parent who does not respect limits

said: May 13, 2006
 55 posts

I need some advice about how to deal with a parent who insists on ignoring my requests to limit what he does for “fun” with his daughter on the violin. “John” is a school teacher with a degree in music (piano) and when his daughter began violin with me last year he was originally the home-teacher, however he had trouble with the fact that she did not get to play her violin right away and would just do stuff with her at home that contradicted my instruction. The little girl, six at the time, was very stressed. Eventually, Mom became the home-teacher and everything was much better—much less pressure to perform immediately. “John” also takes lessons from me although he does what he wants and we work on what he brings me—currently bowing issues. At first he thought it was easy to play the violin and now he is realizing it is not so. He can figure out how to play anything, so we work on technical things in his lesson. The problem I have, is that he just goes ahead and teaches his daughter stuff. His wife says he has a bit of a problem with authority. I have asked him not to do certain things. His attitude is that she should be able to play just for fun, rather than work all the time. This may be true, but she is on working on Twinkle variation “C”, so she does not have a lot to draw on for recreation. I have asked him to limit what they do for fun to the things she already knows, suggesting that simply spending the time with him will make it fun, and he can play the duet part. Today, the girl came to her lesson telling me that her dad had her playing stuff on the G-string. I am going to have to call Mom, I think, and have a talk. I hate to bring it up with the “John” again because his daughter is “tattling” on him. Any advice how to deal with this would be appreciated. Thanks

Melissa said: May 13, 2006
 151 posts

I would sit down and have a talk with “John” and say that it is important for him to listen to your instruction when it comes to you teaching his daughter violin. Tell him that is how this (your) method works. Tell him that there are reasons why you don’t want her to play such and such because… and explain why. End the converstion by saying if this doesn’t happen and you cannot listen to my authority, as a teacher, then it will unfortunately be impossible for me to teach your daughter violin, and we’ll need to end her lessons.
It sounds like tough love, I know. But I have been there. Parents do best with direct firm rules (guidelines.)

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