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#2127743 - 08/03/13 11:36 PM Parents not welcome for lessons policy
3times2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/01/13
Posts: 51
I am struggling with whether we are with the right teacher. A few years ago, I happily dropped my kids off at lessons and enjoyed a little time to myself. We switched to a more advanced teacher, my youngest started lessons and I worried that he was too young to sit still during his sister's lessons. The teacher was happy to have parents sit in. I found myself learning so much and realizing that I may not have become a piano dropout if I had been with a teacher like she was. Sitting through lessons also helped me encourage the children better and be more involved in helping them throughout the week. Sadly, after two years with the new teacher, she informed us she was moving.

We interviewed many teachers and ultimately choose one that is a significant drive because it was a unique fit for my unique kids. However, the one sticky point was that the studio policy is that parents are not allowed to sit in. They have granted me permission to stay for my son's lesson, but I had to leave for the girls. I desperately miss sitting in on their lessons. It makes it much harder for me to have intelligent discussions with them and be as involved. Despite some really great things about the new teacher, a year later, I am still not sure she is the right fit for my kids. We were willing to respect her policies and see how it worked out, but this policy is not working out well for our family.

I fear that our new teacher has me pinned as a Tiger mother and I am ANYTHING but!! We are an exceptionally right brained family. I struggle to keep any sort of routine and discipline, this is why sitting in on the lessons was so good for me. Music comes exceptionally easy for two out of my 3 and easier than average for my the third. My kids took off on this musical bus and I have been running at full speed trying to catch up with that bus ever since.

I would like to request to sit in on most lessons this year. Is this an unreasonable request? Is it a sticking point that is worth considering a teacher change for?

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#2127745 - 08/03/13 11:52 PM Re: Parents not welcome for lessons policy [Re: 3times2]
Opus_Maximus Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/04
Posts: 1494
I generally prefer to teach students alone, as I feel THEY are more comfortable and you can develop a certain rapport with the student..but I certainly don't have a policy about this and if I parent wanted to respectfully sit in the lesson I would never say no. I think it's a strange thing on the teacher's part...

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#2127751 - 08/04/13 12:42 AM Re: Parents not welcome for lessons policy [Re: 3times2]
childofparadise2002 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/04
Posts: 542
I think it doesn’t hurt to ask. But given that the teacher has a policy of “no parents in lessons”, don’t you think her answer would be “no parents in lessons”? An alternative would be to ask whether you can videotape the lessons----this might be a reasonable compromise.

But how do your children feel about this? Do they care? Do they have a preference either way? I think if they are happy with their lessons, if the teacher feels that she and the kids are great working together, and if you think it’s beneficial for your children to stay with this teacher, you may have to just try to set aside your own feelings. These are your children’s lessons, after all.

But of course if it’s not too difficult to find a teacher who is equally good, who your children like just as much, AND has an open-door policy for parents, it’s probably a good idea to switch so that it’s easy for all three parties to form a long-term relationship.

I sit in on some of my children’s lessons. All of our teachers welcome parents to stay, and one of them also encourages parents to videotape every lesson. So I personally wouldn’t go to a teacher who has a blanket policy of not letting parents in. But you will need to decide whether this one factor outweighs all the others that are in favor of this teacher.

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#2127787 - 08/04/13 02:09 AM Re: Parents not welcome for lessons policy [Re: 3times2]
Gary D. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4812
Loc: South Florida
How old are you kids?
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#2127908 - 08/04/13 11:29 AM Re: Parents not welcome for lessons policy [Re: 3times2]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1365
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Originally Posted By: 3times2

My kids took off on this musical bus and I have been running at full speed trying to catch up with that bus ever since.


Why not find your own bus and board it, instead of running after your kids? If it's piano you want to learn, find a teacher. Preferably a different one. And don't let your kids sit in on your lessons; that is your private time with a music teacher.

My advice? Leave your son alone with his mentor, and let the two of them develop a rapport like she has with your daughters.






Edited by Peter K. Mose (08/04/13 11:30 AM)

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#2127909 - 08/04/13 11:30 AM Re: Parents not welcome for lessons policy [Re: 3times2]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13799
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Originally Posted By: 3times2
I would like to request to sit in on most lessons this year. Is this an unreasonable request?


