I have been a full time private violin teacher for many years now.. I have come across all walks of life, but find myself in a predicament that I could really use some advice on. The truth is, you never stop learning!
Now for a brief synopsis of my circumstances - I have a relatively new student (who had a year with a fiddle teacher prior to me) with a parent who is also an amateur musician (a cellist.) The parent is very involved in their child`s development, which is fantastic!! However, they are so invested in things that lessons with me are almost dictated. I am basically told what and how to teach and what the goals/plans are.
Most recently was the most insulting occurrence of all. The child is learning by ear, using the Mark O'Connor method. The method was previously unknown to me so I was happy to accept the challenge of trying something new. So, when the child expressed an interest in a little note reading, I didn't see the harm and proceeded to prepare a small work sheet. We looked at where the notes are for the open strings and practiced drawing treble clefs over dotted outlines. Harmless enough, right? I sent the work sheet home with the student, intending it to be completed and returned for review. I never saw that work sheet again.
For a little background, this child is six, and not necessarily capable of independently completing the assignment and bringing it in. When I did not see the sheet returned, I knew that the parent had dismissed it. I was "told" that all learning will be done by ear and no note reading will be introduced until the completion of at least the third book of the method. Then I was educated in the ways of developing a good ear. Keep in mind, this is my profession, I did an undergrad in music and am a highly respected violinist and teacher. I don't think I need a financial advisor telling me how to do my job..............
#1 To me this demonstrates a lack of respect and trust in me as a teacher.
#2 The child is learning that this is appropriate behaviour and teachers don't get any real say.
#3 The result is, the child and parent (when he is there) controls the lesson.
#4 Why are they paying me to teach their child if this is the case??
#5 Last but not least, most technical things I try to address are not practiced. Instead, they are ignored in the interest of learning tune after tune after tune, no matter how poorly they are done.
Pro's - the child practices! And the parent is their every step of the way. The child regularly performs in public and for family.
Con's - I have relatively no say or control in the develop of my own student. I have 30 min a week, and the other X number of hours in the week are spent ignoring and undoing what I have tried to teach this child. Meanwhile, the label of "Angela's student" is happily applied to the child.
I need to confront this as soon as possible (and probably should have already done so) but how do I do this diplomatically? No matter how I put it, I will be telling the parent to back off and let me do my job. Sigh...
This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.
Violinist.com is made possible by...
Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.