How to build a good relationship with your child’s music teacher
Understanding and clarifying your own expectations about your child’s lessons can make a huge difference to a teacher-parent relationship and will have a positive knock-on effect on the learner’s experience. Here are some questions you could ask yourself to start understanding what role you expect to play when it comes to your child’s lessons.
Is it important that you are involved at every stage and the teacher follows your instructions? Or are you happy to hand over to them, trusting their professional judgement in terms of what’s best for your child? Do you expect to sit in the lesson or not sit in the lesson?
Do you assume you will help your child to practise every day or do you think the child should get on with it themselves? If the teacher wants you to help with practice, would you be able to do that? Or even without helping directly, would you be happy to support your child’s daily practice and help them carve out the time?
How do you feel about exams? Are they essential? Do you want the teacher to go through each grade one after the other or will you let them decide what’s best for your child, even if this means missing some grades?
Are you happy for your child to only focus on classical music? Would you prefer popular styles to be included? Is improvisation important? Are you happy for the teacher to decide along with the child?
Supporting other musical activities
Apart from supporting practice at home, how else can you support your child in their music education? Do you listen to classical music at home or in the car? Do you take them to concerts and ensembles they can join? And where does music sit as a priority in comparison to school subjects and other extra-curricular activities?
Do you believe that you should talk to the teacher about your child with or without the child being present?
Your child’s voice
How much of a say do you feel your child should have in the learning process? Will you let them off, if they don’t want to practise, even if the teacher wants them to practise regularly? Will you let them give up lessons if they don’t enjoy them?
Be in agreement with you partner
It helps so much if you and your partner agree on what you both want for your child’s lessons. It can be confusing for a teacher to negotiate two different opinions instead of one. But this isn’t always easy. You might be divorced or separated with your child going from one household to another every week or every weekend. It could be that in one household it’s easy for your child to practise and in the other it isn’t. What helps a teacher in this situation is clarity, to know what the child is dealing with. This makes it easier for them to understand the challenges and help the child build a realistic way of practising.
Asking yourself these questions, being sure of the answers and then keeping the communication channels open between you and the teacher will give your relationship the best possible chance of success.