Shall we change our violin teacher in this situation?

April Jonathan said: Oct 1, 2019
 1 posts

My child has been learning violin for two years. He is very smart and learning things very quickly. He had a wonderful teacher. However, the teacher’s health situation is going down as he is pretty senior. For instance, he had to cancel four classes in a row in May, three classes in July due to health issues. Now he has canceled two classes in the past two weeks and I am not sure if he can teach next week.

Shall I start to look for a new violin teacher given this situation? The teacher is a great teacher and we don’t want to make him feel sad. I am just worried about my child’s progress given so many class cancellations. Thanks for any suggestion!

Kelly Williamson said: Oct 2, 2019
Kelly WilliamsonTeacher Trainer
Institute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Flute, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Cambridge, ON
304 posts

Off the top of my head, I would first let the teacher know that you really value and appreciate him. I might then say that I am concerned about the effect that missing so many lessons has on your child’s progress, and ask if there is another teacher (or even possibly an advanced student) that he would recommend to give a substitute class for the times when he is not able to teach your son.

I would not hurry to find a different teacher because I think it sends a strong message to your son: that when people can’t meet their obligations to us, we move on. Your son’s violin progress is important, but so is the personal relationship that he has had with his teacher. If this is the last year that the teacher is able to continue, do you prefer to be one of the first to jump ship, or to support the teacher through this life transition? I suspect that the teacher is very worried about what is happening with his health, and is at least as concerned as you are about meeting his commitments, and may be struggling to figure out what to do.

Can you be patient for another year, and look for a support in the situation, rather than switching teachers right now? I think you may find that this is the best life lesson for your son right now… best of luck to you, and my heart goes out to your teacher!


Barbara Eadie said: Oct 3, 2019
Barbara Eadie
Suzuki Association Member
Victoria, BC
39 posts

I agree wholeheartedly with Kelly. Students bond with their teachers and to abruptly upset this delecate balance could put a student off studying the instrument completely. This is a difficult time for the teacher and I am sure he is worriedf about missing the lessons, so I think the idea of a sub is a great one. Perhaps this is an opportunity for an experienced pro to help a bright up and coming younger teacher get a good start which could be a win win for everyone. When this teacher retires, a party or some kind of celebration would be appropriate as a thank you from the musical community, making the transition from one part of his life to the next stage easier.

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