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#1718249 - 07/21/11 06:27 PM Re: Did you ever drop student b/c of parent? [Re: chasingrainbows]
chasingrainbows Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/06
Posts: 1337
Loc: NJ
pianodad, oops, I directed my reply for you to Gary my mistake. sorry, no offense taken. Gary, ignore my last post. Time to sign off.............

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#1718379 - 07/21/11 11:08 PM Re: Did you ever drop student b/c of parent? [Re: chasingrainbows]
shirlkirsten Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/07/07
Posts: 1473
Loc: Berkeley, California
What you say is right on target..There are some rude awakenings associated with being a piano teacher.. while there are high points...the hope is to keep the balance in the right direction.
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#1718467 - 07/22/11 02:29 AM Re: Did you ever drop student b/c of parent? [Re: Gary D.]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5962
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Hey, let's say you are venting a little.

We all do it sometimes.


I think we need to do it more often! It's healthy to vent.

Just today I gave my worst student quite a lecture! I was sick of seeing the same problems, done week after week, with absolutely NO SIGN of improvement.

Then I carried that "teacher mode" over to the next two students, and gave them my "death stare." I was not nice at all, and I picked on even the smallest problems, and I dished out zero praise.

All three lessons were the post productive in months!!!

Note to self: occasional brutal honesty can be quite effective.
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#1718476 - 07/22/11 03:06 AM Re: Did you ever drop student b/c of parent? [Re: AZNpiano]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4900
Loc: South Florida
I've mellowed. smile

When I was in my 20s I was much tougher. Two of my former students (both in their 40s now!!!) have joked with me recently about times I sent them home, one time each, for not practicing.

On both occasions I told them: "Come back next week when you have practiced."

And both told me they are very glad I did it. It taught them a lesson.

But these days I *try* to make my points more subtly. Two days ago, I think, a six year-old told me that he didn't want to do what I told him to do first. All my students use a keyboard chart, mine, and they have to play through one piece without it, saying every note name. It is my way of testing to make sure that they are absorbing the note names. I tell them that the chart is "training wheels" and we have to get rid of those "training wheels" as soon as possible.

So while I am working ahead, with the chart, I review every page, one by one, from the beginning, with OUT the chart and with counting. I then push to "catch up" to the front of the book, which I am creating in each lesson with my own materials, until all old pages have been covered, note reading is solid, counting is solid.

So when the six year-old said he didn't want to do the page with the notes, as I asked him to, and his mother (part of the lesson) said she hasn't been doing it because he "resists", I told him:

"You don't have to do the notes if you don't want to. But you will have to work with another teacher."

I smiled. But I was totally serious!

Some things are not negotiable. Some things CAN'T be negotiable, and if we don't hold our ground now, we don't have a chance of teaching in a productive way, ever. smile
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Piano Teacher

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#1718842 - 07/22/11 04:59 PM Re: Did you ever drop student b/c of parent? [Re: chasingrainbows]
chasingrainbows Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/06
Posts: 1337
Loc: NJ
Gary, that is a wonderful way to handle situations like that - and we've all been in them. I have young ones who tell me they don't want to do something (even as simple as keeping both hands on the piano, or not hanging thumbs under the piano!) as often as not. Usually I explain why they should do a particular instruction, but if they continue to resist, I will use your response.

I know a local (extremely booked) teacher who tells her students "don't come back until you've fixed that measure."

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#1718845 - 07/22/11 05:03 PM Re: Did you ever drop student b/c of parent? [Re: AZNpiano]
chasingrainbows Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/06
Posts: 1337
Loc: NJ
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Hey, let's say you are venting a little.

We all do it sometimes.


I think we need to do it more often! It's healthy to vent.

Just today I gave my worst student quite a lecture! I was sick of seeing the same problems, done week after week, with absolutely NO SIGN of improvement.

Then I carried that "teacher mode" over to the next two students, and gave them my "death stare." I was not nice at all, and I picked on even the smallest problems, and I dished out zero praise.

All three lessons were the post productive in months!!!

Note to self: occasional brutal honesty can be quite effective.


Yes, sometimes I drop the nice, easygoing, positive teacher mode and show some "tough love." Particularly annoying is when students play while I am talking. After nicely asking a 12 year old to please not play the piano while I'm talking, I finally went into teacher mode. He didn't do that again. smile

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