Parent Wanting Extra Practice
Found in: Coaches
Carrie L., Michigan
I received the following note about a student of mine. She’s been taking 12 lessons and has just started Level 2 and we’ve done about every arrangement. She comes back every week 100% prepared. I think she’s come back one time in the 12 lessons with one arrangement not worked out. I’m not sure how to handle the situation as to me 20 minutes of practicing seems sufficient and I don’t think kids should get burned out by practicing so much, after all I’m not a traditional teacher forcing her to practice scales and other time wasting activities. Thoughts??
“I am really glad with Xiadani’s progress. It seems that she has adjusted
very well to your teaching method.
One thing I would like to discuss with you is on her daily practice time.
She only practices about 20 minutes / day since she says this is the
recommended practice time given from you.
I am convinced that she would practice longer if you could make such
recommendation, maybe 40 – 45 minutes / day, 7 days a week. She is very
respectful on what her teachers and coaches ask her to do after the
Kevin M., California
Hi Carrie, I have had this come up several times and always handle it the same way. I firstly have a conversation with the parent and ask them how they think their child is doing with the lessons, as well as how they feel about my teaching and the method itself ( of course I bring up their letter/request for practice time) I also ask them what their thoughts are behind more practice time and listen to their thoughts, sometimes I am surprised with their answer but always find it helpful four our upcoming conversation. I find it’s much easier to diffuse situations like this firstly by listening to the parent’s thoughts, and reasons behind their requests, as well as giving them a chance to express themselves.
I then talk about how the program works and what the future holds for the child, how our program unfolds, when we start the reading process, etc.. I let them know perhaps as we have more songs on the play list, and several projects going at one time the practice time may change slightly and increase. I personally can’t see any more than thirty minutes a day most days a week needed. (also it is very important to distinguish the difference between practice time and playing time, does she go to the piano and play on her own, beyond practice time, this one issue can be so overlooked by teachers and students/parents alike.)
My purpose for all this is to get the parent on the same page as I am. I want them to know my agenda/plan/goal for me I want my student firstly to enjoy their experience with Simply Music, have them playing many songs from memory, the joy of expressing themselves musically, to have my students go through the reading program and give them the ability to self generate, I believe the gift of having music as a companion, that will be with them for the rest of their life’s is one of the greatest gifts I can give, and is why I have been teaching this program since it’s inception.
I analogize Simply Music to speaking if need be to get my point across, when our kids are learning to speak how much time do we require our kids to practice speaking? if their first word is daddy, do we say sorry honey it’s Dad, now go practice that for thirty minutes a day and once you have that mastered we can move on to the next word. Ridiculous I know! This program is similar to learning to speak in that we learn to play first, read later. Speaking starts out as babble, turns into words, then sentences and phrases, and language happens. The Simply Music program has been meticulously put together by our founder, and practice times etc. are all an integral part of this program. Over the years we have found with out exception the students who do best with this programs are the ones who follow all aspects as closely as possible, not only including practice playing recommendations, but our note taking process, how we incorporate the audio recordings, watching the videos etc.
Look how well your daughter is doing. The program is working perfectly, She is loving her lessons, loves to practice comes to class fully prepared, is one of my best and favorite students I really feel as her teacher we are doing everything right, and I need your full trust and support, not only on my practice recommendations, but it is vitally important we are also on the same page with all the other aspects of this program we will be working together as a team on. Some examples to bring up might be beyond just practice times, addressing the nature of long term relationships, note taking, working together on managing the videos, etc.. I welcome all questions and am more then happy and am here for you to have any conversations you feel strongly about on what is the best way to help your child move through this program.
I always try to leave the parent feeling empowered with our conversation, and hopefully if all goes well we have a closer relationship, and things get even better. On the flip side I have had parents that will not get on the same page with me and start doing things that undermine the success of the program and student. Which can make my job extremely difficult, if not down right impossible, and have had to make the hard decision of letting the student go, wishing them best of luck in their search to find a teacher that is better suited to what they are looking for. Luckily these are very few and far between.