Teaching your own kids

March 28, 2005 at 03:25 AM · I have played violin for quite a while and I am a proficient player. I am thinking of taking the steps to become qualified as a Suzuki instructor (I learned under the Suzuki method and am a strong proponent). I have four kids, all of whom are begining violinists. Does anyone have any thoughts on teaching your own kids. I help them practice now, but it is a big step going from an "informed parent" to the teacher. Appreciate any comments.

Replies (17)

March 28, 2005 at 05:27 AM · Rick, it is possible but really difficult. You should always keep selfcontrol under your own nerve system. I teach my two daughters, they are very different in temperament so my method is different too. Result... sometimes I think they could be better if they have another teacher (I mean, not the own parent). My older daughter (she is a v.com member too) practice Tchaikovsky's Violin c-rto (she is 16), and my second daughter (less bright in violin, but excellent in vocal, it is her major) goes through Suzuki Book4 (today is her 15th birthday). I use Suzuki method teaching them though I prefer traditional method more, it depends on situation... Actually, I combine already both with my older daughter. We did the agreement during class to forget our parent-daughter relationship. If you are patient enough, go for it. So you could save lots of money for your family:)

March 28, 2005 at 01:25 PM · What you have to remember is that whatever issues there are between you and your children will be present in the violin lesson context. Equally important, if you have bad habits as a violinist, they may pick them up. Unless you are professional quality and have limited issues with them, I would find another teacher, even though it may cost money.

March 28, 2005 at 10:13 PM · I'm a violin teacher myself and have a five year old daughter. She started at three with me but after one year she continued with a very respected teacher. This was a very good move and I'm happy we made it. Although I'm a pretty experienced teacher myself I've learned a lot. The fact of seeing an excellent teacher teach twice a week has given me a lot of thinking and a chance to re-evaluate my own teaching (always a good thing). Maybe something to think about, if you want to be a teacher yourself. My daughter is so proud of her teacher and the overall situation is a lot better than just her studying with me. Which brings me to patience. How is it with the rest of you, there must be a lot of us teaching/practising with our own kids. I practise with my daughter every day and it is one of the finest things in my life. But it is so unbelievebly hard to be patient with your own kid.

Anyway, if your children are already studying with someone else I wouldn't change it unless there is a problem, better save money somewhere else.

March 29, 2005 at 12:58 AM · Tom, that's interesting what you wrote about bad habits. My daughter (the adwanced one) plays almost exactly like me when I was at her age, with same mistakes and bad habits though her posture is different as mine (because her hands are not like mine, and her bow hold is close to russian; it fits better for her). But I feel so proud...

March 29, 2005 at 01:52 AM · My school violin teacher and private violin teacher "traded" kids for lessons. It worked out perfectly for them.

March 31, 2005 at 04:50 AM · I think that it is do-able with the right attitude from both you and your children. BUT I would strongly advise against it, having been in your children's position - I grew up with Suzuki, went through all 10 books, and practiced with my mom extensively for 8 of those books. That's up until 11 or 12 years old. She was a wonderful "informed" parent and I would not be the violinist I am without her doing what she did. But, I didn't have the right attitude. It was very, very hard not to be emotional or annoyed with her "teaching" me. Which is how it felt sometimes, I regret. So - I had a teacher, a great teacher, and then practiced with my mom, who played piano for nine years and was/is a relatively competent musician. Anyway, I advise against it because I became bitter about practicing with her, and I can't imagine that that wouldn't affect your relationship as it did ours. And, it should be multiplied if you go from being just the parent that practices with them, to the teacher that teaches them. But, I'm torn in giving you that advice, because I know I would never be able to play the way I do now if it wasn't for her dedication and perserverance. However... those are my thoughts. Proceed with caution. :)

March 31, 2005 at 05:11 AM · Don't - Even - Think - About - Teaching - Your - Own - Kids.

Give it up. Strike that notion from your mind. Forget about it. It doesn't work. Period.

March 31, 2005 at 06:51 AM · None of us have actually asked the question: Why do you want to teach your own children?

Perhaps if we know the answer to this we might be more detailed and more customized to your situation.

April 1, 2005 at 01:23 AM · lol yea the hardest thing is to get them to practice on a daily basis (ahem...^_^;)see how bad i turned out? lol

April 1, 2005 at 04:01 AM · I was trying to save a few bucks. It was no bargain.

April 1, 2005 at 07:11 AM · Did you teach your own kids? For how long?

I confess, I tried for a bit. Less than six months. I thought, here we have a very decent violin teacher right under our roof, why not?

It did not work at all. Not for me. I have seen people do it successfully. Okay, I've seen one family do it successfully, and as far as I can tell they still have a very nice relationship with their daughter.

I could not be both teacher and parent. I would have these moments where the teacher needed to talk to the parent. Or the parent needed to talk to the teacher. Or the teacher needed to tell the parent to make more time for practice. Or the parent needed to ask the teacher, what can I do to get this child to practice?

Does that sound like a recipe for insanity, or what? And it is hard to express displeasure as a teacher without it seeming like you are expressing displeasure as a parent. Even if you are extremely diplomatic.

April 1, 2005 at 07:25 AM · I have a feeling I could combine the two. But then I've never done either one.

April 2, 2005 at 03:11 AM · Hey Laurie, are we on speaking terms again?

My experience was trying to teach my daughter trombone during the summer before to her first year with her school band program.

Now, I play trumpet and tuba but never touched trombone prior to this so I was teaching myself as well as her. Let's just say the results left much to be desired.

April 2, 2005 at 04:50 AM · It's much more fun when your kids teach you! (Sporadically, and not always when you want "feedback".) ;-)

April 2, 2005 at 07:46 AM · I don't hold a grudge, life is too short.

My son is now taking piano, from another teacher, and I'm enjoying just being the parent!

April 2, 2005 at 02:05 PM · Thank you all for your valuable input. I initially explored the idea quite frankly to help financially. As I am sure you can imagine, with four studying, it is quite an out of pocket investment (but it is just that, an investment). After listening to your advice (especially Sams's impassioned reponse!!), I have decided against the idea. My kids adore their current teacher (with good reason), and their progress has not been an issue. I guess I shouldn't mess with a good thing! Thank you all for your input.

April 2, 2005 at 04:40 PM · i'm glad you made the decision to leave your daughters to their teachers. i don't think it's a good idea for any parent to teach their children beyond the basics. it's too hard to be objective with your own kids.

also, you can damage your child's self esteem forever by saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.

it's just better all around to let someone else teach your children.

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