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Child being 'made' to have lessons...!?


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#1 Glyn56

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 10:34

I have a young boy coming for Piano lessons who I always think seems to enjoy his time with me, but his Mum ( who likes to sit in on his hour long lesson ), openly tells me she is 'making him have lessons like she does everything else!).
I think he is just a nice lad who would really rather not learn, although he is making progress and has a good sense of rythm etc!
How would you deal with this situation? ( Mum is lovely by the way).
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#2 Banjogirl

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 10:54

I think that's pretty much what I did, in the same way that I 'made' them eat nice food and 'made' them go to school and 'made' them come shopping with me. I can't bear the modern style of parenting that lets children choose everything. If they were capable of making good choices they wouldn't need to be looked after by grown ups, and apart from a few children, the choosing ones end up flitting from one thing to another and never getting properly into anything, and driving their, say, Brownie leaders insane because they're allowed to choose at any point not to go to the thing that the kind volunteer has spent hours organising.

 

I once challenged a friend who said she wouldn't 'make' her children do anything they didn't want to as to why she 'made' them go to school. Her nonsensical answer was that it was the law. At this point I was perfectly legally home educating one of mine. What she really meant was that she was only going to make them do things that suited her. Hers were children who didn't stick at lots of things, but of course she puts their lack of proficiency down to lack of 'talent' rather than their not being encouraged (made?) to cary on through the tougher times. It's no wonder some children these days are such drips. They're parents let them be that way.


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#3 Norway

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 10:56

An hour seems a long time for a young boy. Does mum need to sit in? It was my parents' idea that I learnt the piano. It wasn't all plain sailing as I found it difficult at times, but I ended up as a teacher. I'd stick with it and try to focus on pieces and activities which he likes - things can come right and it's a long journey.
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#4 jenny

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 12:15

I tell all of my young pupils' parents that the most important thing for me is that their children enjoy learning to play the piano. I realise that some show more enthusiasm than others, but it's easy to spot the ones who are being 'made' to have lessons. In those cases, I try extra hard to make their lessons enjoyable in the hope that they will continue playing because they want to. Nothing pleases me more than pupils who might have been persuaded to have lessons who then become keen pupils. Like the 9 year old who is taking Grade 1 piano tomorrow and told me a few weeks ago that he 'didn't used to like playing the piano but now it makes me really happy'. 


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#5 Latin pianist

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 13:05

I had a boy pupil whose mother made him have lessons as she said he found everything else easy and it was good for him to do something he had to work at. When he started secondary school, she told him he could stop, but to our surprise he opted to keep going and learnt for another 3 years until he'd passed grade 5.
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#6 mel2

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 16:58

I have a young boy coming for Piano lessons who I always think seems to enjoy his time with me, but his Mum ( who likes to sit in on his hour long lesson ), openly tells me she is 'making him have lessons like she does everything else!).
I think he is just a nice lad who would really rather not learn, although he is making progress and has a good sense of rythm etc!
How would you deal with this situation? ( Mum is lovely by the way).

How old is the lad? Is he mature enough to manage without this helicoptering mother sitting in all the time?

I reckon you must be doing something right if he doesn't mind signalling his enjoyment with Mother present. Apart from gently hinting that she b u t t out, I'd just make sure he continues to feel successful and competent in your lessons - always a good feeling.

Has he implied that there is something else he would rather be doing?


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#7 jenny

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 17:40

I'm surprised that he's getting an hour long lesson - this is unusual for a young pupil. I start mine with 30 mins and increase it to 45 if they're doing well and if they want to start on exam preparation.  How old is he? 


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#8 Aquarelle

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 23:53

I have several families for whom piano lessons are just something everyone does. It seems that the parents don't ask if they want to learn to play the piano. They simply consider this as a normal part of childhood - just like school. None of the children are reluctant - quite the opposite. Some of these are large families and this means that the younger ones are keen to follow  in the footsteps of the older  ones.

 

On the point about length of lessons I think it depends a lot on the child. I have, for example two little boys aged eight rising nine. The first  has half an hour and that is perfect for him. The second could easily manage an hour - in fact  he really needs an hour -  and the only reason he is still at half an hour is that I can't fit an hour on the timetable at the moment.


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#9 Glyn56

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 08:46

These are all helpful -thankyou. Not sure how to now ask the mum to not sit in without offending her!?
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#10 Hedgehog

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 11:51

Do you mind the mum sitting there?

I have a teenager whose mum still sits in the lessons (he was a transfer student) and at one point I thought about suggesting that she didn't stay. But actually it has proved very useful for this particular pupil in terms of parental feedback on amount of practising, informing me that the pupil takes what I write in the notebook very literally (whereas I thought I'd made it clear that all work was to be practised, even if I didn't dot every i and cross every t each week), instant feedback on how busy the pupil would be during the coming weeks (main hobby is a sport) etc. This parent only reacts if I refer to her, otherwise she's really quiet on her mobile, although I know she has an ear on the lesson. [Sometimes I like to do something a bit off-beat just to surprise her! ;) ]


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#11 mel2

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 13:34

These are all helpful -thankyou. Not sure how to now ask the mum to not sit in without offending her!?

 

We still don't know how old the boy is - if he's still quite young then it is entirely reasonable for his mother to sit in ( and probably in your best interests, too, given the times we live in).

It does seem that she is a 'presence' and a bit  controlling, though (of him, anyway). It would be best if the hints came from her son, especially if he is a teenager - what teenaged boy wants his mother around all the time? I suppose she HAS to bring him in person? It rather sounds as though she has him under surveillance. I was going to say, make sure her chair isn't too comfortable, but that would be silly.

If you get him on board with lots of teen-friendly teaching ideas and music (have you tried out Tim Topham's site? www.timtopham.com - or something like that ) he may not need this maternal presence to ensure his continued attendance.


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#12 hammer action

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 14:10

I'd definitely cut the lesson time down and try a 30 minute one instead and do lots of activities in this time (those depending on the age of the boy).  You could suggest to the mum "as an experiment for a few weeks" that she doesn't sit in on the lesson "just to see how he gets on" and see her reaction.  I'd imagine she should be ok with this as i'm sure she doesn't expect to sit in on his lessons at school for the 6 hour day.  

 

I'm sure you've already asked him if there's a piece of music he would like to learn in addition to the material you give him.  I won a young football-daft lad over a few years ago by honouring his wish of learning the Pirates of the Caribbean theme tune!  I wrote out a simplified version and what a difference in his genuine enthusiasm it made!  It was a bit like dangling a carrot in front of a donkey, but it really got him reading and learning.


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#13 Hedgehog

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 15:00

Good idea hammer action - How about the Superheroes piano book published by Faber?


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#14 Glyn56

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 19:37

Thankyou everyone! He is 10. This week she wanted to sit in her car anyway to do work on laptop.
I am looking at getting him some better pieces that might excite him although he does seem to enjoy the lesson!
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#15 ma non troppo

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 21:09

Of course I hear all the time how much adults regret having learned an instrument as a child. What an awful thing to do to a child - make them have music lessons. ** 

 

 

 

 

 

 **I am being sarcastic. :)


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