Printer-friendly version weekend vote: Did a parent attend your violin lessons for a period of time?

Laurie Niles

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Published: October 30, 2015 at 7:36 PM [UTC]

three violins

Did a parent attend your violin lessons for a period of time?

These days, when a young child starts violin lessons, a parent typically attends those lessons, particularly if the Suzuki philosophy is involved. That allows the parent to serve as an effective practice partner at home and to help the child understand the teacher's assignment. When does the parent stop coming? It really depends on the parent, the child, and the teacher.

When a child begins lessons a little older, a parent might come along, or might not. Sometimes the child actually doesn't want the parent there, and I find that to be okay in children over the age of about nine.

When I began violin lessons around that age, I did not have a parent at my lessons, nor did it occur to me or my teachers that anyone should be there! Times were different; the Suzuki method was just taking off in America, and my musical upbringing was more what we called "traditional." I was also old enough to understand the spoken and written instructions of my teachers, and to start reading very soon after I began playing.

I'm curious about how typical it is for students to have parents in attendance. (Also, I've included a category to differentiate those who began as an adult -- they would not have a parent there for that reason!)

Posted on October 30, 2015 at 7:43 PM
My mother not only didn't attend, she sat in the car and read, rather than 'disturb' the lesson by her presence. No one else in my family was musical or musically trained, so maybe that made a difference.
Posted on October 30, 2015 at 7:56 PM
I started as an adult. I stay for both of my daughters' and my son's piano lessons, but only because we have the same teacher and have our lessons back-to-back. :)
From Jim Hastings
Posted on October 30, 2015 at 9:19 PM
I voted “No” -- second option. Same experience here:

“When I began violin lessons … I did not have a parent at my lessons, nor did it occur to me or my teachers that anyone should be there!”

My first teacher, who lived a block from our home, came to me. So, although my parents were on premise, they weren’t in on the lessons -- my teacher and I had the living room to ourselves. During practice, I was alone.

“It really depends on the parent, the child, and the teacher.” Yes. My parents weren't string players. To be sure, they were involved in my study -- paying for lessons, keeping informed of my progress, making sure I practiced.

Violin lessons were my idea. If it had been otherwise, and if Mom and Dad had been the overbearing stage-mom and stage-dad types, directly involved in my lessons, I doubt that I would have had the same zeal for learning this instrument. I was the independent, individualistic type, something of a geek, already able to read music, thanks to early piano training.

Side note: Kids of my generation were also more “free range,” generally, than today’s kids.

From Lawrence Price
Posted on October 31, 2015 at 12:20 AM
My father came to every lesson for many years. It never occurred to me what a sacrifice it was for him. But it was very valuable. He stopped coming when I got to high school.
Posted on October 31, 2015 at 3:30 AM
I was almost 12 when I started and had learned piano first. Also my violin lessons were in Germany at school. Later in a boarding school. So my parents were not even able to come. For the piano lessons I'm trying to remember..I think mostly they did not attend the lessons.
From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on October 31, 2015 at 6:11 AM
My parents didn't come to my lessons and I'm glad. It wouldn't have worked for us. Practicing was also my responsibility, they did not check up on my practice, or sign any practice logs. They paid for lessons, drove me there, and attended performances.
From John Rokos
Posted on October 31, 2015 at 11:38 AM
For at least the first four years my father WAS my teacher. So, of course, yes.
From Kathryn Woodby
Posted on November 1, 2015 at 2:22 AM
For about 2 lessons :) but I started at 11...
Posted on November 1, 2015 at 2:21 PM
I think a parent knows which child needs what type of involvement, support, or encouragement because we really are very different. I, for one, never had a single lesson with my parents around ~ I would have been devastated if they came along because I was tremendously independent, self-motivated, and a bit obsessive about everything. My brother, on the other hand, would have one of my parents sit in on each of this clarinet lessons and also had to ride him about practicing. When I started winning competitions and performed with orchestras, I actually asked my parents to drop me off a block away from the concert hall and told them what time to pick me up. It wasn't a secret what I was doing, since my photo was in the newspaper. I just preferred doing my own thing...

It remained that way when I became a teenager. I would tell my parents I was doing okay in school, put the report card in front of them with my hand across the grades, and they unflinchingly signed. My brother, on the other hand, would have parent/teacher conferences to expect...

Perhaps one of us was adopted?

Posted on November 3, 2015 at 12:16 AM
THere is a huge difference between a musically skilled parent showing interest and giving some guidance to her child, and a non-musical parent attempting to direct the learning process. The latter is simply absurd.
From Paul Deck
Posted on November 3, 2015 at 1:16 PM
Some of the parents of the other kids in my daughter's studio are non-musical people. They've come up to speed surprisingly quickly, but they also know their limits. I think their involvement has been positive overall for their children.
Posted on November 3, 2015 at 6:37 PM
My 13 yr old has been taking private violin and viola instruction since she was 10. She would absolutely die if i were to attend her lessons. As a previous commenter mentioned it really depends on the child, her/his musical abilities and goals, and temperment. My daughter is very independent, self-motivated, and persistent. She doesn't want me hovering. I have no musical ability. I feel my job as a parent is to support her and then get out of the way. My contact with the teacher has been limited to guidance on upgrading her instrument. But that's my kid.
Posted on November 4, 2015 at 2:17 AM
I grew up overseas so my mom attended to translate until I learned to speak that language.
I agree, though, that it depends on each student and parent. I love a parent who will sit quietly and take notes to keep their child accountable. But some students do better independently, and some parents would just take over.

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