I’m having an FIS tomorrow with a few parents and they asked if they should bring their potential students with them. I said yes, but I’m wondering what you all do. I thought it would be good for the kids to hear, but maybe it won’t interest them since a lot of the info is for the parents. Two of the students are 7. Suggestions?
I usually demonstrate a few SM songs, which would interest the kids. Also, I like to let each student have a go on the piano, to see what they know and how their fingers work. Having said that, I usually only have one student in my FIS’s.
Absolutely a must for them to attend. I also invite the family if they are able to attend, including babies, toddlers, etc. I want to meet the family. I want to know how they work together. The children learn to listen, I learn about them. It is a must for me.
But I say to the kids, “I will be talking a lot about things that you may not understand. This session is mainly for your mum and dad to know what we do. However, (and here I whisper and put my hand to the side of my mouth as though just talking to them) mum and dad are going to forget everything I say so I need you to have your listening ears on too so you can help them when they forget”. Some kids get a real kick out of this and then look at the parents as if they now have some responsibility and connection in what is happening for them to become musicians.
It is also a great time for me to see the siblings and if it is possible to put them into time slots with siblings there, or keep them at later times. It also helps me if other parents come in with same aged siblings. It helps me to know, when grouping students, who may or may not be able to work together.
If the parent has had no previous piano experience, I have them do the demo piece. This helps the child see the vulnerability in their parent and helps the parent learn it is not easy sitting in the ‘hot seat’.
I do have the potential students attend the FIS when possible. They will remember one or more of the songs I demonstrate and will resonate with the music: “I can’t wait to learn that one!”
I always have the student attend. I’m looking for things like, how do they treat their parents? Do they listen to their parents? Obey? Do they look me in the eye when I speak to them? How do they behave in a group? How do the parents relate to the child? Does the student have any particular behaviors that are noticeable and remarkable? i.e. a child who has repetitive behaviors or is exceptionally observant or makes interesting comments. It’s a huge info-gathering opportunity for you.
I insist the student comes. I watch them more than they watch me!
Potential students always come to my FIS. I’m interviewing them as much as they are me.
The parents are also watching you to see how you interact with their child.