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Parents Sitting in On Lessons?

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  • #85795
    janelle-lake
    Participant

    Hi everyone,

    #85796
    unknown-user
    Participant

    Hi Janelle,

    My mother stopped sitting in on my lessons after about a year. During my first year she had to because the only place to sit was in the harp room, but then I switched teachers. In my second teacher’s studio there was a waiting room just down the hall where the parents could sit and thats where my mother stayed. She could hear the lesson and everything but the waiting room had comfy chairs, magazines, and a bathroom so it was just more comfortable to stay there. Maybe that was for the best though, because my mother tells me that sometimes she cringed when my teacher scolded me! Parents were welcome to sit in on the lesson, and I even know some students at my level and/or age who have their parents sit in. Now I’m in boarding school (with teacher 3) and I take the T to the conservatory on weekends so now my parents aren’t even there outside the door. I think it’s a good idea for parents to be there to know how the lessons are going – but not to help at home. I remember my mom trying to help when I was still with my first teacher, but I would just tell her that she didn’t know what she was talking about! Another story: my second teacher just told me that she had a student learning the second movement of the Pescetti Sonata and

    #85797
    carl-swanson
    Participant

    There’s another, legal, side to this that needs to be considered. If the student is under the age of 18, working alone with the student could leave the teacher in a very vulnerable position and open to the possibility of false accusations concerning what went on in the lesson. Public school teachers and day care workers have gone to prison for years and were ruined in every way because of false accusations about their behavior with the child. I would INSIST that the parent be in the room while the lesson is being taught to any child under the age of 18.

    #85798
    carl-swanson
    Participant

    I want to add one more thing to this. When I was growing up in the 1950’s I was in Boy Scouts for about 6 years, and had a wonderful scout master, a distant cousin on my father’s side of the family. Just a few years ago his widow told me that when Swede(the scoutmaster) was working in scouting, he made absolutely certain that there was always another adult present so that he would not be open to false accusations. I was stunned. Even in the 1950’s he was thinking about this and taking precautions.

    #85799
    Mel Sandberg
    Participant

    Carl, I agree with this in principle.

    #85800
    carl-swanson
    Participant

    Mel- I’m not sure what the answer is. I understand your dilema and there is no easy answer. What little teaching I do these days is usually older students(teenagers and college age) anyway. So I worry less about that. But over the past 30 years there have been some truly horrific trials where innocent people were convicted on flimsy or non-existent evidence, and it took years to get these wrongful convictions overturned. Music teachers should not think that they are exempt from this kind of thing, especially where they are in such close physical contact with the student.

    #85801
    Jerusha Amado
    Participant

    Sam,

    You bring up some good points!

    #85802

    What a horrible idea, Carl. Let’s not get people thinking it should be so! It might be simpler to videotape one’s lessons, then you can study them, and have whatever protection is needed.

    I think it depends on the age of the student, and the extent of the parent’s involvement. If there are behavior or communication problems, they may help by being there.

    If the student is dependent on the parent for help, that becomes a problem. If the parent is over-involved, it becomes a problem. A teen should be able to take a lesson alone, and use the teacher’s notes and their own to practice from. They need privacy, or I certainly did for practicing. Teaching how to practice in the lesson is the main thing. I have thought about asking students to record their practice for me to listen to. I think it would work. I know that when I was at Tanglewood, and Miss Lawrence would come down and check on us, we all practiced perfectly!!!

    #85803
    Chris Asmann
    Participant

    I agree with Carl, I have had two friends affected by false allegations.

    One friend was a bus driver and had a 6yr old boy on his route who was often bullied. My friend being a father himself never thought anything about it. One day this little kid was crying as he climbed the stairs into the bus, my friend picked the boy up, sat him on his knee and showed him the controls for the lights, while trying to get the boy to tell him what had happened.

    Some teacher outside the bus saw this, had no idea what he or she was looking at and filed a complaint alleging sexual abuse of this little boy. (Never mind that the kid was crying as he passed the adults outside the bus and none of them took interest) My friend lost his job and it cost over $20,000.00 to defend himself in court. The name of the person who reported this event was never revealed, they suffered no repercussions and are not subject to countersuit or defamation charges as their anonymity is protected by the school district officials. There is no requirement of the accuser to provide any proof.

    The charges were later dropped and the job offered back, but it took over a year.

    My other friend was falsely accused and lost his job at SUNY college because of their ‘zero tolerance’ policy.

    While I hate to think ill of the people around me and their children, the fact remains that children are often coached to agree to things they don’t understand. They are easily directed by an adult, and there is no real way to defend yourself. If you have a videotape, it could be inferred that the problem happened before or after the tape was recorded. The best policy is to have the parent remain.

    When I was a kid taking piano and violin lessons in the 70’s my teacher required a parent to remain. He explained that he was an instructor, not a babysitter. My mother might have a cup of tea with his wife in the next room, but I was never dropped off at the lesson, though I think his intent was more to keep the parents involved than to cover his back. Any parent should be able to make time to remain at a lesson.

    #85804
    janelle-lake
    Participant

    What a great idea Saul!

    #85805
    janelle-lake
    Participant

    Smart ideas.

    #85806
    janelle-lake
    Participant

    Thank you Sam!

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