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#1531034 - 10/08/10 02:19 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
david_a Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 2913
Originally Posted By: Feminicricket
For me personally, fun comes as a reward after you 'bother' to practice because it becomes easier.
I don't look at it that way. If, as a student, I start to look at it that way, I realize (a) that I might never get to "the fun part", and (b) when I do get there, I have an attitude problem of "This had better be fun, because I've earned it!" - and then during what was supposed to be the fun part, I find out that only a piano teacher would call this fun.

So, as a teacher, I prefer to think of "fun" as something in the mind of the student (and in my own mind), and I don't divide music or music lessons into "the fun part" and "the not fun part". It's all the fun part, if you want it to be; and none of it is fun, if you've decided ahead of time that it isn't going to be.

Lest I be regarded as a nasty teacher, I should say that criticism of my teaching (from those who dislike it) boils down to "too much fun and not enough honest hard work". I just happen to prefer dishonest hard work that feels like fun. smile
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#1531046 - 10/08/10 02:46 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
Lollipop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 820
Loc: Georgia
Originally Posted By: Feminicricket
Originally Posted By: Lollipop
Thanks for your kind words. I'm glad you find them helpful. I don't have any psych book recommendations, but Dansure's sounds like a good place to start. My psych books are college textbooks that I don't think anyone wants to read who doesn't have to! (In a past life I worked in the mental health field with children.)

Do you mean "past life" as in a previous life ...like in reincarnation?


Ha ha. No. I phrase it that way to reinforce the idea that it is not the life I currently live! I have changed careers and/or circumstances a few times over the years. They all feel like different lives sometimes.
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#1536034 - 10/15/10 01:19 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
Feminicricket Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/06/10
Posts: 136
Loc: USA
Would you all believe this. After my 'lecture' to the parent about practicing, the mom actually bothered to make her child practice. I gave her just 2 songs yesterday(one old one from the previous lesson and one new one). I am still going slow with this one and taking it easy. I praised the girl and gave her a star sticker on her book and wrote "Good" in her book. Told her to play it faster next lesson. I was surprised to hear her complain"Good? Not Terrific, just Good?" she says to me. Really it was just average but I wanted to encourage her but she wanted me to say that she was very good. Her previous teacher easily says things like "Fabulous, terrific, awesome, phenomenal etc." I don`t use those words in my teaching vocabulary unless they play outstandingly well. Next, I have to work on the mom getting to class in time. She is always 5 minutes late and gives me a funny look when I stop on the clock. I am very punctual and the school does not appreciate me not starting a student on time.
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#1536065 - 10/15/10 02:04 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
david_a Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 2913
False praise is a pet topic of mine. I won't start. frown
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#1536074 - 10/15/10 02:21 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: david_a]
Feminicricket Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/06/10
Posts: 136
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: david_a
False praise is a pet topic of mine. I won't start. frown


PLEASE start. I want to do everything to help this kid break out of her current way. To false praise or not, that is the question.
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LEARNING AND IMPROVING NEVER STOPS. It would be boring if it did.

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#1536087 - 10/15/10 03:00 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
david_a Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 2913
OK.

Dishonest praise (or inflated, or false, or whatever you want to call it) damages a child's self-esteem. Excessive and unwarranted reward does exactly the same damage as excessive and unwarranted punishment. The reason is that, really, reward and punishment are the same thing. Every "Reward" coin we hand out to a child has "Punishment" embossed on the other side. There's nothing we can do about that - that's how those coins come from the mint. smile

The child himself is no dummy, and knows to look at both sides of whatever coin he is presented with. He also knows that any coin that gets handed out all the time at every occasion can't be worth much. Therefore, if you are excessive with your praise, your student implicitly knows you are also (perhaps secretly) excessive with your blame; and furthermore it means that neither your praise nor your blame can be worth paying attention to, since they are indiscriminately slathered over everything, like sickly-sweet ketchup over a bad hamburger.


There. I feel better now. smile
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#1536091 - 10/15/10 03:13 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
david_a Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 2913
...which boils down, in the end, to:

a) Students are not stupid, so don't treat them as if they are.

b) Students need the truth about their performance, not lies.

c) Encouragement (You can do it! Keep going!) and praise (Well done! Terrific!) are not the same thing. Use them both appropriately. Confusing the two is a big mistake.
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#1536269 - 10/15/10 08:51 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
danshure Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 347
Loc: Massachusetts
I'm going to try and be clear.

