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#1775937 - 10/23/11 10:11 PM difficult 7 year old student
ToriAnais Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/24/08
Posts: 244
Loc: Australia
I teach a 7 year old boy (or TRY to!) who is driving me crazy. His mum has agreed he has a difficult personality and told me I can "do whatever I usually do with children like that and she won't judge me harshly" but I actually have no idea what to do with him!

The family in general is hard work. The mum has 4 kids 9 and under including a newborn, so I think piano practice is the last thing on her mind. Consequently each week they may have practiced once but often haven't practiced at all. That is annoying enough, but then the 7 year old won't listen to me at all. Unlike a lot of kids who doubt there abilities, this boy thinks piano is "easy" and refuses to break things down into smaller parts to learn how to do them properly. There are always giant battles of the wills to get him to play one hand at a time, to play slowly, or to isolate a few bars. Instead he likes to ALWAYS start at the beginning at a speed he isn't capable of at all, get to the hard part, then go back to the start again. So say he has a problem with the third bar, he'll play the first 2 bars 10 times in a row and not even touch the 3rd bar. If I say "I think we need to look at the 3rd bar by itself to make sure you get it next time" he'll go "no no no I've got it now, I've got it" then plays the first 2 bars again another bunch of times.

Last week in a 45 minute lesson we only got to look at 2 level 2A Piano Adventures pieces, and they were 2 of the EASIER pieces in that book. That's how much time was wasted. And no theory or anything else. If he'd only do what I ask him to do we could get through 4 or 5 plus some theory.


One of the most frustrating things about teaching him is that he is VERY capable. He mentioned that he liked Ode to Joy and so I showed him a youtube clip of an orchestra playing Beethovens 9th and he loved it and the next week had a whole stack of facts lined up for me about Beethovens life including how old he was when he died and that he never completed his 10th symphony. He's got ability, just needs to let me show him how to apply it!
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#1775957 - 10/23/11 10:59 PM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: ToriAnais]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Do you put the piano fallboard down when he begins not listening to you? Do you use colorful analogies such as 'If a polar bear kept walking across thin ice and every time the ice broke and fell through ... and he kept on trying to walk across that ice, hoping one day the thin ice would support him, do you think it is smart for the polar bear to do so?"

He'll prob say no.

Then suggest to him that he is the polar bear and the thin ice is trying to play things too quickly hands together all the time.

Do you have his parents sit in on the lessons to help correct his behavior?

Do you need the student? You could dismiss him from your studio...

Do you totally cover up the beginning of the piece so he can't see the notes? If he tries to play from memory, use tip 1 above.

Do you play along with him to set the tempo?

Do you make a game out of it? "Ok, we're going to play a FUN GAME today!!! Wooooohooooo!!! Now, the game is called .... 'play like a turtle' , and if you do it correctly , you'll get a special treat at the end of the lesson.

He'll prob give you a funny look like ' what's she on ' ... but that's ok, kids like entertaining characters even if they're silly.

I mean, really, you gotta get creative here. There are tons of things you could try out that might work.
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#1776092 - 10/24/11 08:17 AM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: ToriAnais]
Lollipop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 820
Loc: Georgia
I've taught kids like this. You have my sympathy. They suck the joy out of teaching. It sounds to me like the parent won't be much help. He/she has probably grown weary of trying. I have a child in my children's choir who has Aspergers. His mom is like that - accepting of whatever I do with the child, but a bit at her wits end. She appreciates me asking, though, what works with him, what has worked in the past, what hasn't. So even if your student's mom doesn't intervene, she might be able to offer guidance that way.

I have an older student who seems to have some oppositional defiance, and she can be trying at times. I'm seeing progress, though. It's just slow.

