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#1757466 - 09/22/11 03:48 PM Re: Parents sitting in on EVERY lesson :( [Re: kevinb]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11590
Loc: Canada
Teaching music being a business is a factor. It is best for us to be aware of it both for teachers and students/parents because it has effects and side effects. If we know of them then we can deal with them.

"Pure" music teaching probably would be giving a student all the tools of musicianship: technique, reading ability, understanding of music by knowing history theory etc, the gradual ability to interpret music using these. Teaching has to go a certain way, the student has to apply himself a certain way, and parents have to be supportive.

One lucrative "marketplace" are your well off families. They may want lessons in order to compete in competitions or high exam grades. Teachers in the same area compete for these clients. Will reading skills and learning to understand and interpret music show up at competitions? Or will they slow down getting these impressive performances done a certain way to wow judges? Will the public believe that the students who perform earlier and more impressively, maybe choreographed to the hilt, have the "better" teacher? What if music lessons themselves are promoted along this line, so that parents are kept to this line of thinking?

There are other markets and other niches that promote along other lines. This is a reality of music lessons. Meanwhile the other reality is that parents and students do not know about lessons, how to work with a teacher and how not to, what expectations to have and not have - and yet they need to work with the teacher or in the least not to interfere. You can't ignore the client because this client is in your face.

Now we come into this mess either as parents or adult students. Music is a noble thing and teachers are above-human magicians who are guardians of the sacred. If both parent and teacher are into the competition thing, and the teacher can tell the parent his part, maybe they'll make a good team and maybe little Johnny will even like competing. It can also happen that the student wants to full deal and doesn't understand that there is a package. We won't know that the teaching is toward winning competitions, or passing exams, or adults quickly getting what they need to play their favourite songs. We don't even know this exists.

Our kids become the transfer student who plays 4 pieces wonderfully like a genius but can't read notes or do anything independently. Or some other product of a process. We may be induced to change to a "better" teacher who is better because he is "faster", wins more competitions or whatever. Or we may get a teacher who compromises to what we want or what people commonly want because that "keeps the market".

It is unrealistic to pretend that there is no market because it's everywhere. I think that if we are aware of it, educate ourselves, deal with it and make our choices it is a lot better than stumbling around. We might still make those kinds of choices as students/parents but it would be conscious. Above all, if everyone is aware then they can work together for real goals instead of being tossed around by this market. Maybe this is overly idealistic but it could be a starting point for maybe a small change for those who want it.

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#1757623 - 09/22/11 07:14 PM Re: Parents sitting in on EVERY lesson :( [Re: chasingrainbows]
LeaC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 413
Loc: USA
While there are differing personalities and demands placed on the teacher, I think it is best to start out with firm policies. Get to know the people for a few weeks or months. Then we can change things as we are comfortable. I will repeat, and not really to you, chasingrainbows, that making a list of the issues, and writing out a planned response will keep you in charge. The teacher is always in charge.

If you don't have space, you can't change that. So, the parent has to change their expectation. You might have a note written in advance that says "Only one person in the studio with the student." or "No one else is allowed in the studio, thank you."

Just like teaching, one must continue to try different things until it clicks for both you and the parent/student.
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#1757624 - 09/22/11 07:16 PM Re: Parents sitting in on EVERY lesson :( [Re: keystring]
LeaC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 413
Loc: USA
The reality of teaching music is best expressed by those who have spent a life time doing it, thank you.
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Working on: Reworking Bartok's Suite Opus 14, Chopin's Polonaise Op.40, The Military (so much fun!)

