Meri’s Musical Musings

Advice for parents of music students

Posted on: June 13, 2014

  1. Don’t make your child choose between piano and a band/orchestra instrument. Most exam systems require orchestral instrument majors to play piano to a late intermediate or early advanced level to receive the final certificate, usually approximately Level 6 piano.
  2. Don’t let the student quit just because they are starting middle school and especially high school. Students can often earn high school credits in many places for completing certain exams within an examining board, which may enable them to graduate a semester earlier than they may normally, which gives them additional time to earn income.
  3. Keep lessons as consistent as possible. Don’t miss for what many teachers consider frivolous reasons, such hair and nail appointments, and if there’s a birthday party the day of your lesson, make the lesson and go to the birthday party late.
  4. If the student is a beginner, don’t ask for less than weekly lessons.
  5. Don’t pick a conveniently located or cheap teacher, unless they happen to be good teachers. Check out the playing level of a teacher’s students, both in the range of what students play and the quality of playing within those levels.
  6. Avoid piano teachers who dislike students learning band and orchestra instruments. (yes, quite a few of these exist!)
  7. Don’t accept or reject a teacher just because they do or do not have a degree in music. There are some with Ph.D.’s who shouldn’t be teaching, and those who lack certification who have an outstanding track record!
  8. Don’t stop lessons if the child received poor school grades. Consider cutting their sports or take away video game or TV time instead.
  9. Don’t ask for discounts. You probably live a better life than most teachers who teach lessons. Your teacher, if they drive a car, probably has a 7-10 year old car, and likely hasn’t gone on a vacation in years, and almost certainly not a fancy one.
  10. Don’t miss student concerts/student recitals, except in EXTREME circumstances. Many teachers put a lot of time, effort, and money in producing these shows, and the only time that one can be missed is if a major audition is at the same day and around the same time, or a family event out of town that’s been planned months in advance, or a death in the family. In a small studio, it can make arranging the program order awkward.
  11. Unless the study is for different instruments, do not have the student study with more than one teacher at the same time. It is not only confusing for students, but it may not even be allowed in music teacher associations.
  12. Pay on time, the full amount, and if you pay late, don’t disregard the late fee.
  13. The teacher has the final say on what pieces the student will play in student recitals.
  14. Make the most of the lessons by making sure the student practices ALL parts of the assignment effectively.
  15. Don’t stop lessons just because a child is not practicing, especially in the early stages and/or are doing well with little to no practice; they may just have a knack for it. Many students finally find a reason to practice when they reach the intermediate levels, or discover their personal drive for music, typically between 12 and 15 years old, but can be as young as 10 or 11.

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  • V V: Wish I had read this before I fell for their scheme ! Oh well - have posted my experience on Yelp and N49 and hoping others can avoid the pain of fal
  • clariniano: Thanks for the additional information. It was actually Yelp that deleted my reviews, because of so-called bias. I too have seen the horrible technique
  • No Thanks: Former Teacher at the Ontario Conservatory of Music I took lessons at the Ontario Conservatory and when I left for private lessons from another tea
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