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#16 maggiemay

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 15:31

Well, in my view, a child of any age who wanders around the room picking things up, shouts in my face, will not listen etc etc is not old enough (=mature enough) for one-to-one instrumental lessons, and I'm afraid if he were my pupil the parents would be told this. Irrespective of whether parents stay in the room or not.

I agree with both Norway's posts on this thread. And to the OP - hang in there - there is time yet for the scales to improve. Though I think it's a fair point that dad probably is aware not much is being done here, and is trying to turn it round by blaming the teacher for 'nagging'. Would prefer you to have a magic wand, maybe?
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#17 BabyGrand

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 15:36

QUOTE(Aquarelle @ Feb 26 2013, 01:24 PM) View Post

As far as playing while I am speaking is concerned I don't think any teacher should tolerate it. I simply say briskly things like "Take your hands off the piano while I'm talking to you" or "Playing while I am talking is not allowed." or even " Don't be rude - you are supposed to be listening to me, not playing." With small children I tell them where to put their hands "Put your hands on your knees!"

Some children simply are not taught at home what is rude and what is polite behaviour and I have no qualms at all about setting the standards I expect in lessons. I am not nasty to or hard on them. I just tell them quite clearly what is allowed and what isn't.

agree.gif


QUOTE(Norway @ Feb 26 2013, 02:13 PM) View Post

As the father is not supportive - saying your "nagging" is putting the boy off, you can see where the child's behaviour is coming from!

This crossed my mind too!


QUOTE(linda.ff @ Feb 26 2013, 02:40 PM) View Post

Is it their job to tell him how to behave in my lessons?

I don't have parents in on lessons, so perhaps that changes things, but there is some behaviour I personally simply wouldn't put up with. Yes, children who are allowed to behave in certain ways at home will naturally do so in other places, but they are also quite able to learn that what's acceptable in one context is not acceptable in another. I teach children (privately and in school) who, for example, speak incredibly rudely to their parents (and are allowed to!), but know not to speak to their teachers like that!

I'd say it's the teacher's job to ensure a pupil knows what is acceptable behaviour during lessons, and what the consequences are of not behaving in that way. It's possible to say something like, "At home it's ok for you to do X, but in my house it's not allowed", without it coming across as criticism/undermining of the parents - it's simply that your rules apply in your lessons. Children know when coming into your house that they have to speak and behave a certain way. As long as rules are few and simple, they're helpful for children as they know what is expected of them - just basic things like not playing when you're talking, and not touching anything that isn't theirs without asking first. I do expect parents to back me up (even if they'd do things differently themselves), but I consider behaviour in lessons to be my responsibility.

Agree also with whoever said that respect and fear are not the same thing. A good teacher-pupil relationship is based on mutual respect. I think 'scary' teachers are often that way because they're unpredictable - they may be fine one minute and explode the next - you never know what is going to set them off! Having clear and reasonable expectations that you apply fairly and calmly is a completely different thing. Children actually like to know where their boundaries are and what's expected of them, and to know what to expect from you.
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#18 BabyGrand

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 16:06

Apologies for two posts in a row - hadn't seen the last couple fo replies before I posted...

QUOTE(maggiemay @ Feb 26 2013, 03:31 PM) View Post

Well, in my view, a child of any age who wanders around the room picking things up, shouts in my face, will not listen etc etc is not old enough (=mature enough) for one-to-one instrumental lessons, and I'm afraid if he were my pupil the parents would be told this. Irrespective of whether parents stay in the room or not.

I agree, but to be honest I think the biggest issue is that this seems to have been going on for such a long time. Something like pushing my hands off the keys - I just wouldn't allow it! I have taught young children with similar issues, including one with statemented behavioural problems, and I made sure that both child and parent knew that certain behaviour was unacceptable. In some cases, the child realised they had to modify their behaviuour and did. If not - either because they can't or they won't - then lessons just won't work. Usually, as you say, age/maturity is the issue; sometimes there are other issues, and sometimes the child is simply awfully behaved!

