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#1651721 - 03/31/11 01:34 PM Re: Etiquette for parent during child's piano lessons [Re: RonaldSteinway]
bmbutler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/15/10
Posts: 226
Loc: North Carolina
Have to respectfully disagree with your premise that "Only insecure teachers will feel the presence of the parent interferes the learning process or any other excuses." It totally depends on the child and the situation. I teach two children from the same family. Different issues when Grandma brings one and sits in my LR while he takes and issues with the other when the Father brings her.
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#1651730 - 03/31/11 01:48 PM Re: Etiquette for parent during child's piano lessons [Re: Cheeky]
Lollipop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 820
Loc: Georgia
Although I think there are many reasons why a parent in the room may not be always appropriate, in this case, with an 18 year old teacher, I think insecurity just might be an issue.

When my daughter failed to get a summer job after her first year of college, she advertised locally for summer violin lessons (hoping to snag a few middle schoolers who otherwise wouldn't touch their violin for the summer.) One of the students she ended up with was a 6 year old, with a very verbal, pushy mom. (The kind who failed to show up, called after the fact for a different time, and did everything wrong.) The mom alternated with the grandmother each week, and sometimes both came together. Both presented problems. Mom interrupted, scolded, tried to re-interpret instructions, etc. Grandma defended. Student looked at mom or grandma before answering any question. Compounding the problem was that the student didn't touch her instrument between lessons, so there was next to no learning taking place.

My daughter was 19, and not an experienced teacher. It was a dismal failure. There were far too many adults in the room! Don't think the student learned much, but my daughter sure learned a lot.
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#1653231 - 04/02/11 04:41 PM Re: Etiquette for parent during child's piano lessons [Re: Cheeky]
Miss Karen Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/06/10
Posts: 69
Loc: Kent, WA (Covington)
In my studio, my parents either sit in the car and wait or sit in the studio while the lesson is going on. It is their preference. I like having the parents there in case I have a question. I have some parents go do errands and then return to the studio.

I feel comfortable teaching in front of parents. I do not feel intimidated or conscious. All of my parents are supportive and want to be here with their children as well with me.
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Redwood Piano Studio
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#1654280 - 04/04/11 12:26 PM Re: Etiquette for parent during child's piano lessons [Re: Piano*Dad]
bitWrangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 1789
Loc: Central TX
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
Ronald,

You presumed that insecurity is the only reason why a teacher might worry about parental involvement. That does seem like a rather aggressive attack on Ando. How else can a reasoning person view this:


Actually, even "insecurity" has different levels. Given some of the negative parental involvement examples above, I can easily see how some teachers are insecure when it comes to confrontation, i.e. how to reign in the parent that is being disruptive, vs being insecure about the actual lesson. What easier and non-confrontational way of dealing with "unruly" parents than simply having a blanket "no parents" policy?

That said, I'm definitely pro-parental participation, though I believe that it behooves the teacher to "lay down the law" from the get-go (e.g. parent only interacts during the lesson when prompted by the teacher). Some parents are truly unaware of what is best, some may feel like their helping by interjecting, don't assume the parents know what is "good parental etiquette". Plus, if the parent starts acting up, then you can always point to your parental policies.

As for kiddos learning how to practice on their own, while I think there is some valid rationale there, that it will more often be the case that the student will progress faster with the assistance of a parent who has at least some idea of what the expectations are.

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#1654316 - 04/04/11 01:24 PM Re: Etiquette for parent during child's piano lessons [Re: Miss Karen]
bmbutler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/15/10
Posts: 226
Loc: North Carolina
Originally Posted By: Miss Karen
In my studio, my parents either sit in the car and wait or sit in the studio while the lesson is going on. It is their preference. I like having the parents there in case I have a question. I have some parents go do errands and then return to the studio.

I feel comfortable teaching in front of parents. I do not feel intimidated or conscious. All of my parents are supportive and want to be here with their children as well with me.


