I recently ran an audition for students looking to join our studio. It reminded me of my last audition – the day I was accepted into the Royal College of Music in London. But this time I was the one doing the decision making.
It’s really tough.
You see the students come in and they’re all dressed well and nervous. But it’s the one’s who do the right things: look you in the eye and say hello, place the music on the table, and even say thank you when they’re done; those are ones I’m likely to select.
It got me thinking about what is more important. Would I rather accept a student who has amazing music potential and poor attitude, or a student with great attitude and just average playing?
Teaching is so difficult already and a poor attitude makes it almost impossible to help a student progress.
As I’ve built up my studio, I aimed at selecting a variety of students. But one thing that I’ve learned along the way is that interviewing the parents may be just as important, if not more important, than hearing the student play.
The students who continuously bring the highest amount of quality playing and passion to music are the ones with parents who consider piano lessons important. These parents also believe in long term learning and understand that child development takes time and hard work. These parents get involved in studio events, they talk to friends about your studio and they’re proud to have their child learn music with you.
In general, all parents care a lot for their kids. This is expected. But over the years, I’ve found that the parents who prioritize practice, make most recitals and communicate well are more likely to see their children succeed. This is true regardless of their son or daughter’s talent.
I can teach a student how to make an audience say “Wow”, but I can’t teach a student how to rebuild their poor attitude.
Bottom line, if want to boost your studio talent, find great parents.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.