After parenting 3 kids and 25 foster kids, I have little patience (or time) for attitude or blatant disobedience. I am just blunt. (Not loud or especially angry, I stay gentle.) What I say depends on the moment. It might be, "I'm not going to teach you if you aren't willing to learn from me." It might be, "I sense that you are used to being in charge, but that is not the way it works here." Or, "I am going to tell you something, and you are going to do it. You are not going to argue, disobey, or have any kind of discussion about it. Do you understand?" Sometimes, "I am the teacher, you are the kid. I teach, you listen." Sometimes it is, "Stop. Now." I would even be prepared to get up and walk out of the room, and tell them to come get me when they were ready to listen.

Once, I told a kid, "Ya know, I get paid the same amount whether we do anything or not. If you refuse to listen to me, how 'bout you just come and bang around on my piano, and I'll go do something else, and your mom can pay me for babysitting. Right now I am just wasting my time."

I am not mean or grumpy as a rule, so my firmness usually comes as a shock. But I have also had times when I can handle the situation with more humor. Sometimes I'll ask a kid to stand up next to me. Then I take them by the shoulders and turn them around two or three times. When I'm done spinning them, I tell them, "We had too many problems. It was time to reboot. Let's try again, and see if this time you can....." They love it.

I also have two stuffed animals on my piano (sitting behind the music stand, peering through) - intended for younger students, but my older students like them, too. One is a lion with very large eyes, and his name is Seymour (See More) and the other is a rabbit with very large ears, and his name is Heary Potter. When students aren't watching or listening, all I have to do is touch the offended animal.

I have kept a report card of their progress - including things like how much they seem to be practicing, how cooperative they are at lessons, whether or not they seem to be learning what I teach - in full view of them. I let them know that I will use this to make a decision over Christmas if I think they should continue with piano, or if I should talk to their mom about finding something else for them to do. They are very interested in what I write on their page.

These are just random ideas, but sometimes that's what it takes - a slightly different or new approach. I wish you luck.
_________________________
piano teacher

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#1776101 - 10/24/11 08:28 AM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: ToriAnais]
dan.mc Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/26/08
Posts: 18
Loc: Brisbane, Australia
My last-resort strategy for difficult younger students is timing pieces (not terrribly musical I know but it works in the short term!). The student's "goal" is to beat his/her best time for that piece - obviously you need to insist that it is played (sometimes remotely) in time and with reasonably good technique. It is amazing to see how students that despise repeating pieces will happily play the same piece over and over again if they perceive that they have a concrete goal to work towards...
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www.danielmcfarlane.com

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#1776111 - 10/24/11 08:58 AM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: ToriAnais]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11795
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I agree with Lollipop. You have to be firm. A child with 4 young siblings often gets lost in the shuffle and may not feel loved so he acts out to get attention (squeaky wheel gets the grease). He may also live a very chaotic life, and children love routine. By giving him strict discipline and what may seem like harsh words are exactly what he needs though. Children actually like discipline (not abuse, mind you) and when they don't get it, they become a terror to everyone around them.

Tell your student when he walks in the door that his lessons are going to be very different from now on. As soon as he gets in, he is to walk to the piano and take his books out of his bag and place them on the piano, ready to play (or whatever routine you want him to do). Chances are he won't do it and will purposely try to disobey in some way. When he does this have him take his books and walk back to the front door and try again, and you KEEP doing this until he gets it right. Even if it takes the entire lesson. Then you move on to the next task, and treat it the same way. Until he does exactly what you say, you will not move on, and be perfectly fine with that. In a battle of wills, you won't accomplish much piano, but you will establish that you care about him and that he has your full attention thus there is no need for him to act out. But eventually once he can feel secure in this routine, he will begin to learn.

I wouldn't do much about the practicing part for now. Once you get him to follow your routine then you might be able to address issues at home. Most likely he will want to practice more to please you, though, since you are giving him one-on-one attention.

Be careful that if you use "threats" like "If you don't do this we're going to sit here in silence for the rest of the lesson" be sure you are prepared to carry out that threat.

Something else that has worked with some children is that I have 4 beanie babies that I place at the left side of the piano next to the music stand. For each task the student completes without having to be told twice, I move the stuffed animal over to the right side of the stand. If at the end of the lesson all 4 move to the right, he gets to choose a prize. This visual reminder of how they are doing so far is very helpful, and can be something you can point to if he's really not obeying you. "Look, our lesson is over halfway through, and you've only moved one stuffed animal! Now think carefully about how you want to respond to this next task."

