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#1272872 - 09/22/09 04:52 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Chris H.]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5500
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Chris H.
If playing for fun is the main objective then find a local teacher who offers a more laid back approach. But then don't complain when your child is way off the pace a few years down the line.


Hey, who says your local piano teacher can't be as competitive and enterprising as your conservatory professors??? Some of the best piano teachers in my area are not affiliated with any college, unversity, conservatory, or music school prgrams.

I'm just saying...
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#1272875 - 09/22/09 04:55 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: BusyMom]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5500
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: BusyMom
the teachers say he's a major talent. i didn't invent that.


Nevertheless, when a mother says that about her own child, it does come across in ways you did not intend. The problem is, there are so many "major talents" out there, just hop on Youtube and you'd find dozens of young pianists who are outstanding--and that's just the ones who put their videos on Youtube! When you get involved in piano competitions, you are going to be shocked by the level of playing today.
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#1272892 - 09/22/09 05:13 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: AZNpiano]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10371
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
After four years of such events, almost nothing could shock me any more.
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Grotrian 192 #156455

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#1272895 - 09/22/09 05:16 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: BusyMom]
ProdigalPianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 1049
Loc: Phoenix Metro, AZ
Originally Posted By: BusyMom
the teachers say he's a major talent. i didn't invent that.


The conservatory faculty said it, or his first teachers (the ones who prompted you to send him to the conservatory)? And, if it was the conservatory faculty, was it something more along the lines of 'he has the *potential* to be a major talent'? Cause I'm guessing they'd hedge their bets.

To be blunt, I'm guessing the attitudes of the conservatory faculty is that their job is preparing future artists, not hand-holding parents who don't understand the situation...which is...it is patently ridiculous to bring your child to the high pressure and high expectations of a conservatory environment and then complain about it.

The chances of even 'major talents' of age 9 eventually making a career as a performer are small enough that relatively few teachers are going to devote major amounts of time and energy to high maintenance *parents* (as opposed to actually teaching students). And trying to tell a conservatory teacher they are expecting too much is the fast track to no longer being in the conservatory. That's what you're there for. That's what it takes (in the opinion of the teacher and conservatory).

If you want to stay in the conservatory, what you need is a crash course in what it means to be a conservatory student and conservatory parent. I would suggest you ask someone in the administrative offices if they could recommend an experienced parent as sort of a 'native guide' to the conservatory experience. Explain that you feel you have stepped on toes through your lack of understanding (plead ignorance) and you deeply regret it, and want to do what it takes to correct the situation. You know this is high stakes and are very nervous about doing the right thing for your child etc.

Conservatory faculty are no doubt quite used to weeding out those who are "gifted" but not willing to buckle down and do the work. When little Johnnie whines that it's "too hard" and "not as fun as Miss Nice who hugged him a lot and didn't expect him to practice so much and told him he was wonderful" little Johnnie's teacher is not likely to be enthused if the parents tell him to 'be nicer' and 'not so tough.' If 'nicer' and 'not so tough' is what is important, then you need to go back to Miss Nice.

Edited to add: I could be completely wrong but I'm guessing that a lot of what's going on with your kid (whichever gender it turns out to be) is that all of a sudden s/he is not the biggest duck in the little pond. S/he is expected to work harder than s/he ever did before...and is beginning to be very afraid s/he is not really quite as good as s/he thought s/he was (or the old teachers said). Quitting is easier than trying and failing, and a lot better on the ego.


Edited by ProdigalPianist (09/22/09 05:27 PM)
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#1272896 - 09/22/09 05:17 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: AZNpiano]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
When you think of the riches life holds for a 9 year old, someone who as yet knows nothing of its wonders and possibilities. You'd need to be a __________ (fill in your pejorative term here) person to turn that tap off. Though to be fair me, I'm still p*ssed off at Leopold Mozart for not letting his kid go to Uni!
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#1272981 - 09/22/09 07:26 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: AZNpiano]
BusyMom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/08
Posts: 28
Loc: Major US City
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
I wonder who we in the Piano Teachers Forum involved so far in this topic are tending to care most about?


