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#1272231 - 09/21/09 05:18 PM Conservatory Politics!
BusyMom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/08
Posts: 28
Loc: Major US City
Note: I try to disguise my identity in all my posts so I change genders, ages, locations, often so plz no accusations that I lie or am a troll. Thx.

Any conservatory piano teachers here who can explain to me why my request for a new piano teacher at the conservatory for a child who is a major talent has descended into a major trauma for all involved? The teacher feels slandered although I told everyone it was just a chemistry problem and maybe he worked my child a little too hard. I feel slandered bc this teacher has told the others on the faculty that I'm the parent from he'll which I am not. And my child is afraid to go back to the conservatory bc he knows his old piano teacher is very upset with him.

The main problem is one of just chemistry. The man is an excellent teacher and I feel very badly that my child never clicked with him. I tried to point out his good qualities but it's hard to get a 9 year old to appreciate things like professional reputation, access, dedication, etc. Plus the man is not too warm-and-fuzzy with young kids and my child kinda needs that.

Plus problems never got resolved when I talked to the teacher. He refused to take no for an answer, or he made me feel stupid for questioning anything he did or how he acted. I thought he didn't understand young children well -- for instance, he once spent 45 straight minutes on the fingering for just measure of music alone with an 8 year old child. I took piano lessons at age 8, and I would have broken down and cried if my teacher did that.

So are we finished at the conservatory merely bc we bruised an important teacher's ego? I didn't tell him in person that we wanted to change teachers bc I didn't want to listen to him try to talk me out of it and I had already made up my mind (plus my child was adamant about not continuing lessons with him so I knew I had to make a change). I feel horribly guilty (and he made sure that I did feel this way too!)

This really takes the joy out of making music, and I think that's why my child wants to quit music for a year or two (he associates it with trauma and angst because of what this teacher put us though once he heard our request).


Edited by BusyMom (09/21/09 05:44 PM)

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#1272244 - 09/21/09 05:39 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: BusyMom]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10349
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
BusyMom,

Does your chameleon routine extend to having multiple identities at PW? If so, that is something that can lead to being banned from the forum. We value honest interchange and having multiple personalities is regarded as dishonest.
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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#1272247 - 09/21/09 05:47 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Piano*Dad]
BusyMom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/08
Posts: 28
Loc: Major US City
I can't be truthful about my personal details bc it can lead to my identification and that will not allow me to speak openly about my child's music education. there are not too many conservatories in the USA and not too many children who play at my child's level. So the chances of one of his conservatory teachers reading this and figuring out his/her identity is relatively high. I don't have multiple identities. Thanks for the warning though.


Edited by BusyMom (09/21/09 05:53 PM)

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#1272250 - 09/21/09 05:49 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: BusyMom]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10349
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
No one wants to know your personal details. All we ask is that you have only one identity here. If you have multiple identities that is explicitly prohibited.
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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#1272259 - 09/21/09 06:18 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: BusyMom]
bitWrangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 1785
Loc: Central TX
Originally Posted By: BusyMom
I can't be truthful about my personal details bc it can lead to my identification and that will not allow me to speak openly about my child's music education. there are not too many conservatories in the USA and not too many children who play at my child's level. So the chances of one of his conservatory teachers reading this and figuring out his/her identity is relatively high. I don't have multiple identities. Thanks for the warning though.


BM, while I can commiserate with your desire to remain anonymous, I would think that the particulars of your situation are so rather narrow that even with the information you've given, that if your kids teacher or someone else who is knowledgeable about the situation, was here on this forum, that they'd be able to suss out who you are. Certainly providing details such as:

"for instance, he once spent 45 straight minutes on the fingering for just measure of music alone with an 8 year old child."

would likely make it obvious if the teacher was reading this site, who you are.

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#1272264 - 09/21/09 06:26 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: bitWrangler]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
Just out of curiosity, what IS your child's level?
_________________________
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

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#1272266 - 09/21/09 06:28 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Minniemay]
BusyMom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/08
Posts: 28
Loc: Major US City
?? I don't know the exact level.

