Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Gifts and supplies for the musician
SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) Pianoteq
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
Ad (Piano Sing)
How to Make Your Piano Sing
Who's Online
51 registered (angga888, A Guy, 19 invisible), 983 Guests and 13 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Quick Links to Useful Piano & Music Resources
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano & Music Accessories
*Music School Listings
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Pianos
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 >
Topic Options
#2157564 - 09/25/13 04:56 PM Parents who stop lessons for months
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
I am going to be very up front in the future about how parents who take long times off for their kids ruin progress.

I am going to present this idea:

When you stop lessons for 3 months, it takes half that time to get back to where you were before you stopped. Off all summer means that maybe by the middle of October you are back where you were in May. Meanwhile the students who continued are 3 months ahead.

This puts the "stoppers" not three months behind, but 4.5 months behind.

We all know this is approximately true, so the question is:

How do we get this through to thick-headed parents, who torpedo their kids' progress yearly?


_________________________
Piano Teacher

Top
(ad) Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
#2157566 - 09/25/13 05:03 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Gary D.]
peekay Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/13
Posts: 184
You can explain these things to the parents.

BUT, at the end of the day, it's the parents' right to make the best choices for their children. Believe it or not, for many families, piano lessons are not the end-all be-all.

I know someone who sent his kids overseas every summer, to be with their grandparents. "While they're still alive". Who are we to judge?
_________________________
Working on RCM Grade 8

Top
#2157578 - 09/25/13 05:23 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: peekay]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: peekay
You can explain these things to the parents.

BUT, at the end of the day, it's the parents' right to make the best choices for their children. Believe it or not, for many families, piano lessons are not the end-all be-all.

I know someone who sent his kids overseas every summer, to be with their grandparents. "While they're still alive". Who are we to judge?

Who are we to judge? Who is talking about judging? I'm talking about FACTS.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

Top
#2157596 - 09/25/13 05:56 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Gary D.]
Saranoya Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/13
Posts: 632
Loc: Brussels, Belgium
I am an adult piano student in a country where almost nobody takes lessons over the two-month-long summer, because the subsidised (music) schools all close. Only those who are willing and able to either pay a private teacher (and there aren't very many of those -- at least not good ones), or fill their summer to the brim with musical summer camps and similar activities, will continue their lessons throughout July and August.

I suppose many students do regress during the gap, and a disturbing number of them take lessons for one school year, and then never bother to show up again after the break.

But I have seen a few different people be very effective in preventing dramatic regression with a variety of students. It's true that most of them (and in that 'them', I will include myself) don't make any significant progress while without a teacher. But I also think, based on a few memorable examples I've seen, that it's possible to structure assignments in such a way as to make sure that even if no gains are made, no big losses will occur, either.

Two things that, in my observation, seem to help:

1) Help the student discover *why* they are playing the piano, if it's not to try to please the teacher (and/or avoid their anger, disappointment, or ... fill in the blank), or because their parents seem to think it's a good idea.

2) Assign materials that are at or slightly below the student's current level -- more than you actually expect them to cover, but not so much as to overwhelm them.

One and two will work in tandem to make sure that the student at least keeps hovering somewhere in the neighbourhood of where they were when lessons stopped.

Of course, this only works with students who *have* some kind of intrinsic motivation to play. But for those who don't, I figure regression is less of a waste of potential. At some point, they'll quit anyway, and it's likely that they'll never touch a piano again once they have.

And just to make it clear that I do realise I didn't *really* address the topic of this thread in the above, also this: I think telling parents and their children in a direct way what the (potential) consequences of a summer hiatus are is indeed the best way to deal with this issue. But the specific consequence you cite (about how they'll be 'behind' 4.5 months by the time they're back on track) probably appeals mainly to those who care about where they are in the pecking order.

I suspect there are many parents and kids who are indeed somewhat (or very) sensitive to this. But some of them aren't. And why should they be?

Maybe it's better to drop the concept of being 'behind' or 'ahead' from the argument altogether, and just say that being away from lessons over the summer (and playing very little or not at all during that time) will force you to essentially cover some of the same material twice? Or is that what you were saying all along, and have I just misinterpreted your meaning?
_________________________
Beginner with some priors since 9/2012

Currently Playable
Bach 846, 926, 930
Beethoven 27/2 mvt. 1
Burgmüller 100/3, 4, 7, 12, 15, 19, 25
Chopin 72/1
Clementi 36/1
Grieg 12/1, 7
Tchaikovsky 39/9

Future
Burgmüller 109
Bartok Sz 56
Mozart K331

Top
#2157599 - 09/25/13 06:08 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Gary D.]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11877
Loc: Canada
I think that it is important for parents and older students to be aware of this regression, so that if they choose not to take lessons over an extended period, it is an informed choice. Maybe they can stave off the regression by continuing to practice. Of course if they start going in the wrong direction, there is nobody to correct them to bring them back on track.

Top
#2157604 - 09/25/13 06:14 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Gary D.]
peekay Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/13
Posts: 184
Originally Posted By: Gary D.

Who are we to judge? Who is talking about judging? I'm talking about FACTS.


FACT: It's not your decision, but the parents'.

You have no idea what other factors the parents are considering during the summer. If you don't like it, drop the students.
_________________________
Working on RCM Grade 8

Top
#2157607 - 09/25/13 06:21 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Saranoya]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Saranoya
I am an adult piano student in a country where almost nobody takes lessons over the two-month-long summer, because the subsidised (music) schools all close. Only those who are willing and able to either pay a private teacher (and there aren't very many of those -- at least not good ones), or fill their summer to the brim with musical summer camps and similar activities, will continue their lessons throughout July and August.

If your teachers cannot or will not teach for any period, there is nothing you can do about it. This still does not mean it is good for you or any student.
Quote:

But I have seen a few different people be very effective in preventing dramatic regression with a variety of students. It's true that most of them (and in that 'them', I will include myself) don't make any significant progress while without a teacher.

Whether or not you think you make any progress at all while not studying with a teacher would have to do with weighing bad habits picked up against whatever strides you make, alone. I would say this changes greatly when you have studied a long time.

