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Music teacher again...

(31 Posts)
Worriedandlost Thu 10-Dec-15 11:16:57

Need some view from the outside please....

dd1 was with her violin teacher for 3 years, rapid progress, excellent exam results. She is also doing second instrument.

ds2 (4yo) started his lessons in September.
I must admit I am still struggling to adjust to two children at school/after school activities/homework/one child has sp.needs/dh is working away the whole week. As a result ds2 music practice is not my highest priority and sometimes when I am short of time I just ignore it. But he seems to be better at it than I expected, so dropping the lessons is not an option.

I was away last week and returned only two days before the lesson and did not have time to practice again. Then at the end of the lesson teacher said "it is so offensive that you don't practice with him as my time worth more than you pay and if he does not practice there is no point in having the lessons". The tone of her voice matching the content of her speech-basically telling me off. Apparently I am not a new parent to her and surely dd1 would never had good exam results if I didn't control her practice, not being involved, etc.

Am I right thinking that this was over the top (esp wording as she could make her point in a more polite way) or am overacting?

hairygodmother Thu 10-Dec-15 11:25:02

Seems a bit OTT to me. If she isn't charging you enough, she should do something about it. I totally understand about the not finding enough time to practise thing and I'm sure it happens to all of us. It does seem as though she's being a bit rude. Or is she very busy and very in demand? Did she teach your dd1 as well? Maybe she's just comparing them.

Worriedandlost Thu 10-Dec-15 11:32:25

Yes, she is teaching both of them....
She is charging £44/hour and we are not in London shock

hairygodmother Thu 10-Dec-15 11:33:13

Time to find a new violin teacher, perhaps?

Lancelottie Thu 10-Dec-15 11:36:32

How did you resists saying 'You're very rude'?

And if her time is worth more than you pay, that's her problem not yours.

ReallyTired Thu 10-Dec-15 11:36:50

Do your children have the same violin teacher? Four years old is very young to start violin unless you are doing Suzuki. I don't think you need to control your child's practice so much as to show an interest and encourage them. The violin teacher was rude, but she does have a point. Maybe she has a waiting list of keen children wanting to start violin. Making ten minutes a day three or four times a week should not be that hard. Either you want your child to learn or you don't.

Lancelottie Thu 10-Dec-15 11:37:55

Finding 10 minutes when you aren't there is a bit difficult, though!

Worriedandlost Thu 10-Dec-15 11:39:00

Sometimes it does feel like that! But it also feel a bit strange to change the teacher who delivers good exam results... (saying that I know that the exam marks are not always a fair reflection of student's ability). But I started to feel that every lesson turns into a huge challenge to me angry

hairygodmother Thu 10-Dec-15 11:40:46

Tiny bit harsh there, she said she'd been away. We try and practise three times a week but for example I was ill at the weekend so no practice was done then. My husband isn't musical and wouldn't know where to start and my daughter hasn't been learning long enough to practise on her own.

I think that if the violin teacher has a waiting list, then that may be her motivation for saying this. I think she could have been more diplomatic about it.

Worriedandlost Thu 10-Dec-15 11:48:47

Thank you for your opinion ladies (and gentlemen if there are any smile)

I do agree that practicing is important (at least because it costs so much money shock and if we don't practice it is essentially wasted). But sometimes it is difficult to find even 10 mins.... Because it is 5 mins to take out/put away the violin, making sure that second child is not causing trouble elsewhere smile, then he is only 4yo and if he gets tired it takes 10 mins to focus him only. So, it is never 10 mins really.... Yes, he is young, but he was keen to start, and he seems to be ok and coping (it is a traditional method), though he struggles with posture and strings of course as he has short fat fingers smile. But I think it is the right time to enter him into the lessons and making it a habit without putting too much pressure this is why I also a bit relaxed about his practicing. I put quite a lot of pressure on my no.1 and don't want to make the same mistakes with no2

ReallyTired Thu 10-Dec-15 11:52:15

I agree that she should be more tactful when discussing lack of practice. Your husband does not need to be musical to supervise music practice anymore than you need to be a dentist to supervise tooth brushing. A four year old needs an interested parent who encourages them. The violin teacher does the teaching, the parent gives the child the emotional support to be successful.