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#1272271 - 09/21/09 06:35 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: BusyMom]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
How then can you say not many children play at your child's level if you don't know what it is? What do you have to compare it to?
_________________________
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

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#1272273 - 09/21/09 06:37 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: BusyMom]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5422
Loc: Orange County, CA
Well, if you do live in a major US city, there are probably many well-qualified piano teachers to teach your child. Keep looking.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1272300 - 09/21/09 08:05 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: AZNpiano]
boo1234 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/09
Posts: 504
I think you need to take a less "hands on" role in your child's piano lessons.

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#1272302 - 09/21/09 08:18 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: boo1234]
BusyMom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/08
Posts: 28
Loc: Major US City
Originally Posted By: boo1234
I think you need to take a less "hands on" role in your child's piano lessons.


OMG you have no idea how much I want to get out of this music business and let my child handle it himself but he's too young to be running around the city on his own and I really am preparing him for a professional career in music. I just told my son now ... "I'm dropping you off at the front door and don't expect me to come inside and see these people!" It will kill me to go to the recitals and concerts but my child would be hurt if I did not show up. Before this, I loved this school and I was well regarded as a parent.

I have learned one valuable lesson from this and I will give this advice to all music parents: when you know you want to change teachers, say the problem is "just chemistry" and do not give your honest reasons! And when you audition for a new teacher also say "just chemistry" and do not tell the piano dept your real reasons either bc hatever you say will be twisted to make you look like the parent from he11.


Edited by BusyMom (09/21/09 10:04 PM)

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#1272303 - 09/21/09 08:21 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: BusyMom]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
What kinds of things is he playing?
_________________________
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

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#1272319 - 09/21/09 08:46 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: BusyMom]
Sandimar Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/04/08
Posts: 10
Originally Posted By: BusyMom
Note: I try to disguise my identity in all my posts so I change genders, ages, locations, often so plz no accusations that I lie or am a troll. Thx.

Any conservatory piano teachers here who can explain to me why my request for a new piano teacher at the conservatory for a child who is a major talent has descended into a major trauma for all involved? The teacher feels slandered although I told everyone it was just a chemistry problem and maybe he worked my child a little too hard. I feel slandered bc this teacher has told the others on the faculty that I'm the parent from he'll which I am not. And my child is afraid to go back to the conservatory bc he knows his old piano teacher is very upset with him.

The main problem is one of just chemistry. The man is an excellent teacher and I feel very badly that my child never clicked with him. I tried to point out his good qualities but it's hard to get a 9 year old to appreciate things like professional reputation, access, dedication, etc. Plus the man is not too warm-and-fuzzy with young kids and my child kinda needs that.

Plus problems never got resolved when I talked to the teacher. He refused to take no for an answer, or he made me feel stupid for questioning anything he did or how he acted. I thought he didn't understand young children well -- for instance, he once spent 45 straight minutes on the fingering for just measure of music alone with an 8 year old child. I took piano lessons at age 8, and I would have broken down and cried if my teacher did that.

So are we finished at the conservatory merely bc we bruised an important teacher's ego? I didn't tell him in person that we wanted to change teachers bc I didn't want to listen to him try to talk me out of it and I had already made up my mind (plus my child was adamant about not continuing lessons with him so I knew I had to make a change). I feel horribly guilty (and he made sure that I did feel this way too!)

This really takes the joy out of making music, and I think that's why my child wants to quit music for a year or two (he associates it with trauma and angst because of what this teacher put us though once he heard our request).


Is the child upset because the teacher spent 45 minutes on a passage or the parent upset? I notice that you said you couldn’t handle it at eight. I also noticed that you called the child a “major talent”.

I wasn’t surprised that the teacher spent that amount of time perfecting some difficult measures to play at the level that you suggested your child plays.

