On a recent coach holiday, I was surprised to find the passengers collecting to ‘tip’ the driver.  I have been driven and entertained by some excellent drivers, but this chap certainly wasn’t one of them.  It got me thinking – why do we tip some people and not others?  For instance, I almost always tip good service in a restaurant, but I’ve never tipped the minister for a good service at church.  I have been known to tip friendly and helpful taxi drivers but I can’t recall tipping the staff at my local music shop, despite the fact that their service is absolutely second to none!

Are there rules for tipping and service charges?  Does it have anything to do with whether people deserve it or not?  Or do we just all follow a pattern established goodness-knows-when by goodness-knows-who?  It seems reasonable to me that we should tip people who go ‘above and beyond’ the job.  Not just because it’s the ‘done thing’?

Does your piano (or other instrumental) teacher fall into that category? Do they arrange exam dates and payments for you outside of the hours you pay them for?  Do they try to accommodate your changing needs when you decide last-minute to go on holiday or send your child on a school trip?  Do they find extra sheet music, worksheets and resources for pupils when they get stuck?  Do they smile when you cancel your lesson at the eleventh hour, despite the fact that they just took a hit to their income?

I hope I do some of those things, if not all.  I hope your teacher does, too. And if he/she does, how about showing your appreciation from time to time?  Christmas?  Easter?  Holiday time?

Teacher tipping – what do you think?  I like the sound of it.  But then I would, wouldn’t I?