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?

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.

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.

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.)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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 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 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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

Periwinkle007 Tue 24-Sep-13 22:00:51

yes I think our school is £40 a term but I expect private lessons are about £30 a lesson.

AbbyR1973 Tue 24-Sep-13 21:53:33

DS1 has violin lessons during classtime- he goes out of the class for his lesson. I'm not particularly bothered that he might have missed something.
School music service is vital- DS's individual violin lessons cost £3.50 each and then £15 to hire the violin per term, so only about £30-40 for a whole term.
WhenI last took piano lessons 15 years ago, it cost me £16 per half hour privately. One can easily see that private music lessons are simply beyond the reach of some families.

Periwinkle007 Tue 24-Sep-13 21:51:12

our school say any children who want to try and instrument have to audition, then if they do take it up they must pay for the whole year (although at DRASTICALLY reduced rates)

I think music is hugely important for children to experience but I would still not want them to miss English or Maths for it. I am not so worried about PE because I know they do other sport. I suppose every situation is different.

My kids probably won't get an instrument choice, we have a piano so therefore whatever they learn will be the piano, if we can't afford lessons then they will have me teach them. Better than nothing though.

Hulababy Tue 24-Sep-13 21:44:23

We offer violin lessons for a restricted number of pupils in Y2. Letters go home to all Y2 pupils, 90 of them. I think this is right tbh - then parents and child can discuss it at home.

FWIW if a child starts the lessons and shows no interest at all then the violin teacher does speak to the parents about this and whether the child should continue or not.

ClayDavis Tue 24-Sep-13 21:38:07

Quite a lot would send it out as an e-mail or put it in the weekly newsletter as well.

alpinemeadow Tue 24-Sep-13 21:34:21

Ah - You're right peri you didn't suggest out of school lessons - it was unis who suggested parents could enquire about classes not linked to school. Sorry, not concentrating properly - tiring day!

I agree the fact that the sports club is oversubscribed doesn't mean that nobody's being left out who might enjoy it. It doesn't have to cost much or be an admin hassle to tell all parents - in fact many schools now have a mass text facility, so it could take two minutes to give all parents the opportunity to have some input!

ClayDavis Tue 24-Sep-13 21:33:10

I think that depends on the system though Periwinkle. Ours are peripatetic and have 12 primaries and 6 secondary schools to cover. The brass/woodwind etc teacher might only be in any particular school for one day a week.

Periwinkle007 Tue 24-Sep-13 21:16:55

I never suggested out of school lessons. OUR school (a state school) do do them just before/after school and lunchtimes. That is what is says on the info. I have no idea how they organise that as it is for classes further up the school.

I also have music teachers in the family so I know about the 'what to do for the rest of the day' thing too but in a school of children there are PE lessons and class music lessons going on all day as well as staggered lunchtimes so the situation of music teachers sitting around twiddling their thumbs shouldn't actually need to arise.

flowery Tue 24-Sep-13 21:16:31

Not sure what being over subscribed has to do with it. Surely for something like a children's sports club it shouldn't just be about bums on seats? Whatever happened to being inclusive, fair and giving every child an opportunity.

I agree I would send letters regardless of which year the children are, my comment about year 6 being different was because the OP teaches year 6 and I think her point of view is more understandable in that context.

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