One question that I am frequently asked by parents is whether or not they should attend the weekly piano lesson. Though this really has to be answered individually because there are so many variables, I can offer some guide lines and some things to consider.
In general, I recommend that a parent attend the lesson with a young student (5-7 yrs. old) for at least the first six months. Again, this depends a lot on the maturity of the child and how well they can take in and remember the lesson material. Keep in mind how different the music lesson is from school, in that with the music lesson the student is expected to work independently for the majority of the time. This is quite different from the school learning environment. Some kids work well on their own while others need the guidance and reminders of an adult. If the patterns and habits can be well established in the first six months then the whole process of learning has a much greater possibility for success.
For the student who has been taking more than six months or is older, I find that it is not as important for the parent to remain during the lesson. Some parents enjoy staying and just having a break from their busy routines and others want to use the time to accomplish another task. However, I would suggest that if you normally don’t stay during the lesson to try and come and sit in at least once every 3-4 months. That will communicate to your child that this is important to you and will also give you an idea of what I am teaching during that time period. I have found it very helpful when a parent will stay periodically as I can mention to them some ways to help at home and where there may be some lack of attention in a certain area of learning. If you choose to remain during the lesson be careful that you don’t carry too much of the responsibility of learning and growing. It is the student’s responsibility to take in and remember what I am teaching and then to implement it at home. Your job is to create the structure and environment in which they can accomplish that. But sometimes it helps the student to realize that you, the parent, also know what is expected from them because you heard it yourself at the lesson.
When a student is in the last years of middle school or high school then it takes careful consideration to figure out if your presence at the lesson is 1.) neutral, 2.) positive, 3.) negative. This depends a lot on your relationship with your child during this season of their life and the best recommendation I have is to talk about it with your student. Most kids of this age group are wanting more independence and a feeling of ownership of experiences separate from their parents. But there are so many variables that I would simply advise talking about it, making sure that your child is able to express freely their opinion on the subject.