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Emily Grossman

Things I Should Never Have to Explain

January 12, 2009 at 11:08 AM

--Please bring your books.

--Please have a violin.  If you do not have a violin, be prepared to obtain one.

--Please arrange transportation to and from lessons.

--If you do not plan on attending your lessons, please inform your teacher, preferably prior to your lesson, not two weeks later.

--Please refrain from putting random items in the candle on your way to use the restroom. 


From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on January 12, 2009 at 12:43 PM

lol, you really have such students?


From Tom Holzman
Posted on January 12, 2009 at 1:43 PM

On an old Bill Cosby comedy record he made the comment that all kids are brain damaged.  This is probably a better explanation than the cold weather up there in Alaska, although it undoubtedly does not account for the failure of the parents to backstop some of this.  Good luck!  I hope you charge for lessons when they show up without equipment/books. 

From Laurie Niles
Posted on January 12, 2009 at 5:35 PM

I love the thing about the could substitute so many things for that! ;)

From al ku
Posted on January 12, 2009 at 5:49 PM

hmmm, how about some plastic candy wrapper,,,tempting!

From Elizabeth Reed Smith
Posted on January 12, 2009 at 5:54 PM

Another couple (true stories):

-- If your tailpiece adjuster snapped during the week, please do not expect to have a lesson on that violin until a replacement is purchased and installed.

-- Please don't show up to your lesson the day before prom having already applied your Lee Press-On nails.

From Annette Brower
Posted on January 12, 2009 at 6:15 PM

Please do not expect to use the teacher's violin if you left your's at school, home, or a relatives house.

Please do not take off your snow boots, having not worn socks, and show me the stuff between your toes.


From Rebekah Smith
Posted on January 12, 2009 at 6:43 PM

 How about:

Please don't bring friends to your lesson.  Ever.

From Jenna Potts
Posted on January 12, 2009 at 6:54 PM



From Tom Steele
Posted on January 12, 2009 at 6:56 PM

I can't follow that candle rule.

From Patricia Baser
Posted on January 12, 2009 at 9:23 PM

Some more:

If your E string breaks, leave the peg in the peg box.

That big hunk of wood in the cello you "found" is a soundpost.

If I come to your house, do not let your dog chase your parakeet.

If you have to ask me "what am I working on?" , you are probably not practicing enough.

Do not show up with an empty case.

No, your brother did not eat your rosin, nor did he have to get his stomach pumped as a result.

From Matt Groters
Posted on January 12, 2009 at 10:39 PM

 When i ask you to have a shoulder rest next week and i tell you exactly where to go, what to say and how much it will be Because i Looked online, that does not mean you forget 3 weeks in a row. 

From Catherine Johnson
Posted on January 12, 2009 at 11:56 PM

How about:

Payment is due on PAYDAY, not the week after.  If you forgot it, MAIL IT!

If YOU forget your lesson don't whine when I won't give you a makeup.

I do not have a full supply of every type and size of shoulder rest so don't complain if you forget it and don't play well.

From Bethany Morris
Posted on January 13, 2009 at 1:57 AM

Please don't tell me that you have an injury that prevents you from playing without a doctor's note and then show up to class four weeks later with the neck of your violin broken off.

From David Russell
Posted on January 13, 2009 at 3:04 AM

Let's bump this up a notch...

Student: "Whenever I play, I squeeze my first finger too hard on the fingerboard and it makes me miss the shift in this part by being flat (demonstrates) and it is really annoying because I can hear that it is out of tune and my finger really hurts and I'm tired of missing the shift, especially when it should sound like this (demonstrates the correct/in-tune version seemingly without effort). What can I do to fix it?"

Bewildered stare...I'm so tired. ;-)




From Drew Lecher
Posted on January 13, 2009 at 4:15 AM

LOVE the follow-ups!!!

Emily—do they light the stuff they put with the candle? That would add some excitement…

David—you can't have those students………………I do. How about, I didn't practice this because I can't do it.

True: Little boy digs holes in the walls leading up the stairs to the studio while his older brother has lesson; mother no where to be found though she knows the little one is to be watched CONSTANTLY! I calmly ask little boy if he did it—he coyly acknowledges guilt; I say to his mother and him that she will be charged if it happens again…………the kicker? She says, "That's not fair!" 

