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#1365295 - 02/04/10 12:14 AM Re: when a parent requests an interview [Re: Elissa Milne]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
From the MTNA website:

Choosing a Music Teacher Brochure
This small brochure is packed with information about choosing an appropriate, qualified music teacher.
_________________________
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

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#1367044 - 02/06/10 10:18 AM Re: when a parent requests an interview [Re: Elissa Milne]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11707
Loc: Canada
Elissa, if I am so late in responding it is because this is so big and so important that one can get lost in it. But you have summarized it and given a teacher perspective.

Just so I don't mislead unintentionally: I'm not seeking advice personally as a parent considering music lessons for a child, but I am concerned and interested for various reasons. My son is a young adult who was a late starter on a different instrument and subsequently entered music studies, and we have since talked about these things on and off. I am an adult student who began lessons a few years after him, but had to break off lessons temporarily. I am also looking to the past in retrospect for when lessons are resumed in the future, so to say. But this thread is about parents and children. In that light, there are things that I wish I had known then. Communication is no. 1.


Edited by keystring (02/06/10 11:19 AM)

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#1367078 - 02/06/10 10:55 AM Re: when a parent requests an interview [Re: Minniemay]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11707
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Minniemay
From the MTNA website:

Choosing a Music Teacher Brochure
This small brochure is packed with information about choosing an appropriate, qualified music teacher.

Thank you, Minniemay. That is indeed a good start.

Where I would like to see us better educated, so that we can choose a teacher and also work better with that teacher, I think would involve understanding generally what it is about. This would help us use what is in the Brochure as well. I will try to explain:

In the brochure it is advised that we ask about:

- professional & educational experience. Do I know which are relevant and necessary? It does tell me that this teacher is taking her work seriously enough to have made an effort. "Professional development" indicates the same.
- studio policy. This will help me comply with house rules.
- instructional material: Unless I have a background, I have no way of assessing the appropriateness of this.
- kinds of music: If my goal is a particular genre. yes
- technology - whether the teacher uses a computer, software. Um? I trust that the teacher will use those resources that he/she deems appropriate. I don't know what is necessary, so I cannot tell anything from that information.

Unless I know something about music study, getting answers to these questions doesn't tell me much. I'm thinking that we need to be informed at a stage before this. I should have an idea of what my goals are, and for that there should be an idea of what learning an instrument is about. Maybe have a rough idea of what it entails: note reading, technique, understanding elements of music, regular guided practice. Then I can listen intelligently and ask intelligent questions. Being informed doesn't mean that I believe that methodology X and approach Y will do it (the other danger) and then shop for a teacher who uses them. It means that I can recognize that the teacher is aiming toward well rounded growth, or similar things. How do we get there before booking any interview?

I'd be tempted to ask what the teacher's goals, philosophies, and expectations are, and then listen carefully. I might express my own goals and be prepared to have them tweaked. If I'm observing a lesson I might want to be able to ask about what I've seen. The teacher will be guiding both the child, and me in my guiding role. But if I know nothing it may be hard to even understand that part. Like Elissa describes. I need to be sufficiently informed that I can make head or tail of what is happening in that interview. I was really impressed when my son's teacher used the word "dynamics" - such a big music word - I doubt he had any idea of that impression. wink

Teachers: Are there things you would like us to be informed about before we come to an interview? Do you want us to put some research and thought into it before we show up? Or do you prefer that we don't, since it might get in the way? One obvious complaint I've seen is failure to read an on-line explanation by a teacher of her philosophy & policies. No research needed in that one.

This site has quite a few thoughts on the subject from all sides: parent responsibility, student responsibility, and teacher responsibility. Can this work in conjunction with the MTNA site? Does anything exist in Australia of this nature (MTNA or other), btw?

Martha Beth Lewis - Piano Home Page

(I'll shut up and lurk, now) blush

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#1367316 - 02/06/10 04:55 PM Re: when a parent requests an interview [Re: keystring]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5936
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: keystring
Does anything exist in Australia of this nature (MTNA or other), btw?
Each state has its own music teachers' association. The one I'm familiar with holds workshops and seminars, offers scholarships, puts out a magazine and lists accredited teachers. There's also ASME (Aus society for music education) which is not just geared towards instrumental instruction.
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#1367352 - 02/06/10 05:43 PM Re: when a parent requests an interview [Re: currawong]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
There's no national organisation here is Australia, and one state's music teachers' association might be amazing, while another's is quite low-key. There are great state level conferences held bi-annually in some states, and every two years there is an Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference.