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#1757630 - 09/22/11 07:26 PM Re: Parents sitting in on EVERY lesson :( [Re: LeaC]
LeaC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 413
Loc: USA
Thanks for clearing that up, Diane. I am a mother, however, I was teacher before that, and a student before that. So, I have always known how to behave at lessons. The way I relate to these mothers is from my experience as a teacher, for the most part. I didn't think this was relevant to the original post, but I'll tell you that I have been (retired now) a highly trained and successful Suzuki teacher since 1986. Personally, my view point is a lot different than many here. It's another world where families are encouraged to be involved and take responsibility for their child's practice at home. I had much training for this, and I made a concious choice that this is what I wanted to do. So, I am totally used to dealing with siblings and others. Yes, I do give the siblings a sticker at the end of the lesson for being quiet, or coloring pictures for me, etc. Works like a charm! This is probably not possible in the situation in question here, though.
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#1757641 - 09/22/11 07:49 PM Re: Parents sitting in on EVERY lesson :( [Re: kevinb]
LeaC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 413
Loc: USA
Hi Kevin,

I hear what your saying. It is getting worse, though. The public demands are affecting our universities, our orchestras, our secondary schools, our radio stations. This is a vast topic, isn't it? I don't see it as being stuck up about education. I don't hear mathmaticians complaining about this. I don't hear computer software developers complaining about this. Ever talked to a group of physicists? Trust me, they are in their own world and wouldn't even consider lowering themselves for business purposes, at least not in the context we are speaking of here.

It does seem to be happening in the English language, too, and the downward pull is becoming evident in our society.

Why should we be the ones to cater to the lowest common denominator? That, I believe is whats behind the snobbery.

You have to be very clever to convince a lot of people that you can please them and keep your standards high. Very clever. My biggest weapon is my knowledge of piano literature. This is how I keep people happy, and they still learn exactly what I want them to know.

Thank you.
_________________________
Working on: Reworking Bartok's Suite Opus 14, Chopin's Polonaise Op.40, The Military (so much fun!)

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#1757648 - 09/22/11 08:03 PM Re: Parents sitting in on EVERY lesson :( [Re: LeaC]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5903
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: Lea's Muse-ic
The reality of teaching music is best expressed by those who have spent a life time doing it, thank you.
We've discussed this before, and the consensus was that contributions from non-teachers are welcome, as long as it's clear (when relevant) that they're speaking as a parent, or an adult student, not a teacher. I've gained valuable insights from students and parents here.
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#1757651 - 09/22/11 08:15 PM Re: Parents sitting in on EVERY lesson :( [Re: currawong]
jotur Online   blank
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5455
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Originally Posted By: currawong
Originally Posted By: Lea's Muse-ic
The reality of teaching music is best expressed by those who have spent a life time doing it, thank you.
We've discussed this before, and the consensus was that contributions from non-teachers are welcome, as long as it's clear (when relevant) that they're speaking as a parent, or an adult student, not a teacher. I've gained valuable insights from students and parents here.


Thank you. I don't spend as much time in the teachers forum as I have in the past - nor at PW some weeks - but as far as I can tell all posters are welcome to post in any forum at all. I still read threads here in the teachers forum, and still learn from some of them. I've taught, though not piano, for many years. So, while I don't necessarily have lots of ideas for specific piano teaching, the human interactions don't appear to me to differ nuch across disciplines. I had a college student "threaten" to tell her mother about something at one point laugh . So, yes, I think others besides piano teachers can have valuable things to offer here. This thread doesn't really seem to be a piano-only-related kind of topic, to me.

Cathy
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#1757684 - 09/22/11 09:27 PM Re: Parents sitting in on EVERY lesson :( [Re: chasingrainbows]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11590
Loc: Canada
.


Edited by keystring (09/23/11 12:03 AM)

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#1757694 - 09/22/11 09:45 PM Re: Parents sitting in on EVERY lesson :( [Re: chasingrainbows]
Diane... Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/16/06
Posts: 3443
Loc: Western Canada
Originally Posted By: chasingrainbows
. . . and I'm finding myself now wondering if these parents lack confidence in me.


I think that's it right there! The first time a parent sat in on the piano lesson I was teaching with his daughter, I thought exactly the same thing. I was finding myself now wondering if this parent lack confidence in me! Bingo!

That is a very common thought. As you gain experience, you will get the "confidence" & HONEST you won't care if a parent or any parent sits in on a lesson! It's called "experience". Just fight through the lack of confidence feelings & as you start to gain parent's compliments, & you get around by word of mouth, you'll know then that you feel good about your teaching. You'll get there. Just takes time! & Think back to the good piano teacher's you had, & what THEY did that made them good.

