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Re: Anyone feel like they are a babysitter? #936748
02/14/08 01:43 AM
02/14/08 01:43 AM
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Central TX
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bitWrangler Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Danny Niklas:
Quote
Originally posted by bitWrangler:
[b] others will end up mopping floors for a living.


Mopping flours is a dignified, honest and useful job ... far more than a lot of sophisticated jobs out there. The belief that only unintelligent and neglected children end up mopping floors is irrational. The success of a person is clearly not seen by the kind of compromises he/she must accept for a living and there's no evidence that children who go to nice schools and have parents that care for their education and enroll them in every kind of constructive activities are less likely to end up mopping floors for a living. In my experience there are more uncreative, narrow-minded, uncaring and plain stupid people among high-levels graduated than among those who choose different more humble paths in life. Intelligence is another thing and is not determined by whether you sit behind a desk or are cleansing a floor (that by the way need to be cleansed maybe more than that desk need to be occupied) People have so much pathologic expections that make them depressed when they don't happen (almost all the times) and make depressed the poor ones who must bear the burdon of such expectations. [/b]
OK, I knew when I wrote that that someone out there would take it at face value vs looking at it in context. Are there slacker loser scum nuclear physicists and doctors (etc, etc), yes. Are there floor moppers and septic cleaners that are the best human beings you will ever meet (and even the brightest), sure. BUT, my point was simply that given the same treatment, different kids/people will respond in differing ways. I thought it was evident that that was the point of my post, not that I was dissing floor moppers (or janitors or whatever those who mop floors may be called in your locale).

BTW, for those in the US, if you haven't watched a show on cable called "Dirty Jobs" you have to check it out. It's a hoot as the host tries his hand at all manner of "dirty jobs" (floor mopper, road kill remover, etc). It gives you a real appreciation for the folks that do that kind of stuff.

And finally, this reminds of that scene in Caddyshack when the star caddy is sucking up to the rich guy and the rich guy basically slams the caddy by saying something to the effect of "well the world needs it's ditch diggers too". Darn funny in the context of the movie (see, there's that context thing again), but if you wish to think about it deeper, it's absolutely true.

OK, for real finally. Would floor moppers be on the ship with the phone sanitizers? How about piano teachers?

OK, enough insulting for now, out ...

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Re: Anyone feel like they are a babysitter? #936749
02/14/08 01:44 AM
02/14/08 01:44 AM
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Posts: 1,269
California
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Quote
by Danny:
I have absolutely no problem with children calling someone idiot. I believe in nurturing our individuality and our spontaneity not in becoming fake robots of etiquette. I have no problem with such behavior because it is a human behavior and only an hypocrite would claim to have never been offensive, frustrated and have cursed.

If we want people who repress one side of their personality all the time and are always angels of kindness, we want to remove the brains and hearts of people and put some kind of computer there instead programmed to be so fakely precise, perfect, monoway ... in other words unhuman.

The effort to stop children from cursing is not only useless since all of them grow up to be people who (given the right circumstane) curse but also because it triggers the desire to curse, for the sake of it or for the fascination with something which is prohibited. So one doesn't learn that we sometimes as humans feels like cursing and we must both control but also forgive ourselves but learn that cursing is a taboo that makes mum and dad and the other naive adults mad and hence it's a lot of fun to exploit it as much as possible.

Admitting to a child that every parent and teacher have curserd, curse and often happen to be offensive and that it's normal for him/her to feel such a strong frustration that lead to such behavior because we're HUMANS and not perfect lifeless robots is way more useful than acting all scandalized. In fact the best thing we can do is to remembe a child daily that we are not perfect and that we make as many mistakes as they do. Often less and often more.

We all have a "dark side" to lack of a better term.
We're all both calm and violent, altruist and egotist, positive and pessimist, gentle and cruel.
Our behavior is a spectrum and we must accept all its degrees. To try to remove the bad is automatically to remove the good and to lose our human essence. The more we try to chase away our dark side the more we attract it and strengthen it. We must coexist with the totality of what we are, with our good moments and our bad moments, with our kindness and with our evilness.

It's ridicolous to mould a child into an artificial thing he/she can't be. Innocence doesn't exist and no one is either good or either bad. The best we can do is accept the whole of us unconditionally and to learn to control our emotions not to censore them. Censorship of any kind has never done any good and whether behavior of censorship in relation to a child is nothing but the famous road to heck paved with good intentions.