I don't think the request is unreasonable, but you should be prepared to take no for an answer. Some teachers are very strict about their policies.

Originally Posted By: 3times2
Is it a sticking point that is worth considering a teacher change for?


The answer to that depends on you. I think it would be for some people, but not for others.

You might also think about ways to have the best of both worlds. If you want to be involved in helping your kids throughout the week, talk to them about what they learned in their lessons or have the teacher make a weekly assignment sheet so you know what they're supposed to be working on.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#2127950 - 08/04/13 01:31 PM Re: Parents not welcome for lessons policy [Re: Gary D.]
3times2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/01/13
Posts: 51
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
How old are you kids?


They are 9, 11 and soon to be 14.

Quote:
Why not find your own bus and board it, instead of running after your kids? If it's piano you want to learn, find a teacher. Preferably a different one. And don't let your kids sit in on your lessons; that is your private time with a music teacher.

My advice? Leave your son alone with his mentor, and let the two of them develop a rapport like she has with your daughters.


This is not at all about me wanting to learn piano. This is about learning enough to feel confident having an intelligent discussion with them. Of course I regularly ask about what they worked on and are learning, but they are kids (introverted and quiet ones at that) and despite probing questions, I have gotten little response from the girls.

My son is old enough now that I could probably trust him to sit quietly during his sister's lessons. However, I cannot trust that anything he will be playing throughout the week is actually what the teacher assigned. It might be the song that is written in his book, but when he gets bored, he improvises....or changes key, or makes up something completely different. When he doesn't like an assigned song he will change it to suit how he likes it. I can only tell if he is doing what he should be if I have heard what/how he is supposed to be playing. I do not sit with any of my kids while they practice, but our house is small and I do my best to be listening and help keep them on track. This is my child that begged for a trumpet his entire fourth year a life. After insulting him with realistic toy trumpet for Christmas, we finally decided to buy an inexpensive trumpet for his fifth birthday assuming it would be an expensive toy, but hey, he could have been asking for an xbox. Using the cd that came with the instruction book I bought, he had learned his first song within two weeks and was begging for a teacher. My husband and I are NOT musicians. We are desperately in need of a musical mentor!

When we initially met with their teacher and she gave us her policies, she explained that she would be writing out what they need to do in their assignment book. She writes very little down for the younger two and nothing at all for my oldest. Mid way through the year, I did ask to have her video specific things that she wants them to focus on throughout the week and that has been very helpful.


Edited by 3times2 (08/04/13 01:38 PM)
Edit Reason: correction

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#2127953 - 08/04/13 01:37 PM Re: Parents not welcome for lessons policy [Re: 3times2]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11730
Loc: Canada
3times2, you have identified a very specific need. You have been making sure that your kids practice what and how they are supposed to, and you need some way of judging that. I think that if you present this to your children's teacher, she may have a way to help you do that. It may be something different than you sitting in on lessons. She may also have ideas of how independently each child should be working. She might also have a feel for how they are practising based on how they play in lessons in each week. In any case, you have some kind of role, and their teacher should be able to talk to you about this.

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#2127980 - 08/04/13 02:48 PM Re: Parents not welcome for lessons policy [Re: 3times2]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10385
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
3times2,

I was quite involved in my eldest's lessons, and for many of the same reasons. I think that he made rapid progress in part because I was involved, and I could act as teaching assistant. Some teachers value this, and others will argue that it's a hindrance to them and a barrier to your child's growth. You will also have to deal with the charge that you are simply "living through your children." This is, of course, a very different claim than Tiger Mom status! smile

Find what works for you, or adjust to this teacher's policies if s(he) won't bend. The fact that it is a written policy suggests, as Kreisler notes, that you should be prepared for "no" as an answer. Then you must choose.

I will say that your "help" probably should diminish as the children get older. In my case, I vanished from the lesson process when my son was around 13 or so. What could I add? Getting through the middle school hump can be crucial for many kids, but once in high school they've got to start flying solo.
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#2128033 - 08/04/13 05:01 PM Re: Parents not welcome for lessons policy [Re: 3times2]
Gary D. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4812
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: 3times2
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
How old are your kids?


