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#1290629 - 10/20/09 03:17 PM Emotional Students
MrsCamels Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/18/09
Posts: 176
Loc: Los Angeles
Do any of you notice that music lessons bring up emotional issues for your students? I've noticed that the more my adult students progress, the more they open emotionally to the instrument. I've had several "therapy" sessions in the last few months of students just losing it at their lessons, or sharing a lot b/c of the music.
One students has cried several times over the last few months, though she's never done it before. She apologized last time and said, "I don't understand why I'm getting so emotional about this" b/c she's having a hard time working through a piece. She's approaching everything correctly, etc. She just wants to conquer it, and I reminded her that music is emotional, and it may be that the further she gets into the piece, the more things are opening in response. Well, then she explained that this is her only emotional outlet (she's a nurse) and that she practices after work - we both had an "aha" moment!

I think it's great that she's letting herself connect with the music, and have had a few others open in similar ways. It takes them by surprise at how much music can stir up.

so my questions for you all -
do you notice this in your students (my younger students don't seem attune to this just yet) and what pieces do you play that get that from you?

...for me it's rach's c#min prelude
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#1290664 - 10/20/09 04:09 PM Re: Emotional Students [Re: MrsCamels]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Determining why someone is crying at lesson is not a guessing game. If the student doesn't know why she is crying, or can not find words to express it to you, you are not moving closer to a solution.

I would be concerned about someone who cries during lessons.

I would not be comfortable or patient with tears if it continued to happen.

There are some pieces that I get tears in my eyes when I hear them: "Wind Beneath My Wings" is one. My daughter was in the army and assigned for a year in "Desert Storm" in the early 1990's. She left 3 sons behind for that year who were 1 - 4 years old - she was not stationed near family and her husband was on his own that year combining work and raising little boys. He finally gave up his job and stayed home until she returned stateside as it was an unworkable situation without his presence in the home. All year I was distraught for her and this song happened to be "our" song, she and I. I just finished typing "she and I" and here are the hot, wet tears now falling down my face.

I can understand emotional responses from deep within. But, I wonder if it is a good thing to continue with a piece that brings such strong reactions to the student.

There is crying for joy, and there is crying for sad, as well as angry and other emotions.

I wouldn't chance what her reason for crying would be unless I heard it clearly from her mouth and heart.

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#1290691 - 10/20/09 04:50 PM Re: Emotional Students [Re: Betty Patnude]
Barb860 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 1644
Loc: northern California
I agree with Betty that I would be concerned about a student crying during lessons.

It is my understanding (from how I was taught) that if you are that emotionally worked up while playing a piece, you are not into the music enough, you haven't dug deeply enough into the music. If you are crying, it's about yourself and your emotions, which are closer to the surface. Dig deeper and your ego gets out of the way, and musical truth comes through.
O.K. I'm ready for any and all controversial comments to follow. I'm sure there will be many...
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#1290706 - 10/20/09 05:03 PM Re: Emotional Students [Re: Barb860]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
Originally Posted By: Barb860
I agree with Betty that I would be concerned about a student crying during lessons.

It is my understanding (from how I was taught) that if you are that emotionally worked up while playing a piece, you are not into the music enough, you haven't dug deeply enough into the music. If you are crying, it's about yourself and your emotions, which are closer to the surface. Dig deeper and your ego gets out of the way, and musical truth comes through.
O.K. I'm ready for any and all controversial comments to follow. I'm sure there will be many...

First of all, the student is an adult. It's no big deal if someone crys while playing. Happened to me once and I thought it was actually kind of sweet. Secondly, I don't see how crying and ego are tied together. Music is about feeling something so apparently something natural is happening here. I'd let it happen. Unless of course it turns into a sob fest. smile
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#1296276 - 10/29/09 07:42 PM Re: Emotional Students [Re: eweiss]
MrsCamels Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/18/09
Posts: 176
Loc: Los Angeles
Barb,
I haven't checked this thread out in a while, but just saw your comments.
Interesting! So, it sounds like you're saying that you shouldn't have a personal response to music. Our philosophies in that regard are quite different. I see music as a communicator and the performer is part of that communication. For example, when I was learning Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C# minor, I was learning alot about WWII in school. The prelude became a place for me as a teenager to express the angst and horror I felt over world war and racial annihilation. Was that the intention of the piece? Was it improper for me to place that emotion there? Was that egotistical? No, no, no. If a composer only wants a certain emotion or experience attached to a piece, than the composer should control who plays it. I also don't think that what's on a music page is deeper than what's written on someone's heart. That's placing music above language, the human experience and even above morality. Also, often when we react to a piece emotionally it's because our ego IS out of the way. We've humbled ourselves enough to let it speak to us. thoughts?
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Private studio owner since 2008
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