When a Student Must Temporarily Suspend Lessons
Sometimes a student whose family suffers financial reversals must temporarily suspend lessons with you. (You do not give tuition-waiver scholarships.)
If this happens, encourage him to keep on playing even though he won't be seeing you on a weekly basis for a while.
Most students can subsist in this fashion for two or three months, particularly if you counsel the parents about what you are doing and engage their help in keeping the student going at home on a fairly-regular basis. Suggest home concerts, which the entire family will attend. Encourage the student to use skills in a community setting (school, church, etc.), which will help keep them sharp but also provide a "goal" for practice.
- Send the student away with material he can learn on his own during the hiatus. Usually, this will be material one level below his current one; sometimes, two levels below is a better choice.
- Encourage him to sight-read, review old pieces, and work on technique.
- Give him the basic skills so he can explore playing by ear, improvisation, and playing fake book style.
- Mention that composing might be a good way to make use of this non-lesson time.
If the suspension is longer than this, perhaps the family can afford on lesson each month or two (at your normal fee) until the financial crisis is solved.
copyright 1998, Martha Beth Lewis, Ph.D.
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