It is very difficult and you probably won't like having to be so hard-nosed, but it will really help him. Once he starts being more obedient and respectful, then you can continue the routine but you won't have to enforce things as much.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1776420 - 10/24/11 06:10 PM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: ToriAnais]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
You really don't need to be so firm and cold.

A child like that probably doesn't get much attention or is treated badly at home. You can still be their friend, be playful with them and find fresh and exciting ways to keep their attention, like the beanie baby thing mentioned above. That is a fun and visual way to keep their attention.

I also like to do silly stuff where I purposefully ttaaaaallllllkkkk sooooooooooo slllooowwwwwllllyyyyyyy , the child is left bewildered because they aren't used to 'authority figures' acting like that. They want playfulness too - You can't zap them of all their personality by being too strict or cold.

I have never had a child that I haven't been able to work with in this way. I have never had to be strict or overly firm. Children will listen and follow if you find a way to capture their imagination and their attention.
_________________________
An Eclectic Piano Teaching Experience







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#1776428 - 10/24/11 06:18 PM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: Lollipop]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: Lollipop
I've taught kids like this. You have my sympathy. They suck the joy out of teaching. It sounds to me like the parent won't be much help. He/she has probably grown weary of trying. I have a child in my children's choir who has Aspergers. His mom is like that - accepting of whatever I do with the child, but a bit at her wits end. She appreciates me asking, though, what works with him, what has worked in the past, what hasn't. So even if your student's mom doesn't intervene, she might be able to offer guidance that way.

I have an older student who seems to have some oppositional defiance, and she can be trying at times. I'm seeing progress, though. It's just slow.

After parenting 3 kids and 25 foster kids, I have little patience (or time) for attitude or blatant disobedience. I am just blunt. (Not loud or especially angry, I stay gentle.) What I say depends on the moment. It might be, "I'm not going to teach you if you aren't willing to learn from me." It might be, "I sense that you are used to being in charge, but that is not the way it works here." Or, "I am going to tell you something, and you are going to do it. You are not going to argue, disobey, or have any kind of discussion about it. Do you understand?" Sometimes, "I am the teacher, you are the kid. I teach, you listen." Sometimes it is, "Stop. Now." I would even be prepared to get up and walk out of the room, and tell them to come get me when they were ready to listen.

Once, I told a kid, "Ya know, I get paid the same amount whether we do anything or not. If you refuse to listen to me, how 'bout you just come and bang around on my piano, and I'll go do something else, and your mom can pay me for babysitting. Right now I am just wasting my time."

I am not mean or grumpy as a rule, so my firmness usually comes as a shock. But I have also had times when I can handle the situation with more humor. Sometimes I'll ask a kid to stand up next to me. Then I take them by the shoulders and turn them around two or three times. When I'm done spinning them, I tell them, "We had too many problems. It was time to reboot. Let's try again, and see if this time you can....." They love it.

I also have two stuffed animals on my piano (sitting behind the music stand, peering through) - intended for younger students, but my older students like them, too. One is a lion with very large eyes, and his name is Seymour (See More) and the other is a rabbit with very large ears, and his name is Heary Potter. When students aren't watching or listening, all I have to do is touch the offended animal.

I have kept a report card of their progress - including things like how much they seem to be practicing, how cooperative they are at lessons, whether or not they seem to be learning what I teach - in full view of them. I let them know that I will use this to make a decision over Christmas if I think they should continue with piano, or if I should talk to their mom about finding something else for them to do. They are very interested in what I write on their page.

These are just random ideas, but sometimes that's what it takes - a slightly different or new approach. I wish you luck.


This seems to be a pretty immature way of dealing with children - Getting up and leaving the room? Really?

Telling them you're the teacher and they are the kid? Talk about a surefire way to allow a child to continue thinking of themselves as a child and allowing them the mindset to think and act like a child.

