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#2053094 - 03/23/13 06:41 PM Coming between student and parent?
P.M. Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/27/11
Posts: 18
Hi,

I have two young students ( brothers) who take lessons with me. When they first started taking lessons, their parents were not strict with them. They were thus not practicing a lot. However, in the past several months, their parents have gotten really strict with them. The parents do not attend the lessons, since they have a younger child at home, and the boys come to me one at a time. They live in the same apartment complex as me and walk over. While at their lessons, the boys have told me that their parents want them to pass their piece every class, or else they get yelled at, and made to play more and essentially punished. It has gotten to the point where I cannot assign a piece for more than a week, (even if it means adding more to the piece, dynamics, articulation etc) instead of fixing mistakes. Every time I go to change the date in the same piece, their eyes well up with tears. Feeling sorry for them, I don't change the date and simply tell them to practice this for next week. I have met their parents and know how strict they can be.

I really want to say something to the parents. They do not know anything about music. I think they feel it is like math/science (their area of expertise) where you can pass a problem set for example and move on.

Question: how do I say something without letting on that the boys told me this information? I feel that I need to say something and they are not likely to leave my studio since it is right next door and they barely have time to go next door and observe their children. I doubt they would have time to drive them somewhere.

Thoughts?

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#2053105 - 03/23/13 07:07 PM Re: Coming between student and parent? [Re: P.M.]
emilypianist89 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/07/12
Posts: 82
What if, when you assigned the piece to them, you wrote out a few weeks worth of work right from the start. It could be something like:

Week 1: Learn the notes and rhythms
Week 2: Work on dynamics and musical shaping
Week 3: Memorize

You could actually write the dates instead of week one, two, etc. You could tell the parents that, now that pieces are more involved, they will require a couple weeks of work instead of one week. The parents can see the task for the week, you could check off the tasks as they are complete (so the parents see that the goal was achieve for the week), and then perhaps they wouldn't get upset with the boys. That is certainly a very difficult situation! This is the only thing that I could think of!
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Private Piano Teacher

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#2053128 - 03/23/13 07:45 PM Re: Coming between student and parent? [Re: P.M.]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1002
Loc: Irvine, CA
Originally Posted By: emily
Week 1: Learn the notes and rhythms
Week 2: Work on dynamics and musical shaping
Week 3: Memorize


This is excellent.

One of piano teacher's job is to create short term goal and long term goal.

Short term goal such as...
playing page 34 and 35 with all notes and rhythm correct
playing page 67 and 68 with dynamics
memorizing page 23 and 24 etc....

With short term goal (one week at a time), you can check it off and tell parents that students already achieve the goal that you set for them. So, as long as student achieve the goal, parents won't yell at them. Yes, you need to communicate with parents with this new approach.

Also piano teacher's job: to create a goal that you sure your student can accomplish.

Longer term goal such as to finish Lesson Book Level 2B in 8 lessons etc....

Super long term goal would be such as to pass Level 2 test and participate in two festivals etc...
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Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
@ http://bit.ly/Ready123

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#2053134 - 03/23/13 08:02 PM Re: Coming between student and parent? [Re: P.M.]
Morodiene Online   content
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11682
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I think that speaking with the parents is a good idea. Treat it like a "general conference" or check-up rather than anything specific. Let them know that they are both progressing well, but as they learn more complicated pieces, they need to devote more than 1 week to each piece to perfect them. Let them know how long it takes you for you learn a piece to give them some reference point. You may even say it like, "I think the boys are ready to move on to the next level of playing, which involves a lot more attention to detail than just getting the notes and rhythms. It is generally a 2-3 week process, and this will increase as the complexity and length of the pieces increase."

I like ezpiano's approach, however I think there is a deeper matter at hand here, and that is mainly the parents are not following your lead, but leading the teacher on how to teach. It really should be the other way around with the parents reinforcing what you say. So it sounds to me as though this kind of communication hasn't happened, or has not happened in a while. Since they live in the same apartment complex it shouldn't be difficult to meet up for a 15 minute talk.
_________________________
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MTNA member
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Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2053143 - 03/23/13 08:09 PM Re: Coming between student and parent? [Re: P.M.]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
It sounds like you are not using an assignment book. I think this is crucial.

You need to communicate to both the students and the parents what the expectations are for each week. I will often write down something like this:

Goals for this week are:
1. RH alone with correct notes, rhythm and fingering.
2. LH alone with smooth legato.
3. HT together, metronome at half performance tempo.

The next week's goals will look different.

