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NOOOOO! #1846209
02/16/12 05:27 PM
02/16/12 05:27 PM
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Barb860 Offline OP
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Behavioral issue with 2 girls (students) ages 10 and 7. No issues during our first year together. Over the past 3 weeks, these girls are almost impossible for me to teach, to the point where I have cut the lessons short and sent them on their way due to bad behavior. When I assign them a piece or even take a look at a new piece, the tantrums start with each girl. It's beyond whining; they scream "NOOO" and carry on. My immediate reaction both times has been to end the lessons right then and there. Have talked with Mom who asks me to please be patient and this will work itself out.
I don't want to lose these girls, they were stellar students for the first year.
Any thoughts? Thank you.
BTW I am offering them all kinds of music to learn.


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Re: NOOOOO! [Re: Barb860] #1846223
02/16/12 05:37 PM
02/16/12 05:37 PM
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Did you ask them what they would like to play? Or why they scream "noooo"? Good luck, it must be very stressful for you.



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Re: NOOOOO! [Re: Barb860] #1846233
02/16/12 05:45 PM
02/16/12 05:45 PM
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Is this a case where mom/dad in the room might do wonders for the behavior?

Re: NOOOOO! [Re: Piano*Dad] #1846247
02/16/12 05:57 PM
02/16/12 05:57 PM
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Barb860 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Piano*Dad
Is this a case where mom/dad in the room might do wonders for the behavior?


Mom sits in on all lessons......sigh.....


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Re: NOOOOO! [Re: ChopinAddict] #1846250
02/16/12 06:00 PM
02/16/12 06:00 PM
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Barb860 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by ChopinAddict
Did you ask them what they would like to play? Or why they scream "noooo"? Good luck, it must be very stressful for you.


I think I have been too nice and flexible, asking them what they want to play. Anytime we start a new piece of any kind, the tantrums start. Yes, it is stressful crazy


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Re: NOOOOO! [Re: Barb860] #1846268
02/16/12 06:21 PM
02/16/12 06:21 PM
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Why are you teaching sisters at the same time? And why is Mom sitting there? This is a big manufactured family drama, and you're simply in the crossfire. Consider yourself lucky that you got through a good year with the three of them; I wouldn't have lasted that long.

I like your idea of ending the lessons immediately when this occurs; that's setting limits. And Mom might be right, that this will calm down. But basically it's about fear and competition between those two young girls. The answer is simple: quit the lesson-sharing.



Re: NOOOOO! [Re: Piano*Dad] #1846288
02/16/12 06:49 PM
02/16/12 06:49 PM
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Orange County, CA
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Originally Posted by Piano*Dad
Is this a case where mom/dad in the room might do wonders for the behavior?


Some parents have absolutely no control over their kids. I knew that when I was 8. Teaching in public schools has confirmed that fact many times over.

Sometimes the teacher just has to step up and be the parent, at least during the lesson.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: NOOOOO! [Re: Barb860] #1846307
02/16/12 07:16 PM
02/16/12 07:16 PM
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It may work itself out with patience. But, you have the ultimate control of the situation. You may end up choosing to let them go. It seems as though they fear new pieces. Perhaps, for a time it would help if you dropped them a level and had them sightread simple songs each lesson, maybe some of those could be review pieces they may have forgotten. As they start to feel comfortable, you could ease in a more challenging piece.

Good luck, I hope it works out. I had two students that caused me some stress. I was determined to work it all out, but then I couldn't find a time to schedule them for the new semester that their mother was happy with. It took care of itself and I was able to find new students to replace them.


David Love
The Love Family Piano Studio
www.rexburgmusic.com
Re: NOOOOO! [Re: Barb860] #1846331
02/16/12 07:56 PM
02/16/12 07:56 PM
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New York
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That sounds like a bad situation.

Is there something going on in there lives? It sounds like something happened and is causing them to rebel. A year of great behavior and 3 weeks of bad behavior is a little weird. I would try to be patent, the mom may know something that she is not telling you.

I like that you are ending the lessons because you are sending the message that you will not tolerate that behavior. You might try at the beginning of the lesson asking each girl why it is happening. They may have some insight. It is good to talk when they are not being "bad." Tell them at the beginning of the lesson what the is going to happen if they do it again. The only problem with ending the lesson is, they may have figured out that they can get out of lessons by throwing a tantrum. Maybe another punishment is suitable, if mom can't help you with this you may be able to assign written work whenever their behavior is unacceptable that they have to do right in front of you.

sound rough, good luck


Re: NOOOOO! [Re: Barb860] #1846351
02/16/12 08:24 PM
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I completely agree with Peter. Try having a lesson with only the student in the room -- no parent, no sibling. I'll bet things calm down.


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Re: NOOOOO! [Re: Barb860] #1846628
02/17/12 09:43 AM
02/17/12 09:43 AM
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While it is almost always better to have the parent sitting in on the lesson, I agree that should do a trial with just one child at a time and no parent. If the outbursts are really motivated by seeking attention from the PARENT or a form of one-upmanship towards their sibling, the bad behavior should stop. I would still recommend Mom coming back in to catch the last five minutes or so to get a review of what was covered and what your expectations are for the following week.

Also, a mixture of repertoire chosen by the teacher and the student is best. At the earlier levels, this mixture might be 90% teacher chosen, 10% student chosen. The ratio balances out more equally as the years go by.

Hang in there!


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Re: NOOOOO! [Re: Barb860] #1846643
02/17/12 10:28 AM
02/17/12 10:28 AM
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Pretoria South Africa
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NOOOOO!!! This issue is frequently raised ... all children appear to happily advance in progress over the opening lessons ...
however, it’s sight-reading (the inability to master) which unfortunately gums up the works .

As suggested by some, a menu of keyboard music which the pupil LIKES can help bridge the negative reactions in under-tens.

Re: NOOOOO! [Re: Barb860] #1846646
02/17/12 10:34 AM
02/17/12 10:34 AM
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"When I assign them a piece"

What is this? Are you teaching the same piece to two sisters at the same time?

I agree with the above suggestion that it is time to teach them separately AND with no mom present.

And I'll add - two separate courses. They should not be playing the same pieces at the same time.

I'll bet that it will solve the problem. Make it a big deal, like it is time now for your special lessons all by yourself!


"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."
Re: NOOOOO! [Re: Barb860] #1846700
02/17/12 11:57 AM
02/17/12 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Barb860
Originally Posted by Piano*Dad
Is this a case where mom/dad in the room might do wonders for the behavior?


Mom sits in on all lessons......sigh.....


Well, as others have suggested, this may be the time to shake up the status quo. Whatever you're doing, do something different. Work with each one separately, and don't assign them the same material.

If that doesn't work ...... fire them. whome

Re: NOOOOO! [Re: btb] #1846752
02/17/12 01:42 PM
02/17/12 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by btb
however, it’s sight-reading (the inability to master) which unfortunately gums up the works .

You and I must live in very different worlds.


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Re: NOOOOO! [Re: Barb860] #1846865
02/17/12 04:28 PM
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I have had similar situations, although not to the degree you are describing. The way I have had to handle it, is make some changes to the lesson routine and practice routine. But sometimes, it is just time to end the lessons.

I think it would be wise to separate the girls and give them separate lessons. If one girl starts to complain, she may give you a different answer if no else is in the room when you ask her what she doesn't like or does like about what you are doing. The complaining episodes may not be as bad without an audience as well. Having them practicing different pieces or using different curriculum may help too.

Cutting off the lesson when they misbehave may be best for you, but I agree with mikey keys, it could be encouraging them to misbehave to get out of class early. It may be difficult, but keep them there the whole lesson.

I have found that adding new things to lessons can help if the child is just getting bored. I have started using a small dry erase board and doing reading drills and different theory reviews on that. The students LOVE using the board. I have been able to use that as incentive when they don't want to play through their pieces, by saying something like "after we play through this piece(s) we will play the games on the board". It usually works great!I have also had to "threaten" taking the board away when the student doesn't want to listen.

Ultimately, if the changes don't help, you may have to lose the students. I know this isn't what you want, but your sanity is worth losing some students who aren't interested in learning the piano anymore. I hope things work out with them though!


Tracy Hall
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http://www.trhmusic.org
"Bringing the joy of music to the next generation"
Re: NOOOOO! [Re: lilylady] #1846874
02/17/12 04:47 PM
02/17/12 04:47 PM
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Barb860 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by lilylady
"When I assign them a piece"

What is this? Are you teaching the same piece to two sisters at the same time?

I agree with the above suggestion that it is time to teach them separately AND with no mom present.

And I'll add - two separate courses. They should not be playing the same pieces at the same time.

I'll bet that it will solve the problem. Make it a big deal, like it is time now for your special lessons all by yourself!


Sorry for not being clear. To clarify:
2 students and mom sit in my studio during lesson time for each girl. Each girl takes her own lesson and is working on her own material, nothing shared with the other girl. Today I tried something different: Humor! When the NOOOO's started I laughed and told the girl this was completely inappropriate behavior and that she is acting like a 2 year old. That worked for her, so when number 2 girl started in on her NOOO I smiled and told her that she was also acting like a 2 year old having a temper tantrum. She stopped the behavior immediately. Like some have posted here, we need to use our parenting skills and not rely on the kids' own parents to discipline them in our studios. I was waiting for mom to do that and she didn't. We'll see what happens next week but they know I have a zero tolerance for this kind of behavior, it's such a waste of everyone's time and energy.