They are 9, 11 and soon to be 14.

I don't have any rules about parents not being "allowed" to be in on lessons. Some parents hover and get in the way, and I want them out of the room. The parents are no help, and they are a distraction.

But other parents opt for total non-involvement, and that is a huge problem.

By the time my students are over the age of 8 most of my parents decide themselves not to be there every week, in lessons. Often the students want that. My requirement for that to happen is that the students must do the work I assign. If I do not get cooperation I ask a parent to sit in on the lessons until the problem is solved. You would be surprised how often a parent balk at taking the time to attend lessons when necessary.
Quote:

My son is old enough now that I could probably trust him to sit quietly during his sister's lessons. However, I cannot trust that anything he will be playing throughout the week is actually what the teacher assigned.

Then you have a huge problem, and it needs to be fixed. You need to know what he is supposed to be doing, and you need to check to see that it is done. Normally that only takes a bit of set-up and follow-through.
Quote:

It might be the song that is written in his book, but when he gets bored, he improvises....or changes key, or makes up something completely different. When he doesn't like an assigned song he will change it to suit how he likes it.

Then your son is just like my worst students. He is doing what he wants, and that means lousy practice and horrible preparation. He is only one step away from teaching himself. He is not learning the most important things students should learn from lessons - how to practice.

This may or may not be your problem. If he does this with other things, he has already learned how not to follow directions, and most likely his school work will be far from what it could be. But if he does great in school, it is probably a "piano problem".
Quote:

When we initially met with their teacher and she gave us her policies, she explained that she would be writing out what they need to do in their assignment book. She writes very little down for the younger two and nothing at all for my oldest.

Then there is a disconnect somewhere. Remember, you wrote this:

Quote:

It might be the song that is written in his book, but when he gets bored, he improvises....or changes key, or makes up something completely different. When he doesn't like an assigned song he will change it to suit how he likes it.

1) How do you know he is even playing something in his book?
2) How do you know he changes key? Do you truly know what that means?
3) How do you even know what the assignment is?

Now, if almost nothing is written down - which you say is true - then I can easily see confusion on his part and your part. I could not write down everything I do in each lesson if my life depended on it, but I can TYPE it all out and print it out - and do. I have a copy of what I write each week on my computer, so if the plan is "lost", I can fix that fast.

I was not always so clear with instructions in the past. Going to this extra trouble has been well worth the effort.

Also, as I said, I clear up problems with parents. If a parent told me the things you have told me I would have that parent in lessons in a heartbeat, to clear up why practice is not correct. And we would fix it together or I would clearly tell you to find another teacher.

I have zero tolerance for students who supposedly come to me to learn how to practice and then refuse to follow through on what I advise.
Quote:

Mid way through the year, I did ask to have her video specific things that she wants them to focus on throughout the week and that has been very helpful.

She is making videos of the lessons? That would change everything.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#2128073 - 08/04/13 06:15 PM Re: Parents not welcome for lessons policy [Re: Piano*Dad]
rlinkt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/08/12
Posts: 320
Loc: CA
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
3times2,

I was quite involved in my eldest's lessons, and for many of the same reasons. I think that he made rapid progress in part because I was involved, and I could act as teaching assistant. Some teachers value this, and others will argue that it's a hindrance to them and a barrier to your child's growth. You will also have to deal with the charge that you are simply "living through your children." This is, of course, a very different claim than Tiger Mom status! smile

Find what works for you, or adjust to this teacher's policies if s(he) won't bend. The fact that it is a written policy suggests, as Kreisler notes, that you should be prepared for "no" as an answer. Then you must choose.

I will say that your "help" probably should diminish as the children get older. In my case, I vanished from the lesson process when my son was around 13 or so. What could I add? Getting through the middle school hump can be crucial for many kids, but once in high school they've got to start flying solo.


