Who should decide whether DC learns instrument?

(91 Posts)
GetStuffezd Mon 23-Sep-13 21:58:08

I teach in a Junior School. Recently we had a brass band in and, subsequently, letters were sent out to children (in lower years, who I don't teach) who were interested in learning a brass instrument. Obviously there were limited places so my colleague asked all the children who was interested in learning X,Y or Z and letters were given to those who expressed interest.

Friend has now had complaints from a couple of parents who are unhappy they weren't given the letters. Friend maintains the children weren't interested in learning, so what was the point of giving them the letter? I think I agree.
How would you feel if it were your child?

noramum Tue 24-Sep-13 22:02:53

DD's lessons are at 2isch and it normally is art&craft time. So yes, DD sometimes misses out on painting a picture.

The teacher always has a go with any potential pupil and only the decides if it is worth it. DD is the youngest her teacher ever taught and she offered us 1/2 term place to see if it actually possible or not.

The piano teacher has a huge waiting list and most parents look outside school for lessons actually as it is so difficult to get a spot.

ClayDavis Tue 24-Sep-13 22:05:43

Ours is a single annual charge of between £27 and £80 which is subsidised by a grant for those that can't afford to pay.

Parmarella Tue 24-Sep-13 22:11:25

I think all parents should get the letter.

At our school, DS who is introverted, had strings demonstrations. He watched quietly from the back, not "showing" an interest but he thought about it for a few days and then told me he was mesmerised by the violin and could he please have lessons. He felt very passionately he wanted to learn, which is lovely.

Such a shame if children like that were to be overlooked!

MerryMarigold Tue 24-Sep-13 22:16:47

I was going to say the same thing as many others.

ALL parents should have been given letter.

Ds1 would never put himself forward but would probably love it.
Ds2 would instantly put himself forward (confident!) but does other activities and the instrument would not be a priority in the end.

And that's just the difference.

Parents need to judge this, especially if they were lower years like Y3 and under.

SE13Mummy Tue 24-Sep-13 23:25:16

Yes, all children should have been given a letter to take home.

As a parent I'd be annoyed if my child had been overlooked for an opportunity such as music lessons because she didn't put her hand up. As a primary school teacher I've always handed out this sort of letter to every child...and contacted parents of children that I've thought would benefit from/be good at instrumental tuition but who absolutely wouldn't put themselves forward for it.

schilke Wed 25-Sep-13 00:05:23

Music service vital? Might depend on where you live. I live in SE and there are no subsidised lessons in schools in my local town. We pay about £38 an hour and the teachers get paid about £22. Hmm.... Of course for group lessons music service might be getting more than £50 hour (depending on number of children), but teacher still getting £22.

Sorry totally off topic! Yes, everyone should get a letter. My dh has just done lots of demos and he says to children to take a letter if interested, but these are secondary school children so vastly different.

hels71 Wed 25-Sep-13 07:35:50

Mind you, brass lessons are best started once children have all their second front teeth, and every brass player I have ever met suggests from about year 5 so maybe the letters should have been for older children anyway!!
As for cost of lessons. DD's school offer lessons through the music service at £11.80 per 20 minute lesson, 10 lessons a term. Our local brass band offers 10 lessons and loan of an instrument for £25....

schilke Wed 25-Sep-13 10:15:42

Actually, hels I think people are changing their opinion on the adult teeth thing. Dh always used to say wait until second teeth are through, but the thought currently is that you don't have to wait. The trumpet is resting against the gum not the teeth, so it shouldn't make any difference. We have experimented with dd2! She started in January this year when she was 6.5 with baby teeth. She has 1 adult tooth now and is going to do grade 1 this term....she might not have any front teeth by then!

hels71 Wed 25-Sep-13 19:24:01

my DD is desperate to learn trumpet...but she can't even hold the thing yet, her hands are too small!!!

schilke Wed 25-Sep-13 19:40:35

Ahh. Well, my dd1 has actually started on the cornet as it's easier for her to hold. She can get her hands round the trumpet, but the weight of it drags her downwards. The bell ends up facing the floor! She is desperate to move on to the real thing.

pusspusslet Wed 25-Sep-13 20:34:44

Parents should have received the letters, because primary school children are far too young to understand the benefits of learning to play a musical instrument, and far too young to make an informed decision.

ljny Wed 25-Sep-13 20:41:18

Oh this makes me sad. I too watched a sister miss out on lots because she was too shy and would never put her hand up.

I am really sad that teachers are still like this.

I had a child like your sister. Agree this is sad.

I actually think that every child should be allowed to do music, at least for a few terms. All or none.

It's so sad that PE is compulsory but music was only available to the confident children.

Music is also quite helpful to maths.

tiggytape Wed 25-Sep-13 21:52:19

All children should get the letter

Like a lot of children my DD especially knows that we cannot afford many clubs and activities and that money is tight. She might not have put her hand up for a letter because she might think we can't afford it and she shouldn't ask.

However we do try to find money for things she really wants to do so for things like that, we'd normally talk about it at home when letters arrive and see whether it is a bit of a whim or something really important to her.

I'd hate to think of her not even putting her hand up because she'd worry it might automatically cost us money that we might not have.

Saracen Thu 26-Sep-13 00:33:24

I'm in agreement with everyone else, for an additional reason: what about the children who put their hands up to say they were interested, but whose parents cannot afford it or feel it isn't the right time for their children to take it up or whatever?

I'd be cross if the school had led my child to believe this was something she would be allowed to do, when I might decide otherwise.

(Sorry if someone else has raised this; I haven't read the whole thread.)

HmmAnOxfordComma Thu 26-Sep-13 16:47:28

Absolutely in agreement with everyone else.

For all of the above reasons (especially shyness) but additionally for this reason: SEN.

My ds with AS is not brilliant at listening to whole class instructions, especially at the end of the day or in a long assembly. He missed out a couple of times at primary school for this very reason - teacher only asking the children themselves and not informing parents of an opportunity. One was recorder club - held, unusually at his school at lunchtime, and free - I knew nothing about it until the rest of his year had been doing it for six months, and he couldn't then join as he would have been too far behind!

I think it is very bad SEN practice to offer opportunities like these directly to the children and not even tell the parents. Especially at lower junior age.

CaterpillarCara Thu 26-Sep-13 20:31:21

All parents should have the letter. My DS would never do any club if it was chosen based on putting his hand up there and then. He needs the chance to talk it through at home and think about it.

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