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Re: Emotionally Sensitive Students [Re: Brinestone] #2913038 11/17/19 06:46 AM
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johnstaf Offline
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She'll remember your kindness for the rest of her life.

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Re: Emotionally Sensitive Students [Re: Brinestone] #2913141 11/17/19 12:32 PM
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A few years ago, I came across a child in a family with 3 kids who started showing emotional issues. The other 2 are fine. He refused to go to school one day and is home-schooled ever since. He had piano lessons for at least a year but his parents wasn't very keen on music even when the father had lessons years ago. There are a few doctors in the family. They came to the conclusion the child may be showing symptoms of Asperger's Syndrome or some form of Autism.

The teen is at the age when his older siblings have gone to university. He is at home watching TV & playing video games most of the time. For the past decade I've been playing music every week to relieve stress. I'm not sure if his parents feel the same way about him continuing his piano lessons even when he stays home most of the time and has nothing better to do. The parents stopped his music lessons a few years ago. Not sure if this is a good idea or they should let him have some activities away from the screen.

In your case I'm not sure if there is a doctor's diagnoses and there is a recommendation for the child to go for therapy of some sort. I came across a child who was misbehaving badly to the point nobody in the family could get him to sit still for 5 minutes. He would run around the room the whole day. Now he is in university and doing fine.

Re: Emotionally Sensitive Students [Re: johnstaf] #2913309 11/17/19 11:05 PM
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Peter K. Mose Offline
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Originally Posted by johnstaf
She'll remember your kindness for the rest of her life.


So well put, John.

Re: Emotionally Sensitive Students [Re: Andamento] #2913311 11/17/19 11:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Andamento


Trust your instincts and, as much as possible, let her see you be the same caring, committed teacher you've always been, no matter how much her behavior or her life changes. Consistency somewhere in the girl's life can be a respite from the trauma of major upheaval in other aspects of her life.



This.

Re: Emotionally Sensitive Students [Re: johnstaf] #2913366 11/18/19 03:59 AM
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Iaroslav Vasiliev Offline
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Originally Posted by johnstaf
She'll remember your kindness for the rest of her life.

thumb thumb thumb

Re: Emotionally Sensitive Students [Re: Brinestone] #2914310 11/20/19 03:49 PM
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Candywoman Offline
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Repeating things as you have before with similar results is the definition of insanity. Try the stern voice.

If that doesn't work, let her know you will try teaching her again after a one month break. My personal belief is she should spend as much time as possible with her mother now, not you.

To those who think she will remember you, it's highly doubtful. I only have about two memories from my first piano teacher and they have to do with a dog and cookies. I studied with her for four years.

If you want to be remembered, you would have to give a cookie to her. Once I taught a girl and gave her Viva puffs at each lesson. About twenty years on, she only remembered one thing about me: the Viva puffs.

Re: Emotionally Sensitive Students [Re: Brinestone] #2914316 11/20/19 04:10 PM
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Candy woman
Your experience with child students and teachers is not mine, as I fondly remember many things about my lessons. Maybe it is best not to assume that this little girl will or will not remember her lessons later— as every situation and individuals are different.

The decision about how to address the problems with this child should be based on what is thought to be the best FOR THE CHILD, not whether the child will be grateful. What is best based on the medical condition of the mother is not something we can decide from afar. .., I’ve been around children whose mothers were dying, and spending as much time as possible with the parent was not always the best decision.... but it was a decision made by the family. The family can quit the lessons if they feel that is the right course.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
" I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It’s ok to be a Work In Progress
Re: Emotionally Sensitive Students [Re: Brinestone] #2914842 11/22/19 01:11 AM
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I would say read the original post.
The girl is not able to take in what the teacher would like to teach. The teacher is dreading the lesson and is DONE (in capitals) with her student's behaviour. So, the conclusion on this forum is that what's best for the girl is to continue and find a "safe" space. How is being in a powder keg ready to go off safe?

Sorry. I recently had a similar situation happen. What worked is firing the student. Then, after a break, she came back a few weeks later ready to learn and to do what I ask.

This family is dealing with so much that they are not properly disciplining the girl. They simply haven't the energy. So I would say, make the corrections to the girl's behaviour in a proven way. You'll be doing the mother and the clueless father a favour.

Re: Emotionally Sensitive Students [Re: Candywoman] #2915015 11/22/19 12:42 PM
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Piano*Dad Offline
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Originally Posted by Candywoman
I would say read the original post.