Thankfully, the majority of my parents are the same. I never tell a parent they can't sit in.
_________________________
Bachelor of Music (church music)
Master of Church Music (organ, music education)
Piano Teacher since 1992
Church Musician since 1983

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#1654413 - 04/04/11 03:54 PM Re: Etiquette for parent during child's piano lessons [Re: Cheeky]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10385
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Originally Posted By: bitWrangler
Actually, even "insecurity" has different levels. Given some of the negative parental involvement examples above, I can easily see how some teachers are insecure when it comes to confrontation, i.e. how to reign in the parent that is being disruptive, vs being insecure about the actual lesson. What easier and non-confrontational way of dealing with "unruly" parents than simply having a blanket "no parents" policy?


Indeed. Simple policies are so much easier to explain and to enforce. They can also make like simpler for the teacher.

What nettles me on occasion is hearing stories of unruly or obstreperous parents followed by a generalization about how a simple policy therefore makes things so much better for the student. I guess this is why I have been such a contrarian on occasion. When I hear the horror stories of parents diverting their darling's attention away from the teacher, or I hear how the meddlesome parent destructively undermines the lessons and the practices with spoon feeding or with their ego-bashing perfectionism, I like to offer counterexamples of how a parent can partner with the teacher to triple the rate of progress.
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#1654454 - 04/04/11 04:40 PM Re: Etiquette for parent during child's piano lessons [Re: Piano*Dad]
ando Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3600
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
I don't recall anybody saying they had a policy...

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#1654529 - 04/04/11 06:20 PM Re: Etiquette for parent during child's piano lessons [Re: Cheeky]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Registered: 04/12/05
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Loc: Williamsburg, VA
... in this thread, perhaps.

The point that a number of us are making is more general.
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#1656269 - 04/07/11 11:43 AM Re: Etiquette for parent during child's piano lessons [Re: Piano*Dad]
Diane... Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/16/06
Posts: 3450
Loc: Western Canada
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
Originally Posted By: bitWrangler
Actually, even "insecurity" has different levels. Given some of the negative parental involvement examples above, I can easily see how some teachers are insecure when it comes to confrontation, i.e. how to reign in the parent that is being disruptive, vs being insecure about the actual lesson. What easier and non-confrontational way of dealing with "unruly" parents than simply having a blanket "no parents" policy?

What nettles me on occasion is hearing stories of unruly or obstreperous parents followed by a generalization about how a simple policy therefore makes things so much better for the student. I guess this is why I have been such a contrarian on occasion. When I hear the horror stories of parents diverting their darling's attention away from the teacher,


I like what you say about "when parents divert their darlings attention away from the teacher"!
When I first started teaching, having a parent sit in made me very nervous! Felt they were judging my every decision! Now, thankfully, things are much different! The need to PROTECT the student from the parent at times! had one parent so aggressive, interfering with the childs every movement, to the point that the child was "frozen" in shock at each lesson! So this child receive a second mother to protect him from his real mother! When she started interfering, I reared up and, how I got so bold, guess it was just a protective instinct I guess! I told the parent "Okay, so next lesson, YOU can play all three pieces for me next week, and I expect it all to be PERFECT!"

The mother never said a word from that day forward, & . . . she didn't play the three pieces for me the next week either! grin

Sometimes you have to step up and stop the behaviour right in it's [bear] tracks! Cause some parents are just too over "bearing"! grin


Edited by Diane... (04/07/11 11:44 AM)
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#1656351 - 04/07/11 01:56 PM Re: Etiquette for parent during child's piano lessons [Re: Diane...]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12043
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Diane...
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
Originally Posted By: bitWrangler
Actually, even "insecurity" has different levels. Given some of the negative parental involvement examples above, I can easily see how some teachers are insecure when it comes to confrontation, i.e. how to reign in the parent that is being disruptive, vs being insecure about the actual lesson. What easier and non-confrontational way of dealing with "unruly" parents than simply having a blanket "no parents" policy?

What nettles me on occasion is hearing stories of unruly or obstreperous parents followed by a generalization about how a simple policy therefore makes things so much better for the student. I guess this is why I have been such a contrarian on occasion. When I hear the horror stories of parents diverting their darling's attention away from the teacher,


I like what you say about "when parents divert their darlings attention away from the teacher"!
When I first started teaching, having a parent sit in made me very nervous! Felt they were judging my every decision! Now, thankfully, things are much different! The need to PROTECT the student from the parent at times! had one parent so aggressive, interfering with the childs every movement, to the point that the child was "frozen" in shock at each lesson! So this child receive a second mother to protect him from his real mother! When she started interfering, I reared up and, how I got so bold, guess it was just a protective instinct I guess! I told the parent "Okay, so next lesson, YOU can play all three pieces for me next week, and I expect it all to be PERFECT!"

