Wednesday – Conducting the Transfer Student Interview
Panel discussion with Linda Fields, Immanuela Gruenberg, David Husser, Gail Lew, Elissa Milne, and Arlene Steffen
Could the interview be this simple as two questions: Whise idea was this, and will you practice every day?
Types of transfer students: Those who are moving geographically; becoming dissatisfied with the current teaching; the teacher retires or passes away; or student takes a break for a number of months/years and wishes to begin again.
An interview involves meeting the student and the parent, and for them to try things out with the teacher as well. The “interview” is an awfully formal term – an “exploration” is perhaps a better word. Observe the interaction between student and parent.
How do you use the time during the interview? Before the interview, try to collect the information you can. Try to talk to the student and parent. Have the student play and sight read. Evaluate in potential of younger students – such as their ears or senses of rhythm. With older students, you evaluate knowledge, motivation, and playing. Observe student’s body in interaction with the instrument. Teachers should also observe visual processing, aural processing, etc. Test reading skills and aural abilities.
One teacher calls the interview an “audition.” She pulls out a sight reading exam and theory tests for when talking with the parent. The culture where you live may greatly influence the way you interview.
Educate parents about how to support students in their practicing.
Ask about student’s music background as well as the parents’ musical background. Ask about what other activities the student – to gain that information and establish rapport.
Learn what role music plays in their life. Does the family sing at home? What kind of music does the family listen to? Learn what the student’s environment currently is.
The interview should help the teacher plan for the first lesson.
#1 Goal for the Interview:
Establish rapport with both student and parent. The personalities must match.
Make sure the parent understands the process the teacher is going to take throughout the year and agrees with your teaching philosophy. Make sure the expectations match.
At the end of the interview, what happens? Play some possible repertoire for students. If the student is one you would like to work with, the teacher can put the ball in their court and suggest they go home and discuss things with the family to make a decision.
One of the teachers on the panel stated that she accepts any kind of student, so she books the first lesson at the end of the interview.
One teacher stated that she interviews only if there is space in her schedule. Some teachers interview for the waiting list.
One teacher charges for the interview, due to an incident where a student was trying to get free coaching before a competition! Some of the other teachers stated they do not charge for the interview.