Having had a checkered past on these forums I thought it time to cause yet more discuss and heated debate and put across the poor parents view point.
In general parents are your customers and not your pupils. It is an unfortunate fact but they normally hold the purse strings. We pay for our little darlings to be taught how to play a specific instrument(s) or theory in some cases. Again a sad fact of life is that most of us will not have a musical bone in our body, we will not know what is good/bad for our children musical development. Some observations from other threads:
a) Many of us dont know that writing note names on music is bad for children, we only believe we are helping and not hindering. Tell us the first time we do it and remind us the second on the third occation say if we keep doing it you will have to stop lessons or rub them out! We will soon learn.
If we sit in on lessons and interupt put us right or tell us when we can talk and why it has to be that way. Again we will learn, if we dont ask us to leave and come back if we are not happy doing that say you can no longer teach our child. Again we will soon learn.
c) I for one think it is the height of rudness to be late for anything it drives me up the wall when I am and when people do it to me. Hence I am always 5 min early for any appointment. Tell me this isnt appropriate. If you do that though be sure you are ready to start bang on to the minute my childs lesson starts. I suspect that means the previous pupil will have to pack up early. What many of you are saying in fact means I as a parent will lose time from my childs lesson i.e. I pay for 30mins teaching not 25 with some pack up/unpack time. To make your system work you would have to have 5 - 10 min bounderies between lessons. Make the conditions explicit when a pupil joins.
d) Explain to us the best way of practising. i.e. is it 15 mins a day or 2.75 hours on a Sunday. Again I know how muscle/mind memory works a lot of parents dont and will see little difference between the two options.
e) Explain how we can enourage our children musically.
f) Explain why little Jonny isnt ready for his grade one. Just because I have asked if he is going to do it dont assume I am pushy I am just looking for progress and that is ONE way of measuring it. Along with the improvement on my ears of course LOL. If little Jonny isnt ever going to make it to grade x tell me why, tell me how I can halp etc.
g) Realise that there are (normally) two parents who have an interest in the child. These could be in harmony/conflict, one could be musical the other not. Assume a lack of knowledge and be pre-pared to be surprised.
h) My child does so much after school because he/she wants to. I want to give him/her everything I didnt have and allow him/her a choice going forward. If you believe the child is doing too much and will not be able to practise effectivly, tell me so. Say how much they need to put in etc I can then make an informed decision based on the best possible advice.
I) Music teachers vary greatly .... In fact you'll be amazed at how much. What is appropriate behaviour for one isnt for another. We maybe used to working in a particular way with an old teacher. If this isnt right for you tell me i dont read minds (well not yet!).
J) Keep us informed, may be a termly report or a brief discussion let us know hat has been achieved, tell us what is coming and what we have to look forward too.
All ways rember you are the professional selling your services. Act like it, tell me how it is and how it is going to be if I dont like it I can look else where. This may impact your income in the short run but if you are right you will not be short of business and people will treat you with the repect you deserve.
Runs for cover, to get lunch.
My normal excuse spelling etc ....