But a big difference between North America and Australia is that Piano Pedagogy degrees from universities are a very recent development (and still not widely available), so most established piano teachers have qualifications from the Australian Music Examination Board or Trinity College London, or if they have migrated from somewhere else, from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music; university qualifications just weren't being offered last century.

In New Zealand there is a national organisation for music teachers that was set up by decree of the parliament, and my impression is that it is easier for parents with no background in music to hook up with 'good' teachers in that lightly regulated environment than in a culture where anyone who can play Piano Man or Fur Elise can set themselves up as a teacher......
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

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#1367359 - 02/06/10 05:52 PM Re: when a parent requests an interview [Re: Elissa Milne]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5936
Loc: Down Under
Even university degrees in performance are relatively new here. Even 40 years ago performance students went to a conservatorium and musicology/composition students to university. Performance courses at conservatoria had a pedagogy component though, I believe.

(where I am, anyway...)
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#1367432 - 02/06/10 07:30 PM Re: when a parent requests an interview [Re: currawong]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11707
Loc: Canada
I think I should have phrased that last question differently. In view of the last thing currently being discussed, might there be some central place in some countries (incl. Australia) that would advise parents / prospective students so that they could approach teachers and interviews in an informed manner? The MTNA seems to do that to some degree in the U.S. which is why I grabbed at the name.

For the two years that I have been on PW, the frustrations between teachers and parents are frequently voiced. Some is attitude and motivation of course, but surely being informed is part of the equation. What kinds of expectations do we come in with, what have we pictured, etc?

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#1367443 - 02/06/10 07:50 PM Re: when a parent requests an interview [Re: keystring]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5936
Loc: Down Under
I hear what you're saying, keystring. As Elissa says, there is no national registration for piano teachers here in Australia. There are, however, accreditation processes, mainly run by the aformentioned Music Teachers' Associations. (No adequate central one, however, as we tend to be a bit more state-oriented in some ways, probably because of issues like distance, different education systems in each state, etc.) Where I am people can get good information from the MTA - it isn't hard to find, if you know to even look!
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#1367556 - 02/06/10 10:19 PM Re: when a parent requests an interview [Re: currawong]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Yes, but I think keystring's point is well-made: how can parents better educate themselves about musical education?

And there's no one good place to turn.

Maybe I'll write a book?!
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

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#1367562 - 02/06/10 10:34 PM Re: when a parent requests an interview [Re: Elissa Milne]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3160
Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
Yes, but I think keystring's point is well-made: how can parents better educate themselves about musical education?

And there's no one good place to turn.

Maybe I'll write a book?!


That would be great!
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#1367713 - 02/07/10 08:41 AM Re: when a parent requests an interview [Re: rocket88]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19367
Loc: New York City
If a parent doesn't request an interview, I think that would be inappropriate behavior on the part of the parent.


Edited by pianoloverus (02/07/10 08:41 AM)

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#1367731 - 02/07/10 09:14 AM Re: when a parent requests an interview [Re: Elissa Milne]
Gerry Armstrong Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 214
Loc: Cumbernauld, Scotland
Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
Yes, but I think keystring's point is well-made: how can parents better educate themselves about musical education?


Parents are better at this sort of thing than you may think, because of course many parents have lots of experience in making such decisions and monitoring the outcome of these decisions.

If I take my own situation, my 8 year old daughter currently has piano lessons, has dancing lessons, goes to the Brownies and goes ice skating. She has also had swimming lessons in the past.

The dancing school she attends now is her 2nd one as the 1st one she attended wasn't great as the person running it did very little of the teaching herself and left it to young inexperienced helpers to do the teaching. In the dancing school she attends now, the person running it does all the teaching herself, has been running her dance school for approx. 30 years and watching my daughter's progress since moving and also the yearly dance shows, the difference is night and day.

