Parents videoing

Posted In: Teaching the Harp

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    M Rodgers on #185260

    This is a first for me. I have a new student who is in 6th grade and her mother spent the first lessons taking tons of pics and video. I thought it was just a novelty thing to show the grandparents and such. The second lesson she sat intently and videotaped the lesson until I turned to her and asked if that was what she was doing. She seemed flustered and said it was to share with Grandma and also for the daughter to refer to in practice.

    I know they have a “friend” who also got a harp for Christmas and I suspect the videoing of the lesson is to share with her ( they mentioned that she couldn’t afford lessons right now). I am thinking of telling the mother that she can audio record the lessons so if her daughter would like to refer to it, she can and she will remember what she was doing when I was speaking. I am not comfortable with someone other than me videotaping the lessons. Is that weird? With social media and Youtube being so popular, I guess I want to control what might end up there….

    Allison Stevick on #185265

    I think the mother should have asked your permission before doing video recording, and should respect your wishes for audio recording instead. Also, it seems a little sneaky/dishonest/disrespectful for her to record without permission in order to probably give it to a friend as “free lessons”… It is not weird for you to want control over what media you are in and where it may end up. I hope any future lessons with this person go well.

    carl-swanson on #185266

    Tell this woman that she is not paying you for the right to videotape the lessons, and that if she had asked for permission, you would have refused. You have no idea what this woman is going to do with the tapes. She may be intending to put them together as a series of harp lessons and put them up on youtube, sell them, who knows. She could also edit them to make you look ridiculous, or make it look like you told her daughter something that you did not. If she wants her daughter to have something to refer to at home, then tell her to take notes. The daughter should have no need to watch a tape of the lesson if she paid attention during the lesson, and without the tape, the chances are better that she will pay attention.

    Tacye on #185267

    I am not comfortable being filmed and would explain that it distracts me from teaching. Do you usually let parents sit in on lessons?

    czenzilee on #185357

    I am not a harp teacher (actually, as a beginner, I probably need the lessons), but I do teach. I have a strict no recording policy, and I tell students that the first day and in the syllabus. I know 90% of them just want an easier way to study for the test, but there is no way of controlling for the other 10%. Also, it makes me much more aware of watching what I say in class.

    I would be clear and firm in your policy, whatever you decide it to be, and probably make it in writing if possible. But, be aware that there is no way to really stop her from using a mini-recorder or sneaking camera phone pictures. However, and probably this is not something you’ll ever need, if she distributes “snuck” images or recordings you may have some legal recourse as she is a third party (albeit a parent). I believe it depends on your state’s hidden camera and consent laws.

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #185385

    Teaching is a live, in-the-moment experience. Recording alters that. I brought a tape recorder to a few of my lessons with Lucile Lawrence, and the unexpected benefit of that was that she was a lot more complimentary than usual. The lessons were different, but at least I have a record of her teaching for historical purposes. But she was put-upon by it. It’s an invasion of the teacher’s privacy. And, yes, they should pay extra, and you would need a contract restricting the use, otherwise it is public domain.

    Gretchen Cover on #185387

    My guitar partner is a professional instructor. He likes to use his smart-phone as part of lessons. Sometimes he has his student do a short video of him or he may do a clip at home to send to a student. Mostly, he is illustrating a technique or short passage. It is done in a way to help that particular student but would be of no value otherwise.

    I was stuck on a harp/guitar passage so I filmed him as he played the passage very slowly, then faster, then up to tempo. That way I could practice on my own without wasting our rehearsal time. I think selective filming for reinforcement is the key, not filming a whole lesson.

    Angela Biggs on #185388

    I would ask the parent to stop. I’m not personally comfortable being recorded, and what you’re describing sounds off.

    My experience as a voice student is that taping an entire lesson is useless. I have never, never gone back to listen to an entire lesson on tape — and I’ve certainly never tried to find a specific point in the hour-long recording. Unless you’re teaching five-minute lessons, an entire lesson is too much information to efficiently “refer to in practice.”

    Nowadays, if I’m having trouble with an ornament in a voice lesson, my teacher will sing it for me while I record with my phone — ten seconds or less. In my studio(s), I find that taking a picture of a new harper’s good hand position from over her shoulder (from her point of view) can really help her get it at home. I also have a voice student who needs help with pitch-matching, and the only way to improve that is to do it every day, so we have to record that part of her lesson.

    My brother once came up here to take a voice lesson with me, and he recorded it. The knowledge I was being recorded noticeably changed my teaching, and I wasn’t happy with the changes.

    So I’m with Gretchen — recording is for particular moments in the course of a lesson, when it will serve a specific purpose.

    Jerusha Amado on #185395

    Tayce asked about parents sitting in on lessons. Some parents insist on doing so if their children are underage.

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