I have recently been approached by the parents of a young teenager who are hearing warning bells about the previous teacher.
The story so far. Young person dabbled around at the piano for some while, decided he wanted formal piano lessons and to take GCSE music at local grammar school.
Local teacher found, lessons commenced in November 2006. By February 2007 teacher wants him to take Grade 5. As weeks progress, the date of the exam is pushed ever further into the year, until a date was set for July 2007.
Young person and parents are feeling a little uneasy about this - all a bit hasty, perhaps.
They tracked me down and asked my opinion. I said that from November to July - Zero to Grade 5 is a bit of a steep incline - is he another Mozart??
I was asked to take him on, to which I agreed. At the first lesson, I asked to see the pieces he was preparing for Grade 5. One of them was produced and to my horror, every note had been lettered. I asked if the other two pieces had been given the same treatment, and his reply was that the other two pieces had not yet been chosen - FOR AN EXAM IN JULY ????
I asked what would happen if I gave him a "clean" copy of the one and only piece, and he readily admitted that he would not be able to play it.
To not bore you with other horrific tales, I move swiftly to the scales.
Scales??? What scales??? The young person had been told that he did not need to play scales. For this board, scales are NOT an option.
Sight-reading -what's that? Aural tests
Then in self-defence he tells me that "the others in the group need the letters on the music as well"
It seems he is learning Grade 5 piano - in a group of 4 - and being charged Â£12 for 30mins.
Have I missed my way?? Do I lack the art of money-making??