In the first couple years it is simply deadly to stop. So I am really, for the most part, not talking about advanced students. But even they get some wonky bad habits when no is around to check what they are doing.
Quote:

But I also think, based on a few memorable examples I've seen, that it's possible to structure assignments in such a way as to make sure that even if no gains are made, no big losses will occur, either.

Not in the early stages.

Your points seem to be about people who are far more advanced than the people I am talking about.

And I have NO plans on dropping the idea of "being behind", because that is the elephant in the room.

If you taught, you would agree.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

Top
#2157614 - 09/25/13 06:38 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Gary D.]
Saranoya Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/13
Posts: 632
Loc: Brussels, Belgium
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Your points seem to be about people who are far more advanced than the people I am talking about.


Probably. Also, it's likely that the people I'm talking about are more conscious of what they're doing while at the piano (even when the teacher isn't there) than the average beginning piano student.

Originally Posted By: Gary D.
And I have NO plans on dropping the idea of "being behind", because that is the elephant in the room.

If you taught, you would agree.


Maybe. In any case, point taken: I'll shut up and let the teachers do the talking, now wink.
_________________________
Beginner with some priors since 9/2012

Currently Playable
Bach 846, 926, 930
Beethoven 27/2 mvt. 1
Burgmüller 100/3, 4, 7, 12, 15, 19, 25
Chopin 72/1
Clementi 36/1
Grieg 12/1, 7
Tchaikovsky 39/9

Future
Burgmüller 109
Bartok Sz 56
Mozart K331

Top
#2157617 - 09/25/13 06:43 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Gary D.]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5602
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
How do we get this through to thick-headed parents, who torpedo their kids' progress yearly?

I'm very glad I don't usually deal with these type parents. For the few that I do have, I just let their kids flounder. It's not my fault!

Some parents treat piano like just another extracurricular activity. The entire concept of "practice" escapes them, let alone the 3 months of lesson stoppage every summer.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

Top
#2157626 - 09/25/13 07:00 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: peekay]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11877
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: peekay
Originally Posted By: Gary D.

Who are we to judge? Who is talking about judging? I'm talking about FACTS.


FACT: It's not your decision, but the parents'.

You have no idea what other factors the parents are considering during the summer. If you don't like it, drop the students.

If a nutritionist advises a family that certain foods will be a health risk, then the family can still decide not to follow that advice and bear the consequences. If a house inspector tells a family that a section of the house will fall apart in the next decade if they don't take certain measures, they can choose to ignore it. If a coach advises that certain actions can lead to injury, he can also be ignored.

I am reading a teacher advising what will give progress, and what will impede progress. Your response does not make sense. If a doctor advised a pre-diabetic that a sugary diet puts him at risk, is the response "If you don't like it, you can drop the patient." logical?

Whether student or parent, I would want to have this kind of information.

Top
#2157628 - 09/25/13 07:08 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Saranoya]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Saranoya
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Your points seem to be about people who are far more advanced than the people I am talking about.


Probably. Also, it's likely that the people I'm talking about are more conscious of what they're doing while at the piano (even when the teacher isn't there) than the average beginning piano student.

How long have you been playing? How do you judge whether or not these people truly know what they are doing while at the piano?

In my experience every student still in the first or second year develops some bad habits in two, three or four months away from a good teacher. Sometimes those things be fixed quickly, but sometimes not.

Practicing wrong is far worse than not practicing at all.

Think about the greatest athletes. The best in the world. They travel with trainers, coaches, ready to correct anything that goes wrong. You don't see them "on their own" for a couple months.

And these are top professionals.

I repeat: how long have you been playing? On what basis do you assume that when you are working alone you do not fall into bad habits without even knowing such habits are possible?

And yes, frankly I think students should listen a bit more when people have been teaching for decades are talking about major problems.

That does not mean they have to. smile
_________________________
Piano Teacher

Top
#2157631 - 09/25/13 07:19 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: peekay]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: peekay

You have no idea what other factors the parents are considering during the summer.

Sometimes true, sometimes not.

But it is equally true that they do not think through the long range effects of how much money they are wasting, paying for lessons that do no more than to finally get kids back to where they were when the stopped last.
Quote:

If you don't like it, drop the students.

Do you really think it is always that simple?

What is your grudge with me? Are you a student who stops lessons in the summer? Are you a parent who stops lessons in the summer for your kids?

Are you defending friends who take lessons?

And are you a teacher?
_________________________
Piano Teacher

Top
#2157640 - 09/25/13 07:45 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Gary D.]
The Monkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 443
Loc: Vancouver BC
Letting the parents to understand the consequence of taking the summer off is great.

In a piano teacher's eyes, student's progress on piano is the #1 concern. This is OK, I like that from a piano teacher.

Just that life is bigger than just music.
Assuming all the parents putting anything before piano are "thick-headed" might spark some unnecessary exchanges that helps no body.

Top
#2157653 - 09/25/13 08:16 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Gary D.]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1027
Loc: Irvine, CA
Originally Posted By: Gary
I am going to be very up front in the future about how parents who take long times off for their kids ruin progress.


Great!!

Originally Posted By: Gary
I am going to present this idea: When you stop lessons for 3 months, it takes half that time to get back to where you were before you stopped. Off all summer means that maybe by the middle of October you are back where you were in May. Meanwhile the students who continued are 3 months ahead. This puts the "stoppers" not three months behind, but 4.5 months behind.


Great!!

Originally Posted By: Gary
We all know this is approximately true, so the question is: How do we get this through to thick-headed parents, who torpedo their kids' progress yearly?


No need to. Just present the facts and let the parents choose their choices. You already warn the "patient" that if she is not cutting off her ovaries, then the cancer will spread to other parts of the body. Your job is done, sit back and relax!!
_________________________
http://ezpiano.org
Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
@ http://bit.ly/Ready123

Top
#2157677 - 09/25/13 09:36 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Gary D.]
peekay Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/13
Posts: 184
I am glad I don't have to deal with piano teachers who think the whole world revolves around them.

As an adult student, I can fire my teacher at any time. He works for me, on my schedule, at my prerogative. Not the other way around.

