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Useless flute lessons

(15 Posts)
SamJones Thu 09-Dec-10 20:16:22

DD was late for her flute lesson at school today because she didn't know the venue had changed and when she found the notice about it, didn't know where the new room actually was.

Anyway - all that is annoying, but happens (esp with a bit of an airhead dd). However, when she finally got there her tutor said 'Oh well never mind, there isn't a lot for you to do anyway'.

Now frankly I am livid about this. I pay for these lessons, and even if my daughter had got there on time today there would have been nothing to do by the sounds of it. How can that be? I have just been sent an invoice for over £90 for Sept-Dec lessons, and am wondering what exactly I am paying for. This is money I can ill afford right now (been made redundant etc) but have always reasoned that these skills are worth finding the money for, dd reportedly having a talent at this instrument, but am really doubting the whole deal at the moment.

Just debating the best person to take it up with in the first instance.

<opens wine bottle>

fidelma Thu 09-Dec-10 22:01:26

Thats not on.You need to speak to the head of music.

snurrk Thu 09-Dec-10 23:03:05

You don't think it might have been a throw away comment by the teacher to reassure your dd that she wasn't angry about her lateness? I'd have thought she would have had stuff for her to do if she'd had the full time, but maybe said that as there wasn't anything critical that needed doing (no exam or recital imminent for instance)? Before you go in guns blazing make sure you know the facts.

MaryMotherOfCheeses Thu 09-Dec-10 23:07:27

yes I read that and thought throwaway comment, tutor being nice.

Practice more important than the lessons, tbh.

Goingspare Thu 09-Dec-10 23:28:27

I would agree with snurrk that it may have been intended to reassure. Very odd remark otherwise. Did the teacher do anything with her for the rest of the lesson, assuming there was any time left? Are you usually happy with her lessons? Is she making good progress, enjoying herself?

I've had problems over the years with turnover of music teachers (DD1 has had 7 teachers in 5 years) and once or twice with the quality of teaching, but I've never come across one who couldn't think of something to do to fill a lesson, even straight after an exam (DD2 learned some great cello sound effects last summer in a post-exam lesson at the end of term).

Is the teacher employed by the school or the county music service? If the latter, the local manager might be the person to speak to if you want to take it up.

BrigitBigKnickers Fri 10-Dec-10 09:29:41

Sorry to say but the quality of teaching from peripetetic teachers can vary tremendously.

IME some music teachers who don't come into contact with the parents on a weekly basis (as usually happens when DCs have private music lessons,) can get very lazy about how much they teach and progress can sometimes be very slow.

In the county where I work there is music service where we are offered music teachers on their register. Money is collected at the school and paid to this service who then pay the teachers in question.

Teachers obviously have to have the required qualifications to teach music but are not moderated or assessed as to their teaching or monitored as to the progress their pupils make. Quite a few of the teachers we are sent by them are quite frankly pants.

You may be better off trying to find her a private flute teacher- £90 a term doesn't sound that cheap anyway.

snurrk Fri 10-Dec-10 11:27:14

hmm, quality of peri's does vary obviously, but a lot of the problems of teaching in schools is not of their making. Music teachers I know who teach both privately and in schools all say their private pupils make better progress on the whole, but wouldn't agree that they are lazy with their school students...

Their view would be that children regularly forget to turn up to their lessons or don't bring their music or instrument, or can be late (not always their fault - I think classroom teachers are quite often reluctant to let them go). The lack of parental contact doesn't help either in that there's no opportunity for even a brief comment like 'she really needs to work on these bars of this piece this week' which means that practise at home is less focussed and often less frequent.

So I don't think it's fair to blame poor progress on the peris - it's often not their fault, and you can get a poor teacher privately as well as in a school.

abittoofat Sat 11-Dec-10 00:41:56

Ditto snurrk,
AND, when you diligently write in record books, and the parents claim to not know what their child is/should be doing.
I would be tempted to keep an eye on things and see how lessons progress.
Not sure what qualifications a peri has to have???? I know some who have had other careers and just played the instrument for fun hmm. Some come from high calibre music colleges and have/do work professionally on their instruments. If in doubte, ask.

abittoofat Sat 11-Dec-10 00:42:18

Sorry, bad spelling!!

purcellfan Wed 15-Dec-10 08:48:10

Very difficult situation, that you should take up with the head of music in the first instance. Is it the peri's fault that your dd didn't know the room had changed? Had the head of music put up a notice on the timetable? A visiting teacher may not realise that your dd wouldn't know where the room was, they may not either! Although I should say used to work as a peri in a large comprehensive and I would noramlly go and look for the child at the original room if there was a room change. Some peris are open to email communication, this could be effective and you could politely suggest they tell you what your daughter is working on and what she should practice. It's hard for peris too without parental contact and interest is often appreciated. Be careful of getting the teacher's back up before you know the full situation though.

In London £90 a term would be very cheap, sounds like the lessons might be subsidised. You could easily pay double that for private lessons here.

Hope you work it out, very annoying when you feel you're paying for a bad service.

Abr1de Wed 15-Dec-10 08:54:53

Ours are £175 a term for 30 minutes a week. Generally they are very good quality.

My harsh experience has been that the cheaper the lessons the worse the quality. The ones in the private schools have been better than the ones in the state primary, where teachers frequently didn't turn up and offered 'Grades' that were not those of the ABRSM or Trinity or Guildhall but set by the local authority music service. And were not as rigorous as they should be. We have had to retake some of them now that she has a decent teacher, who told her bluntly that she was not Grade two and would have to take the ABRSM Grade Two.

I know this doesn't sound very encouraging. Would you be able to find a private teacher and perhaps have a lesson every other week, paying more but having better quality.

catinthehat2 Wed 15-Dec-10 11:32:48

"'Grades' that were not those of the ABRSM or Trinity or Guildhall but set by the local authority music service."

Whaaaaaaaat? shock
Flipping heck, that is awful

Abr1de Wed 15-Dec-10 11:59:03

We had piano lessons outside school and I suspected at the time that what was required by the ABRSM was more demanding for trumpet, too.

confidence Wed 29-Dec-10 01:06:47

I agree with both brigit and snurrk. Yes, there are some pretty awful peripatetic teachers out there. And yes, there are some serious structural problems with the way things are run that make it difficult even for the good ones to do a good job.

I have overseen peris in schools and it's true that comments often get passed on second hand from child to parent, misinterpreted, and cause unnecessary problems. Unfortunately it's also true that unmotivated or just demoralised peris do sometimes find excuses to take things easy. It's impossible to say which is the case here. I'd go and talk to whoever is in charge of music in the school.

IMO by far the biggest problem with these situations is the lack of direct communication between parent and teacher, as you would get from chatting to the teacher each week as you pick your child up after a private lesson. I'd echo the previous sentiments that you'll get far more value out of a good private teacher. Even if you have to pay twice as much, the child will at least have a chance of making proper substantial progress, and more importantly staying motivated.

thirtyfivepence Sun 09-Jan-11 20:52:39

I have said similar to a child who shows up red faced and in tears because of something that happened (lost instrument, boy I had sent for him "forgot" to tell him, been yelled at by sports coach etc.) I then usually find another time to teach them, but they may not get the full amount of time.

Can't you just call or email the teacher or does it not work like that. I would much prefer someone to come to me directly rather than bother the head of music which usually results in the whole thing being blown out of all proportion (as it become he said she said).

Even if I never see a parent I try to have some sort of email relationship with them as they pay my wages, not the head of music.

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