Building strong relationships with piano parents is extremely high on my list of studio priorities. I want them to know, without a doubt, that I completely “get” their children… and that I have their children’s best interests at heart.
However, being able to understand someone else’s child can be a real guessing game. Each new student comes with learning needs, strengths and weaknesses, behaviours, and anxieties that can be a real maze to figure out. You may hit several walls before finding the path that leads to the greatest success with each child.
The problem, however, is that hitting those walls can sometimes cause a breakdown in the parent-teacher relationship.
As you get to know what works and what does not work with individual children, the difficulties that sometimes arise from this kind of experimentation can then be misinterpreted as a lack of enjoyment for the piano… which is often not the case at all!
So rather than waste precious time hitting walls, I prefer to find ways to have my piano students’ parents guide me through this maze before lessons even begin. And one way to do this is with the Piano Parent Questionnaire I am sharing today.
Five Things I Ask of Every Single Piano Parent
I’d love to have the time to go for coffee and have a good chat with every single parent who registers a child for piano lessons. Wouldn’t it be fabulous to start lessons off having had a two hour heart-to-heart with the person who knows my new students best?
But, dreamland aside, there is a far more practical way of getting the information you need to start off on the right path.
I ask them to fill it out and return it to me (or email me back the questions) a week before their children begin lessons. Lots of information can be gleaned from a piano student interview, but I have found that asking parents to take some time to truly reflect on these questions, and to form their thoughts and ideas into sentences intended to educate someone about their child, has been invaluable.
Sometimes I get really short answers back… but often times parents write me a novel. In either case, I get a really good feel for what they think is important for me to know, they immediately see that I am invested in their children from the get-go and, most importantly, our relationship begins with a clear mutual understanding.
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What else strengthens the Parent-Teacher bond? Involved parents! And if you’re looking for a great resource to get your piano parents sitting down at the piano with their children, TEDDtales is THE place to start. With exciting, story-based technical exercises, even not-so-musical parents can participate by narrating the hilarious technical tales while their children improve their technique and musicality.
What You Add To My Questionnaire?
This is the sheet I’ve been using for my piano studio, but I’d love to know… If I were to re-vamp this sheet, what kinds of things would you suggest I add to the list?
Share the questions you think are important to ask your piano student parents in the comments below.