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Re: NOOOOO! [Re: Minniemay] #1846878
02/17/12 04:50 PM
02/17/12 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Minniemay
I completely agree with Peter. Try having a lesson with only the student in the room -- no parent, no sibling. I'll bet things calm down.


kids'mom is completely against this idea but I am going to insist we try it going forward.


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Re: NOOOOO! [Re: Barb860] #1846919
02/17/12 05:55 PM
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When they are in your studio, they are on your turf, therefore you are the authority figure that sets the rules. You cannot rely on the parent because, at that point, you would be pitting two authority figures against each other. One person in charge at any given time and during the lesson, you're it.


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Re: NOOOOO! [Re: Minniemay] #1847018
02/17/12 10:00 PM
02/17/12 10:00 PM
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Barb860 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Minniemay
When they are in your studio, they are on your turf, therefore you are the authority figure that sets the rules. You cannot rely on the parent because, at that point, you would be pitting two authority figures against each other. One person in charge at any given time and during the lesson, you're it.


You are so right! I wish parents would see it your way.
In my studio I have several parents who sit in on lessons. Hasn't always been this way for me, kind of a new trend if you will. While I don't mind and encourage this,
I have to gently ask parents to be quiet or gesture to them to do so. One teacher at a time.


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Re: NOOOOO! [Re: lilylady] #1847079
02/18/12 01:02 AM
02/18/12 01:02 AM
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Originally Posted by lilylady
"When I assign them a piece"

What is this? Are you teaching the same piece to two sisters at the same time?

I agree with the above suggestion that it is time to teach them separately AND with no mom present.

And I'll add - two separate courses. They should not be playing the same pieces at the same time.

I'll bet that it will solve the problem. Make it a big deal, like it is time now for your special lessons all by yourself!


I agree 100%. I think you're dealing with an extreme case of someone who is wanting individual attention. They're certainly getting your attention...but I think that having one-on-one time with you is what's needed. No mom in the room, no sister. It's less rewarding to cause a scene for just one person and I bet they won't even try.


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Re: NOOOOO! [Re: Barb860] #1847099
02/18/12 01:59 AM
02/18/12 01:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Barb860
Originally Posted by Piano*Dad
Is this a case where mom/dad in the room might do wonders for the behavior?


Mom sits in on all lessons......sigh.....
Heh... I think that this might be the problem. The kids are all too used in treating the mom badly and you get caught up in this.

throw the mom out and this should solve itself.

And if I may note that I'm currently ALSO teaching at home, where my older son (aged 8) is very persistent in staying with me on the lessons: I've never let him. He can still hear what we're doing, but under no circumstances he's allowed to interfere! He simply doesn't have this right!

Re: NOOOOO! [Re: Luke in ChiTown] #1847110
02/18/12 02:37 AM
02/18/12 02:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Luke in ChiTown
While it is almost always better to have the parent sitting in on the lesson, I agree that should do a trial with just one child at a time and no parent.

I strongly disagree that it is almost always better to have the parent sitting in on the lesson unless the children are very young and I am teaching the parent how to teach the child. And I do this with children under seven, until they reach a point at which the parent can no longer follow what we are doing. smile


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Re: NOOOOO! [Re: AZNpiano] #1847111
02/18/12 02:37 AM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano

Some parents have absolutely no control over their kids. I knew that when I was 8. Teaching in public schools has confirmed that fact many times over.

Sometimes the teacher just has to step up and be the parent, at least during the lesson.

ABSOLUTELY true.


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Re: NOOOOO! [Re: btb] #1847113
02/18/12 02:42 AM
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Originally Posted by btb
NOOOOO!!! This issue is frequently raised ... all children appear to happily advance in progress over the opening lessons ...
however, it’s sight-reading (the inability to master) which unfortunately gums up the works .

As suggested by some, a menu of keyboard music which the pupil LIKES can help bridge the negative reactions in under-tens.

1) You can give people music "they like", but if they can't play that music, they will be just as frustrated, maybe more so.
2) Yes, inability to sight-read gums up the works, for all the people who really want to read written music. But in my opinion more than 50 percent of the time reading-weaknesses are directly caused by poor teaching. Thus the horror stories we hear again and again about transfer students.


