MTNA Conference; Sunday, March 22, 2015: Getting Them on Your Side: Today’s Piano Parents


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Sometimes when you attend sessions, they are more validating that you are on the right track with your studio. This one was one of those sessions for me. I liked the topic, and felt that it was one many teachers could use.

IMG_4771I was about 20 min. late in getting to this session. So upon arriving Sara Ernst was talking about the student. Encouraging, modeling, instructing, reinforcing. She asked, “Does the child believe it? What does the child perceive (which is most important)?

Then I love this- embrace the parent. Sometimes we are so wrapped up in the negative situations parents can bring into lessons that we forgot all the positive they can bring! She spoke about cultivating relationships in the triangle, including the studio community. Communicate successes and challenges, convey mission and goals and connect music learning to life.

A tip that I enjoyed is to give as much mileage out of activities that you can. For example if you are recording student performances when they play well, create a studio CD and then highlight those accomplishments in newsletters, Facebook, etc…

Sara went through the categories of struggle and what we can do when their is discord, differences in philosophy and miscommunication. And honestly it really is summed up in one word which was the main theme of this presentation. Communication. If we make sure we are communicating as much as possible: before they are official students and while they are students many struggles can be avoided. Will they all be avoided? Of course not, but communication goes a long way.

I’ll leave you with the 3 C’s she shares:

  • Cultivate: something authentic and positive
  • Communicate: the issue
  • Convey: your mission

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