Posted by: Marie | March 11, 2010

(267) I need it for me

Post #267
[Private journal entry written on Sunday, November 29, 2009]

I ordered some business cards earlier this week . . . I asked the print shop (the one that hosts my new piano studio) to design and print them. I figured it is time that I put a more professional face on my business.

Backyard by Martin Chen

Today, I’ve been working on the website – more specifically, on the written studio policy that I’ll post on the website. One of the topics I’ve been wrestling with is parental involvement.

For the younger kids (ages 5-8), I think the parents must be involved in the lesson. How can they coach their kids on what to practice if they don’t understand the concepts being taught? So, for me, that is a no-brainer.

Older kids are better able to remember concepts, to take notes, and follow directions – so, I don’t think parents need to be as involved. However, I find myself wanting to have the parents around during the lesson – at least sitting in the living-room-like area that is next to the studio area. The studio will be a far more private setting than the house ever was – and, it is the privacy that is giving me pause.

I have to ask myself if I am giving into an unreasonable fear . . . should I really require that of the parents?

I have this illogical, very fundamental fear that my behavior will cause the situation to become sexual, even if that is not my intention, and that I won’t be able to control the situation. (I’ve written about this before.)

I know I would never do anything on purpose, but I need the parents there in order for the situation to feel safe to me. I need for the situation to feel safe to me . . . this is about me and my needs . . . not about the needs of the kids.

Teaching is a huge part of my healing. I need for it to be comfortable and safe for me. This is what I need and I’m going to give that to myself by writing a policy that allows me to feel safe.

Yup, that’s my gift to me. And, it is good. Very good.


  1. Hope this worked well for you – and is continuing to do so.

    • Hi, Evan –

      Thank you . . . I have continued using this system and it is working well for all involved!

      – Marie

  2. Frankly, I think parents should have access to children’s music lessons to observe whether a teacher is emotionally abusive and critical. You are a model of support and patience, but many childhood music lessons do emotional damage that is never undone. I don’t understand why parents don’t *insist* upon at least occasional observation of lessons, to get a sense of the teacher’s relational style.

    So for a variety of reasons, I think your approach is really good for the kid, as well as providing the extra security that you need. Parents should be actively involved in what their kids do. That’s what parenting is … not controlling, but overseeing, and encouraging, and cheerleading.

    • Hi, David –

      Those are all great points . . .

      I know some teachers don’t want parent involved in the lessons because the child behaves better when the parent is not around. However, that just has not been the case for me. If I’m having a discipline issue with a child, I want the parent to witness it . . . and, I have had parents offer advice on how to best handle a discipline issue with their child (and they usually know from experience) — when I have taken the advice of the parent, it has always improved the situation.

      So . . . maybe I’m just a different kind of teacher . . .

      – Marie

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