Role of Parents
1. Bring student to lessons on time – On time means just that, not five minutes late, or five minutes early! Yes, traffic is hard to control, and one never wants to be late for a lesson, but being consistently early means either interrupting the previous student’s lesson, or taking up the teachers’s private time.
2. Pick up student on time – Again, on time means just that, except in this case, it is ok to be early! In my studio, if parents arrive early before the lesson ends, they are always welcome to come in and observe and I actually welcome the opportunity to talk to them regarding progress. The teacher’s studio should never be used as a place to drop off kid(s) while parents go about running their errands and come back whenever! Occasionally the teacher may be happy to give an extended lesson (for example before a test), but this extra time should not be regarded as norm.
3. Pay tuition on time – On times means whatever the teacher says in the studio policy, not whenever it is convenient for the parent! If one should forget occasionally, the polite thing to do is to email/call the teacher and ask if payment should be mailed or made online. Simply do nothing till the next lesson/week after that/end of month is not cool! Unless of course special arrangements have been made with the teacher and the teacher is ok with the delay.
4. Bring all lesson materials – This includes everything the teacher has ever given the student, unless the teacher specifically says a particular book is “finished” or not needed anymore and can be left home. Students often conveniently “forget” to bring certain books they try to avoid. In my studio, students often have many books they are working on at a time, and sometimes due to time constraint, we don’t get through every book in the lesson, but I always remember which books didn’t get covered last week, and expect to do them in the next lesson. Not bringing all the books to lessons simply delays progress.
5. Make sure students fingernails are trimmed – This applies to piano students in particular. Some students are old enough to do this on their own, for those that are not, it is the parents responsibility.
6. Help students to practice at home – Most beginner students do not have the concept of what regular practice means. It is up to the parents to instill that habit. For young students, this means sitting next to them or at least being in the same room while they practice. If the parents are musical, sure that helps a great deal, and if not, just by paying attention to what the teacher says in the lessons should give parents enough idea of what needs to be accomplished at home. Some students will just go practice by themselves like a dream, but the reality is that most need to be reminded, persuaded, or even bribed to do so. Practicing is hard work. It is not always fun, and it certainly is a lonely activity. Why would a 6-year-old want to sit on the piano bench for 30min or longer all by herself/himself doing the same thing over and over? They wouldn’t!
7. Encourage students to perform – As much as possible, have students participate in various activities the teacher organizes, such as recitals or Master Classes. This greatly enhances the learning experience. Informal performances for family members should also be encouraged and praised.
8. Have realistic expectations – Music lessons is about teaching children to work hard and see where that can take them, musically and otherwise. The benefits of music study goes far beyond music itself. Not everyone will be the gold medalist in the next Chopin competition, but everyone can learn to play Chopin and appreciate beauty. Too high of an expectation means too much pressure for the students. On the other hand, too low of an expectation means children don’t learn the value of hard work. Every student is different and part of the teacher’s job is to set realistic expectations for each student. For some it may mean competition preparation, for others it may mean being able to memorize a piece for recital. Parents and teachers need to be in agreement with these expectations.
9. Communicate with the teacher – Be actively involved. As students progress, parents don’t have to attend lessons anymore, but should always be interested in and aware of the students progress. Communicate with the teacher often to check mutual expectations. Let the teacher know of any changes in family circumstances.