My niece is starting her music lessons soon. There will be times when she will need to take extended leave. The reason why is irrelevant; it's a family concern and it's up to her mom & dad to decide her activities & priorities. If her teacher can't deal with that, there are plenty of others who can.
_________________________
Working on RCM Grade 8

Top
#2157688 - 09/25/13 10:01 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Gary D.]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
Gary, D., I have read your post, here:

Subject: Parents who stop lessons for months

I am going to be very up front in the future about how parents who take long times off for their kids ruin progress.

I am going to present this idea:

When you stop lessons for 3 months, it takes half that time to get back to where you were before you stopped. Off all summer means that maybe by the middle of October you are back where you were in May. Meanwhile the students who continued are 3 months ahead.

This puts the "stoppers" not three months behind, but 4.5 months behind.

We all know this is approximately true, so the question is:

How do we get this through to thick-headed parents, who torpedo their kids' progress yearly?

__________________________________________________________________________

Parents, kids, politicians, teacher, - everybody - etc. do what they want because they are in a position of both money and/or power - so they have the final say because they can and do that in the way that they want!

You see, I have had to have breaks because of surgeries and recoveries of several months - no choice - but - yes, it would cause me to have to review all my pieces playing them slowly and without mistakes and making the pieces sound musical again which would take seveal months to do. But for many on the planet, that is enough for them to quit - but for someone like me who loves playing the piano - nothing would ever prevent me from playing the piano because the love of learning to play the piano is so strong that nothing other than my death would cause an end - but not everybody feels that way and parents can gamble!

When you are in a situation, where you have to make a decision, I say you should go for favourable terms - the things that you want - at any cost - but the other side - in this case it is the parents are hoping the child will quit and they parents will win. But if the kid is determined to learn to play the piano and the kid loves learning to play the piano - nothing would ever stop him from playing the piano because his will is so strong but others would fold and quit.

I hope you see what I mean!

I just remembered something. When I was a teenager, my parents suggested that maybe it would be a good idea if I went to boarding school. I said that was a great idea and I would enjoy that. I knew my parents didn't want to spend that kind of money on me - and I was right - they never ever mentioned that again. So life is a gamble in certain situations and sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.

cheers,

3S25MOT




Edited by Michael_99 (09/25/13 10:02 PM)

Top
#2157697 - 09/25/13 10:12 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Gary D.]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11877
Loc: Canada
Peekay, the first step in responding to a post involves understanding what has been said. Otherwise you get a conversation that looks like this:
Doctor: You have a bacterial infection. Here is an antibiotic to help clear it up.
Person: Wow, you seem to think you're important. Look everyone, what a bigshot!

Everyone else: (wonders what this person is on about)

Here we have a teacher observing that when students miss several weeks of lessons, they have slipped when they return and need to be retaught what they used to be able to do.

How does such an observation have anything to do with self-concept?

Quote:
As an adult student, I can fire my teacher at any time. He works for me, on my schedule, at my prerogative. Not the other way around.

Yes, I've been an adult student too, and among other things, still am. The first thing that I want from any teacher is that he will do whatever he can to help me succeed. When I first looked around some 10 years ago, I was horrified by how many teacher back then said about adult students, "Let them do whatever they want. They have no future and won't get anywhere." One can be the "boss" of such a teacher, but that would not be my cup of tea. I want to learn.

I don't get your objection. What is it about the observation that missed lessons can cause students to regress, that you find so dreadful? I'd be more inclined to say "What can we do to minimize the problem, if a longer absence can't be avoided?" rather than labeling the messenger.

Top
#2157702 - 09/25/13 10:25 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Gary D.]
peekay Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/13
Posts: 184
The first post assumes parents are just a bunch of "thick-headed" morons who are intent to "torpedo" their own kids progress. Quotes from the original post.

That's my objection.
_________________________
Working on RCM Grade 8

Top
#2157708 - 09/25/13 10:34 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Gary D.]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2766
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
If the long term goal is to produce the best pianist possible then taking the summer off is plainly a detriment.

If the long term goal is to promote the development of a decent human being then there may be priorities in other domains (e.g. develop family connections) that trump continuation of piano lessons.

We all gotta make choices.
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

Top
#2157710 - 09/25/13 10:35 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Gary D.]
peekay Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/13
Posts: 184
Well said, malkin.
_________________________
Working on RCM Grade 8

Top
#2157714 - 09/25/13 10:40 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Gary D.]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2766
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Thanks!
I try. smile
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

Top
#2157778 - 09/26/13 02:35 AM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: peekay]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5602
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: peekay
As an adult student, I can fire my teacher at any time. He works for me, on my schedule, at my prerogative. Not the other way around.

No, your teacher also gets to fire you if you lag behind in your practice, start banging on the piano rudely, keep on changing the lesson time, or take 5 months off piano lessons for no apparent reason.

It's a two-way street.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

Top
#2157790 - 09/26/13 03:35 AM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Gary D.]
peekay Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/13
Posts: 184
Well, in reality, he can complain to the department head, who will make a big fuss, because the school really wants MY MONEY and will bend over backwards to get it.

But I get along great with my teacher, and I will say it again: I am glad I don't have to deal with piano teachers who think the whole world revolves around them. I would drop such a teacher in an instant.
_________________________
Working on RCM Grade 8

Top
#2157822 - 09/26/13 05:36 AM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Gary D.]
Eddiani Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/04/13
Posts: 5
Loc: Zürich, Switzerland
Originally Posted By: Gary D.

Think about the greatest athletes. The best in the world. They travel with trainers, coaches, ready to correct anything that goes wrong. You don't see them "on their own" for a couple months.

And these are top professionals.


I found this thread disturbing, but that's probably the reason, I didn't realize we were talking about "greathest athletes" and "top professionals" of piano playing, I thought it was about normal kids taking piano lessons.

If you are training them to win the Chopin competition and start a carreer in piano playing then by no means three months of break are unacceptable.

If on the other hand you are teaching normal kids to play piano for their own enjoyment, you are right in warning the parents about what that might mean for their kids' progress so that they can make an informed decision, but they are still free to decide for the break withouth anybody calling them thick-headed.

Even more disturbing I find people comparing a slow piano progress to a spreading cancer or a dangerous building, but maybe that's just me.

Top
#2157825 - 09/26/13 05:43 AM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: peekay]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5438
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: peekay
Well, in reality, he can complain to the department head, who will make a big fuss, because the school really wants MY MONEY and will bend over backwards to get it.