Do you think it would be different with another conservatory instructor? I don’t think children get special attention. in these schools. Good or bad I think a school expects a certain "product". I think more is expected. I don't think they get special treatment. If you feel the environment is bad for your child, remember they are a child first and only once, then maybe find a teacher from a music association or University.

Also, maybe the child is in a period where he or she doesn’t enjoy it quite as much or sometimes kids have bad days or weeks. They get sick of routine just like adults. It can be difficult for a teacher when a child goes through that.

Best wishes. Regardless. the resolution will be difficult.

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#1272327 - 09/21/09 09:01 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Sandimar]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11445
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Having a good communication with parents is extremely important to me being able to do my job well. Perhaps having your son with this teacher with whom you didn't along was a bad idea from the start. But please, do not disregard communicating with your son's new teacher, whoever it may be as a result of this. Not everyone is like that.

Interview your son's next teacher before signing up. Find someone who has the same goals as you do for your son. Since your son is upset about going back to the conservatory (and there are many in the US, btw), then look for a private independent teacher. Not every child flourishes in a high-stress and competitive environment that sometimes happens at these schools. I know it would have crushed me.

Go to www.mtna.org or www.getlessonsnow.com or some other online places and get a list of names. Then start calling, asking questions, and when you find some good possibilities, see if they will meet with you and your son in person first.

There's a perfect teacher out there for your son. Don't stop looking until you find them. smile


Edited by Morodiene (09/21/09 09:03 PM)
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1272357 - 09/21/09 10:10 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Morodiene]
BusyMom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/08
Posts: 28
Loc: Major US City
Yes, one of the problems was that this teacher was too busy to take the time to explain things well to me. When I interviewed new teachers, I learned some of the reasons for the annoying things he did and I learned that some of my child's complaints were not valid. Remember to stop the lesson early and take the time to communicate well to avoid these problems.

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#1272365 - 09/21/09 10:20 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: BusyMom]
boo1234 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/09
Posts: 504
Is your child the one who is complaining about the teacher or is it you watching what is going on and thinking it is too much or not right?

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#1272367 - 09/21/09 10:23 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Morodiene]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Exactly what did you hope to accomplish here by your posting?

I can't imagine that your hysterics here are helpful to your child who as you say just 9 years old. When you said: "My child was adamant about not continuing lessons with him", could it be
your child was comfortable with his teacher and is now greatly embarrassed for his teacher to have been caught up in an argument involving his mother.

If your child hasn't expressed interest in changing teachers before your altercation with the teacher there is no reason to act upon it. If progress was being made and there was mutual respect between them they needed to keep that situation. If your child has not complained to you about anything occuring in the lesson you are in danger of destroying his self confidence and his future work.

No conservatory career has ever been helped by a parent making demands and accusation against a teacher.

Are you paying full tuition or is he a scholarship student?

I wonder if you have an idea of the conflicts you will create for your son if you don't learn how to talk to people when you need their assistance in creating a new scenario for your son?

This is serious stuff and when you say "trauma" and "angst" the only person whom I see showing those kinds of emotions to us is, unfortunately, you.

Your child and his talent is going to be undermined severely by things such as you've told us. I predict that your child will continue to be the middleman of a situation he has no control over. That alone would make him want to quit.

Actually I feel a little heartbroken at hearing this story.

It's a story where no body wins.

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#1272372 - 09/21/09 10:26 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: BusyMom]
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17747
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
BusyMom, I don't know anything about conservatory politics. But I *am* struck, and concerned by, the juxtaposition of these two statements of yours:

Originally Posted By: BusyMom
This really takes the joy out of making music, and I think that's why my child wants to quit music for a year or two (he associates it with trauma and angst because of what this teacher put us though once he heard our request).


and

Originally Posted By: BusyMom
I really am preparing him for a professional career in music.