The student!


i am advocating for the student on his behalf.


Edited by BusyMom (09/22/09 08:43 PM)

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#1273024 - 09/22/09 08:41 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: BusyMom]
BusyMom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/08
Posts: 28
Loc: Major US City
Yes, I do need a parent mentor to explain all this to me. Thanks Prodigal for the great advice. My child could also use a teen mentor to explain to him why he needs a more mature attitude.


Edited by BusyMom (09/22/09 08:45 PM)

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#1273059 - 09/22/09 09:41 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: BusyMom]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11966
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: BusyMom
Yes, I do need a parent mentor to explain all this to me. Thanks Prodigal for the great advice. My child could also use a teen mentor to explain to him why he needs a more mature attitude.

That will come with time, and everyone's different. I didn't get more serious about things until I was much older and learned to appreciate the gift I had (not that I'm uber talented or anything). Encouraging him and making it positive is the best thing you can do for him, with a gentle nudge every once in a while if he slacks off smile.
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#1273144 - 09/23/09 01:02 AM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Morodiene]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4417
Loc: San Jose, CA
I'm pretty sure Prodigal Pianist was exaggerating for effect. There are some great teachers to be found among the private ones... who specialize in teaching gifted children of your son's age. High school + private instruction will help... because conservatory is college. He'll be ready by the time it happens.

Good luck to you both.
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#1273182 - 09/23/09 03:01 AM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: boo1234]
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 845
To the OP: I think your main problem was not speaking directly to the teacher in question. The teacher's main problem was not accepting gracefully the turn of events. He should not have spoken ill of you before attaining further clarification from you.

I can relate to the OP in one respect. You sometimes hear teachers of any subject, not just piano, speak in ways that are far beyond their students' capacities. While they might be perfect for a teenager or adult, they don't have the gift of simplicity that they need for a beginner. To the OP, don't second-guess yourself now that you've experienced emotional upheaval. Go with your first impulse.


As a side note to one poster (Kreisler?), it is often declasse for a teacher to ask why he or she is being dropped. You can usually figure it out anyways by reviewing your exchanges with the parent. You can't assume you need to improve at all. Perhaps it's just a bad fit.

Likewise, it's declasse for a teacher to ask a parent why he or she dropped the teacher before you or even who that teacher was. These things usually become clear in time.

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#1273183 - 09/23/09 03:04 AM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Jeff Clef]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
We can quibble about the definition of the term `employer' as much as we like -- it's pointless because, apart from anything else, the legal notion of employer will vary from one jurisdiction to another.

But the basic principle -- that as a parent I'm entitled to pursue my children's best interests by disbursing money to whom I see fit -- remains sound.

I don't know enough about music pedagogy to know whether my children are being taught in the most effective way, but I would certainly know if they were unhappy. I wouldn't attempt to tell their teachers how to teach music -- I wouldn't have a clue. But if they were consistently making my kids cry, I would think that the `employment' relationship (or whatever you choose to call it) would extent far enough for me to ask them to think about whether they could do things differently. If that makes me the parent from hell, then so be it.

One day, my children will be old enough to decide, if they wish, that they can put up with a certain amount of unhappiness in return for future benefits. But I'm not going to make a decision like that on behalf of an 8-year old.

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#1273266 - 09/23/09 07:57 AM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: AZNpiano]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2911
Loc: UK.
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Chris H.
If playing for fun is the main objective then find a local teacher who offers a more laid back approach. But then don't complain when your child is way off the pace a few years down the line.


Hey, who says your local piano teacher can't be as competitive and enterprising as your conservatory professors??? Some of the best piano teachers in my area are not affiliated with any college, unversity, conservatory, or music school prgrams.

I'm just saying...


I agree!

