Last Spring, I asked for a brief, 5 to 10 minute conference. Students students attended as well. We discussed to future plans, how thie year went, and our future together. I was amazed at just how unclear some parents were about expectations. Some even thanked me for clearing up practice time expectations. They didn’t realize where exactly their child was in progress. It also started the process (for some) of making the parents aware of just how far from ideal their child’s practice habits were. I did this in a positive manner. I told them I had hoped where we would be. The culprit in several cases was the lack of follow through at home of the practice approaches we worked out in the lesson. Often students don’t follow the guidelines, open the book and just flail away.
I was so hopeful after these meetings. Many students improved their practice and habits, some did not. I had a follow up quick meet and greet on the last lesson before Christmas. At this one, I discussed where the students were in preparation for upcoming late winter and spring festivals, etc. If they were short on memory goals, I stated that. I was disappointed that some students came back from break having still not done the memory that was needed. The parents didn’t follow through.
With that information, my next set of conferences will be held the first week after spring break. It is at this time that I will emphasize with those parents why I question whether their child should continue in my studio next fall. It gives me a trail of issues that I can cite. Perhaps the student needs a teacher with fewer expecations, a panache for jazz or improvization, or another interest that I do not generally teach. I am realizing that to build the quality of the studio I would like to have these steps are necessary. The stress that builds in my soul when these five students come each week is draining, and I need to make that change. Five students doesn’t seem like that many. The student that comes after they leave is a relief. It takes me too long to feel ready to teach the next student. I will keep you posted on how those conferences go and what is decided!
Cheers to spring,
Dr. Carol Ann