I still have to shake my head & wonder how the "store" can place so many 4 year olds with just one piano teacher & no help, & this is why I thought having a parent or two to help "crowd control" might be to your advantage!

Anyways, the best to you!



Edited by Diane... (09/22/11 09:49 PM)
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Jazz/Blues/Rock/Boogie Piano Teacher


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#1757778 - 09/23/11 12:13 AM Re: Parents sitting in on EVERY lesson :( [Re: kevinb]
david_a Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 2913
Originally Posted By: kevinb
Originally Posted By: david_a
Piano education is not a product, it's education. A product is a tangible item. A hamburger is a product - a house is a product - education is not. There is no legitimate comparison to be made, other than the obvious fact that money changes hands.


I'm sorry to be blunt, but that's nonsense. I can't find a nicer way of putting it. Sorry.

When I taught in universities, my colleages and I always got a certain warm fuzzy from thinking that education was something privileged, something above the mundane, grubby world of business and commerce that everybody else lived in. We railed against governmental attempts to make as adapt to the need of 'employers', whatever they were. Employers come and go, we said, but we'll still be teaching Virgil fifty years from now, just like we have for the last thousand years, blah, blah, blah...

It was, indeed, marvellous to feel one was working in the only profession where the customer was always wrong.

But, for better or worse, the basic exigencies of capitalism mean that anybody who has to make a living and who takes that attitude will, end the end, fail. It no longer works very well in the public sector, and it certainly doesn't in the private.

If you have the good fortune to work in an area where demand exceeds supply, then you can get away with it for a while. But probably only until other people realize there is a market opportunity you are missing.

As a private tutor you're entitled to run your business any way you like, and you don't have to account for your policies to anybody else. If you want to make it a condition of business that you piano students' parents turn cartwheels in the street during their kids' lessons you can, and you don't have to explain it to anybody. It's your business.

But the downside of that freedom is that you can't legitimately complain when you have no customers.

In practice, most businesses have to find some kind of working arrangement that balances what they want to provide with what customers want to consume. Nobody's suggesting that you become your students' bitch. But operating in the real world means recognizing that balances have to be found, and accomodations made, by all parties.
Arguing that a piano lesson is neither a hamburger nor a house does not amount to arguing that it's privileged in some way, and I don't believe anything like what you're pretending I believe.

A product is tangible. A service is not. A product and a service are not the same thing. It's pretty simple.

In your university, did students bring bottles of whisky to class and drink them there? Many of them certainly would have preferred to do so. If they had done it, would you have let them, because of course they were paying customers and therefore they were right?

Or (for a comparison more apropos in this thread) did you expect and encourage all students to bring both parents and all their siblings to every class?


Edited by david_a (09/23/11 01:54 AM)
Edit Reason: Added last paragraph

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#1757804 - 09/23/11 01:35 AM Re: Parents sitting in on EVERY lesson :( [Re: LeaC]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4750
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Lea's Muse-ic

Wow, Diane, with all due respect, I take serious issue with your comments regarding pleasing the student to make money. I make my money by providing an excellent service as an teacher known for my effectiveness in producing good students (even the hard ones!).

1) Most of us who have been in this forum for awhile know that Diane is both a dedicated teacher and a very VERY pleasant person to talk to. I think you are jumping to conclusions.

2) Why on earth does there need to be a conflict between producing good students and working hard to make these students happy? I think that music should be pure joy, and although there are moments, for both my students and me, when things are hard, in the long run it is working through these hard moments that lead to both success and a mutual feeling of pleasure.

3) You appear to be attempting to make yourself look "bigger" by making someone else look "smaller". Why not simply share what works for you without condescending to another member?
Quote:

There are constant conflicts between those who teach as experts in their field, and certainly know whats best for the student, and those who will try to control the teachers output, or values, just to keep a customer who is shooting themselves in the foot by trying to call the shots! I get paid because I DO know whats best for my students.