Two things are noteworthy here: One, you and your son do not appear to be in agreement regarding his career goals. (I won't even get into the issue of how seriously one can talk of career goals in a child of 8. Or 9.) Two, your phrasing in the second quote is curious: "I am preparing him for a career in music," rather than, say, "He tells me he wants a career in music" or "He is preparing for a career in music."

Just sayin'.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#1272380 - 09/21/09 10:44 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Monica K.]
R0B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/08
Posts: 1439
Loc: Australia
As others have said, good communication on all sides, is essential, and I agree with Betty, that this seems to be a situation where nobody wins.

What really concerned me, however, was your statement:

"I just told my son now ... "I'm dropping you off at the front door and don't expect me to come inside and see these people!" It will kill me to go to the recitals and concerts but my child would be hurt if I did not show up."

This seems to be putting enormous pressure on a young child to be a go-between in a situation not of their making.
I would not be at all suprised if your child wanted to quit under these circumstances.

Hopefully, there is still time to resolve the problem, before it gets worse.
_________________________
Rob

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#1272381 - 09/21/09 10:49 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Betty Patnude]
BusyMom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/08
Posts: 28
Loc: Major US City
Well that's why I plan to drop him off at the front door and not even get involved with his teachers anymore! I will tell them to write things down for him and to make things real clear for him and to call me and leave messages about anything real important like "he has a recital on this date" but don't expect me to do more than that. This way I figure I'll have no more conflicts with any teachers.

Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
Exactly what did you hope to accomplish here by your posting?

I can't imagine that your hysterics here are helpful to your child who as you say just 9 years old. When you said: "My child was adamant about not continuing lessons with him", could it be
your child was comfortable with his teacher and is now greatly embarrassed for his teacher to have been caught up in an argument involving his mother.

If your child hasn't expressed interest in changing teachers before your altercation with the teacher there is no reason to act upon it. If progress was being made and there was mutual respect between them they needed to keep that situation. If your child has not complained to you about anything occuring in the lesson you are in danger of destroying his self confidence and his future work.

No conservatory career has ever been helped by a parent making demands and accusation against a teacher.

Are you paying full tuition or is he a scholarship student?

I wonder if you have an idea of the conflicts you will create for your son if you don't learn how to talk to people when you need their assistance in creating a new scenario for your son?

This is serious stuff and when you say "trauma" and "angst" the only person whom I see showing those kinds of emotions to us is, unfortunately, you.

Your child and his talent is going to be undermined severely by things such as you've told us. I predict that your child will continue to be the middleman of a situation he has no control over. That alone would make him want to quit.

Actually I feel a little heartbroken at hearing this story.

It's a story where no body wins.



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#1272388 - 09/21/09 11:04 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: BusyMom]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Behave like the loving mother your son needs. You are not behaving very responsibly if you really want for your son to thrive musically and spiritually.

That is the only thing I can think to say to you.



The conflict you are having in your mind, I believe, is about you. You are taking out some aggression on people in your son's like who are there to give him the finest instruction he is capable of receiving. He has a lot to live up to in a conservatory environment and he will not be able to enjoy his path to musicianship with the baggage of having a mother who is creating some very unpleasant circumstances for him.

Can you stop yourself in mid-track here? Now? Before it's too late?

When this is all said and done and he's about 18 years old, is he going to consider you his ally or his archenemy? Actually, he might be on his way to thinking those things much sooner if you can't cease and desist from making everything a confrontation between you and the teacher(s) or administration.

Approach them respectfully with your requests. Your son is going to need a lot of mentors and guides to help him get to his music career so don't close any doors now in your haste. These kinds of things will come back to bite you in the a.. if he gets that far.

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#1272404 - 09/21/09 11:43 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Betty Patnude]
BusyMom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/08
Posts: 28
Loc: Major US City
Thank you Betty. I will try to put the conflict aside for the sake of my son's hapiness. He does not see me as his adversary -- he's shocked at what they did to me because he was there and he never heard me bad mouth his old teacher.

