I am lucky to share studio space with other good teachers, but it still shocks me when I see parents drop their young children off for music lessons with a teacher who is pretty much a stranger to them. Lesson studios are typically very small private rooms, and a person doesn’t need any special training or certification to call her/himself a guitar teacher. So who is your guitar teacher? Has the school or studio completed a background check on your teacher? Most do not.
All parents should be welcome to sit-in on their child’s lesson anytime. This gives parents the opportunity to hear the concepts that are being taught, and it also allows the teacher to discuss the student’s progress with the parent. Parents may also be able to share useful information about their child’s learning style.
I require the parents of young children to be present during every lesson simply because young children who have their parents with them during the lesson play the guitar better than those who have not had their parents sit-in on their lessons.
Most 7 and 8 year old children are not able to absorb all of the lesson material and then apply it to their daily practice sessions on their own, even when I make careful notes on their assignment sheets. I have seen many young kids feel frustrated and quit lessons simply because their parents were not present during the lessons and did not help their child at home.
In order for a child to be successful, she/he needs to understand the assignments, practice on a daily basis, and hear lots of encouragement that the physical demands of the instrument will be met if she/he continues to practice every day. Parents do not need to be able to play an instrument themselves to be able to help their child, they just need to show their support and help their child develop good practice habits.
I really would like to see more parents come into the studios to meet the the teachers who work with their kids. Building a good relationship with the teacher will help your child be more successful, and it just makes sense to be present when your child is meeting a new adult.
Susan Palmer teaches jazz, blues, and rock guitar styles in Seattle and via webcam. Since 2006, she has been the guitar instructor at Seattle University. Palmer created and taught, “The Rock Project” at Cornish College of the Arts from 2010-15, and she was music instructor at Seattle Girls School for the 2016-17 school year. Palmer is the author of, The Guitar Lesson Companion Method Book Series which is used by teachers and students in over 10 countries, including faculty at Berklee College of Music. Her extensive collection of lesson videos and jam tracks are available for free on YouTube. Palmer’s current and former students perform regularly throughout the country, including these Seattle venues: The Comet, The High Dive, Skylark, Neumos, The Hard Rock Cafe, Chop Suey, The Tractor Tavern, The Rendezvous, The Sorrento Hotel, The Crocodile, The Mix, Cafe Racer, The Edgewater Hotel, The Sunset, and other private events.