Well, I have been teaching for over four decades, and I can't say that I "know what's best for the student". *Sometimes* I do. Sometimes I see problems that are going to be so serious that they may never be fixed, if they are not corrected NOW, and then I feel safe in jumping in, being a bit hard, and demanding to be followed.

But there are other times when I do not know students well enough to be sure what is best for them, and I can make serious mistakes if I do not take into consideration their dreams, fears, hopes AND their everyday battles with life itself.


Edited by Gary D. (09/23/11 03:43 AM)
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#1757809 - 09/23/11 01:47 AM Re: Parents sitting in on EVERY lesson :( [Re: LeaC]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4750
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Lea's Muse-ic
The reality of teaching music is best expressed by those who have spent a life time doing it, thank you.

That was an extremely nasty and unwarranted comment, thank you.

The reality of *teaching music* may be best expressed by those who have spent a life time doing it, but the reality of *being a student* is probably best expressed by those who are students.

Furthermore, to ignore the input of serious students, some of whom may have personally experienced poor teaching or who have seen OTHER students badly damaged by teachers whose egos are far greater than their teaching ability, is condescending and arrogant.

I have been on both ends. I have been badly damaged, as a student, by following horrible advice given by two poor teachers, and I have seen many students who have done the same.

I found Keystring's summation to be both well thought out and remarkably on target.


Edited by Gary D. (09/23/11 01:52 AM)
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#1757847 - 09/23/11 06:52 AM Re: Parents sitting in on EVERY lesson :( [Re: david_a]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: david_a
Arguing that a piano lesson is neither a hamburger nor a house does not amount to arguing that it's privileged in some way, and I don't believe anything like what you're pretending I believe.

A product is tangible. A service is not. A product and a service are not the same thing. It's pretty simple.


I don't think it matter whether education is a product or a service or something else. It doesn't matter whether it's tanglible or not. Personally, I think that calling education a product does not do any greater violence to the word than calling a bank loan a product, and that seems to be commonplace these days.

But no matter -- it's just a word. Whatever word we use, private education is something we do in exchange for money. It's not clear to me that it is, or even should be, different from anything else we do for money.

Quote:
In your university, did students bring bottles of whisky to class and drink them there?


Only if they brought enough for everybody smile

In fact, I allowed worse things. I admitted students to my courses whom I knew would most likely not succeed, because we couldn't afford to run half-empty classes. I allowed things to be taught that I thought were academically irrelevant because students thought they would 'look good on my CV'. I did allow students to bring their kids to classes but, unlike the academic compromises, I don't regret that -- it was definitely the right thing to do in the circumstances.

As I said, the fact that my students are my employer doesn't make me their bitch. If my boss asks me to give him a handjob, I won't (um... not that he ever has, of course). But in the interests of continuing to get paid, I will be flexible about the way I work and the duties I will take on.

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#1757853 - 09/23/11 07:12 AM Re: Parents sitting in on EVERY lesson :( [Re: LeaC]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: Lea's Muse-ic

The public demands are affecting our universities, our orchestras, our secondary schools, our radio stations. This is a vast topic, isn't it? I don't see it as being stuck up about education. I don't hear mathmaticians complaining about this. I don't hear computer software developers complaining about this.


I do. I'm old enough to remember the fuss about the Monty Finiston report on engineering and science higher education (1980-ish). Finiston's recommendation, which was taken up by the Government, was that engineering should be more 'practical' and employer-centered. It wasn't very popular in universtities, who tended to view engineering and science as branches of applied mathematics (I still do :)).

The process of 'commercializing' education may have started well before that -- I don't know, it was before my time. In any event, it's not just music and the arts.

Many (most?) of us who are drawn to education as a career do have some idea that there's more at stake than a crass exchange of money. We do have an idea that there's some sort of standard that ought to be maintained, regardless of political and social considerations. If we do, it's pretty hard (in my experience) to maintain such a standard in the present climate. Perhaps it always has been.

To be 'stuck up' isn't necessarily a bad thing -- I think there is such a thing as high culture and it's worth fighting to keep it alive. And, again, not just in music. It bugs me that the majority of high-school students don't study calculus in the UK. Or, indeed, read Virgil.

