This question comes up a lot. There is a fair amount of debate about this among piano teachers. Personally, I don’t mind parents sitting in on lessons. Let me qualify that I don’t mind parents sitting in on lessons some of the time. I think most teachers agree that it is always a parent’s right to sit in on a piano lesson. The question is, is it always a good idea?
There are really no hard and fast rules about this topic. To my knowledge, no studies have been done on the effects on children whose parents sit in on piano lessons. But I have some experience with this subject as I have been teaching for over 35 years and I raised 5 boys of my own. Not to mention the fact that I was once a piano student myself.
I am a piano teacher (obvious) which means I was pretty successful when it came to my piano lessons. My parents never attended my piano lesson. Never, not one. I started taking lessons when I was in the sixth-grade. My teacher lived across the street from the school. My mother put five bucks into my pocket and I walked to my piano lesson and I walked home after. Granted the world was a lot different back then (the 1970’s) than it is now. Or at least, it was perceived to be safer.
Nowadays, parents are much more safety conscious…as they should be. I always took my kids to their lessons and made sure I knew the teacher. I dropped them off at school or the bus stop and picked them up. I always checked things out. That’s just the way things are these days.
But should you sit in on your child’s piano lesson?
Attending the piano lesson with your child makes it easy for you to stay on top of things. You get to see and hear exactly what is going on which makes it easier to help at home. You also have the opportunity to develop a relationship with your child’s teacher. Your child will sense that you want to spend time with him and care about what he is doing.
However, the ultimate goal is for your child to learn how to play well and develop a life-long love of music. To do this he must become independent and take responsibility for his piano education. He must learn to take it upon himself to practice, organize his materials, and communicate with his teacher. All of these things will help him grow as a musician and as a person.
Most of the time I did not attend lessons with my own kids and I did not teach them myself. As a teacher and former student, I realize that there is a very special relationship that develops between student and teacher. A good teacher will inspire a student and knows how to motivate them. I believe this relationship can develop whether or not a parent is physically in the lesson space.
Here is how you can decide if you should be in the lesson and what to do if you are sitting in on the piano lesson.
First, ask your child if he/she wants you to sit in. Some kids are fine on their own, this is fantastic. Others need a little more support. Work with you teacher to decide when it’s best to wait outside. The piano lesson is a super safe place for a shy child to begin to become more self-reliant.
Trust the teacher. If your child’s teacher asks you to wait outside there is probably a good reason. If you have chosen a teacher you trust, trust her. She is not trying to insult or push you away. Some kids do better when mom (or dad) is not attending the lesson. This is just a fact, it has nothing to do with your parenting skills.
My personal opinion is that parents should attend the lessons of very young children. Children six and under can benefit from having a parent in the lesson so that they can help out at home. Older kids would be best off to attend lessons without a parent in the room. That being said teachers, differ on the subject. Some teachers will require a parent to be present, others will not allow it. The bottom line is to find a teacher whose policy you feels comfortable for you.
I have a home studio, parents sometimes children drop off others come in and wait while their child is having a lesson. If you must be in the physical lesson space here are some do’s and don’ts.
Bring some work for yourself to do or something to read.
Let you child speak for themselves.
Let your teacher do the teaching.
Keep siblings quiet and in the teaching space.
Answer for your child.
Make comments about her playing.
Question the teachers, teaching methods.
Talk on cell phones or engage in other distracting activities.
I hope this post has answered some questions about attending piano lessons with your child. If you have chosen an excellent teacher for your child work with him to come up with the best way for your child to learn and thrive.
Best wishes piano parents you are doing a wonderful by job giving your child the gift of music.
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Ask your child’s piano teacher to visit www.palomapiano.com for lots of high-quality free resources he/she can download for your child