I think a conference with the parents is in order.
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#2053157 - 03/23/13 08:28 PM Re: Coming between student and parent? [Re: P.M.]
keystring Online   content
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Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11644
Loc: Canada
Wouldn't it make sense to talk with the parents, and guide them in how they can help the students? Parents are part of the equation, and if they're not guided, how will they know?

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#2053159 - 03/23/13 08:38 PM Re: Coming between student and parent? [Re: keystring]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1002
Loc: Irvine, CA
Originally Posted By: keystring
Wouldn't it make sense to talk with the parents, and guide them in how they can help the students? Parents are part of the equation, and if they're not guided, how will they know?


good point.

My studio is an "open-door" studio, that means parents can stay in studio and learn along with students. If parents already know piano and music, then they will learn the way of how to explain complicated concept to younger students because most of the time they know how to do it but they do not know how break it down to small piece for younger students to digest. If parents do not know piano or music, then they are even more happy to pay one tuition but benefits two.

Of course if parents think they want to run errands, buy grocery, they are welcome to leave the studio too do to so.

80% of my parents stays and learn along students. They usually get lost by Level 2A, but they still stays to show moral support for their kid. They cheers when we did things right in class and they are aware when kids are not listening to me.

One funny thing I figure is that there are a lot of power struggle between students and parents at home. Sometimes parents trying to help kids but kids usually talk back to them: "You do not know music, I know more than you!"

If that is the case, make a video of the songs for student to bring home. When there is argument between parents and kid, then listen to the video to find out answer.
_________________________
http://ezpiano.org
Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
@ http://bit.ly/Ready123

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#2053167 - 03/23/13 08:52 PM Re: Coming between student and parent? [Re: Minniemay]
Barb860 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 1646
Loc: northern California
Originally Posted By: Minniemay
It sounds like you are not using an assignment book. I think this is crucial.

You need to communicate to both the students and the parents what the expectations are for each week. I will often write down something like this:

Goals for this week are:
1. RH alone with correct notes, rhythm and fingering.
2. LH alone with smooth legato.
3. HT together, metronome at half performance tempo.

The next week's goals will look different.

I think a conference with the parents is in order.


I agree, this is necessary. What I find sometimes is that parents don't read the assignment book notes, they just look at the lesson book (and/or other music) with dates noted and perhaps not any more information. Call the parents.
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Piano Teacher

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#2053168 - 03/23/13 08:55 PM Re: Coming between student and parent? [Re: P.M.]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11644
Loc: Canada
The parents are involved in the children's studies. If they are not told HOW they should be involved, and WHAT you, the teacher, want them to do and not to do, then they will continue creating the problems you now see. What is it that you want them to do and not to do?

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#2053174 - 03/23/13 09:15 PM Re: Coming between student and parent? [Re: keystring]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7343
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: keystring
The parents are involved in the children's studies. If they are not told HOW they should be involved, and WHAT you, the teacher, want them to do and not to do, then they will continue creating the problems you now see. What is it that you want them to do and not to do?

Those of you who've participated in this forum for a long time are aware that I record student's lessons to DVD and then send these home with students. They bring them back to each lesson and the new lesson is recorded. Of late, I've been encouraging parents to copy these lessons to their hard disk drive or to a SD or thumb drive, as these have become so inexpensive. Students will have access to their lessons when they become adults and want to resume piano (for example).

To keystring's point, I use these DVDs not only for students to have a resource, but to communicate with parents. From time to time, almost weekly in fact, I'll email a parent and ask them to watch at "X minutes into the lesson as there was a problem area which they, as parents, could be of great assistance with their student's practice." I also use this medium to explain to parents what we're doing in general, how the student is doing, etc., etc. I urge students to review their DVDs over the weekend. They don't need to watch the lesson from start to finish, as there is much they can fast forward through, but it will serve as a reminder to them of problems they encountered and how we solved them.

I began this practice back in the Fall of 2004, but many teachers were doing it long before then. It's a great resource worth your consideration.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#2053178 - 03/23/13 09:37 PM Re: Coming between student and parent? [Re: P.M.]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11644
Loc: Canada
John, your idea of letting parents see what you teach etc. that you describe is excellent. However, how about HOW they should (and should not) help? There is a difference between know WHAT the child is expected to achieve, and HOW the parent should go about doing things. The problem here seems to be that whatever it is the parents are doing, is making the students fearful. In what manner can the parent be "of great assistance"? What is it that they should be doing?

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#2053197 - 03/23/13 10:28 PM Re: Coming between student and parent? [Re: keystring]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7343
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
This is too difficult to answer with any specifics. There are so many variables. First, the physical layout of the practice area. Is the piano in the living room, the family room, a child's bedroom, in the basement, in the garage? Where is the parent when the child is practicing, etc., etc., etc.

