I don’t want to offend anyone who has written in this section but I do feel that the issue of the art print and sculpture is important and that a couple things have been overlooked. If the woman had entered a private part of the house and been offended, that would have been out of line. As it is, she entered the area where her daughter was being taught and where you teach, even if it’s in your home, is not a private area anymore. I completely understand being irritated at someone’s conservative view point on this matter but I also understand that the woman in question has a right to raise her daughter the way she wants to and if you are going to teach students under the age of 18 you are going to have to respect the idea that parents have that right. It is very important to me that I respect the rights parents have to raise their children so I try not to make unnecessary comments about religion or politics, or about my personal life or romantic life and I extend this to what ideas and objects are in my studio. Some of the things I have mentioned come from what other people have done, like discussing their relationships with students, likening certain musical things with physical things, etc. Others though are directly applicable to this issue. Again I am not agreeing with the woman who was offended but I really think that you need to respect the parents’ interests. If you don’t see this from what I am saying, then at least recognize that if you don’t respect the parents’ rights to parent, you cannot expect them to respect your right to teach. I don’t expose my students to things I think their parents might object to, no matter what my personal opinion is, and in return I expect to have compliance when I ask students to practice a certain amount a day, when I ask them to do a performance or to participate in a masterclass, and when I ask them to not volunteer for a certain performance because they’re not ready. When teaching students under 18, you must have this balance of respect and really in any situation there should be this balance of respect.
I don’t have any horror stories I can comfortably share because I would feel terrible if one of my students recognized themselves in the story but I can say that the funniest thing happened with one of my first students; I was teaching in a school with very old harp equipment and while I was trying to be very serious and was talking about the importance of some harp thing or other, a screw flew out of the stool I was sitting on and I suddenly found myself on the floor in mid-sentence. Luckily my student thought it was hilarious and I didn’t get hurt. I should probably also mention that I’m about 100 pounds so this was really truly due to old equipment and not to my size although it’s the second time something like that has happened to a harp seat I was sitting on.