In the area where I live and teach I would say that I am one of the more competitive teachers and have high standards. There are plenty of other teachers who don't.
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#1273281 - 09/23/09 08:27 AM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Chris H.]
Nannerl Mozart Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/08
Posts: 732
Loc: Australia, Melbourne
Busymom... some teenagers dont mature until they get into university. I didn't take up music studies seriously until I was 14, for the other time (8 -13 ... 6 years!) particually when I was 8 I was one hell of a pain. I never practiced and whenever I did I would make such a big deal out of it. I used to practice standing up so I could run to the clock! I don't think your son needs a teenage mentor, though, I think inspiring him by taking him to concerts (not just piano concerts) but concerts of different types could really motivate him.

I also think associations with students who are musical would be fun... it gets really fun in the teen years where people can fiddle and play on instruments together.

As you say, he has a balanced life already and kudos to you for making sure that happens. Being so career focused at his age is a bit of a concern, my mum never sent me to lessons so that I would be a concert pianist, she sent me because if I ever wanted to be a musician then it would be an OPTION. Infact my piano teacher goes by that principle, he has encouraged my talents in other areas and fields. As an adolescent I love to write, I am an English major. The intimacy in language that I have acquired has allowed me to appreciate some English Art Songs by Vaughan Williams and Gibbs.

There is so much that your son is yet to explore, concert pianist dream today, scientist ambition tomorrow, it should be a possibility, it should be an option, another avenue not a definate destination.

Sorry if that came across as condescending. If you are offended I didn't mean it.

All the best to you and your son, what are your plans now? Does he play a second instrument?
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#1273339 - 09/23/09 10:15 AM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: kevinb]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11966
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: kevinb
We can quibble about the definition of the term `employer' as much as we like -- it's pointless because, apart from anything else, the legal notion of employer will vary from one jurisdiction to another.

But the basic principle -- that as a parent I'm entitled to pursue my children's best interests by disbursing money to whom I see fit -- remains sound.

I don't know enough about music pedagogy to know whether my children are being taught in the most effective way, but I would certainly know if they were unhappy. I wouldn't attempt to tell their teachers how to teach music -- I wouldn't have a clue. But if they were consistently making my kids cry, I would think that the `employment' relationship (or whatever you choose to call it) would extent far enough for me to ask them to think about whether they could do things differently. If that makes me the parent from hell, then so be it.

One day, my children will be old enough to decide, if they wish, that they can put up with a certain amount of unhappiness in return for future benefits. But I'm not going to make a decision like that on behalf of an 8-year old.




I agree wholeheartedly. However, I do not see where the OP said the teacher made her son cry. She simply stated that if she were the student that had to work on one passage for the lesson *she* would have cried. The student in question wasn't even her son, and there was no indication that he was crying. I'm just making the point that we do not have any indication that the teacher made any student cry.

I have spent a good chunk of lesson time working with students on one passage. It has never brought tears. In fact, it's kind of fun the way we approach it.
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#1273340 - 09/23/09 10:15 AM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
BusyMom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/08
Posts: 28
Loc: Major US City
It would help if someone could put together an advice list for my son. ProdigalPianist hit on most of the points for parents to know, but my son might find her frank advice scary. My son is 10 actually, and his gift is in composition, although he plays piano well too (not competitively though). I will print out your advice and give it to him to read.

These are the things he needs to learn now, if you can phrase it in music parlance for him:

1. He must practice piano regularly instead of sporadically because the brain needs regular practice in order to build the muscular/neurological connections for skilled piano playing. This is different from composition studies where sporadic work is fine.

2. Conservatory teachers are serious professionals who are training the next generations of musicians/performers and they not interested in babying students or dealing with angry parents who don't understand the music education business.

3. He is very privileged to be at a conservatory and getting a partial scholarship. Focus on the positives (the talented teachers, the wonderful concerts) and not on the negatives (egos, competition, culture clash, etc).

4. If he seriously wants to reach his goal, he is at the right place, but he needs to do the work.

5. He must stop complaining about the work load or they will kick him out or cancel his scholarship. If it's too hard for him, he can quit or go to an easier music school (we will still love him and he can always change his mind).

6. He has to voice his own complaints to his teachers and leave me out of it. Teachers do not like hearing student's complaints from parents. If he needs help with a teacher, then he can ask the Director to help him (but leave mom out of it!)

7. Be super nice to everyone and do not bad mouth the last teacher or anyone else there. If anyone brings it up, just say "he was a great teacher but I wanted someone different for a change." He must limit the damage done by the change.

8. Do not be angry about the broo-ha-ha with the last teacher - it was caused by ignorance about the conservatory culture. Go up to him and apologize for hurting his feelings and tell him how much you appreciate everything he did for you.

9. Stay well rounded and do other fun activities.

did I leave anything out for my son?


Advice for parents:

1. Find a mentor at the school to advice me on conservatory matters and how to support my son.

2. Look in and say "Hi" to the teachers and let them know I am available for help if needed by cell phone, but do not hover or sit in the room during lessons.

3. Let all future teachers know that my new policy is "my son voices his own complaints directly to you and I will not act as a go between bc I don't understand music anyway. The Director is available to help resolve disagreements."

4. Do not bad mouth anyone there and do not talk about the old teacher or the broo-ha-ha with him.

5. Stay positive and supportive of the school (which I always was before this).

did I leave anything out for me?


Edited by BusyMom (09/23/09 11:23 AM)

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#1273342 - 09/23/09 10:19 AM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10371
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Originally Posted By: CandyWoman
I can relate to the OP in one respect. You sometimes hear teachers of any subject, not just piano, speak in ways that are far beyond their students' capacities. While they might be perfect for a teenager or adult, they don't have the gift of simplicity that they need for a beginner.


That makes a lot of sense. We don't know if it applies in this case, but it may be a distinct possibility.


Originally Posted By: Rebekah.L
Busymom... some teenagers dont mature until they get into university. I didn't take up music studies seriously until I was 14, for the other time (8 -13 ... 6 years!) particually when I was 8 I was one hell of a pain. I never practiced and whenever I did I would make such a big deal out of it. I used to practice standing up so I could run to the clock!


Are you sure you want to admit that! grin

Competitiveness can become an obsession, especially when it gets mixed with concerns about career. That's stressful for a twenty-something. I wouldn't want to burden a really young one with any fears at all about the consequences of their practicing and playing. Children are pretty good at sensing fear and worry in their parents, even if they don't feel it directly themselves.

This may sound funny coming from me, I know. But the last thing I would ever want my own son to feel as he prepares for recitals and competitions is fear of consequences for 'losing' or for 'failing.' He knows quite well that preparation leads to better results. All I ever ask of him is that he prepare well. The actual outcome depends on so many intangibles that you cannot control. If he plays well and enjoys the process, he as accomplished everything of value. If he wins or places, so much the better. And none of this is related at all (at least not yet) to his future career.
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#1273344 - 09/23/09 10:22 AM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: BusyMom]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11966
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
All he needs to do is what his teachers tell him. Keep working hard, that's all. Politics are everywhere in life, and the best thing to do is steer clear of them. Don't say bad things about people (which is good advice in any situation) so you don't burn any bridges.
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#1273362 - 09/23/09 10:47 AM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Morodiene]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: Morodiene

I agree wholeheartedly. However, I do not see where the OP said the teacher made her son cry. She simply stated that if she were the student that had to work on one passage for the lesson *she* would have cried. The student in question wasn't even her son, and there was no indication that he was crying.


Yes, fair enough. That was just my hyperbole.

FWIW, For my part, I think it's OK for my kids' music teachers to irritate, nag, cajole, and criticise them. After all, that's no more than I do wink I don't think it's OK for their teachers to abuse them or treat them disrespectfully, and that's where the employer-employee relationship (or however one wishes to categorise it) comes into play.

The tricky thing is that children are not always able to distinguish criticism, cajoling, etc, from abuse, and I suspect that teachers are not always able to tell when children are not able to tell. It must be easy to cross that boundary without realising it from time to time. Which is why I think teachers of small children ought to be somewhat responsive to the parents' views. Of course that's harder to do in a group setting than when working one-to-one. If you've got one child who is easily upset or irritated by a particular teacher, and twenty others who have no problem, them I doubt there's an easy fix.

That's just by way of general remark. I'm not sure there's enough information in this thread to work out exactly what the problem is in the relationship between the various parties, which is none of my business anyway.

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#1273409 - 09/23/09 11:48 AM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Piano*Dad]
bitWrangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 1789
Loc: Central TX
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
Competitiveness can become an obsession, especially when it gets mixed with concerns about career. That's stressful for a twenty-something. I wouldn't want to burden a really young one with any fears at all about the consequences of their practicing and playing. Children are pretty good at sensing fear and worry in their parents, even if they don't feel it directly themselves.


I just recently met a former Julliard attending pianist who could be a poster child for your statement. Apparently she was ultra competitive as a child, she did the whole competition circuit and did well, and that drive allowed her entrance into Julliard. However once she got to Julliard she started realizing that her quality of life pretty much sucked. It was consumed by nothing but stress caused by the need to compete and excel. It finally caught up to her and she dropped out and to this day doesn't even touch a piano (and seems perfectly happy in this decision). An extreme example perhaps, but a cautionary tale never the less.

Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
This may sound funny coming from me, I know. But the last thing I would ever want my own son to feel as he prepares for recitals and competitions is fear of consequences for 'losing' or for 'failing.' He knows quite well that preparation leads to better results. All I ever ask of him is that he prepare well. The actual outcome depends on so many intangibles that you cannot control. If he plays well and enjoys the process, he as accomplished everything of value. If he wins or places, so much the better. And none of this is related at all (at least not yet) to his future career.


We do exactly the same with our daughter. We emphasize doing her best, and what it takes for her to do her best (prep, practice, etc). It's impossible to completely take the pressure of winning away, esp if your kid is actually good enough to do so, but as parents we can help mitigate it somewhat by praising effort vs simply results. Plus we always remind her that a competition is one persons opinion about one performance at one point in time. The person who comes in first isn't necessarily "better" simply because they came in first, that is the nature of these subjective competitions.

Stepping back a bit though, as a parent, the other thing I think of is this. A particular competition is simply one of many in our little burgh, which is one of many in our little state, which is one of many in our country. If you take all the winners of all these competitions and look at what they will be doing when they are 24, I would hazard to guess that a rather overwhelming percentage will not be making their primary living as pianists (like single digit or even less), though a higher percentage will be musicians and/or at least actively engaged in making music. So given that, in the end, what's it all about? What exactly is the point of spending significant hours of ones childhood practicing and competing and all the angst associated with this? I think as parents we need to keep this in mind, and help our kids with this perspective.

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#1273520 - 09/23/09 02:00 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: BusyMom]
ProdigalPianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 1049
Loc: Phoenix Metro, AZ
Originally Posted By: BusyMom
It would help if someone could put together an advice list for my son. ProdigalPianist hit on most of the points for parents to know, but my son might find her frank advice scary.


Grown-ups have occasionally told me they find me scary, cool but with kids it's all about how you deliver the information. They generally are quick to get the point that you are telling them the (age appropriate) truth and are paying them a compliment by being...direct. wink

Originally Posted By: BusyMom

5. He must stop complaining about the work load or they will kick him out or cancel his scholarship. If it's too hard for him, he can quit or go to an easier music school (we will still love him and he can always change his mind).


I don't know if I'd threaten him with being "kicked out" as much as I would tell him if the workload is too much for him or if he hates it that much he doesn't belong there anyway. The rest is good.

