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#1272602 - 09/22/09 10:24 AM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: kevinb]
bitWrangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 1785
Loc: Central TX
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. 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 would disagree with both parts of this post. First, unless you really do own some type of music school, music teachers are not employees, at best they are contractors, all are service providers. While it's true that as a consumer, you are free to walk (within the stipulations of any contract that was signed or agreed to), that is another thing entirely than being an employer.

As to the second part, it may be true in a large metropolitan area, but if the OP's 8yo is as talented as they mention, then there can be precious few teachers who can bring the student along in a manner that is far better than simply "decent". Even in my neck of the woods, while not NY or LA, is a pretty decent sized city, I can count on one hand the number of teachers that are considered cream of the crop for someone of that age. AAMOF, I would conjecture that the situation is the opposite, as you get older, then you can find more high level teachers as many of them won't take students below a certain age. Not to mention the fact that many of these top tier teachers tend to have full studios (though I would hazard to guess that if the student was of sufficient talent, that room can be made).

So while I agree with your overall statement, it's your money and time (and your kids), use them to your advantage, I disagree that given a sufficiently advanced student that it really is "that simple".

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#1272604 - 09/22/09 10:29 AM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Morodiene]
Nannerl Mozart Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/08
Posts: 732
Loc: Australia, Melbourne
Hi Busymom,

Glad you liked to read the post. I am 17 years old, turning 18 in 2 months so I am about to graduate. I started to do most of the 'driving' when I was 14 but my teachers say that it's a bit unusual to start to be autonomous at my age. The fact that my mum is completley musically illiterate drove me to find my own teachers and interview them myself. I'm planning to study at a conservarium next year to study music performance so I guess that is the next step to becoming a proffessional. What you say about the right teacher is correct. The history/ experiences of the teacher I see surpasses my goals as a musician but without him I don't think I'd be able to study music at a university level. Without going into that much detail, he makes a living as a concert pianist, teacher, lecturer and accompanist. He works part time at some of the best conservatoriums here. His experiences in music studies is very useful since I am looking to study music after I finish school.

It is worthwhile to find a good teacher but I think that this stage of your sons development it would help to find someone who studied music education. I say that because music education specialists also study psychology and understand development. There are teachers I know that choose to take up proffessionals and pre-proffessionals, some teachers aren't that well versed in pedagogy and teaching younger children. I could be wrong but it sounds like the case in your sons experience.

Does your son need a conservatory teacher though? Would a teacher with a relevant degree and performing career suffice? It does in my case, I dont see a conservatory teacher.

I dont mean to give any parenting advice at this point. These are just some ideas that I have evaluated and collected over gifted and prodigy children. Some parents go to the extreme of banning their children from certain activities (ice skating, cricket, etc) in the belief that it would 'spoil their hands'. THis might sound silly but its true, other parents exclude their children from other areas of study... I've seen parents exclude sports and even a general education - arithmatic and literature. I doubt that you do go to extremes, lets not forget that you have a nine year old in your hands, he might change his mind and find something different, you never know.

My mum never pushed me in any direction, she just supported and encouraged me all the way whenever I took an interest in something. As I result, there is so much in the world that I feel so honoured to be acquainted with. I really enjoy immersing myself in language, literature is an interest of mine. I also like history and mathematics... I can get carried away here but you get my drift. I am not advising you, just stating that there is a trap that many parents of prodigies fall into.
_________________________
http://colouredsilence.wordpress.com/


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#1272611 - 09/22/09 10:47 AM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4414
Loc: San Jose, CA
Well said, Rebekah.
_________________________
Clef


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#1272645 - 09/22/09 11:30 AM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: BusyMom]
Mrs.A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 155
Busy Mom,

I don’t see that you asked a question in your post. It looks as if you vented about a frustration. Instead, I would suggest you post a specific question.

Several teachers here asked what level your son is playing. You never answered (unless I missed it) The reason we ask is because talent will take your son a long way. You appear to be putting your of sons future success into the hands of one teacher. It is not realistic.

Again, ANOTHER analogy about my own kids; (I do that often here) My son plays very competitive baseball. For two years he has played on a traveling team. Several parents were unhappy with the coach. Parents felt the coach wasn’t qualified enough and was jeopardizing their children’s baseball future. They campaigned to oust him. These kids are 10 years old and this whole mess started when they were 8!

A meeting was called with the head of the baseball organization. He sided with the coach. He reported that of the hundreds of kids he has seem come through this competitive baseball association, four went on to play professional ball, four went to prison, and four are dead (car accidents etc).

In the end, these “parents from hell” caused a lot problems. My son was very discouraged when the coach had enough and quite. The parents and kids who supported the coach were the kids with the strongest averages and stats and the parents themselves played competitive ball. The problem parents had little competitive experience and naively expected their child’s baseball success to be determined at age 10.

I think what everyone here is advising you to do is relax. We don’t know all the details of your story but what many of us do know is that your son’s musical future is not dependent on this one experience. He is only eight.

If you live in a community that has a conservatory then you should easily find a very qualified teacher. It may be that the conservatory has very high expectations and the teacher you had is part of that school of thought. It may be that the atmosphere of the conservatory is not a match for you child. Or you may have burned your bridges. We don’t know.

Find another solution. I wish you luck.
_________________________
Piano Teacher.
Church Music Director.
Kindermusik Instructor.
Mom to four boys.


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#1272652 - 09/22/09 11:42 AM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Jeff Clef]
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
I'm not sure what you mean by
"a conservatory" for 9 yr. olds in
the US, but some of the basic facts
sound very familiar: teachers
with big egos; overworked child wanting
to quit; lack of chemistry between student
and teacher; parent becoming overly
involved in the lesson process;
etc. We hear such things all the
time on the forums, and the solution
is difficult and involves many
complex issues.

For example, if a child shows
marvelous talent, the natural
tendency is to put him with the
teachers with the biggest reputations.
Unfortunately, a big reputation
almost invariably goes hand and
hand with a big ego. That is,
such a teacher will be interested
first and foremost in promoting
himself and only secondarily in
teaching. Nevertheless, a parent
might resist pulling a child out
of such a situation, because of
the prestige factor.

As for the lack of chemistry issue,
the solution would seem to be to find
a teacher with good chemistry.
But it's not so simple as that.
First, the parent might resist
removing the child from such
a prestigious school. And the
school might resist a teacher switch
if the current teacher objects to it.

Furthermore, if the child were
to switch to a teacher with good
chemistry, either in the school or
outside of it, that might in turn create
even more serious problems. A
parent can come to resent, at the
very deepest level, a situation where
there is a special bond between a
teacher and his child. In such
a situation the parent will invariably
switch the child to another teacher.

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#1272655 - 09/22/09 11:45 AM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Mrs.A]
BusyMom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/08
Posts: 28
Loc: Major US City
Why can't a teacher just accept the "just bad chemistry" excuse (which was honest and 75% of the reason why my child wants to switch teachers)? I'm not sure why the teacher forced me to also give him an itemized list of complaints so the mud slinging could begin! I never wanted this to get ugly, and the ugliness is scaring my child away from music and the conservatory! Luckily there is another activity at this school that he loves (chamber music) and the head of that dept is both parent and child friendly! I'm hoping she restores my childs trust in this school. No 9 year old child should feel like he has made an enemy in the music business just bc he told his school "I don't click with that teacher. Can I have someone different?".

Also, I get the impression that top conservatories have a "take a hike" attitude towards anyone who complains. Is this universal? I know that these schools are esteemed institutions and they don't have to put up with a lot of crap from parents to keep students, but to put a parent and child thru a major trauma just for asking for a new teacher is not acceptable, IMO. policies should be put in place to limit the inevitable mud slinging that takes place so children do not associate angst with music and possibly quit music studies altogether.

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#1272662 - 09/22/09 11:51 AM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: BusyMom]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11559
Loc: Canada
Quote:
just bc he told his school "I don't click with that teacher. Can I have someone different?"...

The child told the school that? Was the child able to explain in what way he believed he didn't "click"?

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#1272665 - 09/22/09 12:00 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: BusyMom]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11422
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: BusyMom
Why can't a teacher just accept the "just bad chemistry" excuse (which was honest and 75% of the reason why my child wants to switch teachers)? I'm not sure why the teacher forced me to also give him an itemized list of complaints so the mud slinging could begin! I never wanted this to get ugly, and the ugliness is scaring my child away from music and the conservatory! Luckily there is another activity at this school that he loves (chamber music) and the head of that dept is both parent and child friendly! I'm hoping she restores my childs trust in this school. No 9 year old child should feel like he has made an enemy in the music business just bc he told his school "I don't click with that teacher. Can I have someone different?".

Also, I get the impression that top conservatories have a "take a hike" attitude towards anyone who complains. Is this universal? I know that these schools are esteemed institutions and they don't have to put up with a lot of crap from parents to keep students, but to put a parent and child thru a major trauma just for asking for a new teacher is not acceptable, IMO. policies should be put in place to limit the inevitable mud slinging that takes place so children do not associate angst with music and possibly quit music studies altogether.

While you cannot control the "mud slinging" that is happening, this is a great moment to show your son how to be gracious and how to handle this like an adult. Perhaps you need to have a talk with this teacher and set things straight. Be the bigger person and apologize for whatever part you played in this getting out of hand, and let him know you would like to leave his studio on good terms, or even better, that you would like to try and find a solution.

You first stated that the complaint about the teacher was your complaint, and now you state your son was complaining. So which is it? Was the bad chemistry on the part of you and the teacher and not your son and the teacher? Is your son no longer interested in lessons as a result of things blowing up like this, or as a result of how his teaching was? You know the answers to these questions, and I think they will be very telling. In any case, the whole "dropping him off at the door" and refusing to talk with the teacher is a very passive-aggressive response that only creates further discomfort for your son.

Get things out in the open with this teacher in a respectful way. If the teacher continues to be disrespectful to you, however, then you can feel free to go and your son will see that you handled it better than he did. Chances are, this is a misunderstanding, and by being willing to hear his side of things, you might be able to come to an agreement on your son's future lessons with him. Everyone wins in that case.
_________________________
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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#1272680 - 09/22/09 12:14 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Morodiene]
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17746
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Excellent post, Morodiene. I agree completely.

BusyMom, it sounds like you want your son to remain at the Conservatory. If that is correct, then my advice would be to take whatever steps are necessary to put your family back on good terms with the teachers and administrators. Apologize for whatever role you played in escalating the conflict and assert clearly your desire to be on good terms with the Conservatory. Stress that both sides are working toward the same goal: facilitating your son's advancement in piano. Engage in behaviors that will support a conciliatory point of view, i.e., attending events, going inside, smiling and speaking nicely to the teachers, volunteering, helping out with fundraising, etc. etc.

Whether you were justified in your initial complaints is to a certain degree not really relevant here; the question is what is the best way, from this point on, to ensure a positive learning environment for your son. Your son has obviously picked up on the tension surrounding his training. If you are convinced that the Conservatory is the proper environment for him, for his own good, swallow your resentments and do what it takes to unruffle those ruffled feathers. A little bit of groveling can go a long way. wink

Pyrrhic victories are victories in name only.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#1272681 - 09/22/09 12:14 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Morodiene]
Dorrie Offline
Full Member

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

It seems from your posts about this time last year, that you complained about the way this conservatory was treating your daughter - similar complaints in fact - that the atmosphere was too strict, and not what you thought of as developmentally appropriate. And both of your children wish music as their career?

Do both of your children have the same teacher? Has this problem been festering for more than a year?

Perhaps you need to have a discussion with the dean, or director about what the school's expectations are in general before deciding whether to continue to enroll your children.

I suspect your child will follow your attitude. I don't think most children know what the music business is, never mind worry about enemies in it. Children do however, pick up on the attitudes parents have about their children's teachers.

Find a teacher/situation about which you can be positive and your child will do just fine

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#1272682 - 09/22/09 12:15 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: BusyMom]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13759
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Originally Posted By: BusyMom
Why can't a teacher just accept the "just bad chemistry" excuse?


Because teachers have egos and feelings like everybody else.

"Just bad chemistry" is never satisfactory. Not when your girlfriend breaks up with you. Not when you get laid off your job.

"Just bad chemistry" isn't satisfactory because it shuts the door for improvement. If you're told the chemistry is bad, that means there's nothing you can do to fix things - you are completely trapped. It's uncomfortable and leads to bad feelings.

I do believe that sometimes the chemistry just isn't right, but expecting people to accept that with no hurt feelings or awkwardness ignores basic psychology. Nobody likes a severed relationship, no matter what the reasons or circumstances.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#1272716 - 09/22/09 01:02 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Kreisler]
Michael Darnton Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/09
Posts: 243
Loc: Chicago
It appears that a bunch of teachers were not the right people to ask this question of!

The teacher IS your employee: you pay him, his social security, retirement, the whole wad, indirectly. If, for ANY reason, the relationship is not working out, you have the right to go elsewhere, and should.

Whether you're doing the right thing by your kid is a different question.
_________________________
http://darntonviolins.com and http://darntonhersh.com

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#1272734 - 09/22/09 01:33 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Michael Darnton]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11422
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Michael Darnton
It appears that a bunch of teachers were not the right people to ask this question of!

The teacher IS your employee: you pay him, his social security, retirement, the whole wad, indirectly. If, for ANY reason, the relationship is not working out, you have the right to go elsewhere, and should.

Whether you're doing the right thing by your kid is a different question.


Actually, en employer pays half of FICA out of their own pocket. It is not a deduction from the employee's salary. Same with unemployment. Insurance is usually paid for in part by the employer and employee, so again, that is money above and beyond what the employer pays for time worked. These are the costs associated with having employees. A contractor, however, has these costs all to themselves. They can pass the cost along to their customers in their rates, but in teaching music, which is often seen as a commodity, one has to be careful not to price themselves out of the market. If I considered my taxes and insurance costs when figuring my rates, I'd most likely be charging double what I do now, and also likely, not have many students.

Of course customers have the right to choose to do business elsewhere, which is why it makes good business sense to do one's best to make the customer happy. But if that means sacrificing your own ethics and beliefs in what you teach and how you teach, then it is probably best for everyone to let that student go.

I don't think anyone is saying that the OP has to stay with any teacher. However, there are inconsistencies in what has been said to leave some doubt as to whether or not that *is* the best course of action to take. All we can do is react to the information we've been given here.
_________________________
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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#1272737 - 09/22/09 01:38 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Morodiene]
Jennifer Eklund Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/16/09
Posts: 162
Loc: SoCal
If it's so riddled with politics and you feel uncomfortable just walk away. "Conservatory" is just a title -- do the legwork to find a teacher that your son does click with.

Also, don't assume he has his life as a professional musician all planned out at the ripe old age of 9 -- this has BURNOUT written all over it.

~Jennifer Eklund
_________________________
FREE 90-page eBook of sheet music: www.pianopronto.com/specialoffer

Piano Pronto Music Books: www.pianopronto.com

BA in Piano/MA Musicology



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#1272742 - 09/22/09 01:44 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Michael Darnton]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5418
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Michael Darnton
It appears that a bunch of teachers were not the right people to ask this question of!

The teacher IS your employee: you pay him, his social security, retirement, the whole wad, indirectly. If, for ANY reason, the relationship is not working out, you have the right to go elsewhere, and should.

Whether you're doing the right thing by your kid is a different question.

Yo, Mr. Teacher-Basher:
STOP assaulting piano teachers with your "I'm the employer" attitude. It is REALLY getting old. Why don't you post something more useful instead?

_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1272749 - 09/22/09 01:50 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Morodiene]
Michael Darnton Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/09
Posts: 243
Loc: Chicago
Originally Posted By: Morodiene


Actually, en employer pays half of FICA out of their own pocket. It is not a deduction from the employee's salary. Same with unemployment. Insurance is usually paid for in part by the employer and employee, so again, that is money above and beyond what the employer pays for time worked.


Actually, actually. no matter how you cut it the money comes from the customer, one way or another unless the teacher is independently wealthy and uses another source of income to pay those things.

In my 25 years in the music business, I have met a lot of players and teachers who were jerks, just as in the general population. A teacher who makes kids cry and hate playing the piano should be doing something else other than torturing children.

Sure, we don't have the full story, here, but I certainly do see a pack mentality here in leaping to blaming the mom.

AZN, as the church lady would say, you are SO SPECIAL! Thanks for proving my point.


Edited by Michael Darnton (09/22/09 01:54 PM)
_________________________
http://darntonviolins.com and http://darntonhersh.com

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#1272754 - 09/22/09 01:56 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: BusyMom]
Ken Knapp Offline



Registered: 04/18/06
Posts: 2206
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: BusyMom
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.


I think I'll hop on the "apologize and make peace" bandwagon myself. Especially because of what you've stated above. You'll feel better and your child will feel better.

I've always felt that learning music should be a labor of love. If it becomes stressful or burdensome then something is wrong somewhere...

Ken
_________________________
Ken

Piano Organ Depot
http://www.pianoorgandepot.com
Hammond Organ Technician
http://www.tonewheeltech.com


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#1272757 - 09/22/09 02:05 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Michael Darnton]
Ken Knapp Offline



Registered: 04/18/06
Posts: 2206
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: Michael Darnton
It appears that a bunch of teachers were not the right people to ask this question of!

The teacher IS your employee: you pay him, his social security, retirement, the whole wad, indirectly. If, for ANY reason, the relationship is not working out, you have the right to go elsewhere, and should.

Whether you're doing the right thing by your kid is a different question.


I really don't think this school of thought (no pun intended) adds value to the matter at hand. I fear it will only create a wrong attitude about the relationship between teacher/student/parent. Wouldn't it be much more constructive to think of the relationship as being partners?

Ken
_________________________
Ken

Piano Organ Depot
http://www.pianoorgandepot.com
Hammond Organ Technician
http://www.tonewheeltech.com


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#1272763 - 09/22/09 02:18 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Ken Knapp]
BusyMom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/08
Posts: 28
Loc: Major US City
Thank you for all the help you have provided. This is a great board with some really nice helpful people. even the people who called me the mom-from-h*ll helped me : ) i know i can get very intense and this is just how i am. i burn out just as quickly and then mellow.

So what I take from your feedback is ....

don't take all this music education stuff so seriously. the most important thing is my son's happiness.

make sure his life is well rounded (it is).

be supportive but not hovering -- no more sitting in the room during lessons or being my son's music secretary! the teacher can call me on my cell phone if she/he needs me in the room for anything.

take him out of the conservatory for the programs that are too demanding for him (ie. piano studies). there are some great small music schools in my city with excellent teachers and they are more accommodating to students who need more flexibility.

i'm not going to change this institution, so just live with it. there are a lot of wonderful things about this school so just focus on the positives.

did i leave anything out?

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#1272767 - 09/22/09 02:21 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Michael Darnton]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11422
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Michael Darnton

Actually, actually. no matter how you cut it the money comes from the customer, one way or another unless the teacher is independently wealthy and uses another source of income to pay those things.

But the customer is not therefore the EMPLOYER. You do not employ the people who work for Walmart, even if you buy items there. If you don't believe me, try firing one of them. They'll just look at you funny and get on with their work. Getting back to my point, you can hire a contractor, but again, you shouldn't tell them how to do work for you, because they have the experience and expertise that you supposedly hired them for! If a student or parent starts telling me that I'm not teaching them correctly, or that I need to teach them to play Sonatas before they learn to play hands together, then I will remind them that they are paying me to use my knowledge to help them be the best pianist they can. If they choose to ignore, or worse, contradict what I say in all matters piano, then there's a problem.

Quote:
In my 25 years in the music business, I have met a lot of players and teachers who were jerks, just as in the general population. A teacher who makes kids cry and hate playing the piano should be doing something else other than torturing children.

Sure, we don't have the full story, here, but I certainly do see a pack mentality here in leaping to blaming the mom.


I know jerks in all walks of life, not just the music industry, so I don't see how that has anything to do with anything. She didn't say that the teacher made her child cry or that he made him hate playing the piano. Although I do think he may start to hate it from this whole experience. So again, that comment doesn't seem to have a place in this discussion.

I would appreciate if you did more than make two posts before you start accusing the regulars here of "pack mentality." I did not see anyone saying anything unnecessary to the OP, or anything unwarranted. Her reason for posting was not made clear, and so we were left to respond as we could. From her behavior, of which many of us have experienced first hand from parents, there have been questions raised that she has not answered. The behavior she displayed did not show resolution, but continued discomfort for her son to continue lessons. This whole thing is enough to cause a child to want to quit piano, just so that his mother isn't "tortured" by having to attend his recitals and do her very best to "avoid" the teacher. This is not healthy.

As many of the teachers on this forum are conscientious professionals, we cringe when we see such negative behavior taint what should be a wonderful experience for this child. So of course, we're going to speak out against it.
_________________________
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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#1272774 - 09/22/09 02:28 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: AZNpiano]
Mrs.A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 155
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Michael Darnton
It appears that a bunch of teachers were not the right people to ask this question of!

The teacher IS your employee: you pay him, his social security, retirement, the whole wad, indirectly. If, for ANY reason, the relationship is not working out, you have the right to go elsewhere, and should.

Whether you're doing the right thing by your kid is a different question.

Yo, Mr. Teacher-Basher:
STOP assaulting piano teachers with your "I'm the employer" attitude. It is REALLY getting old. Why don't you post something more useful instead?




I understand what M Darnton is saying. If you are not happy, go someplace else.

But I also want to say that as teachers we stay clear of parents who think we are an employee.

I am self employed. I sell a product. It is called piano instruction. My students do not tell me how much I make, when I get a raise or how to do my job. They don’t “fire” me, give me performance reviews or pay my FICA. If my customers don’t like my product price or quality, they can buy from another shop.
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#1272777 - 09/22/09 02:33 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Michael Darnton]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13759
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I can agree partly with the idea that the teacher is the employee and the parent is the employer.

But it's a lot like saying the dentist is the employee and the patient is the employer. You can fire them if you don't like how they do it, but you really should conduct an interview first, and employing them doesn't mean you can tell them how to do their job.

I'm also in agreement with Darnton's last statement. I'm a little shocked that people are assuming this person is an overbearing stage mom trying to force her child to do something against his will.

There's something to be said for setting a high standard and approaching piano lessons with tenacity. Some of my best students are the ones who were not allowed to quit when the going got rough.

I realize there's a fine line, but why are we so willing to assume this person has crossed it? I never see people get this upset when a parent appears to be doing too little, and that's every bit as harmful. Doing too little means never pushing your kid so they end up quitting piano at age 14 thinking their a total loser because they never put any real work into it. They still can't get through an A Major scale and it takes them 8 months just to learn something with a title like "Jazz Cat Boogie Time" that has a cartoon cover designed for 6 year olds.

laugh
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#1272792 - 09/22/09 02:54 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Kreisler]
Morodiene Offline
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Kreisler, I think it has to do with more of the reaction to whatever happened, rather than the actual event itself. It places her son in a difficult position between teacher and student, and that is not healthy for anyone in the scenario, but most importantly not healthy for the son.

I do not consider her the mom from "H-E-double hockey sticks" I think there are some misunderstandings that need to be cleared up, and done in a mature way.
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#1272793 - 09/22/09 02:56 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Kreisler]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10349
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
I'm a little shocked that people are assuming this person is an overbearing stage mom trying to force her child to do something against his will.