And I would say read all of Brinestone's subsequent posts. She seems inclined to try some of the more gentle advice offered.

Re: Emotionally Sensitive Students [Re: Candywoman] #2915099 11/22/19 03:16 PM
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Andamento Offline
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Originally Posted by Candywoman
My personal belief is she should spend as much time as possible with her mother now, not you.


The parents are in the best position to determine how much time mother and daughter spend together. Brinestone said they want the child to stick with piano, so obviously they've given the matter some thought about what they want to continue as part of their family schedule. They would know better than anyone, particularly people on the internet who have not met the family, what's in the child's best interests.

Originally Posted by Candywoman
I recently had a similar situation happen. What worked is firing the student. Then, after a break, she came back a few weeks later ready to learn and to do what I ask.


That's all well and good, and it certainly does work with some, but it's simply one anecdote that not only may not apply in the OP's situation, but could be destructive in this particular case. Brinestone and the family have established a good long-term relationship. "Firing" the girl for shutting down after mistakes will sever the OP's and family's business relationship (either temporarily or permanently) and essentially, IMO, is dealing with a symptom without looking deeper for and addressing the underlying issue(s).

One underlying issue being that the girl appears to be a perfectionist. She has little to no tolerance for her own mistakes. Thus my earlier recommendation that the student could be shown that making mistakes is just part of our humanity. To fire her for responding poorly to her own errors, especially when that firing comes from a teacher who has no doubt endeared herself to the family over many years, might reinforce the girl's mistaken notion that errors are unacceptable. (Whether they be mistakes while playing piano, or mistakes in how a little kid deals with her errors. Shut down; get fired.)

There's a much bigger picture here none of us sees, but from the small window Brinestone has given us into the family's situation, I see firing in this case to far more likely be destructive than restorative.

Re: Emotionally Sensitive Students [Re: Brinestone] #2915135 11/22/19 04:45 PM
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The OP should be firm but fair, and that means not rewarding the child's bad behaviour with extra attention (otherwise that will reinforce what she's also doing at home and thereby causing more stress to her mother), but ignoring it. Children crave attention. Let's not gloss things over - bad behaviour is bad behaviour, no matter what the circumstances.

My previous advice still stands.

In my job, I'm frequently struck by children's different behaviour in the home compared to in school.......or when in front of me. A teacher's school report can appear to be for an entirely different child compared to the parents' description of what happens at home, and when I observe the interaction between child and parents, it's often easy to see why. Lack of consistency (from the same parent as well as between parents), pandering to the child's whims and tantrums...........in other words, poor parenting.

A piano teacher cannot be a parent, and cannot teach effective parenting to the parents, but she can control what happens in her studio, and make it a happy learning environment - for both child and teacher.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Emotionally Sensitive Students [Re: Brinestone] #2915990 11/24/19 10:13 PM
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So, I tried firm voice, but stayed kind. It didn't work. I was standing to help her and her duet partner, and she walked behind my chair and pulled it backward. I told her to stop, firmly. She pulled again, and the chair fell on top of her! She was startled but not hurt, thankfully, and she immediately got up and hurried to the piano bench and played her piece without incident.

And she did great on it.

I don't know. Kids are weird. It's like, she had to realize how out of control she was. She knew what my expectations were and snapped right into them.


Piano teacher since 2008, member of NFMC
Re: Emotionally Sensitive Students [Re: bennevis] #2915992 11/24/19 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
The OP should be firm but fair, and that means not rewarding the child's bad behaviour with extra attention (otherwise that will reinforce what she's also doing at home and thereby causing more stress to her mother), but ignoring it. Children crave attention. Let's not gloss things over - bad behaviour is bad behaviour, no matter what the circumstances.

My previous advice still stands.

In my job, I'm frequently struck by children's different behaviour in the home compared to in school.......or when in front of me. A teacher's school report can appear to be for an entirely different child compared to the parents' description of what happens at home, and when I observe the interaction between child and parents, it's often easy to see why. Lack of consistency (from the same parent as well as between parents), pandering to the child's whims and tantrums...........in other words, poor parenting.

A piano teacher cannot be a parent, and cannot teach effective parenting to the parents, but she can control what happens in her studio, and make it a happy learning environment - for both child and teacher.


I actually agree with you. I do think I can be true to my instincts to be kind--but also have boundaries and rules and consequences in my studio. Children thrive with structure and clear expectations. smile

And whoever said she may be on the spectrum . . . yeah. It's possible.


Piano teacher since 2008, member of NFMC
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