I teach 2 ten year old twin boys piano, but they both show no motivation to learn. Every time they come over they have a new excuse for why the couldn't practice at all in the last 2 weeks since I have seen them. Lots of these are valid excuses ("We moved and the piano is not set up yet." or "We went on a vacation") but most of the excuses are complete baloney. ("I couldn't figure out how the metronome works so I didn't practice at all.") Most weeks, they have practiced for a total of 20 minutes. Frequently they will not have practiced at all.
I have been teaching them for over a year, but I don't think they have made any significant progress. At this point, I feel like I could continue teaching them for another 2-3 years and that they would learn very little. Obviously, this is a waste of my time, their time and their parents' money.
Is this indicative of poor teaching on my part? Most of our lessons are working through their books, and I could understand how they might consider music from a book "boring". However, I try very hard to make music fun and interesting, which is why I am always showing them cool music, working with them on songs that they enjoy and choose, and give them tips and ideas on songs that they are writing.
I have asked them if they want to learn piano or if it's just their parents forcing them to take lessons, and they tell me that they love music, and they dream of being a composer one day, and that they like taking lessons from me. However, I don't really believe them. I have also explained to their parents the lack of practice several times, and each time the same thing happens. "We'll work with them on that" and they practice a little bit more for the next couple weeks before falling back into the same habits.
I'm not sure what I should do from here.
Am I the problem? Do I just need to find a better way to motivate and teach them? I am sure that part of the problem is bi-weekly lessons, rather than weekly lessons. However their parents don't want lessons more than once every two weeks.
Should I set a standard? If you are to continue taking lessons from me, you must practice a minimum of X minutes per week?
Should I stop teaching them? If this continues much longer, I must say this at some point, especially since for me, I teach out of a desire to bring the love of music to passionate people that are dedicated to learning about music, not to help parents enforce their vision of "Every child must be enrolled in hundreds of extracurricular activities". I know that this is possible at their age (my hardest practicing student so far was 9, and I would practice for hours a day when I was 14) even if it's not common.