Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Question of the Week: April 11, 2011- It's Allergy Season!

I am extremely blessed in that I don't suffer from seasonal allergies. I can enjoy the beautiful springtime blooms without having to worry about all the excess pollen in the air. But there are those who dread the advent of spring each year because of their allergies. The symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable, and, as I discovered last night, distracting!

Have you ever dealt with a young student who is experiencing allergies? ;) This was my experience yesterday evening. It took us twice as long to do every assignment and play every piece because there would be about a 30 second pause before the piece while the student itched his eyes, pauses within the piece itself as itches caused distractions, and pauses after the piece before I could discuss anything because the student was focused on their itchy eyes.

This was a younger student (I would NEVER have let my older, more advanced students get away with this) who normally has trouble focusing in any case, so I could completely understand how much more trouble he was having paying attention with the added distraction and annoyance of allergies and red, itchy eyes. Nevertheless, this wreaked havoc on any kind of focus in our lesson time.

As I'm sure that this issue will only worsen in the coming weeks, I'm trying to find creative ways to try and deal with the situation.

1. I am going to send a nice email to the mom asking that her child take some kind of allergy medication prior to our lesson (maybe he was on some last night- but it didn't seem like it!) to attempt to minimize the discomfort and maximize on focus.

2. ??? This is where I need a bit of help! So here's my query for the week:

Have any of you out there dealt with this type of situation with younger students? How do you stress the importance of keeping going and not pausing in a piece when allergies are a real and present distraction?

Any tips you may have to share would be most welcome!


  1. Oh boy! Allergies can be absolutely AWFUL! My son has really bad allergies, matter of fact they are really bothering him this morning. The thing is, it can really make him miserable. So I can understand how this would affect a student. Definitely talk to the mom and make sure he is taking some meds to help. As far as stressing to keep going and not pausing even though the allergies are going haywire, well good luck with that one. LOL! It's extremely hard and a real issue for these poor kiddo's. I say let the patience ride the ride. ;)

  2. Thanks for your personal feedback Jennifer. I really appreciate hearing from a mom/music teacher about this issue.

    I agree that as he's probably already irritated enough by his allergies and adding more stress by placing unrealistic expectations (you are NOT allowed to pause in this piece!) will probably make things worse!