The swimming lessons she used to have - she initially had 1-1 lessons in the Health Club I was a member of at the time. The young girl who taught her was an excellent teacher and my daughter was making really good progress. The girl left the Health Club and we continued 1-1 lessons with her in another location but unfortunately, despite her excellent instruction w.r.t. swimming, she became increasingly disorganised and unreliable and we finally gave up and ceased lessons. We then enrolled her in a group class, but although the instructor seemed to be very knowledgeable, the format of the class and the number of kids in the pool at once meant that the kids received very little of the teacher's time, improvement was minimal and my daughter didn't enjoy it. I now take her swimming myself, largely for enjoyment but I insist on 5 mins of actual swimming time. She normally brings her friend and she has a ball.

My daughter goes Ice Skating every week with her mum. She has never had any lessons, her mum has helped her learn to skate and she loves every second of it.

This year is her 1st year in the Brownies. There were a number of options about which Brownies group to join, but based on feedback of parents with older kids she joined the one closest to our home and it is proving to be a good decision so far as my daughter loves it. She goes away for a Fri-Mon long weekend camp next weekend and cannot wait. Mummy isn't so keen that her 8 year old baby will be away all weekend!! grin

Finally, Piano. After showing my daughter a few simple tunes she could play learned by rote, her first teacher was the teacher I was also with at the time. That didn't go too well and I stopped it after a period as it was becoming increasingly apparent to me, as someone with a decent musical background, that our teacher, while very pleasant and well meaning had next to no idea what they were doing. I then tried to teach her myself while also learning myself, perhaps confused with a false sense of confidence based on comparing my own knowledge and skill set with my previous teacher. That went reasonably well and she made some decent progress, but I was always uncomfortable at the back of my mind that there must be so much that I didn't know so how could I teach it.

We found another teacher and started with her this past October, a final year student at the RSAMD in Glasgow. She is an excellent teacher and confirmed that there were plenty of holes in my knowledge w.r.t playing & teaching Piano - massive great chasms!!

So now I am back in the role I am comfortable with i.e. supportive parent, with someone who actually knows what's what doing the teaching. We are both making very good progress.

But sadly, the draw back of starting with a final year student is she will graduate in the summer, and as she is not originally from Glasgow, she may be moving and therefore I'll have to find a new teacher.

In the meantime, I'll continue to be thankful for the time we do have together, learn as much as I can and continue to put off breaking the news to my daughter that the Piano teacher she loves will be moving on.

So in summary, if the parents are interested in their kids and the activities they choose to send them to, they will educate themselves and be able to make good decisions.

_________________________
Gerry Armstrong

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#1367743 - 02/07/10 09:52 AM Re: when a parent requests an interview [Re: Gerry Armstrong]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11707
Loc: Canada
A point, Gerry,
Quote:
.... it was becoming increasingly apparent to me, as someone with a decent musical background ....

You had that background. You were not in foreign territory.

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#1367754 - 02/07/10 10:08 AM Re: when a parent requests an interview [Re: keystring]
Gerry Armstrong Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 214
Loc: Cumbernauld, Scotland
I have no background in dancing, ice skating, swimming or Brownies but was equally able to make the correct decisions in these situations too.
_________________________
Gerry Armstrong

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#1367866 - 02/07/10 12:58 PM Re: when a parent requests an interview [Re: Gerry Armstrong]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11707
Loc: Canada
The other part you wrote was:
Quote:

So in summary, if the parents are interested in their kids and the activities they choose to send them to, they will educate themselves and be able to make good decisions.

That was the crux of the matter. We need to have information so that we can make those decisions. In essence we're agreeing.

Our circumstances were different and that may be part of it. I did not have a young child enrolled in various activities. I had a child who started music lessons at almost age 13 who four years later had to compete in auditions for university placement. He got in, btw. Still, there were things that I wish I would have known.

One thing that I learned late is the role of communication. There is a line between trying to order a teacher around, and following silently in a state of "wonder". You wonder what the teacher, or whether the teacher, or whether you could.... The teacher wonders about the student's thoughts. And while everyone is mystified wondrously, they are in each other's presence weekly and could actually say something. Just a side thought.