Maybe your violin teacher was outspoken, but she does have a point, even if she could have been a bit more polite. Violin lessons are a privilege. Dd had to wait 12 months before she started lessons at five and half.

Worriedandlost Thu 10-Dec-15 11:55:37

My husband is very musical and recently learned violin himself (playing two other instruments before). Problem is he is working away and coming during weekends only and of course by the time he comes there are so many other things to do.

hairygodmother Thu 10-Dec-15 11:58:25

Get your point ReallyTired but the music that my kids do has ended up being my domain. Both my girls do a lot of singing as well and that's kind of how it's ended up. I honestly don't think my husband would know if she had the violin the right way up or not, ha. I think that when she's more established and knows what she's doing, then he should just be able to supervise, but (perhaps a bit like you Worriedandlost), I am being little controlling about the practise, want to make sure she's playing the notes in tune etc. Plus I also play the piano for her sometimes when we practise. Maybe I need to back off a bit but for now that's the way it is. I'm not sure that the dentist/tooth-brushing comparison is ideal, I think that some musical knowledge is clearly an advantage when supervising music practice.

TassleTits Thu 10-Dec-15 11:59:15

Wow she was so rude! I'm a violin teacher and I'd say she's probably worried that you'll expect the same excellent results for ds2 as dd1 has always had, and maybe it's not shaping up that way and she feels under pressure. Her manner was unacceptable though. I also think her fees are much too high (mine are £28/hr) and your ds is probably too young. I don't start anyone younger than 7, as majority of children don't have the concentration or even the motor skills before then, and violin is so difficult in the beginning. I prefer them that little bit older, so they can make faster progress and it keeps their enthusiasm up. I know there are lots of teachers who disagree though!

Noteventhebestdrummer Thu 10-Dec-15 11:59:50

It was very rude.

Teaching is about effective communication. This teacher either can't do this or has chosen to be offensive. Either situation would have me terminating lessons with her.

Worriedandlost Thu 10-Dec-15 12:00:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

hairygodmother Thu 10-Dec-15 12:03:03

Quite apart from anything else, he's only been learning for a term!

Worriedandlost Thu 10-Dec-15 12:07:20

TassleTits in a way I was silly letting ds having the lessons as it is just an additional burden on me and he is still adjusting to school (and to be honest he is very different to dd1 and quite often I make my decisions based on my experience with her). But he is moving slowly but surely and therefore I don't want to stop his lessons. He is moving to a new teacher after NY though, I feel that current teacher is not right for him-too strict.
I have to decide about dd1 now as her motivation to play violin was close to zero recently and I started to suspect that it may be because of teacher too.....

ReallyTired Thu 10-Dec-15 12:07:46

My daughter started violin at five and half and she has caught up children who started at four years old. Her teacher uses a lot of games to learn good Bowing. Dd also spent a lot time developing chin and shoulder strength by doing exercises in front of the TV. She also practiced bow holds.

Some children do have to coordination to learn the violin earlier than seven. I would not bother with lessons until a child had the fine motor skills to draw, use scissors or do up buttons.

hairygodmother Thu 10-Dec-15 12:13:37

Interested in the sound of those exercises, does she practise holding something under her chin or something?

Worriedandlost Thu 10-Dec-15 12:13:52

He has all that ReallyTired, as well as dd1 did at the time (she also started before 5) but I feel that "violin motor skills" may involve some different motor skills as dd, for example, does not have "inborn" violin posture and still has some problems with it (or at least I would like to think so, may be it is just overlooking on teacher' s behalf smile).
I agree about games but our teacher doesn't do games sad

Lancelottie Thu 10-Dec-15 12:31:14

Excellent, no need to feel guilty about dumping her then.

Lancelottie Thu 10-Dec-15 12:31:52

(am definitely not Tiger Mother about music practice, hence DS taking 10 years to get to grade 8)

Worriedandlost Thu 10-Dec-15 12:34:10


Blowninonabreeze Thu 10-Dec-15 12:47:01

One thing that made a huge difference to my kids acceptance of daily practice (although they were older than yours when they started) was to get a stand for each instrument so you don't have to unpack/repack after each practice session.

We now have multiple instruments (everywhere!) but at least they're attractive and kids much more likely to play spontaneously.

We also have a 2 year old who has had instruments around all her life and (on the whole) is very respectful and doesn't fiddle with them.

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