Should I change teacher?

Jacqueline Cheong said: Aug 28, 2011
 4 posts

My four year old has been taking lessons in violin and I find his teacher does not know how to motivate him. He is asked to correct his posture and the way he holds his bow for every lesson. I know these are important but the teacher is rigid with him that he loses interest and concentration after a while. I really pity him as he becomes very tired after each lesson. Even I don’t enjoy the class. What should I do? Should I change him to a more experience teacher, one that can understand a four year old better?

Catherine Toda said: Aug 28, 2011
Catherine TodaPiano
Bomoseen, VT
5 posts

Jacqueline,

It is so hard to give advice in this type of situation, because I am not there during your son’s lessons. However a few things seem to be true, and maybe after hearing these things you can make a decision.

  1. What length of time to concentrate is your child ready for? It is good to match that time up with your expectations for lesson time. It is not wrong for your child to only be able to do 5 or 10 minutes, he will grow and the lesson times will grow.
  2. Smiles and laughter can go hand in hand along with the discipline of learning to play an instrument. I find lessons cannot be without it.
  3. I suggest you get the book by Carrie Reuning-Hummel entitled “Time To Practice: A Companion for Parents” It will give you insight into the dynamics of learning that will be invaluable! She also spoke in the “Parents as Partners” videos that came out in the beginning of this year. She is an excellent resource.

These are just a few things I wanted to share…the subject of your question is broad…I’m sure you get more replies also. I love 4 yr. olds. They are my favorite age child to teach! I teach piano~

I hope all the best for your son! Feel free to email me and let me know how you made out! [javascript protected email address]

Catherine

Catherine Toda

Jacqueline Cheong said: Aug 28, 2011
 4 posts

Thanks Catherine for the advice. You are right, my son could not concentrate on his practice for more than 10 minutes. His teacher is a very young man so I am not very confident with him. He is also very,very serious when conducting his lessons. I hardly see him smile. Do you know that I actually feel very stressful taking my son to the class as I fear that he might misbehave. My son had made faces at his teacher when he got angry, ran around the class as if he’s in the playground and used his bow as a sword! I don’t want to give up on the lesson and when I asked my boy, neither does he. I shall look for the book that you’ve suggested. Thank you once again!

Irene said: Aug 28, 2011
Irene YeongViolin
160 posts

I’d change teacher if I were you. Going to a lesson should not be stressful for the kid and the parents. Catherine is right. Smiles and laughter can go hand in hand along with discipline to learn an instrument. For early learner, sometimes they learn for the sake of getting approval from teacher they adore. They love to be praised, the applause , the stickers. As they grow up, let them reminisce the good times , of fond memories with their violin teacher, not a nightmare .

Jacqueline Cheong said: Aug 29, 2011
 4 posts

Thanks Irene. In fact, I’ve arranged to meet a new teacher this Friday. She sounded really understanding over the phone when I told her my problems with the classes. I really hope this will work out. I don’t want to be so stressful anymore as I have another older boy to take care of especially his homework from school. Thanks for the advice.

Catherine Toda said: Aug 29, 2011
Catherine TodaPiano
Bomoseen, VT
5 posts

Your welcome Jacqueline!

Catherine Toda

Alissa said: Aug 29, 2011
Alissa Rieb
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
61 posts

One thing to keep in mind, and also something I’m sure has been discussed before:  how to leave the other teacher if you choose.  I’ve been on both sides and when I was a new teacher, it hurt a lot to hear that a student was trying other teachers without talking to me about their frustrations.  I actually had a great parting with a family whom I actually recommended my replacement for them!  It was a perfect fit.  I also had a family transfer to me on another teacher’s suggestion and it worked pefectly.  Anyway, the worst is when you feel like things were done without giving the teacher a chance to make it right one way or another.  Best of luck to you!

Sent from my Palm Pixi on AT&T

Paula Bird said: Aug 29, 2011
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Viola
Wimberley, TX
386 posts

I recently wrote an article about this, Alissa. You may find it useful:
link

Mom, you might try thinking of some ways for your son to practice this skill at home on all the other days in between the lessons. After all you have the most power of all because of the sheer number of minutes in close proximity with your child. I hope my studio parents understand our partnership together: what we work on in lessons should be considered homework and improved upon at home (at least not forgotten or deteriorating!) so I don’t have to give the same lesson the following week.

Paula E. Bird
TX State University
Wildflower Suzuki Studio
http://teachsuzuki.blogspot.com (blog)
http://teachsuzuki.com (podcast)

Jacqueline Cheong said: Aug 29, 2011
 4 posts

Thank you all for the wonderful advice. I shall bear in mind on not hurting young teacher’s feeling.

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