But I get along great with my teacher, and I will say it again: I am glad I don't have to deal with piano teachers who think the whole world revolves around them. I would drop such a teacher in an instant.
Think about it for a second...

Are you sure that your school is teaching you to the best of their abilities? Because you're paying them... to learn, or to actually grab a degree? do you think they could be tricking you, to think you are doing great, but actually just making your life easier and lying to you?

just sayin'
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

Top
#2157850 - 09/26/13 06:54 AM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: peekay]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11877
Loc: Canada
Peekay, answering my question about where the objection is:

Originally Posted By: peekay
The first post assumes parents are just a bunch of "thick-headed" morons who are intent to "torpedo" their own kids progress. Quotes from the original post.

That's my objection.


Thank you for answering.

By your insertion of the word "morons" I see how you are reading the post, namely as an attitude toward parents (being morons), and that is where your idea of attitude of superiority is coming from. Try a different reading:

It is September. Private teachers are getting student after student coming in who were away after summer - 5-8 in a row each day. Many of them have lost ground over the summer. The teacher has to help student after student stumble through things that they did with ease, having to reteach old things without demoralizing the student. In fact, a stumbling student risks losing confidence. He may in fact be seeing discouraged students who are bewildered at their lost ability. What you read was not an opinion on the intelligence of parents, but frustration at a preventable problem. It would not be levied at those who didn't have a choice that summer, but probably at metaphorical shrugged shoulders. Can you see it from that angle?

Meanwhile I want to address something that you wrote which is important to me - the student being the boss, and the teacher doing whatever the student wants. I wrote about it before, but I don't remember a response from you. This concerns me greatly and I've actually waged a campaign for time to time, insisting that older students be taught what we need to be able to progress, and not what will please us in order to get our money. Music teaching is also a money-earning job, and every commercial enterprise out there plays a number on us in order to get our money. We have a whole world that promises what we want to hear and then we are left with a belly full of cotton candy and little of substance.

For a teacher to do what I want, means that he will do what it takes to help me succeed in music, because that is actually what I want. If I "want" to get to play me favorite tunes in 6 months, only do what is fun, practise once a week, I do not want a teacher to accept these "wants" because I may not realize they will undermine my progress, but he will know that it will. You will probably say that you don't want those things either, but there are plenty in the industry who do promise exactly those things and are happy to take our dollars. I'd rather see teachers who are trying hard, and because they care, vent their frustration from time to time, than see people who don't care and are happy to rake in the dollars.

I can see how the adjective "thick headed" gave you an impression, but can you look at the rest of the picture?

Top
#2157858 - 09/26/13 07:17 AM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Eddiani]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11877
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Eddiani

Even more disturbing I find people comparing a slow piano progress to a spreading cancer or a dangerous building, but maybe that's just me.


You didn't read my post as intended. There was the idea that the OP was an expression of superiority. I was trying to bring across that the OP involved advice based on knowledge and experience. In other words, if you know what works and what tends to give problems. I was also not talking about slow progress. The idea is specifically that of wanting parents to understand that if 3 weeks are taken off, when the child resumes lessons he won't just be continuing from where he left off 3 weeks ago, he will also have slid back. If a parent hears this, perhaps he will make different decisions.

I don't remember using exaggerated imagery such as cancer or dangerous building. I avoided any hyperbole. I intended the idea of expertise in any field. That can also be your sister telling you not to put the element on maximum when heating butter, or watching for that uneven step she's fallen over twice. It's not about the creme de la creme. It's more about the kid who comes in after being away for two months, and wonders why it's such a struggle and why it isn't as much fun as it was before.


Edited by keystring (09/26/13 07:31 AM)

Top
#2157885 - 09/26/13 08:37 AM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Gary D.]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
Teaching would be a lot more fun if it weren't for all those students! Hee, hee.

Students taking long breaks must indeed be frustrating. It's not easy to see good progress yanked away when it seems so easy to avoid it.

But ultimately you only have a couple of choices.

Forbid it, and drop any student who won't comply.

Accept it, and find a way to deal with the frustration.

Bad practice is really worse than no practice? I'm in trouble then. I do a lot of things wrong, but work ethic has never been a problem. Maybe I should try to be more lazy.
_________________________
gotta go practice

Top
#2157890 - 09/26/13 08:48 AM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Gary D.]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12247
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I think we have discussed this before, but perhaps it needs saying again.

Teaching is something very near and dear to our hearts. We believe in it 100%, at least those of us in this profession who take the time to come here and learn and offer advice for free. We truly want our students to love piano as much as we do. Some of them do, but they have obstacles to overcome that are above and beyond the typical trials we have with learning such a difficult skill as playing piano.

When obstacles are placed in our student's way, we get upset on their behalf. Sometimes parents can't let a student take lessons over the summer for good reasons. I had one such student, the mom wanted her to take, but it just couldn't work. It was frustrating, but no one's fault, we get back on that bench and move forward (or backward a little bit, then forward).

Other times, the parent is actually lazy, sick of driving the child to piano lessons and dance and tennis lessons, and so really, they need a break even though doing so can be a death sentence to a student's piano education. I have seen this happen all-too often where the student has trouble getting started practicing, finally gets into a "groove" and then summer comes, and it starts all over again. And in the meantime the parent talks to you about the child auditioning for a competitive music charter school which is very prestigious, and yet the child can hardly play simple pieces. No amount of talking to them gets them to understand they are making your job impossible, and worse, they are making piano not enjoyable for the child. They usually end up quitting.

So when teachers come on here and perhaps use some inflammatory remarks, they are venting their frustration in what is hopefully a safe environment to do so, since they wouldn't do that toward the student or the parent. It comes from a heart that cares. Perhaps that's not easy for some of you to see or understand.

Nowhere in Gary's post did he express anything but concern for the student's progress, not as a professional musician, but just as a pianist. He wants what's best for them. If you take the time to read the posts of regular teachers here, you would see that is usually the motivation.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

Top
#2157897 - 09/26/13 08:59 AM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Gary D.]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12247
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
I am going to be very up front in the future about how parents who take long times off for their kids ruin progress.

I am going to present this idea:

When you stop lessons for 3 months, it takes half that time to get back to where you were before you stopped. Off all summer means that maybe by the middle of October you are back where you were in May. Meanwhile the students who continued are 3 months ahead.