Knowing HOW to communicate something. How often in this forum does a student or parent come across as know-it-all, or cluelessly ignorant, because they can't put themselves in the context and speak the lingo? Or Elissa's observation of the parents who were mystified because they could not understand her instructions since it was a different world for them. How do you express something in a way that will not offend or create confusion?


Edited by keystring (02/07/10 02:02 PM)

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#1367888 - 02/07/10 01:42 PM Re: when a parent requests an interview [Re: keystring]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2469
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: keystring

I had a child who started music lessons at almost age 13 who four years later had to compete in auditions for university placement. He got in, btw. Still, there were things that I wish I would have known.


Keystring, what do you mean to say, that when he started studying music at 13 it was already in view to audition for a music major 4 years later?

And what do you wish you had known?

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#1367902 - 02/07/10 02:00 PM Re: when a parent requests an interview [Re: landorrano]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11707
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: landorrano
[quote=keystring]

Keystring, what do you mean to say, that when he started studying music at 13 it was already in view to audition for a music major 4 years later?

And what do you wish you had known?


A 13 year old enters grade 9. High school finishes at the end of grade 12. University starts when gr. 12 ends. Auditions to get into a music program are held around March of the 12th grade, I think. Most students competing for placement will have started lessons when they were 4 or 5 years old, and so have 12 or more years of instruction. Hence, four years.

We did many things right, but above all I wish I had known about communicating.

What I meant to say is that under those circumstances being well informed were probably more crucial than in Gerry's tale. After all, his daughter seems to be doing well.


Edited by keystring (02/07/10 02:19 PM)

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#1367970 - 02/07/10 03:03 PM Re: when a parent requests an interview [Re: keystring]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2469
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: keystring


We did many things right, but above all I wish I had known about communicating.


Well that is a frequent problem with people recently ariived on earth! Had it myself the first years!

Ha, just kidding!

But I am curious as to what you mean. What were the problems that never got put on the table?

Also, I still don't follow about your kid. He was decided to study music in college before he had ever started lessons? Is that what you mean?

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#1367990 - 02/07/10 03:30 PM Re: when a parent requests an interview [Re: landorrano]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11707
Loc: Canada
Quote:
Also, I still don't follow about your kid. He was decided to study music in college before he had ever started lessons? Is that what you mean?

He started lessons at age 12+ while in gr. 8. By the time he entered high school, he realized that he wanted to study music at university. He would need to be at a particular level by the time he auditioned for university placement. Most students who do that start at ages 4 - 6, not that late.

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#1368008 - 02/07/10 04:02 PM Re: when a parent requests an interview [Re: keystring]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2469
Loc: France
Go on, go on, how did you proceed?

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#1368016 - 02/07/10 04:15 PM Re: when a parent requests an interview [Re: keystring]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Originally Posted By: keystring
A point, Gerry,
Quote:
.... it was becoming increasingly apparent to me, as someone with a decent musical background ....

You had that background. You were not in foreign territory.


I would go further and say that once one knows how to acquire and develop skill on a musical instrument one then has an understanding of what constitutes good one-on-one teaching, and therefore how to assess the qualities that teachers in any other outside-of-school learning environment bring to the lessons, and how to communicate more-or-less effectively with those teachers and how to create a good learning environment at home for that skill-acquisition.

I have friends (who are parents of young children) with no great experience in learning skills outside of the classroom environment and while they are well-educated in an academic sense (Masters degrees) they are unfamiliar with the notion of 'practice'!! On the other hand, some of those friends have acquired several languages (either at university or in the field) and they are brilliantly proactive at setting up their children for success in language acquisition.

My mum knew exactly what she was doing with me as a child taking piano lessons, and was entirely unknowledgeable regarding acquiring a second language. She was a great mum, but she just didn't know anything about learning a second language.
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

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#1368033 - 02/07/10 04:40 PM Re: when a parent requests an interview [Re: Elissa Milne]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
There is a book some may find helpful. While it is written from a Christian perspective, there is much good information about guiding a child through private music study. It's called "Raising Musical Children" by Kavanaugh.
_________________________
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

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