I expect a four-year old to have a short attention span, never sit still, get overexcited and have to jump around to celebrate starting a new chapter in their book, stop listening to me because the picture in their theory book is so hilarious, stop in the middle of playing to tell me a long story about their upcoming birthday party etc - it's things like this that make me love teaching that age group! biggrin.gif I also expect them to have less understanding about what is acceptable behaviour, and they may be 'naughty' sometimes. But the kind of behaviour Linda is describing, I wouldn't tollerate that even for one week, let alone a year! wacko.gif

I think under such circumstances you have done fantastically well to get the child to that standard, Linda - you must have incredible patience!! How do you normally respond when he does things like shouting at you etc?
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#19 Bagpuss

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 17:43

To the OP - panic ye not!! There is still time....

HOWEVER, time to adopt a ZERO-TOLERANCE policy when it comes to plain rudeness. I'm afraid I gave up linda.ff's Queen of Patience approach a long time ago (linda.ff - do you have a gong yet because I think you deserve it for that!! *Awards Medal*).

I think Splog already said you don't have to be scary or unpleasant when setting the boundaries of common courtesy - especially when said child is a guest in your home!!

Let us know how things are after the next lesson.

Bx
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#20 accellerando

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 20:34

Patience???

Lindaff's post did not make me think; wow, she must have a lot of patience. It made me think; why is she letting this pupil behave like this in her lesson??!! Yes, it is the teacher's job to tell the pupil how to behave, whether or not the parents are present, and if this pupil or these parents can show so little respect then they need to be dealt with in a firm and authoritative manner.

To the OP, I have one pupil like this; he will sometimes plink plonk while I'm talking. I usually say something like
'Are you listening to me?' then he stops immediately and apologises. I think he's doing it almost without realising, and ust needs a reminder now and then.

The scales thing can be a problem too, even though we work on scales from day one. If there is a lack of improvement over a few weeks, I announce a scales test for the next week, and the results are usually excellent!
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#21 pianolady

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 20:38

QUOTE(accellerando @ Feb 26 2013, 08:34 PM) View Post

Patience???

Lindaff's post did not make me think; wow, she must have a lot of patience. It made me think; why is she letting this pupil behave like this in her lesson??!! Yes, it is the teacher's job to tell the pupil how to behave, whether or not the parents are present, and if this pupil or these parents can show so little respect then they need to be dealt with in a firm and authoritative manner.

To the OP, I have one pupil like this; he will sometimes plink plonk while I'm talking. I usually say something like
'Are you listening to me?' then he stops immediately and apologises. I think he's doing it almost without realising, and ust needs a reminder now and then.

The scales thing can be a problem too, even though we work on scales from day one. If there is a lack of improvement over a few weeks, I announce a scales test for the next week, and the results are usually excellent!



Thanks for replies and suggestions. I hope that after the results of the mock exam he is going to be practising hard because he did look rather ashamed! As for the playing when I'm talking I'm going to be very clear that it cannot continue. Will let you know the outcome.
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#22 linda.ff

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 21:32

QUOTE(Norway @ Feb 26 2013, 03:03 PM) View Post

You are very tolerant Linda! If a child was behaving like that in a lesson of mine with the parent there, I would totally expect the parent to do something about it (I would be putting my foot down too). This boy doesn't know the difference between work and play - what about recommending a break until he is ready for the demands of piano playing?

On the contrary, I think he's actually "working" very hard - he does practise at home and no way do I think he's taking the ****. He is EXTREMELY hyperactive; his dad says he had broken one sofa at home by jumping up and donw on it, so they bought another, and now he has broken that one. (And they've not read the riot act about it?) His playing when I am talking, which is usually met with the instruction "hands in lap!" (but it still happens) and the volume with which he talks to me at close quarters, his own lackl of patience (I must admit the pushing away of my hands does not hapopen nearly so often now as it did during the first couple of months) and the fact that he is a walking disaster area in the room (he's leaned on my keyboard and very nearly had it on the floor more than once) would have led me to wonder if he had ADHD, but his actual concentration on the piece he's working on doesn't wander a great deal - though sometimes he goes to turn the page over as soon as he has blundered his way to the last note of a piece, to be met with my hand on the book and a "Not So Fast, young man!". I've actually met his school music teacher once, a few months ago, who said his behaviour didn't particularly stand out in class, and nhis dad also said he tended to be a lot calmer in school because the restraints of the classroom discipline kept him calm.

I used to sit in my daughter's cello lessons when she was about this age, and although she didn't behave badly, I would have dealt with it at home if she had; I wouldn't have done anything in the lesson, and I would have been mortified if her teacher had torn her off a strip in front of me, since I would have taken it as a message that he thought I didn't discipline my own child properly. I would hope that the teacher, knowing I had seen her behaviour, would have expected me to deal with it, which I would have done.

I did wonder if there was something clinically wrong here, and the parentds had not told me becasue they didn't want to "label" him. But I now think they let him get away with it becasue he's an only child and they think the sun shines out of him. I don't find him academically very able - many of my young children read a lot better than he does. He behaves a little better in the presence of his mother than his father, but apart from the little lecture that he'd had - only once he had got this bad report from school - about not listening, I would have thought they would have come one week, long before now, and said "he's going to try very hard this week not to shout, aren't you?" or "he's promised to do his best not to touch things that aren't his". In the first month when he was five I didn't want to reprimand him too strongly - when you're very little and you're on a one-to-one, just "don't do that, it's rude" is sometimes enough to make you unhappy about working with that teacher.

Yes, there are many aspects of his behaviour which, if I'd had a crystal ball, I could have nipped in the bud by telling his parents - rather than him - that I didn't think were accpetable, but I thought he wouod grow out of them, or that his father would have responded to just as I would with my own child, before the next lesson. He's been told enough times by me not to touch things that aren't his; his dad just says there's too much in my room to distract him - gawd knows what he must be like in a supermarket in that case.

I think you can tell from this that "I blame the parents". I have him tomorrow, and I think I'm going to say there will be a behaviour plan, and I'll note anything in the lesson which I want improved. Maybe because I didn't firmly tell him off about some really rather rude behaviour in the early weeks, they thought I didn't mind. wacko.gif
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#23 chraze1

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 21:35

I actually give out two different sets of T&C's now and have done for a while! I got the idea from when my son joined a large football club and the kids had to read, agree and sign the terms.
So I give kids a very simplified contract to agree to which includes rule number one, pupil understands they must be silent when teacher is talking (no playing piano)!
Others include no wearing bangles/bracelets which hit off and scratch the piano!
No bringing juice/cans/sweets in and dumping them on top of the piano!
Agree to practice 10 mins every day (ha ha! I wish!)

I only have a problem with one child (who could feature in the hygiene thread), removes her shoes, despite me telling her every week she must keep her shoes on as my teaching room has mats and I don't mind dirty shoes! She's a very outdoor type of girl and I understand she's at the top of every tree in the park faster than any boy! But i get her bedraggled and filfthy coming into the lesson and although she doesn't play when I speak, she does like to pick the muck out of her nails and the hay from her hair!

The joys!
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#24 linda.ff

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 21:46

QUOTE(maggiemay @ Feb 26 2013, 03:31 PM) View Post

Though I think it's a fair point that dad probably is aware not much is being done here, and is trying to turn it round by blaming the teacher for 'nagging'. Would prefer you to have a magic wand, maybe?

It's one of those irregular verbs, isn't it? I'm keeping him up to the mark, you're putting pressure on him, she's nagging him.

I was upset when the mother of one child I had in for grade 1 many years ago told me that she was not at all happy about the amount of pressure I was putting on her daughter. Well all I was doing was pointing out to her exactly what the exam requirements were that she had to meet by such and such a date. I hadn't even set specific targets for achievement in one week, or the amount of practice I was demanding, or told her "this is not good enough". I always do my best not to "put pressure" on a pupil, other than help them to understand what they need to do to avoid what they don't want, which is a failure. This child wasn't practising enough and if there was any pressure it was from the demands of the exam: I didn't set these requirements! She did scrape a pass, and they didn't come back - I think they went to someone else, and I'd have loved to see how things were any different there
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#25 RoseRodent

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 08:03

Some people really do find it hard to do something they have been nagged to do, and the more nagging there is the less inclined they are to do it. I have a pupil whom I know it woudl be counterproductive to ask him or remind him to practise, so we have to go a different route. Sometimes if he plays a piece with bad intonation I'll get him to do the scale and then return to the piece and just comment on the fact it has improved his intonation and that it's an option for something for him to do when he is practising. I have to skirt the issue but make sure it gets through "Well, I can't tell you that you have to practise your scales, you know that, but I'd be disappointed for you if your exam mark were let down because of your scales". He's an adult pupil, though. Just about. wink.gif Everything has to be advised and given an opinion on. Why not try to imply that he can take or leave the scales this week and if he practises even a tiny bit then you explode with your very best nursery teacher surprise and delight? Might be the way that works for him.

