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Studying inflation via piano lessons

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Where did the word ‘inflation’ originate? It did not seem part of the vernacular 40 or 50  years ago. However, the prices of everything one can name have become inflated since then; and now we have to earn more to pay for what we managed to buy before at more reasonable prices.

Are we any further ahead?

My sister-in-law lives in Whitehorse, Yukon, in a community that has a fairly high standard of living. When she visits, we always discussed piano teaching, which she has done, very successfully, for many years. We share tips that bring success and ideas that don’t work.

At one time, I lived in a rather average community where the going price for piano lessons was quite affordable for the average student. But not all children who wanted lessons could afford them. Even so, my in-law was shocked at the low prices I was charging.

I maintained that I knew quite well what my students’ parents could, and would, pay for piano lessons for their children. Even at my low prices there were some who could not pay.

She said, "You simply have to charge more!"

I replied, "If I set my price higher, my milkman is going to charge more for milk, the mailman will presumably want a raise, so he can afford lessons for his kids, my babysitter will want more money and so it will go, on and on."

You can see the domino effect coming, can’t you?

She went back up north, and the next fall I succumbed to her suggestion and announced a price raise. I lost one or two good students. I did not teach any differently.

Strangely enough, although I taught no differently than I had before, all my students did very well that year!

I suppose the parents paid more attention to the kids’ practise time (always a good idea). Or, presumably  they said, "If we’re going to pay good money for your lessons, you’ll have to practise every day and do a good job of it!"

So there is my take on inflation, based personal experience.

Bertha Klassen is a community correspondent for Elmwood.

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