Then there are issues of where the student is in his studies.

So, when discussing with parents, my comments are directed to what the student needs to be doing in the coming weeks. I believe several others have echoed a similar sentiment. I just find that the use of a DVD to be really invaluable in the communications process and worth consideration by other teachers.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#2053214 - 03/23/13 11:22 PM Re: Coming between student and parent? [Re: P.M.]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11644
Loc: Canada
Knowing what the student is supposed to accomplish does not tell the parents what their role is. In this scenario, the kids are anxious and afraid. Maybe they're being punished. Maybe the parents think they have to be stern and angry. Surely a teacher can tell a parent how they should help. Do they hover over the child every second? Do they threaten? Do they review with the child what he is to do before a lesson, and then give the child room to practice? Is the person who will tell the child he did well the parent - or does the teacher want to be the one to make that judgment call? That kind of thing.

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#2053259 - 03/24/13 01:34 AM Re: Coming between student and parent? [Re: keystring]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7343
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
"Would you please insure that students begin their practice with scales. Their assignment sheet shows which scales they are working on, and they can rotate from day to day. But they need to play each scale at a metronome setting of 72 and each note they play should match up with the metronome beat as closely as they are able. They will improve with practice, so perfection at this point is not the goal. Simply learning to listen to the metronome and making a close match is what we're after."

That's the kind of help I can ask of parents. If they are standing behind the student with a bull whip, there's nothing I can do about it.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#2053316 - 03/24/13 07:47 AM Re: Coming between student and parent? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11682
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
"Would you please insure that students begin their practice with scales. Their assignment sheet shows which scales they are working on, and they can rotate from day to day. But they need to play each scale at a metronome setting of 72 and each note they play should match up with the metronome beat as closely as they are able. They will improve with practice, so perfection at this point is not the goal. Simply learning to listen to the metronome and making a close match is what we're after."

That's the kind of help I can ask of parents. If they are standing behind the student with a bull whip, there's nothing I can do about it.


And I will note you are communicating with the parent as to their role. That is the most any teacher can do.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2053334 - 03/24/13 08:23 AM Re: Coming between student and parent? [Re: P.M.]
BrainCramp Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/12
Posts: 255
Loc: USA
Keystring makes sense to me. Just call the parents and talk with them.

If every piano teacher made a practice of making a quick, routine phone call to each set of parents once every 6-8 weeks, wouldn't a lot of problems be nipped in the bud?

I'm not a piano teacher, but I see teachers on the forum getting frustrated because parents don't know how to treat piano teachers, their kids' lessons, practicing, etc.

But how would they know if they never had private music lessons themselves? For most people it's still a luxury. It's outside their experience.

They think their kid's piano lesson must be just like his math class. But it isn't. You have to tell them how it's different.

It's like people who go to the opera for the first time and don't know when to applaud. It's not the same as applauding at a play or a concert. But how would you know if you hadn't been before and no one had told you?

I remember the first time my father took me to the opera in New York. He whistled through his teeth at a terrific singer. That's what he normally did when he needed a cab. How would someone there for the first time know that you can do that at the opera?

Please just talk to them.

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#2053461 - 03/24/13 12:36 PM Re: Coming between student and parent? [Re: BrainCramp]
childofparadise2002 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/04
Posts: 542
Originally Posted By: BrainCramp
Keystring makes sense to me. Just call the parents and talk with them.



Agree!! So many of the questions that parents ask here about teachers, and so many of the questions that teachers ask here about parents, come down to a lack of communication. Please, teachers and parents, if you want to make sure that the other party understands your view point, your concerns, your suggestions, you need to communicate with the other party.

The communication can happen in many forms: parent-teacher conferences, casual chats, phone calls, emails, notebooks, lesson recordings. Whatever method that works for each teacher and each family is the best method for that particularly teacher/family situation.

Some teachers may not have thought about involving parents in the students' learning process. If this is the case, please reconsider. Educational research have shown for a very long time that successful students have parents who are very involved in their children's education, far, far beyond finding a teacher and paying for the tuition.

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#2053477 - 03/24/13 01:18 PM Re: Coming between student and parent? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11644
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
"Would you please insure that students begin their practice with scales. Their assignment sheet shows which scales they are working on, and they can rotate from day to day. But they need to play each scale at a metronome setting of 72 and each note they play should match up with the metronome beat as closely as they are able. They will improve with practice, so perfection at this point is not the goal. Simply learning to listen to the metronome and making a close match is what we're after."