+1 to everything PD said

My daughter is 9, and I am always there at her lessons. She is making great progress, partly because I can help her as necessary with her lessons at home. I won't know how to help her if I am not at her lessons. If the teacher had a no-parents policy, I will simply find someone else. To some extent, I also cover musical territory with her that her teacher doesn't (my comfort zone is rock and blues, while her teacher is primarily about classical). At her age, I feel its working well. Pretty soon she will be sufficiently knowledgable and advanced where I will have nothing to add. At that point, it will just free up several hours of my time every week grin


Edited by rlinkt (08/04/13 06:16 PM)

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#2128074 - 08/04/13 06:19 PM Re: Parents not welcome for lessons policy [Re: Gary D.]
3times2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/01/13
Posts: 51
Quote:
BI don't have any rules about parents not being "allowed" to be in on lessons. Some parents hover and get in the way, and I want them out of the room. The parents are no help, and they are a distraction.


With our last teacher and current, I have been seen and not heard unless invited to provide input. The current set up is that the piano studio is in one room and the sitting area is across the foyer.

Quote:
Then there is a disconnect somewhere. Remember, you wrote this:

Quote:
Quote:

It might be the song that is written in his book, but when he gets bored, he improvises....or changes key, or makes up something completely different. When he doesn't like an assigned song he will change it to suit how he likes it.


Many weeks, there is simply a list of songs to practice. Both of our previous teachers wrote detailed notes on specific things to pay attention to.

Quote:
1) How do you know he is even playing something in his book?


Since I sit in on his lessons, I know what he is supposed to be playing and what the song should sound like. If he does not yet have a song mastered, I do not let him make his own modifications. This was more of an issue when he was in standard method books with the previous teacher. The current teacher has taken him to more challenging pieces, he is currently playing Sonata in C by Catherine Rollin. He will slow practice and work a particular passage until he has it down....when he wants to. We are working on consistency in practice skills.

[quote2) How do you know he changes key? Do you truly know what that means?][/quote]
I took enough years of piano and played flute for two years so I can at least read music and have some understanding of theory. Most of the time I am not sure, so I ask him if he just changed keys. For the past 1.5ish years he has been telling me what key he is playing in. No one taught him this, he just knows. If I have doubt (and usually I do) I ask my oldest if he is correct or send a video to the teacher for her input. If interested, I can send a link to video some of the "games" we play and his antics.

Quote:
3) How do you even know what the assignment is?

That much is written down and I am in his lesson.

Quote:
She is making videos of the lessons? That would change everything.

We bring an ipod and she records small segments of issues to work on. It has helped tremendously.

My concern going forward is mostly for my daughter that struggles with attention and focus issues. In researching in this forum, I found a post that sums her up to a tee and am grateful for many of the things I have read this summer. However, without knowing what the teacher is specifically wanting her to focus on, I am lost to reinforce at home. There has been lots of technique learning and bad habit breaking this past year. My goal is that my kids have a love for music and it has been a challenge for me to help them in a tough re-building year when I have been excluded from the process.

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#2128103 - 08/04/13 07:54 PM Re: Parents not welcome for lessons policy [Re: 3times2]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1023
Loc: Irvine, CA
I loved to have parents sit in for my piano lesson because they are...
cheerleader for students
supporter for students
teaching assistant for teacher
practice monitor for teacher
preference reminder for teacher
......
_________________________
http://ezpiano.org
Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
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#2128232 - 08/04/13 11:32 PM Re: Parents not welcome for lessons policy [Re: 3times2]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Over my many years of teaching, I have never refused a parent access to being at the lesson - it has never been necessary. I enjoy having the parent involved with their children's lessons, I see it as a bonus to what happens at home in the parent playing their supportive role.

I am OK with this unless the student has indicated verbally or by actions that he or she is not comfortable with the parent present. If that's the case, I observe for a while and then speak with the parent about what I am seeing and ask the parent to support a necessary change for a period of time - I ask for their cooperation. Then I tell the student that Mom or Dad will be dropping them off so the student and I can work with privacy but that I want the student to let me know if and when they want to invite the parent back to visit - either once or "open door".

It's amazing the number of kids who have a parent who has always been in attendance. The parents do not interfere in any way. Some kids and their parents are very close and have great relationships. When there are issues between kids and parents, it allows me to see what the student is dealing with in his home - I have a much better picture of the student's reality. There are things that I can say or do that help the communication and the expectation between parent and child.