This puts the "stoppers" not three months behind, but 4.5 months behind.

We all know this is approximately true, so the question is:

How do we get this through to thick-headed parents, who torpedo their kids' progress yearly?


Now to address the OP. I think with educating the parents. Sometimes talking to them works, but often that isn't enough. Having a "reward" for students/parents who continue through the summer can help. If students take a minimum of 6 lessons with me over the summer, they get priority scheduling in the fall semester. Otherwise, their time could be given away to someone else. This sends a message that it really is important they stick with it. Still, some don't get it even if they are capable of continuing.

Another way is to inform them with articles. Perhaps write up a small article yourself with supporting documentation from other professionals and music organizations that you can hand out in the beginning of May. Actually, I used to do a quarterly newsletter and discussed things like practicing, the difference between a keyboard, a digital piano, and acoustic pianos and the pros and cons of each, things like that. The parents actually appreciated this and I'd like to start doing that again. Sometimes reaching them through written means like that is more effective.

In the end, however, there will always be those that can't or won't take summer lessons. Keep in mind, as a child, I never took summer lessons, I learned piano on a terrible, out-of-tune, some notes not working, malfunctioning damper pedal spinet. My practice was terrible, my progress was terrible, but my love for piano won out in the end. There is only so much you can do, so make the best of your time with the student and try to make them enjoy what they have. Perhaps someday they'll ask to continue over the summer. smile
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

Top
#2157907 - 09/26/13 09:13 AM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Gary D.]
childofparadise2002 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/04
Posts: 542
It is quite possible that parents know this, but they have other reasons to take the summer off. After all, American education system operates this way. School comes to a complete halt in summer, and students come back in the fall knowing less than when they left for summer. The first month (if not more) of school is routinely used to bring students back to where they were. But this is true only for those kids from families who can't provide academic enrichment in the summer. Many parents who have the means and are well-educated themselves seek ways to strengthen their children's education in the summer, through academic camps, homework that parents assign to the kids, etc. These children come back to school in the fall, more advanced than when they left for summer.

So I would imagine that well-educated parents know the harm of stopping piano for 3 months.

Those who don't realize this are probably those who also don't realize that stopping academic studies for 3 months is very harmful to the children. You can give these parents information, but if this is a mindset----that summer is for fun and not for learning----it would be hard for them to change. And really, it's not their fault, they have been, in a sense, brainwashed by the very educational system in which their kids are being educated.

But either way, the choice of the word "thickheaded" indeed shows more than just facts.

Top
#2157919 - 09/26/13 09:41 AM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Gary D.]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12247
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I find it interesting that those who criticize Gary's choice of words are not teachers themselves.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

Top
#2157922 - 09/26/13 09:45 AM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Morodiene]
childofparadise2002 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/04
Posts: 542
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
I find it interesting that those who criticize Gary's choice of words are not teachers themselves.


Perhaps because parents are more sensitive about whether teachers respect parents?

But I AM a teacher, I'm not a piano teacher.


Edited by childofparadise2002 (09/26/13 09:47 AM)

Top
#2157930 - 09/26/13 10:00 AM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Gary D.]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
I'm in favor of year round school.

The US's summer off schedule is based on an agricultural economy that no longer exists, and on a very limited school curriculum (in 1900 only 50% of the population were schooled, with school defined as 1st to 5th grade).

If we had year round school the resistance to summer piano lessons would be much less.
_________________________
gotta go practice

Top
#2158013 - 09/26/13 12:45 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Nikolas]
peekay Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/13
Posts: 184
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Originally Posted By: peekay
Well, in reality, he can complain to the department head, who will make a big fuss, because the school really wants MY MONEY and will bend over backwards to get it.

But I get along great with my teacher, and I will say it again: I am glad I don't have to deal with piano teachers who think the whole world revolves around them. I would drop such a teacher in an instant.
Think about it for a second...

Are you sure that your school is teaching you to the best of their abilities? Because you're paying them... to learn, or to actually grab a degree? do you think they could be tricking you, to think you are doing great, but actually just making your life easier and lying to you?

just sayin'

Not very likely. I'm studying at the Royal Conservatory, home of the RCM exams used in many countries. Students are "required" to go through an assessment each term.

If the teacher isn't getting me ready at least to Grade standards, it would be painfully obvious from the next exam scores. Teachers (especially RCM staff instructors) don't like their students to get low scores because their name is on the record and it reflects poorly on them as well.

I just went up a grade and my teacher wants me to take the next exam in January. However, I might be out of the country all of December and part of January -- so I told him maybe the April exam is more realistic. He still thinks I will be prepared for January but is willing to work with me.

Had he instead complained about me taking leave, torpedoing my own progress, being hard-headed, etc., I'd probably drop him. There are many other RCM instructors and RCM is happy to get my $$$ each term.

But thankfully I have a great teacher.
_________________________
Working on RCM Grade 8

Top
#2158041 - 09/26/13 01:41 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Morodiene]
The Monkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 443
Loc: Vancouver BC
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
I find it interesting that those who criticize Gary's choice of words are not teachers themselves.


I found that fascinating too! Not a single piano teacher sees any problem with the choice of word. Doesn't it tell something?

I am not trying to criticize, just trying to understand.

Perhaps it is the mixed roles of teaching and customer service (and billing and accounting..)? I have recently talked to a customer service manager, her choice of words toward customers were... let's not go there.

Maybe separation of the roles will make a teacher happier? Outsource the billing, scheduling to someone else and focus on teaching? You know, the going rate for teaching is between $40-$80/hour, the rate of an office clerk is $12-$20/hour.

So gather 3 to 5 of your fellow teachers and hire someone to take care of the none-teaching tasks? I am just thinking out loud here.

Top
#2158065 - 09/26/13 02:21 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Gary D.]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11877
Loc: Canada
You have to separate two things. One is the fact of a teacher-to-teacher discussion where teachers are able to express their feelings to peers, while on the job they must present a professional manner at all times regardless of what happens. Private teachers work in absolute isolation. This is important. The second thing involves the actual issues. On the student side I'd acknowledge that frustrations are encountered and that there is the occasional need to vent in a safe place (albeit open to students and parents to read and thus be offended). The more important thing is what teachers is trying to do to help his students, and what kinds of obstacles they are facing which is causing such frustration. On a PRACTICAL side that will serve the parent or student.

