what is parent's role at trial lesson?

<ol>
<li><p>To be invisible? i.e., never enter the music building and wait in some coffee shop nearby?</p></li>
<li><p>Wait in the building and then show up and thank professor at the end of the lesson?</p></li>
</ol>

<p>or</p>

<ol>
<li>Wait in the building, thank the professor when the lesson is done, and then ask a potentially embarrassing question, like, "Can my kid get into this program based on what you just heard?" (but more politely)</li>
</ol>

<p>Seriously, I do want to know if my child should consider applying, but don't know how to do that discreetly, without putting the prof. on the spot or embarrassing my child.</p>

<p>What have other parents done at their students' trial lessons?</p>

<p>Be invisible.</p>

<p>Your role is to write the check (just joking!).</p>

<p>I tend to agree with srw, but I do remember a thread on this topic where someone made the point that kids might have a difficult time reading between the lines and figuring out what the teacher really means.</p>

<p>I went with what the prof wanted. One invited me to join and sit in - the other greeted me warmly and then looked at S and said "ready?" and off they went. Even sitting in, I made myself invisible in the large room.</p>

<p>I left paying up to S which he took care of (good practice) and S brought his zoom to both to record the sessions - but asked permission first.</p>

<p>We didn't ask outright about admission - the one prof that I sat in on offered tips on auditioning and how to be the best you can be for auditions. So I guess it was offered in a way.</p>

<p>I asked permission to return for the last 5 minutes to ask a few questions. The main question I asked was, "are we in the right ballpark?" Invariably the answer was, "yes, if she does x,y,z". At none of the 5 lessons did the profs seem uncomfortable with this. All were done during or before junior year. She applied to 4 of those programs and was accepted to 2, with a third being an academic rejection. </p>

<p>I think it is reasonable to find out if you are wasting your time and money, as long as you ask it the right way.</p>

<p>Help the kid find the room, make sure they have blank check/cash in case payment is required, and discreetly walk away a minute or two before the door opens. Keep phone on but find a lounge/lobby/cafe and pretend to be reading while you're secretly on edge hoping it's going well. Meet kid at a prearranged point at the planned finish time or when contacted - sometimes this was at the prof's studio, sometimes in the lobby, depending on complexity of the architecture. Ask no questions, smile graciously at prof if addressed. YMMV, but that's what we did.</p>

<p>I agree with Stradmom-- be invisible unless you have some previous personal connection with the teacher so that it would be rude not to say hello. Never go into the lesson, even if invited by the teacher. Make sure the kid has both a check and cash, as some teachers prefer one kind of payment or the other. Some teachers will refuse payment, but you have to offer. If your kid feels uncomfortable about how to offer payment, coach 'em on it before the lesson.</p>

<p>Meet your kid in some pre-determined spot, and once well out of earshot from anyone involved (e.g., in the car, on the highway, under cover of blaring music), pump them for every last detail. ;)</p>

<p>Ditto to Glassharmonica and Stradmom! Also, make certain your child knows his/her schedule for the day without consulting with you. An embarrassing moment for son occurred when the teacher wanted to know if he could come back later to hear the studio and he said he didn't know since his mom had the schedule. The prof then asked if I (mom) was going to go to school with him, too. Lesson learned.</p>

<p>I can only answer this from a composition standpoint. I think if your child made the initial contact and the teacher has not indicated an interest in meeting you then be invisable. If you made the intial contact, it would not be a bad idea to just say hi before the lesson and then be gone for the lesson. It might be worth being in the building if the teacher wants to talk with you after the lesson. With the composition teachers I have talked with, it has been an important point that you as a parent fully support the path your child has chosen.</p>

<p>Over the past 15 months, I've had lessons with 9 different conservatory teachers (obsessive? you decide :P). It was, however, <em>extremely</em> helpful in determining what path I should now pursue, as well as what teaching style fits me best as I head into the next phase of my musical development (aka the big scary world of music school ;)). I've had lessons with 2 Juilliard teachers, 2 ESM teachers, 2 Oberlin teachers, and 3 CIM teachers. My mom has been amazingly supportive of me, as she's driven me to each of my lessons, often 7-hour trips. I totally respect her for all she's done! Her level of interaction has been different (and relatively appropriate) for each teacher, based on how we can read the teacher.</p>

<p>One of my lessons with a Juilliard teacher was held in his apartment, so my mom sat in on that one for obvious reasons. She didn't really interact in the lesson other than at the beginning and end, to introduce, ask a few questions, and figure out where to go eat afterward. ;) The other Juilliard lesson was AT Juilliard, though, so my mom didn't meet this well-respected pedagogue, and instead waited in the lobby. (Incidentally, this was the only teacher who accepted payment for her time, and I gave her a check--certainly no problem..I've been handing teachers checks for about as long as I can remember.)</p>

<p>For both the Eastman teachers, my mom sat in the hall during my lessons. For the first one, the teacher never came out, so I just went into her studio. She knew my mom was with me, but they never met. The other Eastman teacher with whom I had a lesson was highly interactive and came out to meet my mom after the lesson to open himself up to questions (if I remember correctly, he invited her in, but she didn't come in, of course). The same thing (invitation to come in, declined by my mom, open to questions from her after lesson) happened with one teacher at CIM and one at Oberlin. She asked polite, but sincere, questions of each.</p>

