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Parents sitting in lessons

Posted By: Nannerl Mozart

Parents sitting in lessons - 11/01/12 12:20 PM

I teach children mostly, one teenager, no adults and mostly children. I have a five year old, and I met her mother today. Her mother was lovely, and I encouraged her to sit in the lesson ... the mother sat in the lesson and the five year old started to appear to be distracted. I had no idea if it was because mum was in side, or if it was the end of the lesson and she just felt tired. How does it work in your studio?
Posted By: pianomouse

Re: Parents sitting in lessons - 11/01/12 12:59 PM

Hey Nannerl

Something similar happened with a student of mine. We found the solution that the mother only attended the last 10 minutes of the lesson, so I could explain to her what we had done during the lesson. Five-year-olds mostly need the support of their parents, so that solution turned out to help both ways: the student wasn't distracted and the mother could still be included.
Another solution which also worked well is to discuss this with the mother and that she sits in the lesson, but leaves, if it looks like the student starts getting distracted.
I actually had more students who started to act up when the mother was there.
How long is your student's lesson? With my five-year-olds, 30 minutes usually work best. The attention span isn't too long at that age.
Posted By: Peter K. Mose

Re: Parents sitting in lessons - 11/01/12 05:29 PM

Right, get mom out of the room, if possible. You could wean mom from this over the next couple of lessons, or just do it all at once. Let her come in for the last 5-10 minutes. Or not.
Posted By: tdow

Re: Parents sitting in lessons - 11/01/12 06:55 PM

I don't have parents sit in on lessons for this reason - but I think simply mentioning to her mom what you observed would be enough. Just ask her to wait outside the room and (as a paying customer) I'm sure she'd be happy to make the change in order for her child to get the most of out of their piano lesson time.
Posted By: Beth_Frances

Re: Parents sitting in lessons - 11/07/12 12:58 AM

I had a similar situation. I thought this 6 year old was the naughtiest child I had ever met. Got mum and big brother out of the room and he turned into an absolute delight. Almost all children will perform better in their lessons without an audience in my experience. Either they get stage fright or they clam up and let mum speak for them or they show off - none of which are good. As long as you make it clear that you have the best interests of the child in mind I'm sure the mum won't mind. She might even be relieved to not have to sit through the lesson every week. If she really wants to sit in, maybe just once a month to see how things are progressing.
Posted By: Nannerl Mozart

Re: Parents sitting in lessons - 11/11/12 02:01 AM

See I actually got mum to sit in for the whole entire lesson the other day. It worked. It really did work. The kid got restless, and I wonder if I am doing anything wrong ... I've been splitting the lesson up into 5 minute chunks - we play flashcard games, I get her to stomp and clap the rhythm and the beat to a nursery rhyme, to sing along to a nursery rhyme every week, and then to work on a bit of solfege, I then get her to play some short for bar phrases on the piano that I've written out. If we have any time left over, I improvise on the piano and get her her tell me if the tune is happy, sad, angry or scary.

My piano teacher is a male, and to be very, very cautious he has all his parents sit in during lessons. It seems to work. The reason why I encouraged it with the mother to sit in is because this girl is five and I think at her age, it's good for her to have some supervision during practice time - if her mother knew what to work on with her during practice then I think it would assist her progress.
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