potential student doesn’t even like music

Deanna said: Dec 16, 2009
Suzuki Association Member
90 posts

I just had a prospective family come to observe a violin lesson today and have an intial interview. The parents seem quite interested but the little boy (age 5) said he doesn’t even like music. None. But he likes to draw. The parents are wanting to start him in violin and piano at the same time. They already have the piano teacher lined up and the boy starts lessons this week.

I had a very mini lesson with the boy today. He was in some sort of group violin class in preschool in China but his parents were doubtful that he learned anything. And he didn’t know how to hold the violin or bow at all so I think that’s true. During our lesson he reluctantly tried things but required a lot of encouragement from mom and dad. He just didn’t seem very interested.

Now I’m feeling reluctant about taking the student on. I’m feeling that he’ll be a difficult student that really doesn’t care about music or learning but is just going through the motions reluctantly because his parents are forcing him to. And that he’ll end up disliking music even more.

What do you all think? Have you taken on students that said they don’t like music at all and have no interest in learning how to play an instrument?

Karra said: Dec 16, 2009
51 posts

This is exactly why I do interviews before deciding whether or not to take on a student. I won’t take students if I know the parents are forcing them to take lessons. No one pays me enough to torture kids.

“It may very well be music that will one day save the world”— Pablo Casals

Sue Ellen Dubbert said: Dec 17, 2009
Sue Ellen Dubbert
Suzuki Association Member
Madison, WI
13 posts

I have had parents of young beginners who try to do piano and violin at the same time and it has never worked out.

Jennifer Visick said: Dec 19, 2009
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

If the parents are interested in music, offer to give one (or both) of THEM lessons for a year. If the child spontaneously asks for lessons without being prompted, (due to watching the parents’ lesson, and watching the parent practice at home, and watching the parents join in the group class), great. If not, don’t push it.

(Of course explain to the parents without the child present what the purpose of all this is).

Sara said: Dec 19, 2009
191 posts

Two instruments is way too much for a little guy who doesn’t even like music. Even if he did like music, I would suggest not taking him on because of the piano. For me, it hasn’t worked well for beginning students studying two instruments.
I think it would be good to have a talk with the parents and explain why you won’t teach him. Maybe they have no experience with music and really have no idea what they are getting him and themselves into.
Maybe he doesn’t like it because of his previous experience in China but with a different experience here, he may feel differently towards it.
Good luck!

“What is man’s ultimate direction in life? It is to look for love, truth, virtue, and beauty.” Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

said: Jan 27, 2010
 0 posts

Pushy parents are quite annoying and I generally don’t take on any students that aren’t interested in learning. I’d suggest doing a trial for a few weeks and if it doesn’t workout then you can call it off. That way you have a few weeks to try and inspire the child and change his mind. After that there’s not much you can do.

Deanna said: Jan 27, 2010
Suzuki Association Member
90 posts

I spoke to the mom about my concerns. Apparently she was shocked that he said he doesn’t like music because he asked them for violin lessons. She said he also really likes listening to music and his favourite game to play is “Band” where he and his friends pretend to play different instruments.
They did decide to start just with piano. The boy came to our recital and tried playing his violin at home and was frustrated because he couldn’t make a nice sound like the kids at the recital. Ah well… hopefully piano will be good for him. Thanks for the input, everyone.

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