Originally Posted By: BusyMom

6. He has to voice his own complaints to his teachers and leave me out of it. Teachers do not like hearing student's complaints from parents. If he needs help with a teacher, then he can ask the Director to help him (but leave mom out of it!)


Teachers don't like hearing *complaints*, period.

Questions, requests for clarification...those are fine. Perhaps it's just your choice of words that is causing difficulty. What "complaints" does he have exactly? Too much work? Going to the director is not likely to earn him any goodwill from either party.

If it's worth going to the Director over - the teacher is actually doing something *inappropriate* (harsh, demeaning criticism, belittling) then the kid should not have to deal with it himself.

You don't go to Pizza Hut and then complain because they won't serve you a Big Mac and fries. You went to the conservatory, you're getting the conservatory experience (insofar as we can tell from your posts). If you don't want it, then go somewhere else for training.

Originally Posted By: BusyMom

8. Do not be angry about the broo-ha-ha with the last teacher - it was caused by ignorance about the conservatory culture. Go up to him and apologize for hurting his feelings and tell him how much you appreciate everything he did for you.


This is an excellent idea but I think I'd say "upsetting him" rather than "hurting his feelings"...although, come to think of it, an apology for 'hurt feelings' (considering it's from a kid) might make a point to Mr. Big Ego.
_________________________
Adult Amateur Pianist

My only domestic quality is that I live in a house.

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#1273629 - 09/23/09 05:06 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Morodiene]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
Well said, Morodiene!
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#1273699 - 09/23/09 07:48 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Minniemay]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4417
Loc: San Jose, CA
"Teachers don't like hearing *complaints*, period."

No doubt. But, would you rather hear the complaint to your face, in a private setting--- or read about it here? Or hear about it fifth-hand from someone else in your town or school?

Teachers--- sorry guys--- can suffer from arrogance and personality problems, or can simply be ineffective and trying to cover it up with bluff and bluster. And about as often as I've seen that, I've seen students who couldn't bother to show up for class, do the reading, finish the assignments--- and then blame their poor performance on the teacher, who "doesn't like me; I just don't know why."

I can't make out what the real story is, from the information we have. The only thing I'm quite sure about is that eight years old is probably way too young for conservatory life, and it seems to me the kid (and the mother) would do better with a well-qualified private teacher, who understands how to work with young learners and their parents.
_________________________
Clef


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#1273795 - 09/23/09 10:08 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Jeff Clef]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Golly, to me the adversity we're hearing about here can be prevented I think.

When one thing comes to mind that needs to be discussed - discuss it by opening the door for understanding 1) why there is concern, and 2) negotiate to a decision by considering what can be done about it.

It is when one thing is added to another thing that "the ball of wax" starts forming to outrageous proportions never intended and totally unnecessary.

Self control and courtesy is a good starting point to conduct any important conversation.

We have to communicate effectively together in support of the student. Keeping an "open door" to hear these kinds of things helps it not get out of hand in the first place.

When questions and answers are at odds with each other and the "fur starts flying" and we make irretrievable comments that we might later "kick" ourselves for.

And, empowering students to speak up for themselves is something that I completely advocate. They very much need to be involved and consulted while the adults in their lives make big plans for them.

The student's well being is the most important part of the equation in my book.

Betty

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#1273814 - 09/23/09 10:46 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Betty Patnude]
BusyMom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/08
Posts: 28
Loc: Major US City
He's at the conservatory bc;

* he loves classical music
* he loves chamber music
* the local teachers could not teach him (he gave his first piano teacher panic attacks)
* he's dying to play in an orchestra
* he needs ensembles to play his compositions
* he meets other kids as smart as he is
* he works with teachers who really inspire him

he would be so sad if he lost all this. But changing piano teachers was so traumatic for us that he didn't want to go back until just now.


