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#65647 - 05/04/15 03:51 PM Should I Fire These Students???
Nyke Offline
Regular Member

Registered: 08/17/13
Posts: 83
Help to understand something: I have a small few students, that don't practice continuously…they only manage to practice at the last minute in preparation for things such as if they have a recital or a competition. Despite months and even years of expressing to parent the importance of practicing for results, there has been no improvement! Then the parents will come to me and say “well so and so has been in piano for 2 years or 3 years..give them a hard song for recital!” My face: :-/
Then the child will tell me that they have dance competition or a dance workshop….I ask the parent why are the missing practice for dance? The parent says well they are just doing piano for fun, they don’t actually plan to become pianist. Then I ask well are they planning to become professional dancers??? The parents says no…but they enjoy being with their friends!!
What gives….what to do??

#65648 - 05/04/15 06:51 PM Re: Should I Fire These Students??? [Re: Nyke]
EllaCat Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 04/03/08
Posts: 365
Loc: Atlantic Canada
I definitely feel your pain. I've had some like that - typically though by the time practising bottoms out, their days are numbered already and it's just a matter of time until they quit.

I'll give you an alternate way to look at it..... are they still enjoying piano? If so, is that enough for you - to help them find enjoyment - even if they have little to no actual advancement? That's a question only you can answer. Answer might be different for each student, too. If so, you could get them onto a program of easy pieces they can enjoy without much work.

I'd definitely say a student/parent/teacher meeting might be helpful. Clarify expectations all around - do they want to advance, or just enjoy? And clarify what practising and lessons would look like on either path. Some people just assume that progress happens merely by showing up for the lesson each week - I wish!!

#65790 - 10/20/15 11:47 AM Re: Should I Fire These Students??? [Re: EllaCat]
J.Baker Offline
Contributing Member

Registered: 02/03/15
Posts: 21
Loc: New York City, NY
Hello Nyke,

Consider doing easy duets - that brings socialization into the picture. I find that everyone loves doing duets as long as they are not so hard as to scare them - so I keep it not too difficult. That can make a difference in the emotional atmosphere of the enterprise.

Sharing with you my experience - we train people how to treat us. If we give people permission to take us for granted then they surely will do so. This applies to teaching. I think we need to set out clear markers from the first interview what our agenda is as teachers and what expectations are from all participants.

I make it very, very clear that when a child takes lessons from me that it is a trio that is performing - the student, the parent, the teacher. It takes all three in the game or it will not work.

Children learn bad study habits from the example of their parents, not from the piano teacher. If the parents have low expectations then the child will subconsciously meet those low expectations to accommodate the parent. That is what is going on.

I also point out to parents that the piano is not easy - it is not the equivalent of jumping into a swimming pool "just for fun". If a child is indulged by being allowed to slough off anything that is even slightly difficult or no longer "fun" then they are being trained to be self-indulgent and lazy. That is not a good preparation for entering the adult world and earning a living.

We must educate the parents first.



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