Manners (expectation of good ones)

Connie Sunday said: Apr 30, 2010
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

My question is this: how do you handle, especially given the current economic conditions, parents and students who demonstrate rudeness and lack of integrity?

Most of my students are kindly and friendly and I just love them; they treat me with respect and we work together very well for the education of their kids (or themselves). But what do you do—by that I mean, where do you set limits—with respect to behaviors which are not kindly and respectful?

Of course, the real issue is that the person who is not respectful in lessons is that way, in general, and one wonders: do you have an obligation to show them a better way of interacting, or in a fit of exasperation after trying to show them, just ask them if they would find another teacher?

Galamian talked about this, that you have to be patient with students since they develop at different rates. But the issue of plain, ordinary manners, is a different issue, I think. Sometimes potentially good players have very bad manners.

This is a different issue than students’ behavior, but is an issue of common good manners. For instance, if I give a gift, I do expect at least an email thank-you note. I recently mailed 10 of my books, for free, to internet “friends,” people whom I had “met” online and wanted to develop friendships with. To my utter amazement and disappointment, only one of these “friends” acknowledged the receipt of my book, and in each case (less that one), I had to email them to ask them if they had received the book? And two of them said they would review the book on Amazon, and neither one did.

Am I being too picky? I’m at the point where I just really don’t want to even associate with people who behave like that. Life is too short.

TIA,
Connie

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Deanna said: May 5, 2010
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
90 posts

I have to smile… the first thing I thought of reading your post was Jesus healing the 10 lepers and only one came back to thank him. I think what you’re talking about has been around for a long time.

Honestly the internet thing if a bit iffy. I don’t think there are really any set rules for behaviour that are generally accepted by everyone especially because of the international nature of the internet. Or if there are these rules quite possibly not everyone is aware of them.

It’s also a bit presumptuous to call people friends if you’ve never actually met them. Sorry.
And finally it’s great of you to be a nice, generous person but not everyone will be nice and generous back and expecting a “reward” of some kind just isn’t realistic and I sincerely hope it is not the motivating factor behind your behaviour.

With parents who are rude or disrespectful…. sigh. I can’t help you. It sucks. Confronting people is really hard. I guess you could model things to the student like having him/her say “thank you” at the end of lessons or after you give him/her a compliment. Or maybe you could try a lesson swap where you pair a disrespectful family with a respectful one and have them observe the lesson. Peer pressure might do the trick. :) Just a suggestion.

Connie Sunday said: May 5, 2010
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

>> It’s also a bit presumptuous to call people friends if you’ve never actually met them. Sorry.

I think if you’ve been interacting with someone for, say, 10 years on the internet, and have talked to them on the phone, it might be possible to refer to them as “friends,” albeit “internet friends.” I think friendship can be based on quality, depth and amount of interactions, not just meeting someone in person.

Anyway, that’s what I really needed: another kick in the face after having my feelings hurt. Thanks so much.

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Deanna said: May 5, 2010
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
90 posts

Okay here is a perfect example. Communication is difficult when you can’t see someone face to face. Misunderstandings happen a lot on the internet or through email because it’s hard to infer tone and meaning.

Here I was picturing people you had met online and maybe chatted with a few times, maybe for a few months. In reality you’ve “known” them for 10 years. It still makes me wonder though if they are such “friends” why you haven’t met them in those 10 years.

All I was trying to say is that it is easy to forget that people on the internet are real people. It’s easy to drop courtesies like thank you notes when you know you aren’t going to run into that person at the grocery store, or see them at soccer practice or whatever.

Connie Sunday said: May 6, 2010
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

>> All I was trying to say is that it is easy to forget that people on the internet are real people.

Well, but I’m a “real person,” too, and it’s not very comfortable, having someone call you “presumptuous,” particularly when they’re making a judgment based on one entry in a thread.

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Kirsten said: May 12, 2010
 Violin
103 posts

Hi Techfiddle,

My husband and I own a business (nothing to do with music) and we encounter shocking examples of bad manners every day. Manners are the foundation of civilization, and I personally believe that they belong even on the internet. But of course the worst transgressions occur here. People can say the most rude things, and are then not able to simply say “I’m sorry.” They have to stand by what they said like dogs with bones.

I think what I love about Dr. Suzuki is that he taught us about developing ourselves as people, not just as musicians. Encounters with people who are rude give us the opportunity to develop the virtue of compassion and let compassion shine above anger. It is a very difficult road to develop this virtue, much harder than learning the violin or the piano I think. But if you are capable of developing the ability, you will be challenged again and again until you become better.
That is the way of the universe; we are given lessons every day.

Suzuki said in chapter 5 of Ability Development from Age Zero (a whole chapter dedicated to manners and the unmannerly): “When I remember that such people (the rude) must come from unhappy situations, I cannot be angry. It is unnecessary for me to enter the same situation to fight with him.”

Kirsten

Sara said: May 13, 2010
 Violin
191 posts

I’m not the O.P. but I’ve been following this thread. Kirsten—well said. I’m glad you brought that out on Dr. Suzuki’s comments on manners.
I think sometimes we can be so caught up in being critical of someone elses bad manners that in the process of our being critical, we start to lose our own good manners—at least manners we thought we had. I am thinking that the true test of character is to still use our best manners even to those who are not so well mannered. What others do should not affect what we do.

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

Connie Sunday said: May 14, 2010
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

I remember something about this in my general reading. Dr. Suzuki wrote about some fellow who was really rude to him. Dr. Suzuki’s friends wanted Dr. Suzuki to retaliate or go off on the guy, but he refused. I agree with that principle. I’m not talking about actions so much as feelings; how do you deal with your feelings. But I think my actions are good; I just get exasperated with people because I don’t really care if they respect me, personally, so much, but I would like them (for their own sake, really) to respect the process.

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Sara said: May 14, 2010
 Violin
191 posts

techfiddle

how do you deal with your feelings.

I’m going to quote (not directly, it’s paraphrasing) a bit of Dr. Laura Schlessinger here. As she puts it: feelings have no I.Q. Therefore you base your actions, responses, choices etc. not on how you feel but on your moral obligations. That is how good character is built, by doing something because it’s right, not because of how you feel. I believe that we as teachers have a moral obligation to always behave in a mannerly way. Even when we don’t feel like it, or even if we feel a particular someone doesn’t deserve our best manners because of their bad behavior. We need to be who we are because of our own character and choices and no one elses.

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

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