Monica R., Australia
I have some students who have started because the parents wanted them to and the result has been, as you may expect, a failure. Other students are a booming success. As I have only been teaching for the past six months, can anyone tell me what is the average drop out rate?
Elaine F., South Carolina
I had a student drop out early on that I could almost predict would do so. Her parents attitude was, “it’s up to her”. They WOULD NOT be involved and perhaps I should not have accepted her as a student, but it seemed worth a chance (and besides I only had 4 students). In spite of my efforts wtih the Relationship Conversation, they never saw the light.
Then there was the adult student who really hated the method and hated being told what to do. She took pride in this aspect of her personality So I was not surprised these 2 dropped out. They would be in a different category than the students who dropped and I really didn’t ex[pect them to. …these are the students that I think I have most to learn from…. but I don’t always know what (though sometimes I do).
Laurie Richards, Nebraska
I don’t have any idea what an average dropout rate is. For me it seems to go in spurts – around sports season and in the summer are higher.
Some students and/or parents begin with an attitude that isn’t conducive to the Simply Music way. But I think it’s always worth a shot to see if they can stretch enough to think outside their box. I had a 7-year-old boy who started 18 months ago, who had absolutely no desire to play piano; he only came because his mom made him. But after a few months, she couldn’t keep him away from the piano. Now he’s in Level 4. He goes through the same peaks and valleys as everyone else, but he has stuck with it, enjoys it, and is one my most diligent students at keeping his Playlist alive.
Adults are typically slower to come around because they are more set in their ways and the fact that they can’t take extra notes. I still think it’s worth a shot to give them a chance at being musically self-expressed.
As far as the parents who absolutely refused to be involved from the very beginning, that might be different since parental participation is an important component of SM.
Two things that Neil has talked about that I think can help minimize dropout rates are:
1. Keeping the Relationship Conversation alive. I keep a copy of the chart on neon-colored paper, framed, in my studio and ask every so often, “where are you at with piano right now?”. If they are way at the bottom, I just say, “Oh, great! That means you’re normal.” Then talk about how no matter where they’re at, it’s temporary. I will share that I also go through periods where I don’t feel like playing, but I’m sure glad I stuck with it, because it’s always been an important part of my life, like a friend.
2. Consistently talking about the benefits of playing the piano so that students and parents can be grounded as to WHY they should stick it out through the valleys. This is something I need to remember to do more.
We also have to accept that there are people out there who, for various reasons, will not thrive with Simply Music. But the overwhelming majority WILL.