I don't think I felt comfortable in my early years of teaching with breeching "private" things during lessons, but they are part of our lives and either complement the lessons or interfere with the lessons. I want to know what those things are and either compliment the families for the good things they bring to my life as a piano teacher or to work a little bit with those who could learn a better way of behaving with each other during the course of having a young musician in training in their home. Most respond appropriately when they realize my interest in them is genuine and meant to foster good things happening in the students behalf. My 5th great-grandchild was born yesterday, so with my years raising this family, I've gained perspective about balancing what happens in my music area in my home with my students. I treat them like family and many have long term relationships with me long past music study.

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#2128254 - 08/05/13 12:02 AM Re: Parents not welcome for lessons policy [Re: 3times2]
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1265
Loc: California
The teacher doesn't allow parents to sit in on lessons? If it were me, I'd find another teacher.

My policy actually requires the parent to be at the lesson and be an active participant in the group class. Some parents don't like the policy and they enroll elsewhere.

I've found that the students whose parents sit in on lessons progress faster and retain concepts better. The parent is an active part of the child's musical education; they know how to help at home with practicing, they make sure their child practices, etc.... Sometimes I have an overzealous 'tiger mom' or a parent who might interrupt or coach from the easy chair but I know how to deal with them and it's never been a continuing problem.
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#2128259 - 08/05/13 12:10 AM Re: Parents not welcome for lessons policy [Re: dumdumdiddle]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Like you and others, I have always been perplexed as to why a teacher wouldn't want a parent's attendance. Piano lessons are nothing like classroom education. The student must be his own teacher throughout the week, and if a parent can assist, so much the better. Psychologically, most students respond positively to that which the parent shows interest. It may be a self-confidence issue for the teacher. Perhaps they had a bad experience as a young teacher and have not realized that their maturity, experience and wisdom has grown over the years, and can now deal with the occasional helicopter parent.
_________________________
"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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#2128267 - 08/05/13 12:20 AM Re: Parents not welcome for lessons policy [Re: 3times2]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1382
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Hi 3times,

I seldom teach young people anymore. But if the parents are not completely obnoxious, and the student is 16 years old or younger, I do everything I can to get them involved in the lessons, and the practice, and the recitals, and the workshops, and whatever else I can get them involved in.
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2128343 - 08/05/13 04:56 AM Re: Parents not welcome for lessons policy [Re: Betty Patnude]
Opus_Maximus Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/04
Posts: 1494
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
Over my many years of teaching, I have never refused a parent access to being at the lesson - it has never been necessary. I enjoy having the parent involved with their children's lessons, I see it as a bonus to what happens at home in the parent playing their supportive role.

I am OK with this unless the student has indicated verbally or by actions that he or she is not comfortable with the parent present. If that's the case, I observe for a while and then speak with the parent about what I am seeing and ask the parent to support a necessary change for a period of time - I ask for their cooperation. Then I tell the student that Mom or Dad will be dropping them off so the student and I can work with privacy but that I want the student to let me know if and when they want to invite the parent back to visit - either once or "open door".

It's amazing the number of kids who have a parent who has always been in attendance. The parents do not interfere in any way. Some kids and their parents are very close and have great relationships. When there are issues between kids and parents, it allows me to see what the student is dealing with in his home - I have a much better picture of the student's reality. There are things that I can say or do that help the communication and the expectation between parent and child.

I don't think I felt comfortable in my early years of teaching with breeching "private" things during lessons, but they are part of our lives and either complement the lessons or interfere with the lessons. I want to know what those things are and either compliment the families for the good things they bring to my life as a piano teacher or to work a little bit with those who could learn a better way of behaving with each other during the course of having a young musician in training in their home. Most respond appropriately when they realize my interest in them is genuine and meant to foster good things happening in the students behalf. My 5th great-grandchild was born yesterday, so with my years raising this family, I've gained perspective about balancing what happens in my music area in my home with my students. I treat them like family and many have long term relationships with me long past music study.


Betty!! I haven't read you in years, welcome back!

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#2128380 - 08/05/13 08:42 AM Re: Parents not welcome for lessons policy [Re: 3times2]
3times2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/01/13
Posts: 51
Thank you all so much for the input! I have made my request, hopefully we can work out a compromise that both parties can live with.