You can either teach students to become CO-DEPENDENT or INDEPENDENT. It's that simple. There's our two basic choices as teachers. We can teach with one in mind or the other. Unfortunately, many of us have "co-dependent" in mind as default and don't realize it. Independent takes longer (seemingly). It's harder to teach with it in mind. It takes patience, selflessness, holistic knowledge, long term and short term thinking...

A CO-DEPENDENT Student

-needs us to tell them "good" or "bad"
-depends on us to point out mistakes
-needs us to guide them every step of the way
-needs us to tell them how much to practice
-needs us to "get" them to practice to begin with
-makes music to please others
-thinks of music as a competition
-thinks of music in terms of how others judge them

An INDEPENDENT Student

-has an internal sense of good vs bad (they don't look towards teachers, friends, adults etc to justify their skills - or reprimand them - they know for themselves when music sounds good)
-knows how to self teach, or is headed in that direction
-knows when they make a mistake without being told
-uses their own resourcefulness instead of depending on the teacher to tell them the notes etc
-grows to love music and make it because they want to, not to please others
-has a genuine love for sharing music and hearing the music of others. they do not think it is a competition of who is better
-ultimately practices on their own

How do you get INDEPENDENT? You examine your intentions, actions, words, thoughts, motivations and teaching techniques very carefully and ask which result am I REALLY going to get? Now, and in the long run? Who will this student be when I am not their teacher anymore?


Edited by danshure (10/15/10 08:52 PM)
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#1536377 - 10/15/10 11:58 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5306
Loc: Europe
FeminicricketL

I'm still a bit curious on the way the music school works. I can understand the situation that the music school has put you into (that you can't escape this student), but I'm finding that as a teacher I had to actually say no to a potential student, simply because I felt I would be no good to him. A teacher isn't supposed to support all kind of students, all types of learning personalities. A young girl at the age of 8 should actually also bent over and work for the teacher, not the other way around!

I mean, chances are that the girl might still remain spoiled, as she appears to be, lazy and not happy with the lessons. Even if you do actually change (as you've done already). So what is then going to happen? The parents might actually want to spend that time in spa or something, while the kids on lesson. (at least here in Greece this type of thing can be happening, with parents not caring what's going on in private tuition, or one to one, especially for music tution which is a luxury item to purchase in the first place).
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#1536511 - 10/16/10 09:22 AM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3220
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Feminicricket
Originally Posted By: david_a
False praise is a pet topic of mine. I won't start. frown


PLEASE start. I want to do everything to help this kid break out of her current way. To false praise or not, that is the question.


"false" praise is a value judgement that will be unproductive. (it continues this blaming cycle - I would never use the word lazy)

Instead take a step back and operationalize it. What you are looking for are ways to alter (modify, improve) specific behavior, not their sense of morality.

My dog is food motivated. Hold up a potato chip and she'll run through her entire repertoire at breakneck speed while drooling. My brother's dog couldn't care less, so different motivation must be found. At any rate, when I need to teach a new behavior, a food treat is highly motivating.

What you have found with this student is that your approval is highly motivating. That gives you enormous leverage. We don't need to speculate on why, just use it. I was going to suggest reviewing the Premack principle (high probability behaviors can be used to reinforce low probability ones) until you came up with this one.

Books. I am not a fan of the Covey book. In my opinion it is thinly disguised religion rather than science. But I haven't read it all carefully, and maybe you can get something out of it. Most of my psychology texts are left over from grad school and would be little help. I would suggest finding something fairly rudimentary on behavioral psychology and read the sections on reinforcement schedules, shaping, etc. This stuff works. It really does. I've used it in state mental hospitals with patients low functioning beyond anything a music teacher is going to encounter. The behavioral approach doesn't require you to do much different, but more think about it differently. Also, you need to remain calm and get past the judgment. For that I recommend the Rational Emotive Therapy stuff based on Albert Ellis's cognitive psychology. This is not for the child - it is to keep you from overreacting and improve your effectiveness.
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#1536524 - 10/16/10 10:02 AM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
danshure Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 347
Loc: Massachusetts
So what you're saying Tim, is that if someone used those same techniques on you, they would work? That's classic psych error 101 - humans are not dogs, nor mental patients. We have free will and can't be conditioned in such a way. Dogs ARE co-dependent on something else ("pack leader - thanks Caeser!). Mental patients for the most part are also.

I'm a big fan of cognative psych so I think that is a good suggestion. However, all it really is, is developing an awareness of the thought/emotion connection and logical fallacies in thinking and when they contribute to negative emotions. It does not go further and provide actionable ways to handle a piano student.