I think a child should have the freedom to call someone idiot or to control himself/herself just like the accused person should have the freedom to defend himself/herself. But censorship doesn't work and fuels only the opposite of what one would like to obtain. I don't think we can't remove offenses from our nature and vocabulary but we can learn to mediate between impulsivity and a more thoughtful debate. That's something a child has more chances to learn (and quickly instead) when offenses are not treated as taboo but as a side of our human nature focusing on the fact that it's okay that we have the freedom to resort to offenses but that we should learn to control impulsivity first and to adopt more constructive approach.

Not always this is possible but the other two options are either censorships that fuel rebellion or fake de-humanization that fuels hypocrisy.

A lot of people that follow etiquette are actually terrible abusing individuals but somehow people are fooled by their arbitrary self-imposed manners facade. I prefer a sincere human being with all his/her pros and cons still intact, that might curse sometimes but always maintains his/her potential for love and kindness.
Well that's about as much psycho-babble as I could handle in one evening. Good night. yawn


Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild
Re: Anyone feel like they are a babysitter? #936750
02/14/08 01:45 AM
02/14/08 01:45 AM
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Switzerland
Danny Niklas Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by keystring:
Giving freedom does not equate anarchy: perhaps you could call it a permission of allowing the good to come forth, "edu care".


Limitations create need while freedom creates intelligent choices. These assumptions from which one can't escape have been done before. We assumed black people had to be disciplined by the white man because they were too immature and stupid to make intelligent choices and by turn we never gave them the chance nor the information and freedom to allow them to being able to show that given the right circumstance they too could make good choices. It was circular reasoning, the assumption feeding the premise and viceversa. We have done it with women. It wasn't true that women are inhenrently immature and can't make good choices but it was true that the life circumstances we forced them to live turned them into (pseudo) individuals that reflected the discriminative assumption. Nothing new under the sun "It we let them ... they would ..." has been told and assumed a lot of times through history with a lot of people. That giving freedom to women to be more than child-bearing pieces of meat would have created chaos, anarchy and endangered them is what everyone believed ... lucky us someone realized at some point that rebellion is the only way to fight discrimination. And funny enough when these genuinely oppressed people rebelled a lot assumption was made and created ad-hoc about the rebellious nature of these people or the psychological, phrenological and biological nature of their irrational rebellious behavior. The history repeats and this is the pathetical ad-hoc excuse everyone use when they witness the rebellion of young people.

Re: Anyone feel like they are a babysitter? #936751
02/14/08 01:47 AM
02/14/08 01:47 AM
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Switzerland
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Quote
Originally posted by dumdumdiddle:
Well that's about as much psycho-babble as I could handle in one evening. Good night. yawn
Said the one who believes music is superior to whatever other activity and therefore it is okay to turns it into a tool of torture irrationally forcing people to waste time with an instrument they don't give a damn about.

Re: Anyone feel like they are a babysitter? #936752
02/14/08 01:58 AM
02/14/08 01:58 AM
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Central TX
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Quote
Originally posted by doubleplay:
I explained it to one parent in the following way (and a lightbulb went off in her head)-
Say your daughter practices one-half hour, five days a week. Her neighbor friend practices 45 minutes, 7 days a week. The differential doesn't seem enormous now, but in seven years, by the time they both get into high school, the differential is in the thousand hour range. Your daughter is in book four of seven, and her friend is has completed the series. The neighbor has doubled the amount of time spent in practice, and therefore we might expect twice the proficiency.
Excellent point. I am not ashamed to admit that I was one of "those" parents. I had never had music lessons before, so I had absolutely no context to understand what type of commitment is required to learn how to be proficient at a musical instrument. I remember vividly talking to her current piano teacher (when she was with a different teacher) and being proud of the fact that she practiced 45 minutes at least 3 days a week smile Now in my defense, though it may seem obvious to those who are already in that environment, this is a common theme given any activity in which the parent has little insight. How many here know how much practice is a good baseline if you wanted your child to be proficient at motorcycle road racing? Doing the shot put in track? Becoming a journalist. Well, if you haven't had personal exposure to those activities, then it's likely that you don't really have a clue as to what is needed to reach proficiency.

So yes, please be clear to parents as to what the expectations are. Don't assume that they know what level of practice is required to reach a certain level of proficiency in a given time frame. Feel free to use simple language and examples ("if you want Johnny to be able to play Moonlight Sonata, he'll need to practice an average of 8 hours a week for 4 years. If he practices only 2 hours a week then simply multiply the number of years by 4") (for those who are too wound up, those numbers are purely made up and may not reflect anything resembling reality, don't sweat it, it's not important).