As someone who studies music, and whose child is an adult who studied music, I can see the intent. I have enough information and I would know what to do with it. If my child was younger, I might review with him before he starts if he knows what he is going to do in his session. I might listen as he practices to see if he is practising these things, or if he's trying to figure out how to play the Star Wars theme the entire time, or is obviously racing through those scales.

But if I don't have a clue I might do any number of things. If it's a piece rather than scales, I might expect it to be beautiful and make comments. Or with the metronome scales, I might try to give the same kind of feedback that the teacher on the video did, when that should not be my role. (And here comes the question of roles).

The instructions do not tell us what the parents should be doing. They only tell us what the child should be doing. A parent in the know can figure out what his role is, but another parent will not know what he is supposed to be doing.

In the original post, the children seemed to almost traumatized by whatever is going on at home. Therefore the parents do not know what their role is (what they should be doing), and they are doing something that the teacher probably would not want them to do. This may go beyond just telling them about the children's assignments. What do you want parents to do, when the children practice?

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#2053547 - 03/24/13 03:53 PM Re: Coming between student and parent? [Re: keystring]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7343
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
My statement you quote is not coming out of the blue. It's been preceded by hours and years of instruction, which the parent has either followed or ignored. If they've chosen to ignore all previous instruction, then they need to attend a lesson in which we (again) discuss their role and how they can assist their student. It's not my job to provide free parenting instruction.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#2053584 - 03/24/13 04:56 PM Re: Coming between student and parent? [Re: P.M.]
BrainCramp Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/12
Posts: 255
Loc: USA
The OP said the parents know nothing about music; their area of expertise is math and science.

Do the parents know what a metronome is, how to use it, and how not to overuse it? If you write in the kid's assignment book "work on dynamics", do the parents know what "dynamics" means?

In this case, probably not. So I wouldn't try to get them to help with things that are outside of their experience.

They probably assume that learning to play the piano is like learning math. You spend time on the homework problems until you get the right answers and learn the routine for solving that type of problem.

It may be counterproductive to ask parents like this to do anything more than "Please make sure Johnny spends 30 mins a day, 5 days a week practicing". Then work with Johnny on his practicing skills.

One idea you might run past the parents is that learning a musical instrument is a lot like learning a foreign language. That's something they probably HAVE tried to do in the past.

Both require you to practice repeatedly over time. Many short practice sessions are usually better than a few long ones. Learning musical instruments and languages both involve internalizing information, listening and mimicry, building and calling upon muscle memory, and so on. They're really very different from learning math or science.

I'd talk to these parents about their doing LESS. It sounds like now they lock the poor little tykes in the dungeon until their piano pieces are perfect.

Just my 2 cents.

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#2053596 - 03/24/13 05:18 PM Re: Coming between student and parent? [Re: BrainCramp]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7343
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
BrainCramp, please reread my first post. Thank you.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#2053607 - 03/24/13 05:40 PM Re: Coming between student and parent? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
BrainCramp Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/12
Posts: 255
Loc: USA
John,

I read your posts, and all the others, carefully. I'm sure your use of DVDs would be a great tool for some students and their parents.

I'm not sure the OP is asking for ways to turn these parents into more productive assistant teachers. I think the OP wants advice on how to get the parents to stop terrorizing the kids.

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#2053677 - 03/24/13 08:08 PM Re: Coming between student and parent? [Re: BrainCramp]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7343
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
You asked:

Originally Posted By: braincramp
Do the parents know what a metronome is, how to use it, and how not to overuse it? If you write in the kid's assignment book "work on dynamics", do the parents know what "dynamics" means?


If they've been attending lessons from the get go or following along by periodically reviewing DVDs, then yes, of course they would.

Originally Posted By: braincramp
I think the OP wants advice on how to get the parents to stop terrorizing the kids.

I have enough problems tending my own nest. I doubt I'd be very effective dealing with others.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#2053685 - 03/24/13 08:19 PM Re: Coming between student and parent? [Re: P.M.]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11644
Loc: Canada
John, your instructions made perfect sense to me as someone who has played and had lessons over a number of years. You reassure the parent about concerns they would have, and tell the solution to that. A parent with a background will know what to do with this. For example, if I had a younger child I might remind him at the beginning of the lesson what he is aiming for, maybe by asking him to tell me. I'd back off and let him practice, but I'd be listening. If he's dashing of scales sloppily with no sign of metronome work, then it's time to step in. Otherwise not.

If I had no background, then I might do a number of things. Maybe I'm over-helping, and getting over-involved. Maybe over-critical. This is the type of thing where I'm writing about knowing HOW to help, WHAT to do. The things that I'm reading essentially tell the parent what the student should do. But not what the parent should do.

