QUOTE(PianoDoodler @ Dec 11 2008, 10:56 PM)
I have taught neighbours' children without this causing difficulties.
Treat the kids kindly and there will be no long-term difficulties if lessons do not suit the child. Short-term embarrassment is easily overcome by a bright, "Hello, how are you these days" when you meet a 'failure'. Basically, kids just want to be loved.
Like the rest of us, really.
It's funny you should say that. Many years ago I used to be afraid of kids - weird, huh? I thought they could see clearly into the evil that was me - so I kept my distance from them and of course they thought I was weird and unapproachable - why wouldn't they?
Then (to my amazement)I had a baby and slowly I began to realise that all kids want is to be - well, liked. And bit by bit I began to 'get' kids more and more as I was surrounded by them on a daily basis all of a sudden, at mother-and-baby groups, toddler groups, playgroups, then school, then all over my house - then finally I started teaching them violin, first at home and now in schools. And now I can honestly say I adore kids - pretty much all of them - of all ages right up to stroppy, chaotic teenagers. And you know what - they all have one thing in common - they pretty much all just want you to be genuinely interested in them and they all just want to be liked for themselves. If you think back to when you were a kid, who are the adults, family and otherwise - who stood out? The ones who took a genuine interest, were kind, and liked you for yourself - it really is as simple as that.
I also remember the adults I didn't like - and they were the ones who didn't seem to like kids that much, or never really looked at you properly or took any interest in you. Unfortunately back in the 50s a lot of English adults were like that - children were still pretty much 'seen and not heard', so no wonder so many kids grew up alienated from their families and from older people in general. Things have changed a lot and though some of the 'respect' has gone out the window, I think it was largely based on fear and wasn't always deserved in any case. Why should an adult be worthy of respect just because they're older and for no other reason?
I also think calling instrumental teachers by their first names is all to the good - long may it continue. I always called my violin teacher by her first name but then she was Hungarian. Before her I had one piano teacher and two violin teachers (all very short-lived). They were all English and all wanted to be called by their titles and surnames. Weird!
For the record my first violin teacher (a Mr. ?) said my fingers would have to bleed before I could become a good violinist, and the piano teacher (a Mr Fenton) threatened to burst all my party balloons (it was my birthday) if I played a wrong note. Wonderful!