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#2128599 - 08/05/13 05:43 PM Re: Parents not welcome for lessons policy [Re: 3times2]
Gary D. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4812
Loc: South Florida
Thank you for answering my questions: smile

I did not realize that you are already sitting in on your son's lessons.

None of my parents have questions about what is supposed to be done at home. Obviously you and your son should know exactly what he should be practicing.
Quote:

Many weeks, there is simply a list of songs to practice. Both of our previous teachers wrote detailed notes on specific things to pay attention to.

A list of things to practice on is useless without clear instructions on HOW to practice. I spend most of each lesson making that clear.
Quote:

Since I sit in on his lessons, I know what he is supposed to be playing and what the song should sound like. If he does not yet have a song mastered, I do not let him make his own modifications.

The teacher should make that clear. Making "modifications" would depend on the style of music, and most kids are not advanced enough to be making such decisions without guidance. Here I am talking about standard literature, the kind that is meant to be read and played as written.

Obviously if your son is working on improvisation, that would be different. But somehow I doubt that is the case.
Quote:

This was more of an issue when he was in standard method books with the previous teacher. The current teacher has taken him to more challenging pieces, he is currently playing Sonata in C by Catherine Rollin. He will slow practice and work a particular passage until he has it down....when he wants to. We are working on consistency in practice skills.

"When he wants to" is a problem. About 90% of success has to do with "how to practice", and correct practice means tackling problems first, mastering them first, then putting it altogether. It takes months - sometimes years - to teach young students why this works, and why other ways do not.
Quote:

My concern going forward is mostly for my daughter that struggles with attention and focus issues. In researching in this forum, I found a post that sums her up to a tee and am grateful for many of the things I have read this summer. However, without knowing what the teacher is specifically wanting her to focus on, I am lost to reinforce at home.

The part I find strange is that you allowed to sit in with your son but not this daughter. Being in on lessons is not just an age issue. In fact, it is much more an issue of "ready to work alone".

For me working "alone" with a student who is not mature enough to do it is a total waste of time. I do work to get parents out of the room, eventually, but only if:

1) The student wants to work alone and shows me that he/she is ready.
2) The student agrees that we will have the parent back in the room if practice starts to go wrong.
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#2128605 - 08/05/13 06:15 PM Re: Parents not welcome for lessons policy [Re: 3times2]
kck Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 268
I don't blame you at all. I sit in on both of my kid's lessons and their progress has been much more steady because of it. I never interfere or speak. I just sit in and take notes. My kids are newly 9 and 12. I would ask, but of course the teacher can say no. This might be a breaking point for me as a paying parent unless my kid was super ready and wanted to be 100% independent. I am JUST like you - right brained and not a tiger parent at all. Although, people tend to paint me a tiger parents because my kids have progressed so well.
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#2128608 - 08/05/13 06:23 PM Re: Parents not welcome for lessons policy [Re: 3times2]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10385
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Quote:
I am JUST like you - right brained and not a tiger parent at all. Although, people tend to paint me a tiger parents because my kids have progressed so well.


Interesting observation.

Easy labels can sometimes tell us as much about the feelings, attitudes -- and possibly the insecurities -- of the people using the labels as they do about the people labeled.

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#2128614 - 08/05/13 06:44 PM Re: Parents not welcome for lessons policy [Re: Piano*Dad]
kck Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 268
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
Quote:
I am JUST like you - right brained and not a tiger parent at all. Although, people tend to paint me a tiger parents because my kids have progressed so well.


Interesting observation.

Easy labels can sometimes tell us as much about the feelings, attitudes -- and possibly the insecurities -- of the people using the labels as they do about the people labeled.



+10 could not agree more. thumb
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#2128636 - 08/05/13 08:04 PM Re: Parents not welcome for lessons policy [Re: kck]
3times2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/01/13
Posts: 51

Great news, she is willing to allow me to sit in on all three lessons!

Originally Posted By: kck
I don't blame you at all. I sit in on both of my kid's lessons and their progress has been much more steady because of it. I never interfere or speak. I just sit in and take notes. My kids are newly 9 and 12. I would ask, but of course the teacher can say no. This might be a breaking point for me as a paying parent unless my kid was super ready and wanted to be 100% independent. I am JUST like you - right brained and not a tiger parent at all. Although, people tend to paint me a tiger parents because my kids have progressed so well.


