Hello Nyke,

Consider doing easy duets - that brings socialization into the picture. I find that everyone loves doing duets as long as they are not so hard as to scare them - so I keep it not too difficult. That can make a difference in the emotional atmosphere of the enterprise.

Sharing with you my experience - we train people how to treat us. If we give people permission to take us for granted then they surely will do so. This applies to teaching. I think we need to set out clear markers from the first interview what our agenda is as teachers and what expectations are from all participants.

I make it very, very clear that when a child takes lessons from me that it is a trio that is performing - the student, the parent, the teacher. It takes all three in the game or it will not work.

Children learn bad study habits from the example of their parents, not from the piano teacher. If the parents have low expectations then the child will subconsciously meet those low expectations to accommodate the parent. That is what is going on.

I also point out to parents that the piano is not easy - it is not the equivalent of jumping into a swimming pool "just for fun". If a child is indulged by being allowed to slough off anything that is even slightly difficult or no longer "fun" then they are being trained to be self-indulgent and lazy. That is not a good preparation for entering the adult world and earning a living.

We must educate the parents first.