<p>She did sit in one lesson with the other Oberlin teacher (and a subsequent one with the same CIM teacher) at their invitations, and we agreed it was awkward. It throws me off to have a parent in the room as I've been going into my lessons without them for so many years. It really threw off the dynamic, IMO. Not to mention . . . parents won't be in the lessons at college! (Also, it makes my mom possibly more nervous than me on the rare occasions when she sits in on my lessons!)</p>

<p>For the other two CIM teachers, my mom played "invisible" for various reasons. So having experienced pretty much every level of interaction between parent and teachers . . . I have to say I like this invisible way the best. There's nothing wrong with the parent sitting outside the lesson and asking appropriate questions afterward, IMO, but it was easiest for me when I could just interact without having the pressure of a parent observing. It was the most natural and is how it will be in college next year. </p>

<p>So there's one student's perspective to think about. :)</p>

<p>Nicely said, violagirl. Good luck with your auditions!</p>

<p>My take is to stay out of it as much as possible (which obviously depends on the circumstance of the lesson and so forth). Assuming this is a student who will be going to college in the fall, or in the next year or so, they should be capable of handling things themselves at this point, because comes when they go to school, they will have to. One of the points of sample lessons is to see how the student interacts with the teacher, and if they don't feel comfortable, for example, asking and receiving an evaluation of their skills or where they are, how could they work with the teacher going down the road? Not to mention that some teachers would probably prefer parents not be present, especially dealing with some of the parental units I have seen (the kind of parents with 16, 17 year old students who sit in on all the lessons, videotape the lesson, and argue with the teacher of repertoire, etc). Obviously, YMMV with this one, but I think this is a good time for the student to start taking responsibility for themselves, since it will be their experience in the school and such:)</p>

<p>^musicprint - exactly!</p>

<p>I agree with CLNR8MOM: I think it is just fine for a parent to ask permission to return near the end to ask a couple of questions particularly when the student is a sophomore or junior (as was the case with CLNR8MOM's child). The instructors know that part of the purpose of the trial lesson (aside from learning how to play the instrument better and learning about one's fit with the teacher) is often for the student to get feedback on what schools would be appropriate for them. </p>

<p>Parents are often in a better position to interpret what the instructor says, and what the instructor says often will need some interpretation--they don't say, "You will never in a million year get accepted here" but rather say, "You will have to practice very hard for the next year to get accepted here" which many 15 or 16-year-olds believe means to keep practicing the 1.5 hours a day which they have been doing and think that constitutes practicing hard. The instructors rarely say, "You play far better than our college seniors do and therefore will not have a challenging or stimulating peer group here"; rather they are more likely to say, "You stand a very good chance of being accepted and getting excellent merit money."</p>

<p>Most parents are involved in advising their children about college choices, especially if the parent is paying the bill (which often over 4 years is the size of the mortgage on their home). To advise wisely requires information; the largest factor in choosing a music school is often the studio teacher; a parent that has never even met the studio teacher will probably have very little input into a rather large decision (the largest decision of their child's life thus far).</p>

<p>A comparison: Choosing a life partner (granted this is a usually a bigger decision than one's college choice). Certainly, your child must make that decision because they will be living with it and that life partner, but that shouldn't mean that you never meet that potential life partner prior to the decision. It shouldn't mean that if your child is 18 years old that you cannot offer any advice.</p>

<p>Disclaimer: Neither my wife nor I sat through any lessons and neither of us has yet met or spoken with our son's college teacher (and son is in his second year). We did meet all of the other prospective teachers. After my son's first audition, the teacher asked to meet his mother at lunch time and the teacher gave unsolicited information about acceptance chances at various schools. </p>

<p>I don't disagree that students "should be capable of handling things"; I just think that two heads are often better than one, especially when one of the heads belongs to a teenager!</p>

<p>violagirl - excellent post! The teacher was so sincere that invited me in and seemed to want that I go that I didn't stop to think how my S would feel and we never talked about it. You may have hit the nail on the head all the way around.</p>

<p>My d will be visiting a music school this weekend and we have set up a voice lesson while we are there. There was no mention of payment for the lesson and this is her first experience. My question is how much should we pay or offer for the lesson.</p>

<p>sread, D3 said something at the end of the lesson to the effect of "what do i owe you?" In our case, all of the teachers declined payment.</p>

<p>Okay. Thank you.</p>

<p>sread1: If the teacher requires payment, they will always have a set amount. Sometimes the amounts are considerable--I think we paid from $125 to $150 per hour lesson and I have heard of some that charge $200.</p>

<p>Thank you very much for everyone's thoughtful answers! What a great community.
My D and I discussed this -- I am happy not to be present during the lesson and she is happy for me not to be there, so that's not an issue. Whether I should show up at the end or not, we will have to think about. It's a good point that the student should be able to ask the question about whether they are in the right ballpark, but, will they hear what the professor is saying? And if the professor wants to communicate something to a parent, I don't want to be across town.
It was great to hear from a student, too. Thanks, violagirl! Good luck to you this spring!</p>