Consider the situation of the private teacher - I mean a good one who actually has the expertise from years of study. This teacher will be an expert in piano playing, in music, in theory, as well as knowing how teaching and learning work. His clientele have none of that knowledge. Customers in other fields don't either, but if a builder designs and builds a house, his customer simply has to pay the money and move in when it's finished. Here the expert has to work with the client. He is teaching the child, and at any moment the parent is undermining the child's progress because the parent doesn't know better. This will be frustrating. It's not just that teachers care about the quality of their work, but they also care about the experience of the child. There will be frustration. Anyone working in isolation needs to be able to talk to others doing the same work. While dealing with students and parents, that frustration cannot show.

When I joined PW it was after several years of lessons on another instrument which followed the lessons of my teen child (who had gone on to a music major at that point). I felt that there was not much teacher-student/parent communication, what a teacher needed in cooperation was not very clear, and there was a passle of things that were question marks for me. How good is communication between teachers and parents/students in reality beyond assignments? One side of this issue, in the least, is for parents to understand the ramifications of their choices. How well are these brought across? In fact, are they?

What is obvious to a person in the field is not obvious to an outsider. That is true for any field. Here is a specific issue. What do we do with it? On both sides.

Top
#2158082 - 09/26/13 02:48 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: keystring]
The Monkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 443
Loc: Vancouver BC
Keystring, you didn't understand my post, still thinking I was criticizing.

My observation is, that most of the frustration of the piano teacher were not directly related to teaching, but rooted from relationships with parents, payment, scheduling etc.

Most of clinics were owned by doctors, most/all doctors working there are associates.

I am think why not a teacher owned music schools? Let teachers do the teaching, and hire a school manager to deal with the rest?

Top
#2158083 - 09/26/13 02:49 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Morodiene]
anrpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/05/04
Posts: 174
Loc: Chicago
[quote=Morodiene][quote=Gary D.]I am going to be very up front in the future about how parents who take long times off for their kids ruin progress.

I am going to present this idea:

When you stop lessons for 3 months, it takes half that time to get back to where you were before you stopped. Off all summer means that maybe by the middle of October you are back where you were in May. Meanwhile the students who continued are 3 months ahead.



Many years ago, when my wife and I were just babes in the woods and after a summer where most of our students didn't take, we barely survived financially. We knew we needed to make a change. And we did exactly what Morodiene suggests. Only we added a twist, those who took more lessons got first choice in the fall for lessons times. My wife has even had people pay for missed lessons just to insure their choice of lesson times in the fall. You don't have to verbally tell them anything, just arrange the incentives for the desired outcomes. Obviously not everybody complies, but sometimes there is just no room for them in the fall and that takes care of the problem.
_________________________
Andrew Remillard
http://www.ANRPiano.com
http://www.AndrewRemillard.com
Downers Grove, IL 60515

Top
#2158084 - 09/26/13 02:53 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Gary D.]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1027
Loc: Irvine, CA
Originally Posted By: Monkey
Let teachers do the teaching, and hire a school manager to deal with the rest?


Erm...my income is not enough to hire a school manager...so, I have to do everything myself...

Is that make sense?
_________________________
http://ezpiano.org
Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
@ http://bit.ly/Ready123

Top
#2158093 - 09/26/13 03:03 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: ezpiano.org]
The Monkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 443
Loc: Vancouver BC
Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
Originally Posted By: Monkey
Let teachers do the teaching, and hire a school manager to deal with the rest?


Erm...my income is not enough to hire a school manager...so, I have to do everything myself...

Is that make sense?


Usually a single doctor's income is not enough to maintain a clinic. Many clinics have 4-6 doctors and they collectively own the clinic, and share the cost of the office, equipment and staff. (Primary care is an exception that the physicians often work alone).

I am wondering why music teachers don't usually work together.

Top
#2158113 - 09/26/13 03:46 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: ezpiano.org]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
Originally Posted By: Monkey
Let teachers do the teaching, and hire a school manager to deal with the rest?


Erm...my income is not enough to hire a school manager...so, I have to do everything myself...

Is that make sense?


ez,
I think Monkey was suggesting that you are spending your time doing office manager work that's only worth $20 per hour, when you should be teaching and earning $40 per hour.

You could teach more and earn more money if you didn't have to spend time on the office stuff. Maybe you spend an hour a week doing paperwork, billings, etc. That's an hour where you earn zero income. If you taught for that hour, earned $40, and paid $20 to an office person, you'd be ahead $20, and you'd be less frustrated.

You don't need a full time office person because there isn't enough work, so a group of teachers could share one. That would let them focus on what they like doing and earn the most money at, teaching.

That's the theory.

In reality, you probably do that stuff during late hours when you couldn't schedule a student anyway.
_________________________
gotta go practice

Top
#2158119 - 09/26/13 03:50 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: The Monkeys]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11877
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
Keystring, you didn't understand my post, still thinking I was criticizing.

actually I wasn't addressing you, but the system will make it look like we're addressing a particular person. smile

Top
#2158120 - 09/26/13 03:55 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: The Monkeys]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11877
Loc: Canada
But now I am. smile
Originally Posted By: The Monkeys

Perhaps it is the mixed roles of teaching and customer service (and billing and accounting..)? I have recently talked to a customer service manager, her choice of words toward customers were... let's not go there.

Certainly the administrative side of a freelance business is a problem, because the expert in one field suddenly has to be an expert in accounting, customer procurement etc. Plus it is time that could be spent in the primary occupation: whether teaching or otherwise.

But I don't think this addresses the present situation. You have teachers who know what will help their students progress, and what will impede that progress, and have worked hard toward that progress. Then actions over which they have little control hurts that progress, and may be demoralizing to their students. Having someone take over bookkeeping or acting as receptionist for phone calls won't solve that particular situation.

Top
#2158130 - 09/26/13 04:07 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: keystring]
The Monkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 443
Loc: Vancouver BC
Originally Posted By: keystring
Having someone take over bookkeeping or acting as receptionist for phone calls won't solve that particular situation.


