What not to do! - Mistakes parents make w/ piano students

Need help with your young piano student or maybe just like to share the joy?

Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Thu Apr 19, 2007 7:34 am

I've even heard a parent make the following very discouraging comment to a child who had a true passion for music:
"Where is the money I gave you for music lessons? " You must have spent it on something else!" :angry:

(Maybe the above comment should belong in a thread called, "The best things a parent could do to ruin a child's enthusiasm for piano lessons?"


Glissando88keys has a good point in the above quote (from a Topic of Note thread, Misconceptions about Piano Lessons). Sometimes parents say or do things, unintentionally, I hope, that can have a devastating effect on a kid's motivation for piano lessons. I'm hoping that teachers will add some of the highly non-constructive things they've seen or heard here as a help for parents who read this thread. Although I try to keep posts on the PEP Message Board constructive and positive in nature, I think many could benefit from a frank discussion of this topic. :)
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
User avatar
Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed
Site Admin
 
Posts: 994
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2003 6:46 pm
Location: Rio Rancho, NM USA

Postby minorkey » Thu Apr 19, 2007 6:32 pm

One thing that comes to mind, is when parents complain that their child's playing/practicing is so loud, that they cannot hear the TV or carry on a conversation. Talk about a motivation killer! I guess this is inevitable in a small house where the piano cannot be adequately separated from the family room, but I bet it hurts. (I know it hurt when it happened to me, but in all fairness I really WAS interfering with the TV! And I did get lots of positive reinforcement at other times.)
User avatar
minorkey
 
Posts: 57
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2005 9:22 am
Location: Massachusetts

Postby Stretto » Mon Apr 23, 2007 11:11 pm

What about if a parent says, "Try piano for 2 years. If you don't like it, then you can quit." Do you think that is defeating a child before they even start? Or do you think it's fine to say?
Stretto
 
Posts: 745
Joined: Mon May 16, 2005 10:34 pm
Location: Mo.

Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Tue Apr 24, 2007 7:03 am

Stretto wrote:What about if a parent says, "Try piano for 2 years. If you don't like it, then you can quit." Do you think that is defeating a child before they even start? Or do you think it's fine to say?

From an educational standpoint, the big problem is often just getting a kid to try something new. A deal like this one, if enforced, can be a good way to convince a kid to try lessons. Two years seems long enough for both the parent and the child to get a real sense of what lessons are like and what commitments are necessary to make them effective. I don't see that approach as overly negative; it seems like a good way to get a child to try. I think that it could turn into a "defeatist" attitude, as you point out, but is not that per se. Perhaps, teachers will have a different take on your question. :)
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
User avatar
Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed
Site Admin
 
Posts: 994
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2003 6:46 pm
Location: Rio Rancho, NM USA

Postby Stretto » Wed Apr 25, 2007 4:52 pm

I can't think of anything I've heard a parent directly say or do that would have discouraged motivation. Parents of my students have been very encouraging to thier kids as they desire to help their kids succeed whatever they wish to do. Parents have also kept the lines of communication open with me on how to help their children stay motivated and improve whether it be initiated on their part or mine.

The only thing I can think of that may have sqelched motivation is when parents have hounded their kids to practice. It seems to have made the kids practice even less and with interest in lessons already wavering the kids for sure want to quit. A parent once said they really wanted their kids to stick with it but said, "it's not worth it if it's not fun for anyone". The kids were whining about having to practice at ages 10 and 12. I don't know what the answer is to that. It puts parents between a rock and a hard place. I believe the students weren't really interested to begin with although they appeared to me to enjoy it. What little practice and interest they showed completely disintegrated the more the parent hounded them to practice. Again, who knows what the answer is as the students probably wouldn't have practiced much even without parental pressure although they may have continued with the lessons. Perhaps it a mistake if piano lessons is something the parent wants when the child doesn't really want it to begin with. One of the same students I mentioned talked a lot about singing in a choir she was in as though she really enjoyed it and as she was going to quit piano, I encouraged her to try voice lessons instead. She said she wouldn't want to do that. I said, "why? I thought you really enjoyed singing the way I've heard you talk about it". She said, "no, you have it all wrong. The singing was my mom's idea!"