From Emily Grossman
Posted on January 13, 2009 at 6:22 AM

Drew, thankfully, they don't light anything on fire, at least nothing that I've caught.  They think it's fun to dip my jewelry in the wax.  I suppose it's my fault for leaving the necklace on the sink  next to the candle.  (seethingly bitter sarcasm)

From Anthony Chi
Posted on January 13, 2009 at 2:13 PM

Turn about is fair play....

Please don't let me come to you with my son for lessons and never come close to showing my son: 1) how to hold the violin properly under the chin, 2) how his left hand and fingertips should be positioned when playing, 3) how to hold his bow with his right hand, 4) how to bow between the bridge and fingerboard perpendicular to the violin, or 5) how to position feet for a playing stance.

Please don't sell my unsophisticated mother a violin and a bow for my use knowing full well they are crap.

Please don't teach me how to play by "numbers" and never teach me how to read notes or how to count out a rhythm.

Please don't tell me to play a piece like I have a set of "balls" but never show me any techniques to accomplish this.

From E. Smith
Posted on January 13, 2009 at 2:36 PM

The candle sentence made me spit coffee on my keyboard.

From Royce Faina
Posted on January 13, 2009 at 3:44 PM

Here's one from South Texas-

I don't care that your dad is using your bow to scratch his back (or other  body parts) Bring It with You!

Please don't spank your child with his bow ma'am.....

From Jeff Lim
Posted on January 13, 2009 at 6:42 PM

Parents. Enough said.

{Over the phone}

"Yes, I taught your son/daughter how to play the theme from "Psycho." All week, you say? {evil grin} Yes, that could get a little annoying. Yes, they were assigned other material — quite a bit of it, in fact. Oh, right, soccer practice and dance classes, and homework, too? No time to practice? Ok . . ."


{Parental complaint about in-school instruction}

"Their teacher at school who plays the cello makes them lie face down on the floor all the time so they can 'feel the vibrations' of his playing. He says that should inspire them to play better."

(WTFarble?) "Um,  a bit inappropriate, don't you think?"

"Yes, I think it's a little strange. So, could you help them out. We don't like him. Like, maybe apply for his job or something? I'm on the committee."

(WTFarble?) "Um, thanks, but no."


"My child's teacher from three years ago taught her to hold her violin this way, and it always hurt."

"Yes, but we have been holding it a different way that doesn't hurt and it's still the proper way of holding the violin."

"But the old teacher said to do it this way."

"But that way hurt."

"Yes, she [my daughter] always complains about how it used to hurt."

"And when is the last time I asked her to do it that way?"

"Well, never. But, her old teacher used to make her do it this way. Do you think that was right?"





From Karin Lin
Posted on January 13, 2009 at 8:42 PM

Hahaha, Emily and everyone, these are great!   Thanks for the laughs.

Who shows up to a violin lesson without their violin???

Loved the candle bit, and the one about using the bow as a backscratcher :)

From Dimitri Adamou
Posted on January 14, 2009 at 3:47 AM

wow no wonder why my teacher says I am such an angel.

From Rei Miyasaka
Posted on January 14, 2009 at 5:42 AM

 Definitely been guilty of all of that stuff.

Except the candle thing.

I actually forgot to bring my violin one time... amazing how patient my teachers were.

Wait, no, I did that twice.

From Ben Clapton
Posted on January 14, 2009 at 8:35 AM

I had one student whose parents paid for an entire term (at a school), and I didn't hear him play once. either he had an excursion, I couldn't locate his class, or he forgot his violin. Yet his mother quite happily let me keep the money.

The mother of a different student at the same school kept track of all the absences, and only paid for the lessons taught, even for when she let me know the morning - and wanted refunds for the lessons not used.

But last term I was only a replacement, this year I'm permanent, and they will sign my studio policy. A lot of the things that I've read in here could be dealt with easily with a studio policy, search around, there's plenty of resources to help you out.

From Tom Holzman
Posted on January 14, 2009 at 1:50 PM

Royce - now that we have carbon fiber bows, your second rule may have lost its underlying rationale.

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