Re: Anyone feel like they are a babysitter? #936753
02/14/08 02:09 AM
02/14/08 02:09 AM
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Switzerland
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I don't think it is possible to quantify the time it take to learn a certain piece or to reach a certain level. If nothing because time is not the most important factor determining that. It's just that it doesn't work like this. Nothing in learning is mathematical or can be expressed in neat numbers, in fact nothing in the human life is that neat and predictable. For sure it is possible to spend 5 hours a day on the piano and learn nothing or do mini session of 8 minutes each and for a total of 1 hour a day and learn more. Predicting what it will take to learn something is like predicting where each drop of water will land once you empty with violence a glass toward a wall.

Re: Anyone feel like they are a babysitter? #936754
02/14/08 02:27 AM
02/14/08 02:27 AM
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London, UK (though if it's Aug...
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Quote
Originally posted by Ashdyre:
the parents don't care, but then if i decide i don't care i either get yelled at by the parents because their child isn't learning ...or i get in trouble from my boss because i'm 'losing business' if i tell a parent music isn't working out for their student.

GRRRRRRRRRRRRR. i'm just so frustrated. i deal with this 4 days a week! Anyone have any suggestions or similar experiences?
Quote
Originally posted by rintincop:
If the parents ever dare to yell at you they would be immediately asked to leave and never come back.
Posters, your missing the point - it's an interesting one. Ashdyre has a boss. She? is between a rock and a hard place and can't, as rintin says, show anyone any doors (they're not her's to show).

It's been a fun read. To go OT - You know what I love about children? You can't second guess them. Poor teachers make that mistake and work with the child that's in their head. When you take an extremely subtle approach a bright light comes shining through.


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
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Re: Anyone feel like they are a babysitter? #936755
02/14/08 03:35 PM
02/14/08 03:35 PM
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Canada
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...and work with the child that's in their head
What an interesting concept, which would explain a number of things. Is it only with children, do you think?

Re: Anyone feel like they are a babysitter? #936756
02/14/08 03:42 PM
02/14/08 03:42 PM
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No, everyone who knows us knows a different person - the 'construct' they have in their head. I do find though, that adults are more predictable. I would have better luck second guessing them.


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

Re: Anyone feel like they are a babysitter? #936757
02/14/08 04:01 PM
02/14/08 04:01 PM
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Canada
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I do find though, that adults are more predictable.
You haven't met me yet, then. wink Sometimes I almost wish I were.

Re: Anyone feel like they are a babysitter? #936758
02/14/08 04:49 PM
02/14/08 04:49 PM
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Philadelphia
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Quote
Originally posted by dumdumdiddle:
Quote
by Larisa:
Did you also force them to study martial arts, painting, flower-arranging, football, embroidery, downhill skiing, and a whole bunch of other things that parents enroll their children in? After all, if you're not giving them a choice in piano, why give them a choice with regards to football?
While all of the above are worthy activities, because I am a pianist and teacher, music is at the top of the list. And yes, I guess I didn't give them a choice about other activities either. They learned how to crochet, they learned how to cook, they learned how to install electrical outlets, they learned how to make their bed and put their toys away, they learned how to take care of a vegetable garden. I don't remember asking them if they wanted to learn these things. We did these things as part of our family.

My philosophy about music is not "if" a child should learn a musical instrument but rather "which" instrument would they learn? The value of music education is quite low in the US compared to other countries. It should be required from a young age just as math, history, english, and science are required for a well-balanced education.

The point I'm making is that I treat music as another subject in my child's overall education. Just as he learned how to read and write, he learned how to play an instrument.
I dunno. Music is a very important part of my life - an essential part of my personality and an essential part of my soul. But I know that not all people are like that. I have no children, but if I should bear a child who has no interest in music, I won't force them. I'd go with whatever natural interest the kid has - sports, flower-arranging, whatever - even if I personally have no interest in that area. Yes, I'd expose the kid to all sorts of different activities, as part of enabling them to choose, but I wouldn't force them to do music just because I like music.

My mother has no interest in making music. She is a natural athlete - even at the age of 66, she's spending hours at the gym, spending all her summers waterskiing and windsurfing, spending her winter break downhill skiing - you get the idea. When she had me, she really tried to get me interested in sports. Music lessons were the last thing on her mind - in fact, she had been very opposed to the idea before she had kids. But she saw that I had no interest in sports and a lot of interest in music, and went with my interests rather than with her own - and I'm grateful to her for that. She spent a lot of time helping me practice, a lot of time at piano lessons with me - not because she loved the piano so much, or even knew all that much about music, but because I did.