The mother never said a word from that day forward, & . . . she didn't play the three pieces for me the next week either! grin

Sometimes you have to step up and stop the behaviour right in it's [bear] tracks! Cause some parents are just too over "bearing"! grin


LOL I love it Diane! I hope your admonition also carried weight at home. Sometimes I don't think people realize how damaging something they say can be to some people until someone calls them on it like you did. Good for you!
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#1693262 - 06/09/11 11:27 PM Re: Etiquette for parent during child's piano lessons [Re: bmbutler]
Feminicricket Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/06/10
Posts: 136
Loc: USA
I understand where Ando is coming from. I have always encouraged parents to sit in lessons especially for the younger ones. Sometimes it backfires when the parent is too talkative, plays cheerleader for the child( this is especially annoying when their child is playing badly due to poor practice!), or when parent gives answers for a question directed to the child. Also I find extremely annoying is when parent who knows how to play, meddles with lessons and gives the student new material to learn often before anything is perfected -also material that is much harder than the student`s level. These parents think that their child is a genius when the child is badly hacking through a piece that is not his level. How do I deal with this? Anyone???

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#1693436 - 06/10/11 09:07 AM Re: Etiquette for parent during child's piano lessons [Re: Feminicricket]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10385
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Oh, you would have loved me. smile

I was one of those who would occasionally introduce new material that was harder than what was being assigned.

I accept that this can be a problem, especially if (as you say) the child is not capable of playing his or her current work at a technically accurate level. Then the result can indeed be a "bad hacking" through the more complex "unassigned" work.

In my own defense, I would do this over the summer when the teacher did not give lessons. I would use the summer to explore and to push new ideas. My son would often come back in the fall with a new piece or two either completed or in the polishing phase. As an example, one summer we jumped from Le Petit Negre level to Golliwog's Cakewalk. I thought he could handle it, and I was willing to try teaching it. Amazing how a student can make technical leaps by having essentially a daily lesson (or supervised practice, if you will). And when the student recognizes the leaps they're making, they become more exited about learning. The following summer we jumped into Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet Suite (Montagues & Capulets). That was a sizable jump, but it worked.

His teacher would then get another idea of what level of music was appropriate/possible. She learned on occasion that she could pick up the pace as she saw the summer development.

And none of this has anything to do with being some sort of genius.
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#1693512 - 06/10/11 11:45 AM Re: Etiquette for parent during child's piano lessons [Re: Cheeky]
cinstance Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/12/09
Posts: 104
As a parent, I sit in every of my child's lessons, either taking notes or listening carefully to what the teacher taught and my son's playing. However I seldom interfere with the lesson, unless the teacher explicitly ask me to get involved.

One thing a lot of teachers do not realize is that the parents can be educated at the same time by sitting in the lesson, especially for someone like me who did not have any music background. From knowing nothing when my son started, I kept up with his progress, and am able to educate myself to at least appreciate the music to his level of playing. Educating myself really helped my son at lot on his practice, judging from his rapid progress which is unusual for a child in a family without any music background.


Edited by cinstance (06/10/11 11:46 AM)

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#1693530 - 06/10/11 12:45 PM Re: Etiquette for parent during child's piano lessons [Re: Cheeky]
Feminicricket Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/06/10
Posts: 136
Loc: USA
I think at the end of the day it is about the boundary of how far a parent gets involved. I absolutely like the parent who is helpful and makes sure the kid practices according to my instruction. I am very open to suggestions, don`t get me wrong. The boundary is broken when the parent plays teacher in class. I have a student who has no foundation at all because the parent who plays piano meddles in class so much. This child plays horribly because he does no finger exercises or scales, has skipped the gradual progress and the parent completely ignores my instruction and gives him what the parent thinks he should learn. The result is a child( a rude kid who has no respect for me) who hacks through pieces badly at recitals. This child does NOT like to be corrected however kindly I do it. This parent also thinks that this boy played the best in a recital and actually compared him to another child who played his last year`s recital pieces and said "Well, Johnnie played that last year and he played it much better". In fact I have absolutely no idea why they take lessons from me! Like I said, parents are welcome in class by most teachers but they have to know their boundaries and respect the teacher`s teaching or switch teachers or teach their their own kid.