If it makes a teacher happier overall, and in a better mood, maybe the teacher will be less frustrated of that particular issue and will naturally use different choice of words? wink

Top
#2158133 - 09/26/13 04:16 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: The Monkeys]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11877
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
Originally Posted By: keystring
Having someone take over bookkeeping or acting as receptionist for phone calls won't solve that particular situation.


If it makes a teacher happier overall, and in a better mood, maybe the teacher will be less frustrated of that particular issue and will naturally use different choice of words? wink

This was a conversation among peers. I doubt that the same words would be used in the studio. Have you ever been in the staff room of a public school? You will hear excellent and dedicated teachers vent. Then they go back into the classroom and give their best. It's something that I remember from my young years as a teacher. The best often vented the most. It's the complacent teacher who couldn't care less that I'd worry about.

Top
#2158138 - 09/26/13 04:29 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: peekay]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: peekay
The first post assumes parents are just a bunch of "thick-headed" morons who are intent to "torpedo" their own kids progress. Quotes from the original post.

That's my objection.

That's your assumption. It was about SOME parents.

There are also teachers who torpedo the progress of their students.

You seem to be taking some general remarks very personally.

I have students who have to take time off who have very good reasons for doing so.

But I have a few who, in my opinion, who just are not thinking about the results of taking long periods off.

Sometimes the parents whole kids take the most time off are the ones who are most demanding about progress. Some of them blame teachers for the fact that their children are learning very slowly.

Now, I'm asking you the same question: what is your grudge with me?
_________________________
Piano Teacher

Top
#2158143 - 09/26/13 04:44 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Gary D.]
MaggieGirl Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 493
I don't really know how long a student has to quit before bad habits and regression happens.

But from an athletic pov, it is detrimental for a child to play one sport all year. Cross training must happen and breaks must happen or they are prone to injury and burn out.

And when injuries happen, they do not start back at square one. In 6 months off the ice, my daughter did not fall 6 months behind. She fell 3 months behind and in other areas improved (artistic elements, flexibility, endurance). Because while she couldn't skate she took up ariel acrobatics and strength training. Before she could do jumps and spins, she had more time on footwork. Certain elements did take 6 months to get consistent again(namely double jumps).

But for a child, nothing was lost forever and she is at the same level as girls who did not have the 6 months off within the 6 months back on.

So in the "big picture", she learned how to make a come back, how to fail, how to train mentally, how to overcome fear. She would not have learned those things without the injury.

I think piano would be similar - there might be a lot of extra work to get back where you would have been but if it's what you want - fight for it. The parents might not be thickheaded morons. They might see a child who really needs time off to pursue other interests (sleep away summer camp, trying new things).

It's not a race with a finish line.

Top
#2158146 - 09/26/13 05:03 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Gary D.]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1027
Loc: Irvine, CA
Originally Posted By: OP
Who torpedo their kids' progress yearly?


Can OP explain what is torpedo means here in this context? I am lost...
_________________________
http://ezpiano.org
Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
@ http://bit.ly/Ready123

Top
#2158147 - 09/26/13 05:05 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Gary D.]
The Monkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 443
Loc: Vancouver BC
My main point is:

I see some of the teachers are in perpetual bad mood, and the majority of the venting I heard here is NOT directly teaching related.

I was wondering if teachers would be happier if we can let teachers to focus on teaching and not to be burdened with the miscellaneous activities.

Top
#2158148 - 09/26/13 05:06 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: TimR]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: TimR
Teaching would be a lot more fun if it weren't for all those students! Hee, hee.

Students taking long breaks must indeed be frustrating. It's not easy to see good progress yanked away when it seems so easy to avoid it.

But ultimately you only have a couple of choices.

Forbid it, and drop any student who won't comply.

Accept it, and find a way to deal with the frustration.

Bad practice is really worse than no practice? I'm in trouble then. I do a lot of things wrong, but work ethic has never been a problem. Maybe I should try to be more lazy.

Tim, think of practicing with the wrong embouchure, really hard, day after day and not knowing it is wrong.

Think of playing a position in the wrong place, day after day, until you learn to play E, Eb, A and Ab all midway between position 2 and 3.

Or think of any number of things that go wrong in the first year, also on piano.

I am not talking about people who have been playing well for a number of years, and talking about children, who learn bad habits quickly and then internalize them.

But for the people who want to play well, on a very advanced level, it is very important to get feedback from someone, at least now and then, about things that are creeping in that should not be there.

And feedback does not have to come from a teacher - it can come from other places. It's just not good to work in a vacuum.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

Top
#2158175 - 09/26/13 06:21 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Morodiene]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Morodiene

Now to address the OP. I think with educating the parents. Sometimes talking to them works, but often that isn't enough. Having a "reward" for students/parents who continue through the summer can help. If students take a minimum of 6 lessons with me over the summer, they get priority scheduling in the fall semester. Otherwise, their time could be given away to someone else. This sends a message that it really is important they stick with it. Still, some don't get it even if they are capable of continuing.

First of all, you probably guessed that I was really expressing frustration at seeing some students - not all by any means - coming back in September and that I was feeling frustrated because they are behind where they were in May.

Obviously as a teacher I am frustrated too, because of course I want to see people make maximum strides, and that simply does not happen for the kids who are gone three months - and sometimes more.

And I suppose what I wrote was a combination of that frustration and thinking out loud on a frustrating day.

Now, I did use the word "thick-headed". I don't remember if I used a hyphen. smile

At the time it did not seem like a horrible choice of words. I didn't swear, or insult anyone here, so I'm a bit surprised at the blow-back.

I would assume most people would agree that some people can be very thick-headed, and some of those people are parents.

Some are also teachers, by the way.

I also believe I talked about "some" parents, and apparently from that it was assumed that no parents have good reasons for stopping lessons - which is not true at all.

Probably a bigger issue - one that we have talked about before - is that even when teachers are attempting to talk to each other in a teachers forum, because it is an open forum students and parents join in.

OK. I get that. What I don't get is that many students and parents, reading here, seem to automatically assume that they are being slammed, or insulted, or trashed personally because of some general statements being made.