An attempt at a religion usually comes with an attempt to join something - church, official group or organization, to carry out certain actions - Covey's material does none of this.
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#1536570 - 10/16/10 11:31 AM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
liyhann Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/01/07
Posts: 10
Loc: Washington, DC
Make in-class repetitions a game. The Piano Student's Guide to Effective Practicing by Nancy Breth has a wealth of games and practice strategies. (There is also a "Parents' Guide")

http://www.amazon.com/Students-Effective-Practicing-Educational-Library/dp/0634068849

You need "Button down" My students love that one - we use pennies. Move one to the other side of the piano for each correct practice run through on a difficult spot. Another great resource for teachers: The Practice Revolution, by Philip Johnston. An effective tool is the "Ledger System."

http://www.amazon.com/Practice-Revolution-Getting-results-between/dp/095819050X


Edited by liyhann (10/16/10 01:48 PM)

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#1536610 - 10/16/10 12:45 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
david_a Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 2913
Your approval is a false goal for the student, causing her to waste all her piano time. Her real musical goal (of course) needs to be "to play the piano better and better", or "to learn [list of things]", or something like that. Teaching her the difference is part of your job. If your approval is her goal, then in truth her own playing is pointless to her, just a creepy game played for your benefit.

Lead her to find within herself her own approval for a job well done.
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#1536937 - 10/16/10 10:07 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
Feminicricket Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/06/10
Posts: 136
Loc: USA
Thank you all for replying. I am reading every one of your posts and 'digesting' it. I really value all the input on this matter because I can apply it also to some of my other students who are not whining but need a little push in the right direction. Now I am only strict with the hard working ones and treat the lazy , whiny ones with more of a different approach to get some results. Before, I used to tell off the lazy ones point blank but I have stopped doing this and am tailoring the classes differently.
_________________________
LEARNING AND IMPROVING NEVER STOPS. It would be boring if it did.

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#1536939 - 10/16/10 10:09 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: liyhann]
Feminicricket Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/06/10
Posts: 136
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: liyhann
Make in-class repetitions a game. The Piano Student's Guide to Effective Practicing by Nancy Breth has a wealth of games and practice strategies. (There is also a "Parents' Guide")

http://www.amazon.com/Students-Effective-Practicing-Educational-Library/dp/0634068849

You need "Button down" My students love that one - we use pennies. Move one to the other side of the piano for each correct practice run through on a difficult spot. Another great resource for teachers: The Practice Revolution, by Philip Johnston. An effective tool is the "Ledger System."

http://www.amazon.com/Practice-Revolution-Getting-results-between/dp/095819050X

Sounds interesting. I have never read this. Will look into it. Thank you.
_________________________
LEARNING AND IMPROVING NEVER STOPS. It would be boring if it did.

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#1536950 - 10/16/10 10:33 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
david_a Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 2913
Originally Posted By: Feminicricket
Thank you all for replying. I am reading every one of your posts and 'digesting' it. I really value all the input on this matter because I can apply it also to some of my other students who are not whining but need a little push in the right direction. Now I am only strict with the hard working ones and treat the lazy , whiny ones with more of a different approach to get some results. Before, I used to tell off the lazy ones point blank but I have stopped doing this and am tailoring the classes differently.
Results are certainly important.

As you tailor your approach, watch that in each case the results are still somewhere in line with the real goals for that student. With frustrating situations or frustrating students, it's easy to get sucked into accepting just any old result.
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#1537116 - 10/17/10 08:32 AM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: danshure]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3220
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: danshure
So what you're saying Tim, is that if someone used those same techniques on you, they would work? That's classic psych error 101 - humans are not dogs, nor mental patients.


You are very, very confident about your rejection of subjects you have not investigated in the slightest.

In fact, everyone responds to reinforcement, whether external or internal.

"whininess" is not a symptom of moral evil but merely a behavior that can be shaped or extinguished in a number of ways. I'm pulling a couple of books out of deep memory so they may no longer be available. But at one time Parent Effectiveness Training and Teacher Effectiveness Training (or something like that) offered some practical approaches for improving children's behavior.

Not sure where you're going with your dismissal of the religious aspect. Covey is a devout Mormon and has written a number of religious books as well. Some feel the spillover into his "habits" books is large. I'm not sure myself, haven't read them in enough depth.
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#1537179 - 10/17/10 11:07 AM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: TimR]
danshure Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 347
Loc: Massachusetts
Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: danshure
So what you're saying Tim, is that if someone used those same techniques on you, they would work? That's classic psych error 101 - humans are not dogs, nor mental patients.


You are very, very confident about your rejection of subjects you have not investigated in the slightest.

In fact, everyone responds to reinforcement, whether external or internal.

"whininess" is not a symptom of moral evil but merely a behavior that can be shaped or extinguished in a number of ways. I'm pulling a couple of books out of deep memory so they may no longer be available. But at one time Parent Effectiveness Training and Teacher Effectiveness Training (or something like that) offered some practical approaches for improving children's behavior.

Not sure where you're going with your dismissal of the religious aspect. Covey is a devout Mormon and has written a number of religious books as well. Some feel the spillover into his "habits" books is large. I'm not sure myself, haven't read them in enough depth.

Tim, I stand corrected in my wording, although I have read psychology books quite a bit. I know what you're referring to is mainly behavioral psych (ie pavlov). You're approach is right on in a behaviorist model. I just fundamentally disagree that a behaviorist psych model is the way to go and disagree with behaviorism.

Behaviorism's view is that every observable external behavior can be changed through external means with no regard to internal process. I disagree with this approach entirely. I'd prefer to work with a person's internal processes so they then change themselves through a process of their own will. This brings long term and meaningful results. I know that everyone responds to motivators and reinforcement but this does not mean we should always use them, and it does not mean that what works for dogs and mental patients can also work for humans.

I do however agree with many aspects of Cognitive psych and some elements of humanism, although really I just pull from everything I've learned about and my own experiences and try to find the best approach. In general, in 10+ years of teaching I have never found behavioral psych to work.

As for Covey, I am familiar with the fact he is Mormon. I've read several of his Habits books, and they have helped greatly, and I am not religious. His Habits books site several different faiths, showing how they all have similarities, and in fact he never mentioned Mormonism at all.

I respect and understand your advise to try things with behaviorism, so I meant no insult, I just disagree.
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#1537220 - 10/17/10 12:23 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: TimR]
david_a Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 2913
Originally Posted By: TimR
In fact, everyone responds to reinforcement, whether external or internal.
They do; but not in neat predictable ways. One obvious example is a student who is given frequent reinforcement by someone who later betrays them. The student may begin to associate reinforcement with impending betrayal, and may avoid responding, respond negatively, or attempt to escape the situation. Another obvious example (which I mentioned previously) is a student "seeing through" the teacher's plan to reinforce a certain behavior, and either purposefully thwarting the teacher's plan or building resentment at being deceived.

Reinforcement being used as a behavior modification strategy by parents and teachers is perceived by intelligent students as a trap; in other human relationships, behavioral reinforcement is called "game playing" and viewed as immoral (e.g. abusive partners use these same behavior modification tricks to trap the other person). It's time for teaching to discard most of its uses of this technique, for two reasons: it can put the student in an ethical double bind, which is painful and confusing; and there simply are more effective ways to get things done.

I'm not saying reinforcement is immoral in every case; but I am saying it's a very clumsy and usually temporary method, and with questionable ethics to boot.
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#1537367 - 10/17/10 03:50 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2648
Feminicricket, if someone can get this student to practice, I have a feeling the whining would end. She needs to be prepared for lessons, and not have parent in the room for lessons IMO.

I would suggest to the parent to require daily practice and pay the child $5 for each 30 minute practice. With 5 days practice she earns $25.00 and for a lot of kids this can be very motivational!

(This suggestion was brought to mind by all the discussion about behavior modification.)


Edited by Ann in Kentucky (10/17/10 04:08 PM)
Edit Reason: added info

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#1537395 - 10/17/10 04:45 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2648
Regarding "false praise" and praise, I would just say that my approach is to give hearty approbation and honest praise. When the student said "Not terrific, just good?" an honest response could be, "You have made terrific progress in being prepared for lessons" or something along those lines. Celebrate the small successes. (And of course then go on to focus on areas to be improved)...i.e. "This time emphasize the dynamic changes..." etc. Instead of "You ignored all the dynamic markings" or anything that sounds critical.

Since I've started having kids match notes (that they can't name) to notes on a chart, after they correctly match and name notes I tell them "Good job!" enthusiastically and sometimes I even clap for them. It changes the atmosphere from disapproval ("one more note I couldn't remember") to "yea! I was able to match a note correctly". For beginners I think this is essential! They get a feeling of success instead of being beaten down in the learning process.