But if we try to pretent that we don't live in a supply-and-demand culture, we're going to come unstuck. It's hard to be cultured when you're living in a cardboard box.

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#1757969 - 09/23/11 12:53 PM Re: Parents sitting in on EVERY lesson :( [Re: kevinb]
Diane... Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/16/06
Posts: 3443
Loc: Western Canada
Originally Posted By: kevinb
Originally Posted By: Lea's Muse-ic

The public demands are affecting our universities, our orchestras, our secondary schools, our radio stations. This is a vast topic, isn't it? I don't see it as being stuck up about education.


To be 'stuck up' isn't necessarily a bad thing -- I think there is such a thing as high culture and it's worth fighting to keep it alive.


I don't think "stuck up" is ever in fashion!

We don't dress like the 1700's so why should we continue to "play" like the 1700's. We all know students who have taken classical lessons to the grade 10 level, passed the grade 10 exam, then carefully place their classical piano books in the piano bench, & never touched the piano again. I can name 5 right off the top of my head. (They weren't my students) There is more to piano than just classical. One day I got real, & realized there was a need out there for kids to play Disney, jazz, blues, rock & yes classical. These kids were coming to me from classical exclusive teachers. (My business, yes it's a business, got around by "Word of Mouth" advertisement) What a revelation to me to realize that it was alright to teach kids how to play the piano with a "praise team" in a band at church. But they didn't have a clue how until they were taught how to. How to use lead sheets. There is a lot those "universities" aren't teaching. Good thing I discovered 3 years into teaching that I was proud to teach kids to play music they REALLY wanted to play. No shame in that!!!!! Students do go thru RCM exams with me but they are going to get much more than just a piece of paper. Some students have been with me 8 years. & play stuff like "Linus & Lucy", Christmas music, national anthems, Jerry Lee Lewis, & yes, Beatles music, etc.
I wanted to play "beatles" music on the piano when I took piano lessons, & remember asking my classical piano teacher WHEN would I get to play some beatles music? I really don't think she knew how to play beatles music on the piano actually!
It has cost me a pretty penny to make this change.

Classical exclusive piano teachers don't like me very much because they know that what I'm selling, people are buying. grin

Yes we can have it all in music. Just takes "smart" people to think & not behave like complaining little "children"!

______________________________________
Edit: highlighted the words "stuck up"


Edited by Diane... (09/23/11 01:06 PM)
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Diane
Jazz/Blues/Rock/Boogie Piano Teacher


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#1757989 - 09/23/11 01:25 PM Re: Parents sitting in on EVERY lesson :( [Re: kevinb]
david_a Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 2913
Originally Posted By: kevinb
I don't think it matter whether education is a product or a service or something else. It doesn't matter whether it's tanglible or not. Personally, I think that calling education a product does not do any greater violence to the word than calling a bank loan a product, and that seems to be commonplace these days.

But no matter -- it's just a word. Whatever word we use, private education is something we do in exchange for money. It's not clear to me that it is, or even should be, different from anything else we do for money.
Fair enough.

Quote:
I did allow students to bring their kids to classes but, unlike the academic compromises, I don't regret that -- it was definitely the right thing to do in the circumstances.
How about all the students bringing both of their parents (or two children each, for the older students), to every class every day? That's much closer to the issue at hand.

Quote:
As I said, the fact that my students are my employer doesn't make me their bitch. If my boss asks me to give him a handjob, I won't (um... not that he ever has, of course). But in the interests of continuing to get paid, I will be flexible about the way I work and the duties I will take on.

Agreed. But students bringing other people to class, so that the number of extras is greater than the number of students and everyone is distracted by their presence, is (in my mind) crossing some kind of line.
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#1758150 - 09/23/11 06:35 PM Re: Parents sitting in on EVERY lesson :( [Re: david_a]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: david_a
Agreed. But students bringing other people to class, so that the number of extras is greater than the number of students and everyone is distracted by their presence, is (in my mind) crossing some kind of line.