I have learned a very valuable lesson:

1. NEVER critisize a conservatory teacher! They are too self-inflated to take criticism well. Always use the "poor chemistry" excuse and leave it at that.

2. Let your child voice their own complaints to their own teachers and do not get involved. If the teacher is too mean for the child to approach, then have him talk to the Director on his own.

3. Smile and pretend like this teacher did not screw me.


Edited by BusyMom (09/21/09 11:53 PM)

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#1272496 - 09/22/09 06:21 AM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: BusyMom]
Nannerl Mozart Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/08
Posts: 732
Loc: Australia, Melbourne
Busymom, I dont claim to know the world about the parent student relationship, all I have is the collected experience of others as well as my own. I am a teenager and I get along with my mum really really well, if anything we are almost like friends.

First off, you seem to be quite aggitated by the teacher that you describe. From what you say his behaviour of calling you the 'parent from hell' seems harsh. You should not have heard that and its not at all nice to say. With that said, many on the board have questioned your 'behaviour'. I don't know you personally so I won't evaluate but I will say that you evaluate the need to take an active role as a parent without being 'annoying'. Perhaps it is time to think about what might agitate a teacher as a parent. Telling a teacher how to teach is sometimes likened to a person without children telling another person how to raise their children. My mother tended to 'side'with my teacher and as a result I didn't like my teacher. With saying that my mum is completely musically illiterate and she wasn't informed of her need to support my journey as a growing musiciain. What was essential was communication at the time and it is something that others have repeated over this thread.

As a parent, your concern over your son and your care is evident as you choose to send him to a conservatory teacher. I am not a teacher... I am mearely a student but you seemed to have want to 'change'or make the teacher aware of how to teach children. I understand that from your own experience the teacher is perhaps not suited to your eight year old. I can see agitations and I might share an experience of mine, I was agitated once at my former teacher as I thought his lessons lacked depth and substance. I too did speak of setting goals and having him 'change' his method of teaching, it didn't work, after much discussion he stuck to his ways. I am not saying that people are rigid, I am saying that you either stay with this teacher and accept his way of teaching or change teachers.

With that said, you would be best to talk to your own son. See if he is even interested in playing the piano or studying music. Some parents make the 'wrong diagnosis', piano is almost a generic instrument and some kids are more interested in saxophone, cello or violin. See with your son, thinking of pursuing a career is really a big thought. My teacher expressed to me that we never even really make that decision we just study and find that we'd love to do this for the rest of our lives.

I must congradulate you for taking a keen interest in your sons education, my mum and I get along really well. At this stage she does not attend all my performances, she'll go to the ones with the songs she likes. She also doesn't correspond with my taecher much, she might talk to my piano teacher occasionally or my school music teacher ... why do I tell you this? What you are doing now is by all means correct, but see who's motivation it is to take lessons. All to many times you see the pushy parent who takes their kids to competitions and lives vicariously through their kids. I am not saying that you are like this... my real concern is over the fact that you speak of making your son a proffessional or having a career.

Some things to think about it. It seems it is appropriate to find another teacher after this experience with a conservatory teacher but think about your role as a parent, your son's wishes and what you BOTH (and later on what you all want including the teacher) out of lesson.

Just some food for thought, I hope that helped.
_________________________
http://colouredsilence.wordpress.com/


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#1272534 - 09/22/09 08:30 AM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
My children's music teachers are my employees. If I don't like them, I'll fire them and employ others. Unless he has a talent as precocious as Mozarts, there are any number of teachers who will be able to make a decent job of teaching piano to an 8-year old. An 18-year-old might be slightly different, of course.

I can see absolutely no reason to get involved in an emotional entanglement over the piano tuition of an 8-year-old, even a very capable one. If you don't like your kid's teachers -- for any reason at all -- you're absolutely entitled to tell them to go to the hot place and get new ones.

Just my $0.02, of course.