For playing while you are talking, do you think he'd stand still if you moved him? From my primary teaching days I'd be inclined to say "Oh dear, the piano is just too tempting, isn't it? Why don't we just pop the stool here for a minute so we can talk" and firmly plonk him more than arm's reach from the piano. Or ask him to go and sit in another chair in the room - it could even be your "talking chair" and when he's able to repeat back to you what is expected he can approach the piano. Pianos just call out to be touched. Also, deploy lid! laugh.gif

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#26 BitterSweet

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 08:49

I don't know if this counts as bribery, but I have been looking at some of the incentive schemes the American bloggers use, and the one I'm considering trialing is called Musikopoly (cute, huh?). One of the parts of it is that there are 'chance cards'. The child picks a card at the start of the lesson, and it's put to one side. Then at the end of the lesson, the card is turned over, and if the child can answer 'yes' then they get a bonus 10 points (in Bach Bucks or Purcell Pounds) to use towards completing their game board. The questions include "did I stop my hands from doddling at the piano?" and "did I sit up straight and still?" as well as "did I look at the music not my hands?" and "did I pay attention to dynamics?" (there's 10).

It would probably work best in the context of the whole scheme, but it could also be used for a few weeks if you can find a suitable reward either for each lesson (stickers?) or a run of successes. That way, you have engaged the child in improving their behaviour by making it seem worth their while - it's positive reinforcement, rather than negative!

I've modified it for singing, and it could easily be adapted for other instruments. The details can be found here: http://www.pianimati...entive-program/
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#27 Alder

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 09:55

QUOTE(BitterSweet @ Feb 27 2013, 08:49 AM) View Post

I don't know if this counts as bribery, but I have been looking at some of the incentive schemes the American bloggers use, and the one I'm considering trialing is called Musikopoly (cute, huh?).

That is pretty cute, though I'm a bit uncomfortable about the only black composer on the board getting the *jail*. I get that it's alliteration based, but still... Joplin Jailhouse? Ew. blink.gif
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#28 Norway

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 11:00

QUOTE(linda.ff @ Feb 26 2013, 09:32 PM) View Post

QUOTE(Norway @ Feb 26 2013, 03:03 PM) View Post

You are very tolerant Linda! If a child was behaving like that in a lesson of mine with the parent there, I would totally expect the parent to do something about it (I would be putting my foot down too). This boy doesn't know the difference between work and play - what about recommending a break until he is ready for the demands of piano playing?

On the contrary, I think he's actually "working" very hard - he does practise at home and no way do I think he's taking the ****. He is EXTREMELY hyperactive; his dad says he had broken one sofa at home by jumping up and donw on it, so they bought another, and now he has broken that one. (And they've not read the riot act about it?) His playing when I am talking, which is usually met with the instruction "hands in lap!" (but it still happens) and the volume with which he talks to me at close quarters, his own lackl of patience (I must admit the pushing away of my hands does not hapopen nearly so often now as it did during the first couple of months) and the fact that he is a walking disaster area in the room (he's leaned on my keyboard and very nearly had it on the floor more than once) would have led me to wonder if he had ADHD, but his actual concentration on the piece he's working on doesn't wander a great deal - though sometimes he goes to turn the page over as soon as he has blundered his way to the last note of a piece, to be met with my hand on the book and a "Not So Fast, young man!". I've actually met his school music teacher once, a few months ago, who said his behaviour didn't particularly stand out in class, and nhis dad also said he tended to be a lot calmer in school because the restraints of the classroom discipline kept him calm.

I used to sit in my daughter's cello lessons when she was about this age, and although she didn't behave badly, I would have dealt with it at home if she had; I wouldn't have done anything in the lesson, and I would have been mortified if her teacher had torn her off a strip in front of me, since I would have taken it as a message that he thought I didn't discipline my own child properly. I would hope that the teacher, knowing I had seen her behaviour, would have expected me to deal with it, which I would have done.