And someday, when I have my own child, I will pass on that favor by letting the kid pick what s/he wants to take lessons in, and cheering his/her success at whatever it is - baseball, flower-arranging, karate, painting, chemical experiments, or anything else. Some things are mandatory, but hobbies are certainly optional.

Re: Anyone feel like they are a babysitter? #936759
02/17/08 11:38 PM
02/17/08 11:38 PM
Joined: Aug 2005
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California
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I hear you. I have had those same thoughts. I think why are they even showing up? It is disheartening, because it is like they are not taking something seriously that you love. They they are disrespecting something that you respect so much.

I had to rethink the whole thing and you can, too. I mean, it's a given. You know they will not have practiced when they show up, so you spend the 1/2 hour practicing. If the parents choose to pay you for teaching their child how to practice, so be it. When they don't advance very far, you can tell them why.

I had one student that never practiced. I told him that starting the following week, that if he did not practice (and I would know) that he would be required to spend the 30 minutes playing the song over and over again. If he couldn't practice at home then he would be practicing when he came for lessons. The next lesson, he showed up without practicing and I had him spend 30 minutes playing the song over and over while I addressed envelopes. I disengaged myself from him, made him work and it was not a fun lesson for him. Kinda like tough love. That was the last time he showed up unprepared.

You may not have the freedom to do this but you do have the freedom to change your feelings about the lessons. You already know they will NOT have practiced, you cannot control that outcome, but you can control how you feel about it. Do not take it personally anymore and just have them play the same song over and over again till one day they learn it.

I am afraid that piano is thought of like a sport or a hobby now a days and because of that parents don't know how it really works.

I mean think about it. When they take their kids to play soccer, they call it "practice". At a dance studio, it's "practicing your steps." Parents, I think, think they will get all they need to know at one 30 minute lesson and don't even realize they need to study every single day.

In this day and age a 30 minute lesson every day would be the answer. But, who could afford it.

There will only be a few of your students in your teaching lifetime that will spend the 15 plus years needed to learn the piano. Put your focus on them, look forward to them and just be patient with the rest. For they know no better.


Jerrie, Piano Teacher
http://www.eastcountymusicstudio.com
Re: Anyone feel like they are a babysitter? #936760
02/17/08 11:45 PM
02/17/08 11:45 PM
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Switzerland
Danny Niklas Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by eastcountypiano:
I had one student that never practiced. I told him that starting the following week, that if he did not practice (and I would know) that he would be required to spend the 30 minutes playing the song over and over again. If he couldn't practice at home then he would be practicing when he came for lessons. The next lesson, he showed up without practicing and I had him spend 30 minutes playing the song over and over while I addressed envelopes.
The idea of having the student practicing at lesson is not a bad one. A practicing based on repeat a piece over and over is instead. Practicing should be about spending very little time working on the whole piece and instead working on specific technical problems within the piece.

It sounds as if you treated this as a sort of punishment. I've always thought there's something absolutely paradoxical about using studying as a punishment for not studying. I consider that a missed chance because you could have just spent the lesson practicing with the boy, showing him the the aspects of good practicing and in this way motivating him to practice at home. Many students of whatever age don't know how to practice and teachers give it for granted. Actually it seems teachers too often don't know how to practice. When they're faced with their practicing time they feel intimidated and not sure how to process. They would like their teacher to be next to them to guide them throught their practicing.

Spend a whole lesson pretending to be at the student house and practicing with him is a great way to instill security, confidence and willingness to practice. Such chance should be treated as a great opportunity to learn something from each other not as a punishment resulting in mindless repetitions.

Re: Anyone feel like they are a babysitter? #936761
02/19/08 05:56 PM
02/19/08 05:56 PM
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Minnesota
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I had a mom come back really late last week and I asked the student to call her and see what happened. Student answered me with "oh, I knew she was going to be late, she went to get her oil changed"!!! We live about 10 minutes from the nearest anything, let alone having it done in a 30 minute lesson! Babysitter...oh yea! Last student of the night too wouldn't you know.


It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.
Re: Anyone feel like they are a babysitter? #936762
02/20/08 01:51 PM
02/20/08 01:51 PM
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USA
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You are becoming used and abused.

My best advice would be to make it fun--give them really easy music, like Faber and Jazz and even some of the "Rock'n'Roll" stuff that you come by once in a while, working in a studio is hard but you are a TRUE teacher--you care about the music and not the money. Make sure your boss knows how you feel and how the parents feel and how the students feel, take the entire spectrum into consideration. Don't let them make you a babysitter! Make sure they know that there are plenty of other students that would be willing to take their place, because music is a privilege!


"Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable." -Leonard Bernstein
Re: Anyone feel like they are a babysitter? #936763
02/20/08 01:55 PM
02/20/08 01:55 PM
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Boynton Beach, FL
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Wow, Ebony, now that's just inconsiderate! Did you charge her extra for the added lesson time? laugh


private piano/voice teacher FT

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Re: Anyone feel like they are a babysitter? #936764
02/21/08 12:16 PM
02/21/08 12:16 PM
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Piano is different from football and from playing other instruments in that a year and a half of piano gives a good background for learning any other instrument. It is in part about reading. In this case it's about reading music. I enjoy seeing students and getting to know them. A half hour lesson with a teacher who is delighted to see you is not torture, even if the student doesn't see the value in learning to play piano. So I think one thing that can help is to find a way to take an interest in each student that is independent of their talent or interest. Find out what their interests are, what good or disappointing things have happened to them today or this week...show you care...and then move to the lesson. In other words, it's also about the relationship.

Re: Anyone feel like they are a babysitter? #936765
02/21/08 12:56 PM
02/21/08 12:56 PM
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Switzerland
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Other intruments give very good musical background.
In fact in my experience players of other instruments are often way better overall knowledgeable musicians than pianists who tend to be limited.

Fotball and other sports not only give a good coordinative and body education background but allows one to maintain better his/her health by preventing sedentarity and strenghtening the cardiovascular, muscular systems and ligaments and joints.

The truth remains that as pianists we tend to be biased and to see greater objective potential or beauty in piano. But it's not true. The piano is not the king of instruments or any better than anything else, it is for us who love it but we can't expect people with different priorities, tastes and predisposition to feel the same.
There are people who hate the sound of pianos like certain pianists hate the sound of sax or guitar.

The truth remains that every activity has a lot of good pros but the premise is that forcing a reluctant person into an activity that to be effective should be chosen and done with passion and desire while also robbing this person of precious time to devote to his/her real passion is wrong and a flawed concept both from an educative point of view but also an human relationships point of view. It's a power trip and it's cruel not to mention useless.

Re: Anyone feel like they are a babysitter? #936766
02/21/08 01:04 PM
02/21/08 01:04 PM
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Puyallup, Washington
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Welcome to Ann in Kentucky!

Ann said "....it's also about the relationship."

I would agree wholeheartedly. If a piano teacher does not have a relationship with the piano student and vice versa, something crucial is missing.

Betty

Re: Anyone feel like they are a babysitter? #936767
02/21/08 03:39 PM
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Posts: 2,651
Thanks for the welcome, Betty!

Danny you assume a student has a "real passion" that piano lessons cause him to neglect. A 15 minute daily piano practice causes someone to neglect their true interests? What about the kids with no particular interests outside of screen time? I agree, let them pick their instrument or sport...give them choices...but I do encourage my own child to pick one extracurricular activity. He has no interest in sports...and though he says he doesn't want piano lessons, he chose piano over guitar and other options. So ideally a child is passionate about piano, but sometimes it may be the choice they make as the least disliked activity. It's not a power trip to encourage a child to be well rounded.

Re: Anyone feel like they are a babysitter? #936768
02/22/08 12:43 AM
02/22/08 12:43 AM
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 30
California
eastcountypiano Offline
Full Member
eastcountypiano  Offline
Full Member
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 30
California
"Posted by Niklas: The idea of having the student practicing at lesson is not a bad one. A practicing based on repeat a piece over and over is instead. Practicing should be about spending very little time working on the whole piece and instead working on specific technical problems within the piece."

Months of a child showing up without practicing, has to do with a child not being held accountable. He certainly wouldn't have done it with his homework because there would be repercussions from the teacher and the parents.

Unfortunately, their are rarely repercussions from a teacher or parents when a child doesn't practice piano.

You assumed I was a naive, inexperienced teacher, instead of giving me the respect that I knew what I was doing. Sometimes, for the sake of brevity, a story is only half told.

To tell the other half of the story, this was an intermediate student and he knew how to practice. I had spent months, with him showing up week after week telling me he didn't have time to practice.

If he didn't have time at home, then I would make time for him during lesson.

Punishment? Sure, you could label it that.

Outcome? He never showed up without practicing again.

Conclusion? He wasn't practicing because he felt intimidated, or scared, or needed a hug before he could put his fingers on the keys, it was because he had been getting away with it and wasn't being held accountable.

Piano Teachers deserve the respect of a student showing up with a prepared lesson.


Jerrie, Piano Teacher
http://www.eastcountymusicstudio.com
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