Piano Studio Etiquette 101

Here’s a post I plan to publish at pianoparents.net. I thought piano teachers might find it entertaining. I would love to hear some of your comments and stories.

I’ll start with a disclaimer if you are a subscriber to pianoparents.net you probably don’t need this. If you care enough to read this blog you are likely are a caring parent who really appreciates your child’s piano teacher. In fact, you will more than likely be flabbergasted by that a post like this even needs to exist (actually I am flabbergasted that a post like this needs to exist). But it does, so keep reading and maybe together we can raise some awareness about how youngsters should behave at the piano studio.

I am an active member of several piano teaching groups on the internet and in “real life”. One issue that has been coming up a lot lately is the fact that children are mistreating the piano teaching space, which in many cases turns out to be the teacher’s home. Stories of kids running amuck through the house, breaking things, leaving messes are not unusual. In fact, they are becoming more and more commonplace. So I invented my own mini course I call it “Piano Studio Etiquette 101”.

These lessons are geared toward home studios, however, they apply to any space in which lessons are taking place.

Lesson 1. About Time

Your teacher runs his studio on a tight schedule. He also has a life (contrary to popular belief). He needs to eat, sleep, shower and attend to other basic needs. He probably likes to practice, watch TV, spend time with his family and things like that. Please drop off and pick up students on time. If you pick up late you are keeping your teacher from doing something else or concentrating on someone else’s lesson. If you drop off early…just don’t drop off early go get a cup of coffee or something and arrive when the lesson is supposed to begin.

Lesson 2. Don’t Space Out

Stay in the teaching space. If your teacher is teaching in her living room stay there and have your children stay with you. She probably would rather not have kids nosing around in her kitchen (or bedroom). Bring something quiet for siblings to do while the lesson is going on.

Lesson 2. Hold the phone!

Please put your phone into the silent mode. Most parents don’t talk on the phone in the room during the lesson (thank goodness!). But that pesky texting. All that type-clicking and send-binging = distracting!

Lesson 4. Speaking of Siblings

Ask your teacher if it is OK for you to leave an extra child during the lesson. Your teacher is not running a babysitting service. That being said, sometimes my piano parents will drop off siblings (or a friend) to wait while a brother or sister is having a lesson. I don’t mind if the child is mature enough to sit quietly and do homework or read. However, this is something you should ask him about.

Lesson 5. No Dumping

Don’t leave garbage in the piano studio. Throw things away in the proper receptacles or take your trash with you when you leave. Better still, don’t bring trash into the studio in the first place.

Lesson 6. Food Facts

Some teachers don’t mind snacks in the studio. Some teachers don’t like any kind of eating during the lesson. Ask. Let’s face it, we all get hungry. A hungry kid is not going to be a focused one. The same goes for a hungry teacher. Try to eat before the lesson if possible. If your child must snack, use common sense when choosing something to eat or drink. (Taco Bell with extra hot sauce is probably not the best option). And don’t let your child leave a mess behind.

Lesson 7. Clean Up.

If you teacher has a waiting area leave it neat and tidy (assuming you found it that way). If there are toys or books, please put them away before leaving. Don’t leave a leave the place looking like a tornado just went through!

Lesson 8. Don’t Break Stuff.

This is your teacher’s home (or studio). Don’t let your kids wreck her stuff. Period.

Lesson 9. Be a Good Neighbor.

Your teacher probably has neighbors. These neighbors may or may not be thrilled to have a piano lesson business in their neighborhood. So please be careful where you park, don’t let your children run around in the neighbor’s yards, chase their dogs, pick their flowers or anything like that. Come and go as promptly and as quietly as possible. If you do see a neighbor be polite and friendly, and have your children do the same.

Lesson 10. Group Dynamics.

During recitals or group classes, supervise your kids. First and foremost, please be sure they are safe. Your teacher is opening up his home or studio for your children. But he is also opening himself up to liability if your child should be hurt or hurt someone else. Second, be sure your child is respectful of the space and its contents especially when it comes to refreshments! Pizza sauce on the walls and fruit punch on the floor. Not good!

So there it is Piano Studio Etiquette 101 Get it? Got it?….Good

I’ll bet a lot of piano-parents are sitting in mouth-gaping amazement. I know what you’re thinking. Do people really do this stuff? (Hopefully, that’s what you’re thinking if not maybe it’s time to repeat the course). Yes, Mam/Sir, they do!

I’ve actually had all of these things happen in my studio.(Except for the pizza sauce that happened to someone else). Including one mom who knocked over my neighbor’s mailbox almost every week while backing out of my driveway. One Dad who would bring in all of his car’s trash and leave it for me to throw out. Students who would show up any time of the day expecting a lesson. I once had a student come to one lesson skip the next three weeks and then show up on week 4 as though nothing had happened?! And the one that topped the cake was… the mom who sent her 7 year old to my home with his bathing suit and towel so that she could swim in my pool during her sister’s lesson!

Thankfully 99% of my families are awesome! They treat me with respect and honor. I treat them the same way and that’s the way it should be!

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