I feel no need to wade into any discussions in other forums that happen to be about teachers. I don't assume that comments, even if some of them are vents, are directly aimed at me. So when I reply there - which I do not do often - I will usually try to present my own viewpoints without assuming that something said was something I need to take personally.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

Top
#2158184 - 09/26/13 06:27 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: ezpiano.org]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
Originally Posted By: OP
Who torpedo their kids' progress yearly?


Can OP explain what is torpedo means here in this context? I am lost...

What I meant was that some parents actually get in the way of their learning of their kids, and often they then blame other people for decisions they make.

Again - since it seems to be necessary to be clear here - I was not saying that all parents who stop lessons are doing that.

But as other people have said - and I agree with this - now and then we run into parents who are very unreasonable about expecting near miracles from us, the teachers, when they do little or nothing that we ask.

I would also wager that all of us here, at least once, have been blamed for being anything but the best of teachers because nothing we asked for was done.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

Top
#2158261 - 09/26/13 08:46 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: The Monkeys]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12247
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
I find it interesting that those who criticize Gary's choice of words are not teachers themselves.


I found that fascinating too! Not a single piano teacher sees any problem with the choice of word. Doesn't it tell something?

I am not trying to criticize, just trying to understand.

Perhaps it is the mixed roles of teaching and customer service (and billing and accounting..)? I have recently talked to a customer service manager, her choice of words toward customers were... let's not go there.

Maybe separation of the roles will make a teacher happier? Outsource the billing, scheduling to someone else and focus on teaching? You know, the going rate for teaching is between $40-$80/hour, the rate of an office clerk is $12-$20/hour.

So gather 3 to 5 of your fellow teachers and hire someone to take care of the none-teaching tasks? I am just thinking out loud here.




None of these are really practical, unfortunately. But we *do* separate. We come online and speak about anonymous students. Then we sort things out in our mind before we approach the student or parent in question as rationally and reasonably as we can.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

Top
#2158263 - 09/26/13 08:50 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: The Monkeys]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12247
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
Originally Posted By: Monkey
Let teachers do the teaching, and hire a school manager to deal with the rest?


Erm...my income is not enough to hire a school manager...so, I have to do everything myself...

Is that make sense?


Usually a single doctor's income is not enough to maintain a clinic. Many clinics have 4-6 doctors and they collectively own the clinic, and share the cost of the office, equipment and staff. (Primary care is an exception that the physicians often work alone).

I am wondering why music teachers don't usually work together.
It's hard to have a concentration of piano teachers in one place, because there aren't that many piano students. You'd have to have a different instrument for each teacher in order for everyone to draw students. Not as easy to do, but some can and do. This is why me and my partner opened up a school together. But it is tough having two voice teachers. I'm glad I teach piano too.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

Top
#2158265 - 09/26/13 08:54 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: TimR]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12247
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
Originally Posted By: Monkey
Let teachers do the teaching, and hire a school manager to deal with the rest?


Erm...my income is not enough to hire a school manager...so, I have to do everything myself...

Is that make sense?


ez,
I think Monkey was suggesting that you are spending your time doing office manager work that's only worth $20 per hour, when you should be teaching and earning $40 per hour.

You could teach more and earn more money if you didn't have to spend time on the office stuff. Maybe you spend an hour a week doing paperwork, billings, etc. That's an hour where you earn zero income. If you taught for that hour, earned $40, and paid $20 to an office person, you'd be ahead $20, and you'd be less frustrated.

You don't need a full time office person because there isn't enough work, so a group of teachers could share one. That would let them focus on what they like doing and earn the most money at, teaching.

That's the theory.

In reality, you probably do that stuff during late hours when you couldn't schedule a student anyway.


Hmm, this thread isn't really about the money stuff and billing and all that. It's about a student falling behind because they didn't take lessons over the summer. So even if you can afford an office manager/bookkeeper, that's not going to resolve the issue and resulting frustration.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

Top
#2158481 - 09/27/13 08:45 AM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: TimR]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2766
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Originally Posted By: TimR
Accept it, and find a way to deal with the frustration...


Isn't that what he's doing by posting here?
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

Top
#2158488 - 09/27/13 09:07 AM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: malkin]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: malkin
Originally Posted By: TimR
Accept it, and find a way to deal with the frustration...


Isn't that what he's doing by posting here?


No.
_________________________
gotta go practice

Top
#2158504 - 09/27/13 09:43 AM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: TimR]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12247
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: malkin
Originally Posted By: TimR
Accept it, and find a way to deal with the frustration...


Isn't that what he's doing by posting here?


No.
How do you know?
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

Top
#2158567 - 09/27/13 11:51 AM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: Morodiene]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: malkin
Originally Posted By: TimR
Accept it, and find a way to deal with the frustration...


Isn't that what he's doing by posting here?


No.
How do you know?


The OP asked for help communicating with thick-headed parents. The "deal with frustration" direction is just me hijacking the thread.
_________________________
gotta go practice

Top
#2158635 - 09/27/13 02:58 PM Re: Parents who stop lessons for months [Re: TimR]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: malkin
Originally Posted By: TimR
Accept it, and find a way to deal with the frustration...


Isn't that what he's doing by posting here?


No.
How do you know?


The OP asked for help communicating with thick-headed parents. The "deal with frustration" direction is just me hijacking the thread.

The "OP" asked a rhetorical question and did not really expect an answer that would work. smile
_________________________
Piano Teacher

Top
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 >

Moderator:  Ken Knapp 
What's Hot!!
Merry Christmas!
(ad) Yamaha CP Music Rest Promo
Yamaha CP Music Rest Promo
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Knabe Pianos
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
Sheet Music Plus (125)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Tacky keys ES7 Helful Suggestions
by jim tulloch
12/26/14 03:40 AM
Merry Christmas
by kennyz
12/25/14 08:16 PM
iPhone/iPad app to listen and identify key?
by Eric NYC
12/25/14 07:11 PM
Do you remember your Musical Goals?.....one year ago.....
by Johan B
12/25/14 06:03 PM
Musical Xmas gifts
by Johan B
12/25/14 05:01 PM
Forum Stats
77420 Members
42 Forums
160143 Topics
2351615 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
Gift Ideas for Music Lovers!
Find the Perfect Gift for the Music Lovers on your List!
Visit our online store today.

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
|
Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission