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Should You Try and Teach Uninterested Students?

Almost every child at one point or another takes piano lessons, it’s almost like a right of passage to adulthood, you have to have taken piano lessons. Why? Is it because we all like looking back and saying, “I wish I hadn’t quit…”? Is it because everyone hopes their child will be a prodigy and pay their bills? Is it like the “cool” thing that every child deserves?

I don’t know. But for us teachers out there, parents who force their children to take lessons usually results in one thing: A headache. For the teacher.

I’ve had some difficult students in my time, heck I probably was one since I hated to practice. But where do teachers draw the line and say, “hey, parents…your child is no good…or your child simply is not interested?”

Should we just say “their paying, so what do I care?”

I think that depends. Some children can be very disruptive and actually damage our beautiful pianos out of frustration or boredom. I would completely draw the line at that. However if a child is showing signs that perhaps there is something else bothering them, I may try to ask them…but that is a thin line, because truly our role should strictly be teacher.

Ultimately, it is a judgement call for the teacher. It is incredibly frustrating for us teachers to try and teach someone who isn’t willing to learn. Seeing no progress can be frustrating for not only the teacher and the student, but the parents as well. They usually end up blaming the teacher, but that is usually very unfair. People who don’t want to learn, who don’t apply themselves, won’t – good teacher or not.

So if you have an uninterested student, I say give it a little time. Talk to the parents, let it be there call. Unless the child is truly disrupting and upsetting you. Eventually they will move on and probably end up being of the people who say…”I wish I hadn’t quit piano.”

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