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#1693547 - 06/10/11 01:16 PM Re: Etiquette for parent during child's piano lessons [Re: Piano*Dad]
Feminicricket Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/06/10
Posts: 136
Loc: USA
Piano Dad, I have no problem with parents like you. If I was in your shoes, I would do the same thing. Sure, if your child is not taking lessons in the summer, by all means teach him some new material that is challenging. I am talking about parents who completely ignore the teacher`s instructions. Those are the parents who have over-stepped their respectful boundary. I am one of those teachers who actually like giving challenging material to students that can live up to it and who are not going to throw a tantrum when I correct their mistakes and who don`t mind playing measures over and over again to refine. Parents who sit in a class should be helpful to the teacher and not hinder lessons. I used to have a mom who would repeat whatever I said like a parrot. Would you all believe that I am actually tolerant? I think it is because I have understanding people in this pianoworld forum to vent ....LOVE YOU GUYS!!! Thank you! I also have the ability to put myself in the parent`s position to see why they behave in such a way. Most of the time it is because they are youtube watchers who are wondering how come their child is not playing a Chopin Concerto or a Ballade at 9 yrs old. So they get impatient with the gradual progress.

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#1695183 - 06/13/11 09:58 PM Re: Etiquette for parent during child's piano lessons [Re: Feminicricket]
DadAgain Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/09/09
Posts: 365
Loc: Brisbane, QLD
This is interesting.

My oldest daughter (now 7) has been having piano lessons for a couple of years and I've always sat in her lessons.

Her first teacher was a little inexperienced and didnt really know how to direct her - the lessons were fun and he did a lot to build her enthusiasm and self-confidence. In the end lessons fell into a rhythm of him directing stuff - but frequently asking me questions about stuff (including how daughter had practiced and learnt stuff, but also worringly what various basic italian terms meant!). Eventually it became clear daughter had outgrown his teaching abilities and we moved on.

Now I still sit in her lessons, but am pretty much a passive observer rather than part of a 'teaching team'. Its still good to hear exactly whats being covered in lessons though as it does let me know what she's supposed to be working on in her practice.

With our younger daughter though - she's just started having lessons (nearly 5yrs old) and to start off with I sat in her lessons. NOTHING got doe, she wouldnt focus or engage at all with the teacher. It was infuriating as at home she's keen to sit at the piano and dow what she can. SHe just refused to do anything in front of the teacher.

After a few frustrating weeks we were just about to abandon the whole lessons thing writing it off as 'too young'. BUT the teacher suggested trying it without me in the room. 30 minutes later they came out and the teacher said, "Wow - what a transformation! She played everything I asked she read some notes and is obviously pretty good for her age". We havent looked back - and lessons are now a great success. I have far less of an idea what goes on in her lessons than her sisters - but it seems to be working for HER.
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#1695214 - 06/13/11 11:02 PM Re: Etiquette for parent during child's piano lessons [Re: DadAgain]
Feminicricket Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/06/10
Posts: 136
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: DadAgain
This is interesting.

My oldest daughter (now 7) has been having piano lessons for a couple of years and I've always sat in her lessons.

Her first teacher was a little inexperienced and didnt really know how to direct her - the lessons were fun and he did a lot to build her enthusiasm and self-confidence. In the end lessons fell into a rhythm of him directing stuff - but frequently asking me questions about stuff (including how daughter had practiced and learnt stuff, but also worringly what various basic italian terms meant!). Eventually it became clear daughter had outgrown his teaching abilities and we moved on.

Now I still sit in her lessons, but am pretty much a passive observer rather than part of a 'teaching team'. Its still good to hear exactly whats being covered in lessons though as it does let me know what she's supposed to be working on in her practice.

With our younger daughter though - she's just started having lessons (nearly 5yrs old) and to start off with I sat in her lessons. NOTHING got doe, she wouldnt focus or engage at all with the teacher. It was infuriating as at home she's keen to sit at the piano and dow what she can. SHe just refused to do anything in front of the teacher.