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#1537414 - 10/17/10 05:10 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Nikolas]
Feminicricket Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/06/10
Posts: 136
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
FeminicricketL

I'm still a bit curious on the way the music school works. I can understand the situation that the music school has put you into (that you can't escape this student), but I'm finding that as a teacher I had to actually say no to a potential student, simply because I felt I would be no good to him. A teacher isn't supposed to support all kind of students, all types of learning personalities. A young girl at the age of 8 should actually also bent over and work for the teacher, not the other way around!

I mean, chances are that the girl might still remain spoiled, as she appears to be, lazy and not happy with the lessons. Even if you do actually change (as you've done already). So what is then going to happen? The parents might actually want to spend that time in spa or something, while the kids on lesson. (at least here in Greece this type of thing can be happening, with parents not caring what's going on in private tuition, or one to one, especially for music tution which is a luxury item to purchase in the first place).


I have always believed that a student should work at the lesson and practice at home. I have 'old school' thinking maybe. I have in the past not supported the scenario where the teacher be should be accomodating and make things always fun and entertaining for the student or else the kid acts up. I am now trying to see if this other 'fun' approach works for the whiny lazy ones( the ones who obviously don`t want to be at their lessons). It is like an experiment I am conducting to see if it will motivate the unmotivated. Of course I am not going to use this method on the ones who don`t need me to make the lessons entertaining and fun- (the hardworking ones). I find that my 'lecturing' doesn`t always get them to practice(sometimes lectures work but rarely), it makes me feel bad afterward and the student probably wishes they had my face on their dartboard....so I am trying to look for a win-win situation. In music schools , if you turn down students, they stop supplying you with them because you are picky. Although once in the past I had a student that I really could not stand and I called my boss and begged not to have the child(very lazy chatterbox who was full of excuses) in my class. Did not work. But another teacher convinced me that this particular child is more for theatre classes, dancing and singing (fun!!!) and she was right. The other teacher convinced my boss to call her parents and talk them to switch to these classes. This kid is doing very well now in those classes. Do you need to have a certain personality type to play piano and violin maybe? I have always been a hermit and loner as a child but totally enjoyed practicing. I was afraid of my strict teacher but as a child/teenager/adult very drawn to the piano.
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#1537420 - 10/17/10 05:17 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Overexposed]
Feminicricket Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/06/10
Posts: 136
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
Regarding "false praise" and praise, I would just say that my approach is to give hearty approbation and honest praise. When the student said "Not terrific, just good?" an honest response could be, "You have made terrific progress in being prepared for lessons" or something along those lines. Celebrate the small successes. (And of course then go on to focus on areas to be improved)...i.e. "This time emphasize the dynamic changes..." etc. Instead of "You ignored all the dynamic markings" or anything that sounds critical.

Since I've started having kids match notes (that they can't name) to notes on a chart, after they correctly match and name notes I tell them "Good job!" enthusiastically and sometimes I even clap for them. It changes the atmosphere from disapproval ("one more note I couldn't remember") to "yea! I was able to match a note correctly". For beginners I think this is essential! They get a feeling of success instead of being beaten down in the learning process.


Thank you, Ann. More and more I have come to realize how sensitive children are and how when I correct them on their mistakes, their face turns red no matter how kindly I say it. I have come to learn that I have to praise them first for all the good parts they played and then say "Alright, let`s work on this part where you played B instead of C"
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LEARNING AND IMPROVING NEVER STOPS. It would be boring if it did.

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#1537423 - 10/17/10 05:20 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
david_a Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 2913
There's never anything wrong with honest praise & approval given for free. It's when they have strings attached, trying to getting the student to do something else, that the problems start. We all know that bribes are a sure sign of corruption - kids know it too.
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#1537468 - 10/17/10 06:06 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Overexposed]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
I would suggest to the parent to require daily practice and pay the child $5 for each 30 minute practice. With 5 days practice she earns $25.00 and for a lot of kids this can be very motivational!


I could not disagree with this more!!!

A child should not be paid for doing what is expected of them. You don't pay them for doing their homework, why would you pay them for practicing?

This is, in large part, a problem in our society. Parents are wimping out on setting expectations and following through with consequences for poor behavior. Way too much psychobabble.
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B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
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#1537487 - 10/17/10 06:29 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2648
Ha! Ha! I knew this would get a reaction. Once my son got to age 12 I found it helped to allow him to earn pay for practice. It's one thing to require a child age 8-11 to practice. But around middle school they try to exert their independence and say they're quitting piano. The thing is that I don't purchase video games for him etc. They're expensive and he has to use his own money. But by giving him the choice of whether to practice, and letting him earn money for it...has kept him practicing piano...and he gets the financial consequences when he doesn't practice.

