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#1254082 - 08/22/09 03:27 PM Re: The undisiplined student [Re: Surendipity]
MrsCamels Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/18/09
Posts: 178
Loc: Los Angeles
I think we also have to be aware that moods change from week to week. It still sometimes surprises me when a student arrives behaving completely different for a lesson compared to the past. Kids especially, and lots of adults, fluctuate from week to week. Remember living through those hormones, biological changes, etc. Even younger kids, whose minds are working in new ways as they develop cognitive abilities and abstract thought. It can be really disarming to have your world view change every year or so while you grow. (It still disarms me.) So just remember, a few behavior issues here and there are not necessarily something to worry about - patterns are different.
Teaching since 2004
Private studio owner since 2008

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#1254083 - 08/22/09 03:28 PM Re: The undisiplined student [Re: MrsCamels]
MrsCamels Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/18/09
Posts: 178
Loc: Los Angeles
with all of that said - i did have a student who tried to rip up his music in front of me this week - that got a phone call home.
Teaching since 2004
Private studio owner since 2008

#1257486 - 08/27/09 09:05 PM Re: The undisiplined student [Re: Betty Patnude]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
[quote=Betty Patnude]I just had the night mare experience! A little girl just turned 6 in July, going to 1st grade in September, had 3 clases in KinderMusic and has good rhythm responses and pitch when she sings. She started with me in April - we did my "Piano Power" precharts with very good results. We switched to Finger Painting #1 by Dennis Alexander, a very imaginative book with keyboard graphics to help the student find positions. I label all finger numbers and draw sidewalks between RH and LH to indicate it the change between hands. She likes the music in the book, especially "Giggle Bugs".

Today, Dad brought her for the first time. The demonstrate all kinds of reluctance to be here or to have a lesson: she is biting her lips, chewing her tongue as thought she has gum in her mouth, she is wiggly on the bench, her legs show anxiety in their nervous movement, her eyes are all over the page she loses her place, plays notes that aren't there, plays the wrong hand...but the counting is stable, the steady beat almost always there. She shows annoyance and confusion. Her arms go straight out from the piano as though she is refusing to eat her dinner and needs distance from the food. She is acting out bigtime and I have noticed it all. The playing is reluctant. She missed last weeks lesson due to her vacation plans, she is probably worried about her music making today. She starts yawning.

I have just given a half hour of patient coaching to a little girl who has a great imagination and a flair for drama. I consulted with her Dad and said how do you feel about this display today. Options: 1) Give in to her. 2) Expect that with continued lessons she will eventually show the discipline, maturity, patience and confidence that is not there today.

I was really surprised by this turn of events in a student who is so promising. Her Dad seems cooperative and interested in keeping her in music lessons. At no time did she say a word - it was all a display of reluctance and feet dragging.

This was maybe the longest half an hour of my teaching life.

We will have to see what next week brings. When we work with young kids, we have to be very accepting of the times when things do not go well.

Any advice for me?

Now my 5:00 interview has arrived - a beginner adult - and I'm looking forward to meeting him as John Van Der Brook had referred him here on Piano World.

Then I get to go and have a lot of fun in my husband's barbershop special event tonight. A little R & R!

To follow up this week: I gave her the primer performance and theory books of the "Piano Town" and let her show me how she could work independently through it. She enjoyed working on her own and doing her own thinking completely at lesson. I have a 2 week vacation from teaching until September 14th so this will give her enough time to "teach herself" as much as holds her interest on a daily basis. The parents are very much wanting to help her over the hurdle of being hard on herself if she doesn't know the answer. She completely gives us and shows resistance to even trying. Today, she played one of the pieces several times and said, "I have to keep trying this piece because there's notes, fingers and counting and I have to go through each of them before I can really learn it." What a pleasant thought!

We'll have to wait and see how it's going again next time. The parents have agreed that Christmas will be a good evaluation time since she will be enjoying playing the songs of the season for the holiday. That should confirm to her that her parents care about her progress and want for her to be happy in music making. It would be so easy for parents to "pull the plug" at the first sign of trouble.

Hang in there!

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