After a few frustrating weeks we were just about to abandon the whole lessons thing writing it off as 'too young'. BUT the teacher suggested trying it without me in the room. 30 minutes later they came out and the teacher said, "Wow - what a transformation! She played everything I asked she read some notes and is obviously pretty good for her age". We havent looked back - and lessons are now a great success. I have far less of an idea what goes on in her lessons than her sisters - but it seems to be working for HER.


I have a similar student and you have confirmed both mine and another teacher`s opinion about the need for a parent to leave the child alone in class when the parent in class is not helping the situation. Trouble is my student`s parent does not want to leave because the parent thinks that their presence is not the problem. Very tricky subject for a teacher to deal with.

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#1697295 - 06/18/11 12:01 AM Re: Etiquette for parent during child's piano lessons [Re: Cheeky]
CarolR Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/29/05
Posts: 350
Loc: wisconsin
I find that most parents that sit on on lessons these days don't really pay attention, because they are looking at their iphones. This is only a problem when the thing rings and they answer it. Really! Too different sets of parents recently have had a conversation with someone (always an emergency) on their phone in the kitchen. One of the parents reads the news and will comment about it. This is interspersed with comments to the child about forgetting this book or that. Really, I don't think they are getting much from being there and it is a distraction for me and the child. And if they are not really involved in the child's practice at home, how does it help? I tell parents they are welcome to come, but, I have gotten to the point where I don't really encourage it. 5 minutes at the end is great, to just give them a summary of what we did and what the child should be working on.
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#1697344 - 06/18/11 04:35 AM Re: Etiquette for parent during child's piano lessons [Re: DadAgain]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: DadAgain


After a few frustrating weeks we were just about to abandon the whole lessons thing writing it off as 'too young'. BUT the teacher suggested trying it without me in the room. 30 minutes later they came out and the teacher said, "Wow - what a transformation! She played everything I asked she read some notes and is obviously pretty good for her age". We havent looked back - and lessons are now a great success. I have far less of an idea what goes on in her lessons than her sisters - but it seems to be working for HER.


Sounds like she was embarrassed, with you in the room, to make her own relationship with the teacher. Or maybe the teacher was embarrassed. Maybe a vicious circle with everyone's mutual embarrassment feeding off of each other's.

Glad you found a way out! smile
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#1698645 - 06/20/11 12:54 PM Re: Etiquette for parent during child's piano lessons [Re: Cheeky]
asiantraveller101 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/08
Posts: 158
Loc: ME
I used to have a student's mom that would raise her hand, and shout "I know, I know!" when I asked her daughter musical questions pertaining to her pieces or theory work. It was thoroughly annoying! She would also "spoon feed" her daughter answers when she was doing theory. I had to "bite my tongue" and bear with it for several years, till her daughter finally advanced to a stage where she could not longer be of "help". So, be patient, and hang in there! Best wishes!
Ps. The positive side of it, is those parents usually are very supportive of their kids music learning, and try to take an active role.
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#1698650 - 06/20/11 12:58 PM Re: Etiquette for parent during child's piano lessons [Re: CarolR]
asiantraveller101 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/08
Posts: 158
Loc: ME
Originally Posted By: CarolR
I find that most parents that sit on on lessons these days don't really pay attention, because they are looking at their iphones. This is only a problem when the thing rings and they answer it. Really!


Haha! I had a father who sat in her daughter's lessons regularly, reading newspaper and farting on numerous occasions, and did not even blink an eye nor apologized!
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#1698654 - 06/20/11 01:04 PM Re: Etiquette for parent during child's piano lessons [Re: Cheeky]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3165
I had a lady clip her nails during the lesson. Others have texted non-stop.
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#1698723 - 06/20/11 03:29 PM Re: Etiquette for parent during child's piano lessons [Re: rocket88]
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5510
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: rocket88
Others have texted non-stop.

That one doesn't bother me.
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#1698999 - 06/20/11 10:53 PM Re: Etiquette for parent during child's piano lessons [Re: AZNpiano]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3165
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: rocket88
Others have texted non-stop.

That one doesn't bother me.


When they are sitting very near (small studio room), I find it distracting. If they were a bit further away, it would not.
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