Student quit after one month – parent not on board
Sue L., California
I am disappointed to have a student stop lessons after one month. She is 9 years old and came in with several years of traditional lesson experience. My sense was that her mother was positive about SM and letting her start at Level 1, but her father expressed concerns (via his wife) about having to buy the materials. That was my first red flag, and I said “let’s use my books for the first few lessons and see how we all feel about it”. I think that was my mistake.
In retrospect, I should have tried to talk to the father directly and settled things one way or the other up front. I think he envisioned his daughter playing only classical music. My sense is that her prior teacher was “too strict” and, in searching for a more gentle teacher, they liked me, but did not “buy into” the SM method. Or maybe the mom did, but clearly the dad did not because I did not try to talk with him. I will learn from this, and am sharing it so you can learn from it as well.
Stephen R., California
I would also try and get both parents (or all involved adults) to the FIS’s as well, so you can meet and talk with everyone from the beginning. I have regrets with some families where only one parent attended the FIS and then later the other or grandma became the new coach.
The big thing to communicate is that this is a commitment and a long-term journey. They learn a lot in person at the FIS and can read all about it on the web site. I require a two-month commitment with payment, and purchasing the materials is also required.
You may also have to do more of an assessment with prior traditional students: the approach to reading, developing all these styles, building a repertoire, etc. I refer all families to the student side of the web site and have them “View the Brochure” so they can see how the programs unfold and the general timeline.
Joanne D., Australia
What a shame but a good learning experience also. I always do a FIS and after that they need to pay by the term (usually 10 weeks) in advance if they want to continue. Once payment is received, I email instructions to open the digital account which they have to have opened either before or on the day of the first official lesson. I also refer them to the web site usually before the FIS to make sure they have already read up about the method. Otherwise it’s a waste of your and their time. It’s hard when two parents are not on the same page too. It’s a shame for the student who would have loved it.
Leeanne I., Australia
Students with prior experience (and their parents) can be frustrating, as they often think the beginning SM material is too easy for them. It’s really important that you reiterate they are learning a new way of learning and they need to start at the beginning so they learn all the tools and strategies.