I need a friend like you in my life!! Based on your signature, we have even more in common because not only do all three kids play piano, but they also play violin. I NEVER set out to be where we are. The violin was an attempt to get my girls on different instruments when the middle child was really struggling and ready to give up on piano. I read a book that suggested for some children, the violin can be a better starting instrument. The logic given resonated with me since I never enjoyed piano but took really well to the flute.

Somewhere the plans happily backfired and here we are several years later with three kids progressing quite well on both instruments. My oldest *really* wants to add harp and my youngest still plays his trumpet when the feeling strikes him.

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#2128712 - 08/05/13 11:18 PM Re: Parents not welcome for lessons policy [Re: Gary D.]
3times2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/01/13
Posts: 51
Quote:
Making "modifications" would depend on the style of music, and most kids are not advanced enough to be making such decisions without guidance. Here I am talking about standard literature, the kind that is meant to be read and played as written.

Obviously if your son is working on improvisation, that would be different. But somehow I doubt that is the case.


Can I take a tangent and pick your (and anyone else who cares to give their 2 cents) brain about this?

I believe that his current teacher would tell you that he comes to lessons prepared. That said, what would you do with a student doing these sorts of things in time spent at the piano (self-initiated) well beyond practice time?

-playing a his own arrangement of Humoresque by Dvorak from Suzuki violin, book 3 (which he is not yet playing in), adding his own chords as he plays the melody. THEN, immediately playing it in a new key when challenged to see if he could do it.

-fiercely determined to play Tchaikovsky's first piano concerto since attending the Cliburn auditions and listening to a Van Cliburn CD. He initially began playing it in a key that was a bit easier for him, but has now worked it into the correct key (I think). He only has about 3-5 minutes figured out (and modified I am sure, but to my untrained ears it sounds pretty darn close for a kid playing it by ear).

This is just a small sampling. We give him great leeway to modify, arrange and improvise all he wants as long as he first can play the song well as written.

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#2128739 - 08/06/13 12:14 AM Re: Parents not welcome for lessons policy [Re: Opus_Maximus]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Thanks for the great greeting! I'm glad I saw this post!

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#2128905 - 08/06/13 11:39 AM Re: Parents not welcome for lessons policy [Re: 3times2]
kck Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 268
Originally Posted By: 3times2

Great news, she is willing to allow me to sit in on all three lessons!

I need a friend like you in my life!! Based on your signature, we have even more in common because not only do all three kids play piano, but they also play violin. I NEVER set out to be where we are. The violin was an attempt to get my girls on different instruments when the middle child was really struggling and ready to give up on piano. I read a book that suggested for some children, the violin can be a better starting instrument. The logic given resonated with me since I never enjoyed piano but took really well to the flute.

Somewhere the plans happily backfired and here we are several years later with three kids progressing quite well on both instruments. My oldest *really* wants to add harp and my youngest still plays his trumpet when the feeling strikes him.


I'm glad the teacher came around and I hope the arrangement works out well! smile My oldest does piano and my younger does violin. Actually both my kids do Suzuki, although my piano kid is book 7 (last book) and is doing most of his work outside that repertoire, does tons of scales, reading, etc. The only piece of his lesson that looks like Suzuki really is me sitting in and taking notes! My 9 year old violin kid is in book 4. She also picked up Humoresque early! Her teacher allowed her to learn it as her first book 3 piece.

My 12 year old son recently started voice lessons. I was all game to let him go on his own but he especially requested I sit in just to take notes and help him practice. I could tell the teacher was not in love with it the first couple weeks, but 6 weeks in we have a great working relationship established. He's a young teacher, just finished his masters, and hasn't worked with many younger singers. In those lessons, I sit with my iPad reading a book and jump over to Evernote to take notes. I might occasionally video something. Piano looks similar now too. Both my kids are interested in guitar too. One may make it's way into the house at Christmas. smile I never thought we'd have so much music in our house either. Started oldest in piano at 5, and hoped he'd get through a couple years to help with small motor and focus issues.

