of being able to pay all the bills or not. Our organizations only promote fairness, not deceptive practices, to help our profession to be able to survive. What is unfair and deceptive is unjustly going after MTNA. The resources our group has is small and it cannot afford to take this to court, unless they go defunct. We do not have the income or assets of lawyers and doctors. Is the mission of the FTC to make teaching music obsolete?