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I was looking for a singing teacher to give me private singing lessons. I emailed and left voicemails for a lot of teachers I found online. Only 2 bothered to even reply. I went with the first teacher to reply because she was the only person (at the time) to reply as well as having a great teaching style and being a very awesome teacher to learn from. I'm about 4 months into taking private singing lessons with her and I love it and have made a lot of progress.

The 2nd teacher replied to my email about a couple months after my initial email to her. I had heard glowing reviews about her as a teacher from her students. She is extremely accomplished as a singer. I would like to take lessons from her in the distant future after extensively learning with my 1st teacher (maybe after a year or so?) to get a sense of what different teaching styles there are.

I feel that giving myself input from multiple sources would be amazing for my growth as a singer. If you don't have multiple points of reference for how different singing teachers teach, you wouldn't know whether 1 teacher does something well that other teachers don't. It's nice to be able to compare so that you know what works for you and what doesn't work for you as a student. I don't want to take 2 sets of singing lessons in parallel because it would be too big a commitment for my daily life, which is why I want to learn from the 2nd teacher in the future.

I feel that being honest and saying, "Hey, I already have a teacher now, but I want to take lessons from you in a year or 2" won't work [1]. How do I tactfully put the 2nd teacher on hold so that I may take lessons from her in the distant future while keeping the relationship cordial since I am delaying potential student-teacher lessons for a long time?

[1]: It seems out of line & presumptuous to essentially be asking someone, "Hey, I want you to keep me as an option very far in the future when you may not even know what your teaching situation or life situation will be at that time. Me, someone who you barely even know and have no obligation towards; you should definitely keep someone like that in the back of your mind taking away attention from the more important, immediate things in your life."

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How do I tactfully put the 2nd teacher on hold?

As I would do for any reseller/supplier who finishes second in the grab-a-student-race: politely let them know they came (too) late. Don't blame them, just be nice and handle the situation in a neutral and professional way. Don't burn any bridge, as they shouldn't do it too. ;)

I always do that with suppliers. They fight for business opportunities, and there's no second place "at 1st sight". And they know it. If they missed it, they may get a chance in the future.

It's the same here. The second teacher missed an opportunity by answering very late. They shouldn't be surprised that you found someone else.

So, I would answer, leaving the door open. Kind of (done with your own words/style):

Hi Alice,

Thanks for coming back to me.

I heard great things about you, and I got very good feedback from former/current students.

At this time, I've already started a course (xx months ago), and have to finish it.

But if I have the opportunity, I'll be happy to take lessons from you once it's complete.

(pleasantries here and bye/see you in the future)

This way, you thank them, tell them you don't dislike what they do, that you keep interested in a possible future "partnership", and leave the door open. They will probably understand that it's because they came late that they lost the market, and not because of you.

And if they don't understand by themselves, it's a big red flag!

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