I think teachers are missing the boat when they have a blanket policy like this. You wouldn't send a young kid to school one day a week and assume they'd be able to follow up on their subjects on their own the rest of the week. Learning to follow a task list or figure out how to dig into something new isn't an innate skill for many kids. Having an involved parent can make the difference between success and failure for some kids. And I do know parents who've gotten kicked out of lessons for being disruptive or negative, so I totally understand.
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Amateur musician, piano and violin parent

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#2129023 - 08/06/13 04:07 PM Re: Parents not welcome for lessons policy [Re: 3times2]
rlinkt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/08/12
Posts: 320
Loc: CA
Quote:

Can I take a tangent and pick your (and anyone else who cares to give their 2 cents) brain about this?

I believe that his current teacher would tell you that he comes to lessons prepared. That said, what would you do with a student doing these sorts of things in time spent at the piano (self-initiated) well beyond practice time?

-playing a his own arrangement of Humoresque by Dvorak from Suzuki violin, book 3 (which he is not yet playing in), adding his own chords as he plays the melody. THEN, immediately playing it in a new key when challenged to see if he could do it.

-fiercely determined to play Tchaikovsky's first piano concerto since attending the Cliburn auditions and listening to a Van Cliburn CD. He initially began playing it in a key that was a bit easier for him, but has now worked it into the correct key (I think). He only has about 3-5 minutes figured out (and modified I am sure, but to my untrained ears it sounds pretty darn close for a kid playing it by ear).

This is just a small sampling. We give him great leeway to modify, arrange and improvise all he wants as long as he first can play the song well as written.

My opinion on this will be highly biased because I play rock & blues. As far as I am concerned, let him improvise / arrange all he can. Its much easier to play notes written down than to make his own music -- as long as he is not ignoring the music theory that provides the underpinnings for improvisation. Improvising / arranging will force you to develop concepts about chord theory etc that will rarely come from just playing what others have composed.


Edited by rlinkt (08/06/13 04:07 PM)

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#2129028 - 08/06/13 04:15 PM Re: Parents not welcome for lessons policy [Re: 3times2]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5512
Loc: Orange County, CA
I generally allow parents to sit in. I've only worked with a few parents who were so problematic, that their presence during lessons caused problems.

Most of the time, it's the other way around: I WANT the parents to sit in during lessons (especially for the really young ones), but they make all sorts of idiotic excuses.
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Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#2129035 - 08/06/13 04:25 PM Re: Parents not welcome for lessons policy [Re: 3times2]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4425
Loc: San Jose, CA
I was told flatly that I was not to be with my dog during procedures, on our first visit to a new veterinary specialist in dermatology. My attempts to explain were brushed off rather brusquely--- I assume that they expected me to be underfoot, and in fact they actually told me that the animals behave better without the owner around. What a surprise: while the veterinary technician was trying to draw blood, the animal put a pretty good nip on her--- good enough for her to go to the doctor herself.

He never bites our regular vet's nurses (or they are skilled enough not to allow it to happen).

Is the moral of this tale that piano students are likely to bite, if a parent is absent? Maybe, some of them, but not enough to worry an insurance actuary--- in fact, a slip-and-fall by the parent is a likelier risk. Any animal will bite if it is hurt or frightened--- or cornered, or constantly pestered. It is possible that for some kids, having a parent present for everything, instead of developing a healthy superego of their own, could be crippling. There is more of a point to class time (and practice time, too) than simply going through the instructional material.

If the OP's kids are as bright as represented, they should be ok. A teacher can communicate to parents by writing a note or e-mail, by phone, or in person at a conference. There is no real need for them to be there for every minute.

Very young kids may need the parent to be there constantly. Older kids may need for the parent not to be there, or at least, not right there in the room--- there is only so much room on the bench. If the teacher is not trusted, that should be an end to lessons, right there. If the parent needs to catch up on her--- or their---music skills, maybe she should be taking her own lessons.

A teacher has a right to set his or her own policy for the studio. If it is not upheld, then it is not really a policy and might as well not exist, though there are some serious troubles with this. A parent is perfectly free to seek instruction elsewhere if the policies are onerous, but I think it is wrong to ask that they be waived.
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Clef


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