Sure. The problem with bending over backwards to suit your students, at the expense of what you know is likely to be productive, is that you end up losing students anyway, because they don't feel they're getting along. But it still seems to me to be a business decision, even if it happens to one that aligns with your professional integrity.

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#1758154 - 09/23/11 06:43 PM Re: Parents sitting in on EVERY lesson :( [Re: Diane...]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: Diane...
Originally Posted By: kevinb
Originally Posted By: Lea's Muse-ic

The public demands are affecting our universities, our orchestras, our secondary schools, our radio stations. This is a vast topic, isn't it? I don't see it as being stuck up about education.


To be 'stuck up' isn't necessarily a bad thing -- I think there is such a thing as high culture and it's worth fighting to keep it alive.


I don't think "stuck up" is ever in fashion!

We don't dress like the 1700's so why should we continue to "play" like the 1700's.


Sure -- I wasn't suggesting living in the past. There's good material to be found in the art and music of all styles and eras. The problem is that it doesn't always correspond with what is popular at the time.

There's nothing wrong with being popular, or with a teacher focussing on the popular to attract or retain students. But it concerns me that we have a tendency to concern ourselves _only_ with what is current, and neglect everything else -- particular when that is what best pays the bills.

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#1758202 - 09/23/11 08:51 PM Re: Parents sitting in on EVERY lesson :( [Re: kevinb]
Georginamca Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/23/11
Posts: 4
I am a parent (who went to specialist music school aged 11 briefly and left of my own accord) and had grade VIII on 2 instruments by 14. I have now seen daughter's music teachers in action for piano and harp. She is 12.

Piano teacher is quite "modern" - I see the pupils before and after with contemporary stuff under their arm. Mine gets given a choice (didn't happen in my day) but chooses classical. I do not go into the lessons, I nip to a cafe for a coffee with a book. But, I have had to have words several times about lack of goals and lack of details in the practice book on several occasions. Progress has been slower than with the first (now retired) more old school piano teacher where I used to sit in (in silence - just how I felt she liked it but never discussed). I had to ask for lessons to go to 45 mins as they never got time on each piece and did very little sightreading and aurals. I was sick of teaching them myself on the side. I have input into practice, often from the kitchen, she asks for my help with diffiult passages and I often play one hand for her when she is learning new piece.

The harp one is "old school" in outlook - more rigorous, expects theory to be done at home, gives us loads of extra time off her own bat, does ensembles in her own time. Arranges lots of concerts. Like my old teachers, its a profession not a business. It is more a passing on of what one knows to your apprentices. They are like a second family to her. She is a very senior Suzuki teacher so it is part of the deal that a parent is there and she writes nothing during the lessons. I know she deals with sibs in there often. I am sure she has no objections. There is a play area in the corner for them with things to do. I am not silent in the lessons - we all talk together. I have seen many masterclasses for daughter from world class teacher/performer on harp and our regular teacher asks me my thoughts a lot (she learnt the instrument as an adult interestingly and knows that she has lots more to learn). The goals are obvious - concerts, masterclasses, ensembles, orchestra pieces all with deadlines. She never mentions how to organise this - she knows that DD and I look at it together whenever daughter wants to commit to anything and make written schedules. Progress is outstanding. If I were not at the practices the technique would fall over even now after 4 years. It is such a technical instrument and difficult to see both hands even with a big mirror up.

Why dont I change piano to the second teacher whose main insturment is piano? Cos I dont think any of us could keep up with the pace! Daughter is highly strung so best to divide up the work a bit.

And daughter adores the dog at the piano teacher's place! She would probably make better progress elsewhere but its always a risk to change a child like her (Aspergers and highly gifted) - could all fall apart and she is happy there.

You all undoubtably have pupils who would do much better with a parent in (actually nearly all your younger pupils would in my opinion) and some who would do worse or get bolshy. Your challenge is to find out who is who and how to decide to make the change to individual study (which is very child/teen dependent not teacher dependent) and will happen at different times for each).

It is very motivating to have a parent appreciate your work. They are there every day. They are 100% why a young child gets into a practice routine no matter what else is going on. I got into great habits from early age thanks to my mother and first teacher who worked as a team from 4-9 years of age. I was then lazy but perfectly capable of going it alone when I felt like it.