Edited by kevinb (09/22/09 08:33 AM)

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#1272550 - 09/22/09 08:56 AM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
BusyMom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/08
Posts: 28
Loc: Major US City
Hi Rebekah,

thanks you for the food for thought. my son is the one who wants a career in music as an adult, and he has the talent and drive for it (although he temporarily lost his drive due to the fallout after asking for a new teacher). personally, i know many super talented musicians who can't find well paying jobs in the music industry because they did not have good music teachers in their youth. so that's why i'm going through all this to get a conservatory education for my son.

how old are you? i ask you this because i'm wondering when my son will be old enough for me to sit back and "just do the driving" instead of playing personal secretary to his music studies.


Edited by BusyMom (09/22/09 09:18 AM)

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#1272559 - 09/22/09 09:20 AM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: kevinb]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13763
Loc: Iowa City, IA
To some extent, I think conservatory politics are impossible to avoid. Every city I've lived in has some sort of situation where Good Student started with Teacher X, quit, went to Teacher Y, and now Teacher X accuses Teacher Y of stealing students, Teacher Y refuses to talk to Teacher X because he's crazy, Teachers Z, W, and P start to get caught in the middle and are pressured to take sides, Teacher X's other students' parents take his side and talk bad about Teacher Y, Teacher Y's students' parents take her side and talk bad about Teacher X. Meanwhile, both Teacher X and Teacher Y's students are the ones who win the competitions and play better than Teacher Z, W, and P's students, so if you want to be with one of the "best" teachers, you have to choose between X and Y because Z, W, and P don't seem interested or able to get the kind of results the parent of Student J wants.

From what I hear, it tends to be the same at the upper levels of any competitive endeavor, be it gymnastics, mathematics teams, or spelling bees. People get focused on results and competitions, and they drive themselves (and others) crazy trying to scramble their way to the top.

My advice would simply be to consider what you want the end result to be. I'm going to take a wild guess and assume you're interested in competitive piano activities. (These kinds of politics seem most heated in competitive circles.) If that's the case, then you should give some serious thought to how important competitive piano is and whether or not it really advances your goal of preparing your son for a career in music. I'm not saying competitive piano is a bad thing - competitions can be very worthwhile, but I can easily name as many pianists with happy careers in music who never did well in competitions as I can competition winners whose careers stalled, failed, or never got off the ground after they outgrew competitions and found themselves not knowing what to do next.

I would also ignore any advice regarding your parenting skills given 6 paragraphs on an internet forum. I can't imagine any of us have a clear idea of what you're like as a parent, and who's to say any of us are any better? (Unless one of us is Jon Nakamatsu's mom, in which case please speak up and tell us how you pulled that one off!)

Also, don't think you're alone. I read your post thinking "hmm...I wonder if I can figure out who she's talking about," but truth be told, I can think of situations that match the one you described in *every* competitive piano community I've had some experience with. (And some are worse - I've met people who haven't spoken to each other in decades because of a single incident with a student quitting. It's NUTS.)
_________________________
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#1272560 - 09/22/09 09:20 AM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: BusyMom]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Excuse me Mom-from-hell, but are you saying your son is 9 years old and knows what he wants to be?
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#1272561 - 09/22/09 09:20 AM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Betty Patnude]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11445
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
Exactly what did you hope to accomplish here by your posting?

I can't imagine that your hysterics here are helpful to your child who as you say just 9 years old. When you said: "My child was adamant about not continuing lessons with him", could it be
your child was comfortable with his teacher and is now greatly embarrassed for his teacher to have been caught up in an argument involving his mother.

If your child hasn't expressed interest in changing teachers before your altercation with the teacher there is no reason to act upon it. If progress was being made and there was mutual respect between them they needed to keep that situation. If your child has not complained to you about anything occuring in the lesson you are in danger of destroying his self confidence and his future work.

No conservatory career has ever been helped by a parent making demands and accusation against a teacher.

Are you paying full tuition or is he a scholarship student?

