Etiquette refers to conduct and behavior that is proper for a given situation. Music lesson etiquette is correct behavior or conduct relating to the music lesson. Usually, proper etiquette is a show of respect for other people, their time, and their property. Let’s see how this relates to your music lessons.
Be on time, even a bit early, for your child’s lesson. You are paying for a certain amount of your teacher’s time – be there so your child can get the most out of every lesson. Do not expect the teacher to teach five or ten minutes later just because you got the five or ten minutes late. Most likely the teacher has another student waiting right after your child is finished. I understand that sometimes traffic is horrible, or something happens that is completely out of your control. In that case, give your teacher a call or text and let her know the situation.
Be sure your child has all his materials with him (music and instrument).
Please have your child come prepared to his lesson. The teacher’s job is more difficult if your child shows up for lessons without his music or instrument. A good teacher will be able to adjust, but you should not put that pressure on the teacher, especially if the forgotten music is habitual. It is not fair to either the teacher or the child.
Don’t monopolize the music teacher’s time.
Sure, you want to have a conversation with the teacher, but if you talk to her for fifteen minutes, then your child only gets half a lesson. The child is cheated out of half her lesson, and the teacher will be frustrated because she is unable to accomplish her goals for the lesson time. Instead, ask her when she is available to talk, or if she has time to talk before or after the lesson. Respect the teaching time.
Don’t expect the teacher to adjust her schedule to yours.
You chose a particular time for your child’s music lesson. Don’t expect the teacher to keep rearranging his schedule to fit all your other activities. Most teachers will understand emergencies, or illness, but they are not required to change their schedule to fit around soccer practice or last-minute school projects.
Respect the teacher’s space.
Whether your music teacher teaches in a studio or in her own home, you are entering her space for a lesson. The teacher has a designated area for waiting parents and students, designated restrooms for your use. Stay in the designated areas! Respect the space – keep it clean, leave muddy shoes by the door, keep feet off the furniture. Show common courtesy!
If you must bring other children with you, keep them under control and quiet.
I understand that you may have no choice but to bring your other children to music lessons with you. Maybe they are waiting for the next lesson, maybe no one is at home to stay with them. Fine – but keep them quiet and content. Make sure they have some quiet activities to do. Keep them in the designated waiting area. If they just cannot sit still or keep relatively quiet, take them outside. Maybe there will be days when you will just have to wait in the car. Or go to the park, or the play place at McDonald’s. Your music teacher cannot concentrate on your child’s lesson when he is wondering if his studio will be in one piece when your child’s lesson is finished.
Respect others who are waiting.
Be courteous to others. If someone is waiting for their lesson, don’t expect the teacher to spend time holding a lengthy conversation with you. Make space for others to sit down while they are waiting – consolidate your other kids and all your stuff. Be kind – don’t talk disrespectfully about other students or the teacher.
Pick your student up on time after the lesson.
Your music teacher is not your babysitter. When the allotted lesson time is over, be there to pick up your child. The music teacher is not responsible for watching your child after the lesson is over – she is supposed to be concentrating on teaching her next student.
Don’t bring your student to lessons when he is obviously sick.
This should be obvious, but I will mention it anyhow. Why bring your child’s germs to infect the teacher and anyone else who is there? How does that show respect to anyone? If you know your child is not feeling well, don’t bring him to music lessons!
Pay your teacher promptly.
We addressed this in a previous post (see here: Pay Your Music Teacher!), but be prompt in your payments. Your teacher is depending on that payment to pay his bills. This is part of his income. Your prompt payments help relieve stress for the teacher. If there is an emergency or unexpected problem, talk to the teacher and see what the two of you can work out.
Music lesson etiquette just boils down to common courtesy and respect for others. Although respect and courtesy are often lacking in today’s world, let’s make an effort and show proper kindness to others in the music lesson setting.
Music teachers, what other things would you add to our list? Post your suggestions in our comments section.