I admit I am not a monument to excellent parenting, but this is working for us. And on the other hand, as adults we get paid for our work. Once they hit middle school why not let them get paid for their work too?

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#1537503 - 10/17/10 06:54 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Minniemay]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3220
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Minniemay
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
I would suggest to the parent to require daily practice and pay the child $5 for each 30 minute practice. With 5 days practice she earns $25.00 and for a lot of kids this can be very motivational!


I could not disagree with this more!!!

A child should not be paid for doing what is expected of them.


Nor should a teacher be paid for doing what I expect of them. Their devotion to the music should be ample reward. If not, they need to find another more commercial profession.

Paying for practise is really an interesting experiment. There have been a number of experiments doing this with academic work, with mixed results (I've quoted some of these in previous posts.) Mostly, programs that paid for results (cash for A's, etc.) failed. Programs that paid for work (cash per book read) resulted in increased grade points and test scores.

I have several thoughts in reference to the psychology discussion. I know we have a psychologist on the forum, I don't claim to be one. (I went to grad school and worked 8 years in mental hospitals before becoming an engineer.)

1. Feel good self help books like the Covey series have no practical application to piano instruction. They're too general. Read them if you want, but don't expect results.

2. Behavioral psychology approaches work for modifying behavior. So does parenting. Psychology just abstracts the underlying principles from parenting and makes good parenting understandable and teachable. Much of response to child behavior is nonintuitive and maintains the behavior instead of reducing it, just as much of piano practice is nonintuitive and will be done wrong unless corrected. Teachers learn classroom management techniques during their education, and all of them are based on these principles. Piano teachers may not be exposed to this type of pedagogy depending on their background. Certainly a performance major will not.

3. Cognitive behavior approaches CAN work very well for letting a teacher gain enough control over their own responses to implement effective teaching techniques. But they often don't. When I worked for state mental hospitals, one of my jobs was teaching classes in these for staff and patients. (higher functioning patients, of course) The patients had trouble understanding the concepts, but to some extent could apply them; the staff had no trouble with the concepts but mostly declined to use them. They liked getting angry unnecessarily. Maybe I'd have eventually figured a solution but mechanical engineering came along.

4. There is no place for moralistic thinking in piano instruction, though it is very natural. Professionalism forbids it. If you call a child whiny or lazy you are making value judgments that have no place here.

5. There are no lazy children. (somewhere, somehow, there are children who don't do much of anything. but few of them take piano lessons) The same child who is "too lazy" to play piano will work hard for four hours a night mastering a video game that requires equal skill. Lazy is simply not a useful term for a child that works that hard and develops that degree of skill.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#1537516 - 10/17/10 07:13 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
david_a Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 2913
Teaching teenage girls to suppress their own wishes, and instead to follow the wishes of others in return for money, is more than a bit disturbing.
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#1537555 - 10/17/10 08:13 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2648
david, would you find it less disturbing to "teach teenage girls to suppress their own wishes, and instead to follow the wishes of others" if there is no money in return? Is it disturbing to you to require a teenager to dress modestly, do her homework and practice an instrument--all of wish may require "suppressing" her own wishes?

If she really had different interests she is certainly free to negotiate with the parent. "I really don't want to study piano any more, but would you be willing to allow me to get paid for work related to being on the swim team?" etc.

Are you disturbed by parent requiring certain behavior from their child, or disturbed by the child getting paid for doing the required behavior?

Haven't we all had jobs in which we have to suppress our own wish to sleep in and instead we dress up and show up for work?


Edited by Ann in Kentucky (10/17/10 08:17 PM)

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#1537570 - 10/17/10 08:57 PM Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket]
david_a Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 2913
I'm saying that negotiation can be useful, and that payment is always counterproductive. I'm not at all disturbed by parents requiring their children to do something, I'm disturbed by their bribing the child to do it.

The daughter should be asking "Who am I doing this for?".


I suspect (and hope!) nobody pays their daughter to dress properly or do her homework. Due to social pressure, those items are not subject to personal choice except within very narrow limits. Music lessons are different. Why should it not be the daughter's choice to continue or to quit? Bribes from parents obviously mean the parents really really want the piano music to continue - but for what purpose? Who really benefits?

I would argue that nobody benefits from five-dollar piano practice, except what the daughter might buy with her money. Five dollars worth of bubble gum is worth more to me than an hour of bribed piano practice, because what kind of quality is the work going to be in a situation like that?
_________________________
(I'm a piano teacher.)

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