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Re: NOOOOO! [Re: Barb860] #1847324
02/18/12 03:03 PM
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I agree that it's time for Mom to find something else to do during lessons. I have a young student with some type of anxiety disorder, according to Mom. Mom was very uneasy about letting him take lessons, so she sat in on the first few. At the first lesson, he started crying and began to pull his hair out. (Literally -- he has a bald spot.) In short, a total meltdown. Mom rushed over to the piano, hugged him, and fussed for a few minutes. This was a pretty typical lesson. Then came the day Mom couldn't make it. He started up with the routine, and I said (kindly), "Let me know when you're done and we'll start back up." I picked up a book and pretended to read. After about two minutes, complete with many sidelong glances at me, he said, "OK, I'm done now," and we continued on. Next week when Mom was there, it all started up again. When I suggested to Mom that he might do better one-on-one, she was aghast but agreed. I recorded a lesson, and when she watched the video she couldn't believe it. However, she doesn't make the connection that her response aggravates the situation. Recently he played in a community recital and played beautifully, with no problems at all. Afterwards, he came up to me and said, "I told Mom to sit in the back."


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Re: NOOOOO! [Re: pianolady14] #1847336
02/18/12 03:26 PM
02/18/12 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by pianolady14
I agree that it's time for Mom to find something else to do during lessons. I have a young student with some type of anxiety disorder, according to Mom. Mom was very uneasy about letting him take lessons, so she sat in on the first few. At the first lesson, he started crying and began to pull his hair out. (Literally -- he has a bald spot.) In short, a total meltdown. Mom rushed over to the piano, hugged him, and fussed for a few minutes. This was a pretty typical lesson. Then came the day Mom couldn't make it. He started up with the routine, and I said (kindly), "Let me know when you're done and we'll start back up." I picked up a book and pretended to read. After about two minutes, complete with many sidelong glances at me, he said, "OK, I'm done now," and we continued on. Next week when Mom was there, it all started up again. When I suggested to Mom that he might do better one-on-one, she was aghast but agreed. I recorded a lesson, and when she watched the video she couldn't believe it. However, she doesn't make the connection that her response aggravates the situation. Recently he played in a community recital and played beautifully, with no problems at all. Afterwards, he came up to me and said, "I told Mom to sit in the back."

Another example of where *WE* have to step in and be parents.

It happens a lot. frown


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Re: NOOOOO! [Re: Minniemay] #1847419
02/18/12 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Minniemay
When they are in your studio, they are on your turf, therefore you are the authority figure that sets the rules. You cannot rely on the parent because, at that point, you would be pitting two authority figures against each other. One person in charge at any given time and during the lesson, you're it.


As a parent, I agree. During a lesson (of any kind), the lesson-giver is "the boss" .
During a sporting event, the coach is "the boss".
At school, the teacher is "the boss".
At home, * I * am the boss. (well, hubby has input... ha )

Do not be afraid, take charge!


I don't care too much for money. For money can't buy me love.
-the Beatles



Re: NOOOOO! [Re: Gary D.] #1847701
02/19/12 09:10 AM
02/19/12 09:10 AM
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Here, as opposed to there
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Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by AZNpiano

Some parents have absolutely no control over their kids. I knew that when I was 8. Teaching in public schools has confirmed that fact many times over.

Sometimes the teacher just has to step up and be the parent, at least during the lesson.

ABSOLUTELY true.


Nope. Sorry, but I'm not being paid to be anyone's parent. I'd have to charge far more than I do now were that the case. Parents are welcome to sit in on lessons, if they like (though I don't have any that do these days), but I have no problem kicking the parent out, if they're creating noise of any kind. If your child is unruly and doesn't respond to me then off you go until you're able to behave appropriately.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $

Re: NOOOOO! [Re: Barb860] #1847902
02/19/12 04:48 PM
02/19/12 04:48 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,349
Boynton Beach, FL
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Morodiene  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,349
Boynton Beach, FL
Glad you putting your foot down worked, Barb. I highly recommend that whenever a teacher is trying to establish rules and set a pattern of behavior (or change one), that they come out at the beginning of the lesson before any behavior they establish their routine and tell them what the rules are and what the consequences will be should those rules be broken. Always be sure the consequences match the severity of the infraction, and maybe with young ones you can "remind" them of the rules before immediately enforcing them so that they are learning to monitor their own behavior.

As far as comments about this being the "parent" or "babysitter", it is nothing of the sort. It's called being the adult. You are not responsible for the child's behavior, but if you want to continue to teach them and make money and not have a dreading feeling every time they walk in the door, you can either do something about it or not. If not, you should refer them to someone else and lose that student. It's a choice, but by no means does it make one a babysitter to do so.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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