That teacher was like having a clone of Philip Johnston's practice books next to you. Everything he writes about now she had already taught me 40 years ago! How many of you teach how to practice in that sort of detail as a matter of interest? How many of you just write something like Merry Peasant 1st 2 lines? 1st 2 lines hands sep or tog at what speed, with or without dynamics and with how many errors per playthough....??? Or "Emaj scale 2 octaves hands tog" (er, leg or stac, p or f, what speed, what rhythms, etc etc). From what I see of friends who have kids who play that is an area many teachers could and should work on.

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#1758297 - 09/24/11 12:43 AM Re: Parents sitting in on EVERY lesson :( [Re: currawong]
LeaC Offline
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Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 413
Loc: USA
No, I don't think that's always clear at all.

I will continue to post the most accurate and helpful information that I can to teachers might find it useful.


Edited by Lea's Muse-ic (09/24/11 12:52 AM)
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#1758303 - 09/24/11 12:51 AM Re: Parents sitting in on EVERY lesson :( [Re: kevinb]
LeaC Offline
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Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 413
Loc: USA
@ Diane and Kevin

Good discussion! The only reason I mentioned fine arts is because I don't want to speak for another part of the music industry that I don't have much experience in. Frankly, I don't see where the past was ever brought up. Classical music is alive and well. It's people's attitudes about education that I was addressing.
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#1758313 - 09/24/11 01:26 AM Re: Parents sitting in on EVERY lesson :( [Re: LeaC]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11590
Loc: Canada
.


Edited by keystring (09/24/11 05:12 AM)

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#1758520 - 09/24/11 03:50 PM Re: Parents sitting in on EVERY lesson :( [Re: Diane...]
LeaC Offline
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Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 413
Loc: USA
Diane, just to be clear. I welcome everything about what you teach and what you are doing. No problem at all, really! I have hundreds of friends (for real) in bands of all sorts. I admire them. I certainly don't think that your choice of genre is what the issue was at all. Heck, maybe I should take some lessons from you. Nowadays they are teaching rock, jazz, electronic, avante garde, etc. in universities? It's all good, IMO. Just saying that teachers should always be the ones to make decisions about teaching. You seem like a great teacher to me. No one knows better than you about how to teach your students.
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#1758639 - 09/24/11 08:32 PM Re: Parents sitting in on EVERY lesson :( [Re: LeaC]
currawong Offline
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Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5903
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: Lea's Muse-ic
I will continue to post the most accurate and helpful information that I can to teachers might find it useful.
Not suggesting for a moment that you shouldn't - only that you realise that everyone else has a right to do the same.
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Du holde Kunst...

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#1758646 - 09/24/11 08:49 PM Re: Parents sitting in on EVERY lesson :( [Re: currawong]
LeaC Offline
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Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 413
Loc: USA
As is certainly evident!
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#1758923 - 09/25/11 12:43 PM Re: Parents sitting in on EVERY lesson :( [Re: chasingrainbows]
keystring Online   content
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Registered: 12/11/07
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Addressing the OT:
Lessons are not a matter of a teacher doing something to a student like a carpenter might do to wood to make a chair. The student plays a role and parent (for children) plays a role. If you have people coming together with a similar background then they will already speak the same language - then things will go smoothly because everyone is on the same page. For example, a family with a history of lessons over generations similar to what the present teacher offers. But that isn't always the case, and there seems to be friction. I think that if "customers" can become informed, and if the two sides can get a better understanding of each other, things might improve.

The Internet gives an opportunity so that people don't have to flop about wondering and missing each other. I proposed a section where teachers and both parents and adult students could discuss things. This way those who choose to do this could go there, and others could opt out. The idea was rejected as fragmenting the forum. So it has stayed part of this forum, and the ABF.

"Customer education" is part of every profession, and "understanding the customer" is too. There are few jobs that require the degree of cooperation that private lessons do. I'm not sure that a studio policy, however well written, is a complete solution. People read according to what they understand, if they read at all. Anyway, I think that a lot of frustrations on both sides could disappear if people had a way of being informed, AND of communicating. After that it's attitude.

