harp teachers with newborn babies

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    I am a professional harp teacher, working out of my house and at the local university.


    Congratulations on your expectant arrival!

    Connie Browning


    Our daughter’s viola teacher has the same situation. Her baby is now nearly 3. She hired a baby-sitter for the hourse she taught. There were a couple of times that her baby-sitter-who was a high schooler-was unable to come. Those lessons, her teacher called and asked if I would like to cancel the lesson (reschedule or credit the fee to next month) or watch the baby. (I played with the baby) Her baby sitter was a student of hers. She also limited the hours that she would teach so she could get us all into 1-2 days. She also had make-up/extra lessons (competition, audition times) when her husband was home.

    Good luck-hope this helped some



    Thanks for the responses,

    I have more than 40 students and really wouldn’t be willing to take too much time off or drop any students as there are not any other competent teachers within 1 1/2 hours drive.


    All I can think of is that the baby’s needs must come first, and teaching in the baby’s presence could create jealous feelings, and you can only guess what the baby will need. I’m sure you hope for a normal, healthy baby, but you never know what will come along down the road. 40 students is a big load, and it sounds like you might need an au pair or nanny so you have a consistent relationship for the baby, and no worries about juggling care schedules for yourself. I don’t know how that works financially, but there is probably even a foreign harp student who could work as au pair in exchange for lessons and a few hours practice a day. But where are you, that there are no other harp teachers for such a distance? Lucky you.


    I live in Middle Ga. – about 1 1/2 from Atlanta, the next closest city with any professionals. I have thought about a full time nanny but figured that 2 days a week is all I’d really need is someone during the hours that my homeschoolers come (which is about 1/2 of all my students) and when I’m at the University.


    I haven’t had to face this scenario yet, but wondered if I will find
    myself pregnant just as I manage to build up a good solid studio. I
    have thought through scenarios, focusing on retaining students. You may
    be able to teach some of them in groups or pairs for a period of time.
    My doctoral minor was in piano pedagogy and my primary professor was an
    enthusiastic advocate for teaching students in pairs (and groups). She
    taught us
    that students can benefit from each other as much as from a teacher. So
    far I have taught my harp students individually, but consider this
    option. Of course it may require that students bring their harps and
    may be limited to the lever harp students. You could divide them by
    levels and include ensemble playing. Their recitals could include their
    solos and ensembles. It could be a great opportunity for your students
    to get to know each other. Advanced students and those focused on
    becoming professional need more one on one time, but the ensemble
    environment has its own benefits. When your children are older you
    could add in more one on one time, but may find you really enjoy
    maintaining some of the group teaching. If you had five in a group on
    average for an hour+ lesson that would be eight hours (some may still
    need individual lessons) Some of this could be evenings and/or a
    weekend day when your husband is home? This combined with the student
    babysitter = free lesson exchange during your teaching time during the weekdays could make
    it work.


    The idea of group lessons is interesting, but I already teach an ensemble once a month and I find that the students don’t get as much accomplished as in single classes.


    I have boy-girl twins, so I had to get them used to bottles and nursing right from the beginning. This makes it much easier to let baby-sitters take over when you have to work. My kids got comfortable being looked after by several different people. When they were very little, I was too exhausted to teach much, but it would have been impossible to teach without a baby-sitter. Once I was back at work playing and teaching full-time, we got a nanny. Even so, whenever I was teaching at home, I left gaps in the schedule so that I could spend time with my adorable babies. Now they’re grown up and I’m so glad I did. An aside: I believe that it helps a child’s social development to get friendly with lots of people from an early age. They suggest this routine for puppies, too!


    Great advise!


    I am not a teacher, but an amature beginner, so at first I just lurked.


    Your students should be very understanding. Heide’s right; there is no way to predict what you can manage after the birth of a baby, what with all the different personalities and needs. Take 2 months off at least, then ease back in, as you suggest. Do you have someone you trust who can substitute for you while you get your energy back? I had no problem with any of my students being upset with the temporary situation. You could even try giving a lesson at a discount if you can’t get a sitter or a substitute teacher and the student really needs your help. The student would have to understand that there would be interruptions, and possibly a whole-sale abandonment of the lesson if things went all to pieces. The main thing is to be realistic with what you schedule, and make sure the students understand. You’ll know better what to do once your baby is born. Congratulations!


    I believe all of my students and their parents will be very understanding and will expect that I take some tim off.

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