Edited By Stretto on 1177542097
Stretto
 
Posts: 745
Joined: Mon May 16, 2005 10:34 pm
Location: Mo.

Postby 108-1121887355 » Wed Apr 25, 2007 8:06 pm

I would not say "Try piano for 2 years and quit if you don't like it" But using another word for 'quit' would be all right. If a child WANTS to take lessons, I would suggest to them to give it at least two years and then maybe add or try another instrument as the piano has given them a good musical start.

I can tell when a child is not interested or hasn't the desire to continue and it is too hard to try to teach a disinterested person. So when talking with the parent and child, it is usually mutually agreed to stop lessons (not mid year if possible). It is when a parent is over-stressed ( especially now with driving to sports - 2 children on different teams and days and locations) and she has talented, interested children, that I really encourage them to stick with it. (A situation now). It is really too bad when a parent is not paying attention to the interests and needs of her child.

I try to give them every reaon for continuing with music as it is a life-long tool for learning and expression.

:)
User avatar
108-1121887355
 

Postby Tranquillo » Sat Sep 22, 2007 8:09 pm

Wow ... I can relate to many things that my parents did wrong ,.... but I suppose they wernt sure how to deal with me ... as an 8 year old they used to nag me to practice ... I used to practice standing up so I can run to the clock and see if thats 30 mins ... then i would run back ... after that I would scream out proudly thats half and hour! My parents commmented if really loved piano you would practice for hours and hours ...
:(
I felt like all that effort was nothing. Now I practice for a lot longer and now they are telling me its way past my bed time to go to sleep. (I'm just making up for that lost time)
Music is organised sound
User avatar
Tranquillo
 
Posts: 465
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 11:43 pm

Postby Tranquillo » Sat Jul 12, 2008 9:30 pm

You know, I dont know if this is a good or a bad thing but I know many people whose parents compliment other competitors or performers after their child performs. My mum whenever I perform watches other people perform and tells me how much she is mezmerised others. When I sing she talks about how good my accompanist was. Other people tell me that their parents always go on about how amazed they are with other people's kids perform. It seems that parents never are really 'mezmerised' by their own kids. I am guessing part of the reason is that they listen to practice continuously also, their kids don't get a swell head.
Music is organised sound
User avatar
Tranquillo
 
Posts: 465
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 11:43 pm

Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Mon Jul 14, 2008 9:29 am

Becibu wrote:You know, I dont know if this is a good or a bad thing but I know many people whose parents compliment other competitors or performers after their child performs. My mum whenever I perform watches other people perform and tells me how much she is mezmerised others. When I sing she talks about how good my accompanist was. Other people tell me that their parents always go on about how amazed they are with other people's kids perform. It seems that parents never are really 'mezmerised' by their own kids. I am guessing part of the reason is that they listen to practice continuously also, their kids don't get a swell head.

Boy, this is a hard one to comment upon, since commenting would be helped by a knowledge of motivations. In principle, I don't see anything wrong, indeed, I think it's positive, with parents recognizing the accomplishments of all the performers or competitors. Most parents I know are "mesmerized" more by their own children, than by other children. I think the trick in parenting is to constantly encourage and reward accomplishment, but to be realistic about it. Don't make a major production out of a minor accomplishment. Do make one out of a major accomplishment! Many parents who have talented (smart, athletic, etc) children worry too much about the "big head syndrome" and pay too little attention to the damage they might be doing to the child's psyche by constantly criticizing and demanding more. I think those parents who worry about big heads might be more concerned about themselves and how they will be perceived, than about their children. "Big head syndrome" tends to be taken care of by peers pretty quickly, if it's a real issue. Encourage, compliment and support should be the watch words of any parent.




Edited By Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor on 1216072715
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
User avatar
Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed
Site Admin
 
Posts: 994
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2003 6:46 pm
Location: Rio Rancho, NM USA


Return to Parent to Parent

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron