Playlist: Parent’s unmet expectations
Sue L., California
The parent of a student I’ve had for three years told me that her daughter needs review because she only plays the current songs on her playlist (Level 6). The student’s father travels for months at a time and comes home with expectations to hear “all the songs” and is angry when some are “forgotten”. In addition, the student has been traveling back and forth out of state where dad has been working and where there is no piano.
I felt angry too, because that reaction did not honor a lot of the good progress the student has made. So I wrote to the mom outlining a revised “piano learning plan” and highlighted her daughter’s many accomplishments. I’m not defending a weak playlist, and I am addressing that, but what I learned is that it’s good to redefine expectations as students mature musically and chronologically. I also learned that parents who are not on the same page can undermine a student’s success (with unclear expectations) and possibly be a better team with clearer and documented expectations.
Missy M., Iowa
I had planned for a student to play her playlist for me this week. I wanted it to be a celebration but she got extremely anxious and upset, breaking down in the lesson. I then asked her to play her favorite songs and called it good (but I know her playlist is pretty strong). I realized there is more to our musical journey than proving her playlist is top notch. I don’t want to compromise being real.
Laurie Richards, Nebraska
I absolutely agree with your statement “it’s good to redefine expectations as students mature”. I have learned the hard way to set up expectations from the beginning. But sometimes we don’t realize we need to until an ‘issue’ arises. It’s an opportunity to consistently learn and grow from our teaching experience.