I did wonder if there was something clinically wrong here, and the parentds had not told me becasue they didn't want to "label" him. But I now think they let him get away with it becasue he's an only child and they think the sun shines out of him. I don't find him academically very able - many of my young children read a lot better than he does. He behaves a little better in the presence of his mother than his father, but apart from the little lecture that he'd had - only once he had got this bad report from school - about not listening, I would have thought they would have come one week, long before now, and said "he's going to try very hard this week not to shout, aren't you?" or "he's promised to do his best not to touch things that aren't his". In the first month when he was five I didn't want to reprimand him too strongly - when you're very little and you're on a one-to-one, just "don't do that, it's rude" is sometimes enough to make you unhappy about working with that teacher.

Yes, there are many aspects of his behaviour which, if I'd had a crystal ball, I could have nipped in the bud by telling his parents - rather than him - that I didn't think were accpetable, but I thought he wouod grow out of them, or that his father would have responded to just as I would with my own child, before the next lesson. He's been told enough times by me not to touch things that aren't his; his dad just says there's too much in my room to distract him - gawd knows what he must be like in a supermarket in that case.

I think you can tell from this that "I blame the parents". I have him tomorrow, and I think I'm going to say there will be a behaviour plan, and I'll note anything in the lesson which I want improved. Maybe because I didn't firmly tell him off about some really rather rude behaviour in the early weeks, they thought I didn't mind. wacko.gif



I had one just like this last year. Similarly, the father was doing absolutely nothing in the parenting department - the mother was trying but was out of her depth. I found an excuse to discontinue the lessons, but in the future I hope I would have the gumption to say "I can no longer teach your child because their behaviour is unacceptable". We don't have a magic wand - those problems need sorting long before a child gets anywhere near piano lessons or school!



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#29 BitterSweet

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 11:58

QUOTE(Alder @ Feb 27 2013, 09:55 AM) View Post

QUOTE(BitterSweet @ Feb 27 2013, 08:49 AM) View Post

I don't know if this counts as bribery, but I have been looking at some of the incentive schemes the American bloggers use, and the one I'm considering trialing is called Musikopoly (cute, huh?).

That is pretty cute, though I'm a bit uncomfortable about the only black composer on the board getting the *jail*. I get that it's alliteration based, but still... Joplin Jailhouse? Ew. blink.gif


*blink* I hadn't even noticed that. But then I don't think I knew Joplin was black until about three weeks ago. I just hadn't even thought about it...

There are editable versions of the board, so you could change the name if you wanted.
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#30 linda.ff

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 12:36

QUOTE(RoseRodent @ Feb 27 2013, 08:03 AM) View Post

Also, deploy lid! laugh.gif

Don't tempt me! biggrin.gif <fx: crunch> ph34r.gif ph34r.gif ph34r.gif

QUOTE(BitterSweet @ Feb 27 2013, 11:58 AM) View Post

QUOTE(Alder @ Feb 27 2013, 09:55 AM) View Post

QUOTE(BitterSweet @ Feb 27 2013, 08:49 AM) View Post

I don't know if this counts as bribery, but I have been looking at some of the incentive schemes the American bloggers use, and the one I'm considering trialing is called Musikopoly (cute, huh?).

That is pretty cute, though I'm a bit uncomfortable about the only black composer on the board getting the *jail*. I get that it's alliteration based, but still... Joplin Jailhouse? Ew. blink.gif


*blink* I hadn't even noticed that. But then I don't think I knew Joplin was black until about three weeks ago. I just hadn't even thought about it...

I first heard of Joplin in the 70s as a black composer, and as he was being played and generally "promoted" by Joshua Rifkin, I had the opposite effect from you - for years I assumed Joshua Rifkin was black

Maybe Joplin is the governor of this jailhouse! Better now? smile.gif
QUOTE(BitterSweet @ Feb 27 2013, 11:58 AM) View Post

There are editable versions of the board, so you could change the name if you wanted.

Must get that new contact lens. Read it as "edible versions". In mitigation m'lud, may I say a friend of mine said he was given edible monopoly one Christmas
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