Edited by BusyMom (09/23/09 10:48 PM)

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#1273831 - 09/23/09 11:19 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: BusyMom]
BusyMom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/08
Posts: 28
Loc: Major US City
Betty, there is something else here too. A lot of the "chemistry problem" between my son and his last teacher was also a culture clash between the teacher's class/intellectual status and his parent's class/intellectual status. My son could not relate too well to the man bc his upper class manners/demeanor were so unfamiliar to him. My son is going to have to become comfortable with a class that is much higher than that of his parents if he is going to succeed at the conservatory (even the students there come from upper class intellectual homes). For example, a family friend sometimes took my son to the conservatory when I had to work and she almost caused a lot of trouble --- she told him his classmates were "nerds", and his teachers were "full of it", and that his classmates were "horrible musicians". she would moan all day "oh G-d, I hate classical music", and she would shout out at recitals "he's the best!" whenever my son played. My son found her antics absolutely hysterical and he was so bummed when we banned her from the conservatory!


Edited by BusyMom (09/23/09 11:29 PM)

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#1273844 - 09/23/09 11:58 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: BusyMom]
birchy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/29/06
Posts: 323
Loc: Vancouver
Regarding the ten year old child, she writes:

Originally Posted By: BusyMom
He's at the conservatory bc;

* the local teachers could not teach him (he gave his first piano teacher panic attacks)
...
* he needs ensembles to play his compositions



and

Originally Posted By: BusyMom
A lot of the "chemistry problem" between my son and his last teacher was also a culture clash between the teacher's class/intellectual status and his parent's class/intellectual status. My son could not relate too well to the man bc his upper class manners/demeanor were so unfamiliar to him...

For example, a family friend sometimes took my son to the conservatory when I had to work and she almost caused a lot of trouble --- she told him his classmates were "nerds", and his teachers were "full of it", and that his classmates were "horrible musicians". she would moan all day "oh G-d, I hate classical music", and she would shout out at recitals "he's the best!" whenever my son played. My son found her antics absolutely hysterical and he was so bummed when we banned her from the conservatory!


Wow. Not sure how to editorialize on it. Just - wow.

Sock? If so, hats off - well played.

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#1274088 - 09/24/09 11:33 AM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: birchy]
BusyMom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/08
Posts: 28
Loc: Major US City
Sounds like I did not explain things well. I'm not playing a joke on anyone here.

My son, like any young child, is going to find an adult acting like this funny (our friend who cracked jokes at the conservatory) even if he does not agree with her point of view, and as long as no one hears it or is hurt by it. We never predicted that she would act like this! She loves our son dearly. But we feared her jokes would spoil his enthusiam for the place, so we hired a grad student to replace her for babysitting.

I mentioned this friend's antics to illustrate the social barriers to succeeding in a conservatory environment (eg. class differences).

At first, we did laugh at the culture shock our friend was experiencing at the conservatory, until we realized why she was acting so strange: ten years ago, she was homeless and she had to live in a homeless shelter with her ten year old son for one year. I think it was very painful for her to walk the corridors of the conservatory and see ten year old kids who have never known such hardship.


Edited by BusyMom (09/24/09 11:38 AM)

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#1274104 - 09/24/09 11:53 AM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: BusyMom]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
I don't really understand much of what's being said on this thread, or how the various facts that are presented relate to one another. Sorry smirk

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#1274106 - 09/24/09 11:57 AM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: kevinb]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5500
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: kevinb
I don't really understand much of what's being said on this thread, or how the various facts that are presented relate to one another. Sorry smirk

_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1274132 - 09/24/09 12:29 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: BusyMom]
Jennifer Eklund Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/16/09
Posts: 162
Loc: SoCal
Sorry ma'm I think your handle needs to be "BusyBody" because your posts just look more and more trollish every day. As much as you'd like to convince us that the teachers are the problem, I'm not so sure anymore.
_________________________
FREE 90-page eBook of sheet music: www.pianopronto.com/specialoffer

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BA in Piano/MA Musicology



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