Rude Behavior

Sara said: Aug 29, 2010
191 posts

Hello, out there!

Just wondering if it’s in a violin teacher’s place to do something about a student, age almost 12, that acts spoiled and manipulative with his Mom. :evil: He has only been studying for one year. His Mom carries his violin for him at performances, when he’s ready to leave afterwards and she is visiting with someone, (remember she’s there for him, standing there visiting holding HIS violin) he consistently taps her and when he gets eye contact with her will point to the clock and will repeat this until she leaves.
It is very rude behavior. I am embarrassed for her and for him. My other 10-12 year old students have NEVER behaved in this manner. As a Suzuki teacher I know part of what we do is help parents to develop beautiful hearts in their children. I just am not sure if or how I should approach this. It has has been going on ever since he started with me. When he has been rude with me in lessons, I don’t allow it there. We have had conversations about a “beautiful heart”. It’s just not translating over into this part of his life. I believe he does this behavior quite regularly. It’s not just at recitals, it’s any place he doesn’t want to be. He will nag, tap, point at the clock. And she puts up with it and feels sorry for him for having to be “put out”. “The poor thing wants to be home”.
I have a hard time seeing this go on month after month. I see potential of this getting really out of hand as he develops into a teenager.
Any thoughts or comments are greatly appreciated! I need a word from the wise :D

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

Laura said: Aug 29, 2010
Suzuki Association Member
358 posts

I still need to amass much more wisdom to consider myself “wise”. :) However, I’m happy to contribute my two bits for whatever it’s worth.

I always struggle with finding the balance between “teaching the heart”, and interfering with someone else’s parenting. One guideline I have recently developed for myself is that if it pertains to a moment that has to do with the musical experience (of which I as a teacher am supposed to be an influential part), then it’s appropriate for me to say something specific and directly relevant.

You already exercise the freedom to correct him during lessons. For his behavior during recitals, I wouldn’t hesitate to look him right in the eye and say in firm but gentle voice, “Sam, I’m glad you came to the recital today and you played very well. Thank you. Don’t you think it would be nice of you to wait patiently for your mom while she finishes talking? That would be one way of showing her how much you appreciate that she brought you all the way here, and is even holding your violin for you. Tell you what, why don’t you take your own violin for now, since you are old enough to be responsible for it, and [insert suggestion of alternative pastime] until your mom is done? Then she’ll be happy to take you home.”

If his mom doesn’t openly agree with you, I doubt she would object. And you would be putting it in a way that it would be hard for your student to refuse, either, considering that he would be self-aware of being in a public setting and others are probably watching him.

Sara said: Aug 30, 2010
191 posts

Good idea ~ Thank you! I just was feeling stuck with this situation ~ I’ll try that!

“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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