I was wondering if you and other teachers would share their policies for students getting their practice time in if they are sick? I have had the flu for 7 full days and realized how completely it knocks one out…I thought of my students, and think if they get it that I should most definitely have compassion on them in regards to their piano practice! But with the season ahead, I’d like to glean from more experienced teachers about how to have a balanced view of piano practice!
This is a good and timely question! Most of my students put in 5-7 days of practice each week, so I tend to be very lenient with them if they have an off-week due to sickness, travel, or an unusually busy schedule. I always tell them, that’s life! As long as they are putting in consistent effort most of the time, I totally understand that there will be weeks like that. When that happens, I usually ask them if there’s anything in particular they want to play for me, or anything that they had trouble with that they’d like to go over with me.
If there are things they’d rather not play, but just want me to reassign, I have no problem doing that. Then we spend all the extra time playing games, sight-reading duets, or improvising. Basically, I want them to leave excited about what we did and energized to put in a good week of practice. That’s far more motivating than laying a guilt trip on them and making them feel bad for what they didn’t accomplish.
Feel free to share any additional thoughts or suggestions on how you handle lessons with students who have been sick and haven’t practiced!
Remember, if you have a question you’d like to contribute to next week’s Monday Mailbag, leave it in the comments below or send me an e-mail sometime this week with Monday Mailbag in the subject line!