In this thread we're addressing a question about two students who are becoming fearful and bursting into tears because of what is happening at home when they practice. The teacher is starting to change assignments in order to mitigate the parent's anger or judgmentalism. Is the parent threatening the children? Telling them that they are being bad students, or play terribly? One can tell the parents to let the teacher give feedback on how well they are doing. One can tell the parents what kind of feedback you want them to give. There are a lot of things that will seem obvious to a professional, but someone outside to the field will be clueless.

A question: When the parents see your videos, John, should the parents also be seeing you as modeling what they should do? Or should they distinguish that you're doing the teaching, and they have a different role?

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#2053694 - 03/24/13 08:42 PM Re: Coming between student and parent? [Re: keystring]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7343
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Communications with the parents is key, and has already been stated. There's no need to repeat the obvious. I'm suggesting a way to do it, long term, which will keep parents who really are interested up to speed on what's happening. If you, as a teacher, are not comfortable with videography, then one on one communications most certainly is a must. I gather from the OPs comments that there is no communications and that's what must change. Also, I sense a parenting problem, not a piano studies problem. And again, this is out of my realm of expertise or ability to resolve.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#2053862 - 03/25/13 08:29 AM Re: Coming between student and parent? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11644
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Communications with the parents is key, and has already been stated. There's no need to repeat the obvious. I'm suggesting a way to do it, long term, which will keep parents who really are interested up to speed on what's happening. If you, as a teacher, are not comfortable with videography, then one on one communications most certainly is a must. I gather from the OPs comments that there is no communications and that's what must change. Also, I sense a parenting problem, not a piano studies problem. And again, this is out of my realm of expertise or ability to resolve.


I highlighted what I believe is the most essential point. I also like the idea of the video. Besides the content, the very fact of it being given is an act of including the parents, and that changes the dynamics. Otherwise it can be a scenario where the child is dropped off, picked up, and you have no idea about anything but still try to interfere help. The very fact that the teacher is reaching out as you do is a reassuring thing to parents. I wonder if that would also make them more inclined to ask the teacher for advice.

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#2055393 - 03/27/13 11:16 PM Re: Coming between student and parent? [Re: P.M.]
missbelle Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/24/12
Posts: 87
Loc: USA
This story broke my heart a little! I wonder if there is any joy and love of learning in that house, or is it all drills and thou shalt make all A's all the time.

I tell my parents that the first few books will go quickly, but as the child advances, it will take longer to get through a level. I compare it to a reader booklet versus a chapter book. You have to delve in and spend some time pulling out the nuances of the piece, just as you study characters and literary devices.

For the OP, could you assign a page or two at a time, instead of the entire piece?

And, please, talk to the parents. the foreign language analogy is a good one. Help these boys before they just give up.
_________________________
Learning as I teach.

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#2057352 - 03/31/13 12:44 PM Re: Coming between student and parent? [Re: P.M.]
P.M. Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/27/11
Posts: 18
Hi all,

To address the previous comments....I have communicated with the parents in the past and they have come to lessons in the past. As the lessons continued, they started coming less and less. I intervened and told them they need to at least come in for the younger child, and so they did for a while. Then he improved and they stopped coming. I was fine with teaching them without the parents there. However, when they started telling me that the parents are forcing them to practice and had tears in their eyes, that's when I knew that I had to intervene.

In general, this family is rather difficult to get a hold of which is why there are communication break downs. I have the mother's cell phone and email. When I have called, she usually does not pick up and I leave a voicemail. She does not always call back either. Lately she has been better. Also, they are Chinese immigrants and their English is not that great. I often have to explain and re-explain things. I have tried email and I had the same result. At one point, it took me a week of calling three times and emailing once to reschedule their lessons because I needed to be out of town. That is why they are hard to communicate with.

However, having read the comments I posted on here, I called the mom and talked to her. The dad came in with the younger brother and I explained the situation. I hope things improve.....we'll have to wait and see as it just happened this week.

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#2057355 - 03/31/13 12:48 PM Re: Coming between student and parent? [Re: P.M.]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1002
Loc: Irvine, CA
Glad to hear that, please continue your good work!!
_________________________
http://ezpiano.org
Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
@ http://bit.ly/Ready123

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#2057585 - 03/31/13 11:27 PM Re: Coming between student and parent? [Re: P.M.]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1335
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
An underlying theme here is the meddling, driven, and competitive parent. As Missbelle has reminded us, it's sad for the children in such a family. And as John has suggested, this is a problem probably unfixable.

All we can do is continue to teach as we deem appropriate, with reminders to some parents that *we* are the specialists, not they.

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