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The Great Debate--Parental Involvement?!

Posted by Connie Vellekoop on January 19, 2010 at 8:35 AM Comments comments (1)

One of the issues that appears frequently is that of Parental Involvement in the pianistic progress of a student.

    Age of the student is the main factor--the younger the student, the more the parent needs to be involved: Reminding about practice time, making sure it happens, reading the notebook with the student and making sure he/she understands what and how to practice.

     As the student matures, the parent can involve themselves less and less -- BUT, always keeping an ear tuned to what's going on!  YOU are paying a lot of money for this, so it's to your best interest to make sure your child is progressing as they should. 

:lol: I'm a firm believer in "You live under my roof, eat my food, so I call the shots!"  This does not have to be done in a domineering, belligerent way.  It's what I call "cheerful obdurance!"  And believe me, this is all from LONG experience with my own kids.  I have heard EVERY excuse, ALL the tearful complaints, and ANY kind of temper tantrum.  With calm demeanor and folded arms, I reminded them, "I, your mother, cannot be moved!"

      I WOULD like to gently request, though, that if the parent is sitting in on the lesson, to please not offer corrections, reprimands, and comments to your offspring during the lesson.  I am perfectly capable of correcting even (gasp!) BAD ATTITUDES.  Yup, I've seen them all and I have my ways of dealing with it.  And if it's a musical correction needed, I take into account the priority and importance of the mistake--sometimes choosing to focus on only one or two issues.



Why Count Out Loud?

Posted by Connie Vellekoop on January 16, 2010 at 9:53 PM Comments comments (1)

:D Ask any piano teacher!  Counting out loud is near and dear to our hearts!  We view it as our favorite form of torture--second only to metronome use!

Just kiddin' of course, but this is exactly what some students seem to see it as.  But let me explain the reasons why I hound, cajole, threaten and bribe students to count out loud:

1. To keep the beat steady

2. To play the right note values (whole, half, quarter, eighths, etc.)

3. To know where you are in the measure--"Am I on the first beat or the third?" Etc.

4. It keeps the student focused on the music (it's hard to think about other things if you're counting out loud.)

5. For some reason no one seems to be able to explain--the person seems to play the notes better--not as many errors.  One of my teachers used to say: "Saying it---makes playing it!"