There's something to be said for setting a high standard and approaching piano lessons with tenacity. Some of my best students are the ones who were not allowed to quit when the going got rough.

I realize there's a fine line, but why are we so willing to assume this person has crossed it? I never see people get this upset when a parent appears to be doing too little, and that's every bit as harmful. Doing too little means never pushing your kid so they end up quitting piano at age 14 thinking their a total loser because they never put any real work into it.


Yes, I think that is a fair appraisal.

On the other hand, perhaps the tone of BusyMom's OP laid the groundwork for some of the more negative aspects of the discussion that followed. Calling one's young child a major talent sets that stage for many skeptical responses.
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#1272802 - 09/22/09 03:11 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Piano*Dad]
BusyMom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/08
Posts: 28
Loc: Major US City
the teachers say he's a major talent. i didn't invent that.


Edited by BusyMom (09/22/09 03:15 PM)

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#1272816 - 09/22/09 03:33 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: BusyMom]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
I think many teachers think of their students and families as "clients". Since I have to do IRS and other accountings in the operation and management of MY business, I do not consider myself to be employed by others. I am self-employed by definition and my "clients" sign "contracts" with me. I am also in control of what happens in my studio both in music education, behavior, progress and the stipulations of my studio policy and tuition fees.

I respect the clients and do everything I can to make their time with me comfortable and focused on doing my job which is to provide services that lead to producing a learning musician. My clients stay with me for long terms because they are satisfied. We "talk" to teach other appropriately about things that concern us, things to address to provide the support the student needs, and things to celebrate.

Being cooperative and invested in the student, no one has to raise their voice, protest, or confront an issue. Concerns are addressed when they are evident and the solutions are a contribution of each person involved - parents - student - teacher.

I responded to the OP as I did because of her statements about several PW identities and the way she protests in a music education system of high regard - any conservatory. When the student is identified as major talent it is more than ever needed that the parent behave intelligently and diplomatically with the administration and the teacher working with the student.

My take has completely been that the parent is creating obstacles. One clue was "trauma" and "drama". I am basically treating this whole topic as a "scenario" rather than a real inquiry as to what teachers would suggest. The OP (in my mind) wants to rant and be powerful over teachers opinions and I think that is continuing to happen.

If the son is a major talent this situation needs to be remedied before he is emotionally injured by the obstacles we are hearing about. Attitude is everything in negotiations and settling differences.

It would be wonderful to see kids supported by the team of parent and teacher. When that is brought to the argument stage no one is a winner - and the biggest loser is going to be the talented kid who is a major talent.

I wonder who we in the Piano Teachers Forum involved so far in this topic are tending to care most about?

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#1272820 - 09/22/09 03:39 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: Betty Patnude]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5418
Loc: Orange County, CA
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!
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#1272835 - 09/22/09 03:56 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: AZNpiano]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
Could be another David Helfgott in the making.



Let's hope not. But he did turn out allright in the end.
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#1272850 - 09/22/09 04:24 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: eweiss]
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
I did some reading up afterwards. Helfgott has bipolar disorder and a mild form of schizophrenia. The movie was a bit harder on his Dad than it needed to be.
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#1272859 - 09/22/09 04:37 PM Re: Conservatory Politics! [Re: -Frycek]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2845
Loc: UK.
There are loads of politics involved in these places. I fell foul of them myself when I decided to change teachers half way through my post grad course. My old teacher took it badly and made things as awkward as he could for me in my final year. Imagine my surprise when he turned up on the exam panel for my final recital!

Most of the big Conservatoires in the UK have junior departments which I guess are the kind of thing talked about here. Entry is by audition and the standard and expectaton is very high with many students hoping to follow a career in performance. It's little wonder that the teachers are tough and I am surprised that anyone would expect any different. What you get is hard work and strict discipline which is what it takes to make it in this business. There's no time for having fun and playing games. You can't enrol your child in one of these programs and then complain that the teacher is mean and is working them too hard. 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.
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