I wonder if you have an idea of the conflicts you will create for your son if you don't learn how to talk to people when you need their assistance in creating a new scenario for your son?

This is serious stuff and when you say "trauma" and "angst" the only person whom I see showing those kinds of emotions to us is, unfortunately, you.

Your child and his talent is going to be undermined severely by things such as you've told us. I predict that your child will continue to be the middleman of a situation he has no control over. That alone would make him want to quit.

Actually I feel a little heartbroken at hearing this story.

It's a story where no body wins.



Wow Betty, how insightful! I guess I always tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, in this case, the OP. But now that you point out these things, coupled with the seeming over-reaction by the OP by not wanting to be "found out" in case someone at that school comes on this forum really sheds new light on the subject.
_________________________
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Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1272570 - 09/22/09 09:34 AM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: kevinb]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11445
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: kevinb
My children's music teachers are my employees. If I don't like them, I'll fire them and employ others.


Really? You pay their FICA, Federal, State, and unemployment taxes for them? Do you offer benefits as well? Pensions? And are you still hiring? Sounds like a dream job to me!

They are not employees, they are independent contractors. They run their business however they feel is best, be that good or bad, and you pay them for their services. When you "fire" a teacher, you are the one leaving, not them leaving the business.

A teacher, like when you hire someone to build you a house, is the supposed professional in this. In an employer/employee relationship, the employer knows how to run the business and what the employee should be doing. You can tell your contractor what features you'd like your house to have, but you shouldn't tell him how to hang drywall or how to tile, because he's the expert.

This contractor scenario is more analogous to a teacher/student relationship then employer/employee. If you think you are a teacher's employer, then you also think you have the right to tell them how to do their job. But how do you know what is the best way to teach technique, what order of pieces should be learned, what aspects of music they need to know for a lifetime of fulfilling music-making?

I think perhaps this is the problem the OP had - an incorrect concept of who the teacher is. Ask questions? Sure. Communication is key. Let the teacher know if your child is having trouble, or if there are things that they want to learn (like how to play "Smoke on the Water" or whatever). We're happy to oblige. But there is a fine line between that and telling the teacher how to teach. What exactly are you paying them for if you're telling them how to do their job? Something to think about.


Edited by Morodiene (09/22/09 09:36 AM)
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1272575 - 09/22/09 09:49 AM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: BusyMom]
Dorrie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/09/05
Posts: 438
BusyMom -

My experience is that children change their mind about their adult "careers" many times. So right now we know your child has had an unpleasant experience with a piano teacher, and both of you are experiencing some distress about it. Your son indicates he doesn't know if he wants to continue lessons - who would! Too much emotion to be fun.

Everyone needs to take a step back.

There is nothing magic or special about teachers at the community/prep schools associated with conservatories. These teachers may or may not be on the "real" faculty and may or may not be the best teachers in a given community. Without knowing your location, it is hard to say. The are certainly NOT the ONLY good teachers in the community. Many teachers on these faculties teach in several venues.

If I was selecting a teacher for a student who was interested in competitions, I would look not only at teachers affiliated with conservatories, but also those who regularly place students in such events.

As a parent though, my advice to you would be to find a teacher who loved teaching children to play the piano and who was VERY good at it. By which I mean the children practice and love their lessons and their teacher (well most of the time). A teacher who had high expectations but tempered them based on the age and temperment of the child. A teacher who will take your phone call and explain what they are doing. A teacher who doesn't set your nerves on edge. While I don't think teachers like having their every lesson second guessed, neither can they do their best work if you are just a "drive by" parent.

Another piece of advice - try to have (preliminary) interviews with teachers and any discussions where you might be perceived as questionning the teacher out of earshot of the child. As a parent, I've learned through experience that that's the quickest way to get twisted into an unpleasant triangle. It sounds like your emotions are high - mine might be too in this situation - and I don't think your son needs more emotionality around his lessons. It doesn't always make the child feel supported.

I hope your interviews go well.

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