Shopping >Ballard Street Music Co
Unprofessional and Incompetent. Rob Hunter is perhaps the most incompetent proprietor of a small business that I have ever encountered. From recitals to lesson schedules, our two and a half year experience through the "school" has been frought with the most basic and insulting of errors. In one end of year recital alone, Ballard Street Music failed to notify several parents of the correct time for the recital, changed days and boggled musician categories, switched the piece of music my son was supposed to perform (the morning of the recital), and then failed to publish his name in the program. Each semester we've signed up, the office switched days and lesson times unexpectedly, moved classes, lost phone messages, made commitments and then promptly forgot arrangements. This has happened with both our children time and again. There are some excellent instructors at Ballard, but no matter the instructor, problems continuously arise through the front office.
Rob lacks the ability to run an operation of the magnitude he's attempting to put together, and is so busy with various schemes and plots, that he neglects coherent and research based pedagogy for children. As an instructor, he's so inconsistent, that it affects the ability of his students to grow. Rob is unable to articulate the details of musical skill acquisition and has difficulty assessing performance beyond fairly simplistic feedback that leaves both student and parent unsure of the direction of lessons. Rob has difficulty keeping student names straight, student lesson progress recorded, and is unable to remember what his students worked on just the week before. Instead he relies on the drill and kill books he sells through his front office. His answer to every parent inquiry regarding lessons and practice is to "look in the book." He has lots of students to keep up with–which is what makes his complete lack of record keeping, lesson planning, and note taking even more difficult to understand.
This disorganization extends to every facet of his business. The reason we've stayed so long with Ballard is two fold. First, and most important, my daughter's experience with a piano teacher, Mrs. Sue, has been wonderful. Mrs. Sue is a truly focused and gifted teacher, and her students blossom under her tutelege. We've had scheduling mistakes, and have had to pull teeth to get the office to do their job, but none of that has been because of Mrs. Sue. Second, Ballard is close and conveneint for families in Wylie, but honestly, the proximity and ease of access isn't worth the lack of quality research-based education and the weekly frustration of dealing with the sort of mistakes that would shut down an amateur daycare. I would strongly caution parents with special needs children away from Rob. While Rob willingly works with special needs children (from autistic children to students with severe ADHD) his lack of training and educational professional development does them a disservice, and his impatience and temper flare frequently. When frustrated Rob is disrespectful to student and parent. When angry, Rob is just mean. Rob has difficulty dealing professionally with women. While never sexually inappropriate, it has been our family's experience that there is a great deal of misogynistic rancor inherent in Rob's dealings with mothers. If there is a conflict or problem, Rob will only speak civilly with the father, and often refuses to return messages from mothers. There is a dramatic difference when I, as a father, talk to Rob, and this pattern of behavior became apparent almost immediately in my dealings with Ballard Street Music. It seems that a woman is much more likely to draw offensive and derogatory comments from Rob, and when angry Rob has no problem commenting on a student's cognitive ability, and name calling.
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