It is not only that people are going into it with a lack of information. There is also deliberate misinformation for commercial reasons. We're coming into your studios with wrong expectations, and comparing you according to false standards so that en masse there is a pressure which threatens the field, because we're being misinformed. What if information and communication could at least put a dent into that?

No, I am not a piano teacher at present. But I and people I know have been affected, including teachers. There shouldn't be an atmosphere of conflict. There is a variety of teachers, some with extensive backgrounds, with varying views. Is there a "right answer"? Members at large also have their backgrounds. It is a judgment call when to step in and when to be silent and there is always a chance of making the wrong choice.

In the past every time this kind of thing came up, it derailed the whole thread which is why I stayed silent. Since the topic here is on parents sitting in on lessons, that is a specific thing that is best addressed by those involved = music teachers. I wrote when the topic became general. Since it created an unexpected backlash on who can and can't contribute, I regret having posted.

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#1758988 - 09/25/11 02:48 PM Re: Parents sitting in on EVERY lesson :( [Re: chasingrainbows]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11590
Loc: Canada
I don't usually vent but maybe it's time. Here's what bothers me. Making assumptions rather than finding out what is. Skimming over things presented, and/or again assuming. Giving advice and opinions on that base, and maybe not checking whether it was on track and what effects there are. Real people with real lives are affected, and sometimes more than just the person being addressed. There is a huge chance of getting it wrong on the Internet. It can be quite harmful. This has bothered me for a long time. This is not addressed to anyone in particular.

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#1759037 - 09/25/11 04:13 PM Re: Parents sitting in on EVERY lesson :( [Re: keystring]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4750
Loc: South Florida
I'm going to "cherry pick" a couple points:
Originally Posted By: keystring

1) It is not only that people are going into it with a lack of information. There is also deliberate misinformation for commercial reasons.

We are up against this:

http://www.amazon.com/Play-Piano-Flash-Favorite-Whether/dp/1401307663

We are up against similar hype that continually suggests that playing a musical instrument is something that can be learned in almost zero time.

In much the same way, language teachers have to contend with this:

http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&key...sl_28uyrnfb12_e

10 minutes a day of practicing Japanese is just enough time to teach anyone how to not only make a fool of him/herself but ALSO to accidentally insult the Japanese.

We are surrounded by cons, and the people who sell these materials don't have to worry about whether or not what they sell works. They just need to continue to continue selling.
Originally Posted By: keystring

2) We're coming into your studios with wrong expectations, and comparing you according to false standards so that en masse there is a pressure which threatens the field, because we're being misinformed. What if information and communication could at least put a dent into that?

I think, for teachers, the challenge is to get people to come to us and stay with us long enough to discover what we really do, what we can really offer. If people stay with us a year or more and are realistic about doing a reasonable amount of work, we have time to chip away at misconceptions--and outright lies.

For students, the challenge is not so much a challenge as luck. Many good students have come to me knowing nothing about music and nothing about what I do. They learned both while with me, so that is a win-win situation. They were lucky to get me, and I was lucky to get them.

The average teacher is just that: average. In order to get a teacher who is far better than average, either a good bit of luck OR a good bit of knowledge is necessary on the part of the student. Frankly, I think a good bit of both is usually needed.

Bottom line: at any moment there are first-rate students and first rate teachers who never have the good fortune to connect with each other due to the the overwhelming amount of misinformation and/or deliberate lying that is the norm.
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#1759135 - 09/25/11 06:33 PM Re: Parents sitting in on EVERY lesson :( [Re: Gary D.]
LeaC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 413
Loc: USA
+ 1.
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Working on: Reworking Bartok's Suite Opus 14, Chopin's Polonaise Op.40, The Military (so much fun!)

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#1759175 - 09/25/11 07:58 PM Re: Parents sitting in on EVERY lesson :( [Re: Gary D.]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11590
Loc: Canada
Thank you, Gary, for finding the words for this. We are all after the same goal fighting the same obstacles from opposite sides.

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