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#934087 - 09/19/05 01:38 PM How involved should I Be?
MomOfStudent Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/13/05
Posts: 4
Loc: Florida
Hi. My child began piano lessons about 18 months ago because she expressed an interest. I am a "non-musical" parent with no real expectations in mind. I planned on taking things a month at a time. So far, I have been pleasantly surprised to find that my daughter is demonstrating a keen interest and talent. (She has just wrapped up Piano Adventures Level 3b)

I am committed to supporting her lessons as long as she remains interested and committed.

Up to this point, I have left the direction of my daughter's lessons completely up to the teacher. Is this what I should be doing? Are there certain things that I should be looking for to be sure that her lessons continue to progress? Should my daughter be involved in competitions at this point, and if not, when? What expectations should I have?

I want to educate myself and make sure that I am making wise decisions for my daughter. Any comments or resources you can provide is greatly appreciated.

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#934088 - 09/19/05 02:25 PM Re: How involved should I Be?
John Delmore Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/12/05
Posts: 373
Loc: Shreveport, LA
Good job, Mom! You didn't say how old your daughter is--this could have some bearing on responses. But the best thing right now is to let the teacher guide things along. Assuming you found a good one. You can stay on top of things by talking to your daughter--asking questions like "Do you like the music you're learning?", "Are there other styles of music you'd also like to play?". If you get any responses that you feel are negative, or perhaps even tepid, look out. If your daughter is not having fun, she won't continue. You don't sound like the sort of mom who would be a "Practice Nazi", but if you ever feel the urge--resist!! She started this on her own, and maybe (doesn't sound likely, really) she will lose interest. I don't think you can "force" someone to be a musician.

As to competitions, I was never in one until I changed teachers in high school. I think that varies with the teacher--some don't do competitions at all, some start their beginners in them (at graded levels, of course) right away. Personally, I think they are great "confidence builders". Recitals, too.

Expectations? You can expect that your daughter enjoy learning to play the piano. You can expect that she will want to upgrade her piano, eventually. You can't expect that she win the Van Cliburn competition any time soon.
John Delmore
PTG Associate Member
"You don't have a Soul. You ARE a soul. You have a body."...C.S. Lewis
Bienvenue!: http://louisianaskyline.net/forums/index.php?

#934089 - 09/19/05 02:45 PM Re: How involved should I Be?
John Delmore Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/12/05
Posts: 373
Loc: Shreveport, LA
Oh, yeah, find a good piano tech, and have the piano tuned AT LEAST once a year, preferably twice. If anyone can tell it's out of tune, it's WAY overdue!! Also have the tech check out the regulation, and regulate if necessary. Lack of piano maintainance is an insidious hinderance to progress, even in the beginning stages (perhaps even worse than at more advanced levels).
John Delmore
PTG Associate Member
"You don't have a Soul. You ARE a soul. You have a body."...C.S. Lewis
Bienvenue!: http://louisianaskyline.net/forums/index.php?

#934090 - 09/19/05 03:30 PM Re: How involved should I Be?
MomOfStudent Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/13/05
Posts: 4
Loc: Florida
Thanks John for your reply. I probably should have made myself a little clearer. My daugher is 11 and I believe she has a good teacher. (Although, because I do not have a music background, I can only base my opinion on her interaction with my kid - which is positive.) I'm not really concerned with how fast or far she progresses, as long as she is enjoying herself and continues to improve. She seems serious about her lessons, practices without being told and looks forward to, and is prepared for, every lesson. I will be happy if she comes away with a love of music and continues to play because it pleases her.

My questions really center on how to increase MY understanding of the teaching process. I want to be able to have an intelligent conversation with my child's teacher about progress and future goals. At this point, I feel very ignorant. I asked about competitions because her current teacher does not participate in anything other than recitals, and I was wondering if this was a good thing or a bad thing. From what you said, that could go either way.

Again, thanks for your help.

#934091 - 09/19/05 04:03 PM Re: How involved should I Be?
canaday Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/30/05
Posts: 328
Loc: Petaluma, CA
It might be worthwhile to take lessons with a teacher for a few months. Even if it isn't something you want to continue with, you will gain enormous insight into how lessons work, how the relationship between teacher and student develops and, not least, what is hard and what is rewarding about studying music.

By the way, your approach sounds just right. My daughter just started lessons, and I am hoping to strike that balance between supporting her without taking over. It's a tricky thing!

#934092 - 09/19/05 09:43 PM Re: How involved should I Be?
gryphon Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/09/01
Posts: 11678
Loc: Okemos, MI
In my opinion, if your daughter is young (she is) and she is newish (she is) you should be actively involved in directing her education. There are too many things that can go awry that would make your daughter want to quit: teacher attitude, pieces assigned, raport with your daughter, etc. One she gets advanced, then, no.
"If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to."
MSU - the university of Michigan!

#934093 - 09/20/05 02:02 AM Re: How involved should I Be?
Candywoman Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 1046
Speaking as a teacher, I would say you're doing a fine job monitoring your daughter's piano education. However, you should probably ask your daughter's teacher her policy on competitions if you are interested.

"Just recitals" in fact take a lot of work, and yield enormous results, so I would be happy with just that.

I would stick with this teacher for at least five years, but then think about switching if it seems right to do so. One of the best things you can do is provide continuity in the first five years.

I'm not a fan of Piano Adventures because the depth in the music is not there. Perhaps you might ask the teacher to provide some meatier substance to the program in the form of a few other books when the time seems right.

Good Luck!


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