Why not talk to them about being a young adult and explain to them in conversation with imagery, jokes, analogies - How his behavior makes you feel - And how you appreciate time with him and then move to something else to keep their attention? Children deserve respect too and I feel like most of the things you list in the way you speak are just disrespectful.

Do you realize how disrespectful that would be if someone did that to you? Said that to you? Why would you treat a child with such disrespect?

It sounds to me like you take their disobedience personally or you can't find the humor in small things like a child getting up from their bench who begins randomly talking about school. Sure it wastes time, but it's cute in a way - They're just being kids. Some of them need to release their energy and their personality in order to focus for the rest of the lesson.

You said it yourself - You get paid no matter what - Why take the disobedience so seriously? Why threaten them or speak down to them?

Also, bringing up money issues directly to them is just inappropriate in my opinion. They most likely don't understand what money is worth anyway - Children have everything paid for and they don't have to work for money. That seems like it's just a teacher being arrogant / on a power trip - or something else entirely.


Edited by Dustin Sanders (10/24/11 06:20 PM)
_________________________
An Eclectic Piano Teaching Experience







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#1776578 - 10/24/11 09:32 PM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: ToriAnais]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11795
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Obviously people have different approaches. But a child like this really needs and wants discipline. That doesn't mean you insult them or are mean. Discipline is you set rules for behavior and have consequences if they do not. Children feel safe when this is done properly, and they stop acting out. They end up loving lessons and piano. I'm not saying other ways don't work, but they don't work for me.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1776635 - 10/24/11 11:23 PM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: Morodiene]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Obviously people have different approaches. But a child like this really needs and wants discipline. That doesn't mean you insult them or are mean. Discipline is you set rules for behavior and have consequences if they do not. Children feel safe when this is done properly, and they stop acting out. They end up loving lessons and piano. I'm not saying other ways don't work, but they don't work for me.


Sure, but the OP didn't make this child out to be of the devil - He sounds reasonably normal to me - and the OP didn't seem to understand some of the easy and simple fixes to get a child to stop starting / stopping , playing too fast, etc.

I am also skeptical that over the top discipline makes a child 'feel safe'. Are there any studies you can point me too?
_________________________
An Eclectic Piano Teaching Experience







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#1776647 - 10/24/11 11:46 PM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: ToriAnais]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
We have different opinions about what constitutes over the top.
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B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

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#1776667 - 10/25/11 12:45 AM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: Minniemay]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: Minniemay
We have different opinions about what constitutes over the top.


Could you give me some that would constitute over the top?

Telling a child 'I'm the teacher - You're the kid. So you will listen to me and not argue.' is not over the top in your opinion?

I mean this isn't boot camp - It's a piano lesson.
_________________________
An Eclectic Piano Teaching Experience







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#1776712 - 10/25/11 02:44 AM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: Dustin Sanders]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5462
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Telling a child 'I'm the teacher - You're the kid. So you will listen to me and not argue.' is not over the top in your opinion?

I don't find anything wrong with that.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1776788 - 10/25/11 09:07 AM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: AZNpiano]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11795
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Telling a child 'I'm the teacher - You're the kid. So you will listen to me and not argue.' is not over the top in your opinion?

I don't find anything wrong with that.


Me neither, it's stating a fact and setting the tone for what the child can expect. It is not "over the top" in my opinion. Over the top would be cutting down the student with insults, angry tone of voice, sarcasm, and unreasonable demands. Telling the student what is expected of them and giving them a choice with consequences helps them learn that there are consequences in life. It is much better that they learn this now when the consequence is relatively painless compared to in adulthood where it could be life-changing (prison, burning bridges in your career, failed relationships, etc.).

You want resources? I just did a quick search and turned up this article: http://www.empoweringparents.com/How-to-Give-Kids-Consequences-That-Work.php#

Note where it says "Having structure and setting limits with kids teaches them that there are rewards and consequences in life."

Or this article, note the distinction they make between logical consequences and illogical ones.

http://www.whatsfordinner.net/articles/a...nsequences.html

No one here has suggested the illogical sort. A teacher has every right to not be treated poorly by her student, and the student needs to understand that people deserve to be respected as a human being. She shouldn't have to allow the child to walk all over her and control the lesson.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1776820 - 10/25/11 10:27 AM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: ToriAnais]
trublues Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/05/10
Posts: 73
Loc: New Hampshire
I was amazed and saddened by the responses to your challenge in this post. A more rigid and disciplined approach will not help but only contribute to the problem.

I think a 45 minute lesson is far too long for this student. Much better to have a short lesson and have the child say, "Is it over already?" Working through a lesson book in this goal oriented way isn't working either.

But you HAVE found something that does work and you should do more of it. You listened to Ode to Joy together and he loved it. He probably also loved that you listened with him. That was a wonderful teacher/student bonding time. And then on his own he came the next week with research he had done on Beethoven - truly a child who loves to learn and is interested. Tap into this!

Yes, instill a routine at lessons. Student comes in, sets up music then goes to nearby sofa to listen to music with teacher. Put his gathered information about composers into a notebook.

Then do some off the bench activities - flash cards or games on the floor.

Then go to the piano! Let him warm up with fun keyboard activities. Set parameters - he does something he likes at the keyboard then does something you like at the piano. Try letting him compose - play duets (Chopstix, Heart and Soul, Peter, Peter).

Kids love stickers. I have a Super Star Sticker Page in the front of their notebooks. I give stickers for whatever I want - not just for well played music. It's a great motivator for some young ones.

Just some ideas for you. Don't feel in a rush to have music reading and technique be the whole of the lesson. He's not ready for that. It's so important to have a good relationship with a child and be respectful and expect respect. If you don't enjoy working with 7 year olds than do find another teacher for this child. Music is a joy - teaching is a joy. If you turn this around and get through the first year, the next will be better and the one after that could be great.
_________________________
Independent Piano Teacher
Member MTNA, NHMTA

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#1776875 - 10/25/11 12:09 PM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: trublues]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: trublues
I was amazed and saddened by the responses to your challenge in this post. A more rigid and disciplined approach will not help but only contribute to the problem.

I think a 45 minute lesson is far too long for this student. Much better to have a short lesson and have the child say, "Is it over already?" Working through a lesson book in this goal oriented way isn't working either.

But you HAVE found something that does work and you should do more of it. You listened to Ode to Joy together and he loved it. He probably also loved that you listened with him. That was a wonderful teacher/student bonding time. And then on his own he came the next week with research he had done on Beethoven - truly a child who loves to learn and is interested. Tap into this!

Yes, instill a routine at lessons. Student comes in, sets up music then goes to nearby sofa to listen to music with teacher. Put his gathered information about composers into a notebook.

Then do some off the bench activities - flash cards or games on the floor.

Then go to the piano! Let him warm up with fun keyboard activities. Set parameters - he does something he likes at the keyboard then does something you like at the piano. Try letting him compose - play duets (Chopstix, Heart and Soul, Peter, Peter).

Kids love stickers. I have a Super Star Sticker Page in the front of their notebooks. I give stickers for whatever I want - not just for well played music. It's a great motivator for some young ones.

Just some ideas for you. Don't feel in a rush to have music reading and technique be the whole of the lesson. He's not ready for that. It's so important to have a good relationship with a child and be respectful and expect respect. If you don't enjoy working with 7 year olds than do find another teacher for this child. Music is a joy - teaching is a joy. If you turn this around and get through the first year, the next will be better and the one after that could be great.



Ahhhh.....so refreshing to read...

Except a I have young boy who every time I offer him a motorcycle or dragon sticker he throws his hands up and exclaims "Ughhh!! I'm 7 years old already, I'm too old for stickers!" (Or something close to that - I keep offering him stickers just because I think his reaction is funny as heck!) smile
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#1776896 - 10/25/11 12:35 PM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: ToriAnais]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Just have to say it - my son was too old for stickers at 3.
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I am a competent teacher.


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#1776905 - 10/25/11 12:57 PM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: Morodiene]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11662
Loc: Canada
A consequence is a result from an action. From the article:
Quote:
For example, if your son sleeps late and doesn’t get up for school, the natural consequence is to go to bed earlier that night to get more sleep.

That is not a consequence. That is a decision the parent has made. If your son sleeps late and doesn't get up for school, then the consequence is that he has missed school, gets behind in his work, and has to struggle. The child's goal is to do well in school because he knows eventually it will lead to employment and the independence and self-sufficiency in life that this will bring. And yes, children can grasp that, and usually do.

So your child has slept in and missed school. What caused him to sleep in? How can you help him fix this problem, since he doesn't want to miss school? What causes can he find? The two of you may come up with the solution of going to bed earlier. Maybe a different waking up routine, or something pleasant to look forward to at breakfast time that will make it easier for him?

Otoh, what if the child wantsto miss school? Going to bed earlier will not fix the root of the problem. Why does he want to miss school? What problem lies behind that, and how do you fix it? Going to bed earlier is not a consequence or solution to wanting to miss school, and then missing it.

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#1776911 - 10/25/11 01:05 PM I have a suggest!!! [Re: ToriAnais]
IRPRONI Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/29/11
Posts: 75
Loc: México
When I was a kid (between 7 and 13 years old), I hated practice all kind of excercises because they sound really boring, much of them don't have good rhythm or just was so simple and I never found a real reason to practice them and I leave the keyboard lessons.

I discovered that was needed practice some of the excercises when my skills for play some songs weren't enough blush however, that was when I decided play seriously, this was 2 years ago (actually I have 23 years old), but I found another way to practice it laugh I was so much lucky, because I begin with the appropriate songs, I always choosed songs with different excercises incluedes and here is the secret...!!! wink

I recovered the desire to play with some anime and video game songs grin you must try to ask to your student what kind of things would wish to play, ask him for his favorite videogame or his favorite disney movie or his favorite toon, All the children loves a song of this kind of things, then, show him a video where someone plays the song, or much better, play it for him and show him how it sounds in live, I bet he would be really impressed and he'll try to play it with the right speed wink

Finally he will discover that some parts need more practice and you can approuch the parts of the songs where you can find nice excercises to practice and it will sounds more familiar and he will love to play it, but you must be much smarter and approuch the parts of the songs he likes, I guess this could be function, because in my own experience it functioned with me wink

Believe me, for a child always will be more funny play things relationated with good memories that begins learning classic pieces unknown much of times for his ears smile

If he likes "The Legend Of Zelda" videogame I can recommend you this songs, much of them are short and are perfect for practice once and other and other time, and contains all kind of different excercises.

Have a nice practicing and try it, don't lose nothing laugh give me a feedback if this is useful for you, maybe one day I could try to give some lessons, but by now, I'll continue practicing my Yann Tiersen performances whome

Nice day!!!

-Ismael smile

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#1776934 - 10/25/11 01:41 PM Re: I have a suggest!!! [Re: ToriAnais]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
i like your suggestions.. i always ask my students what their favorite songs are on the radio or whatever they call it these days,.

Do you have any the YOU suggest particularly? do you have sheet music from you tube or something? i like creating my own exercises in that it gives the student a break from sightreading that can be very helpful in orienting themselves to the keyboard.

it would be awesome to find a published book of video game sheet music masquerading as exercises.. for me at least.
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accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

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#1776969 - 10/25/11 03:06 PM Re: I have a suggest!!! [Re: apple*]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: apple*
i like your suggestions.. i always ask my students what their favorite songs are on the radio or whatever they call it these days,.

Do you have any the YOU suggest particularly? do you have sheet music from you tube or something? i like creating my own exercises in that it gives the student a break from sightreading that can be very helpful in orienting themselves to the keyboard.

it would be awesome to find a published book of video game sheet music masquerading as exercises.. for me at least.


err find the super mario brothers theme song, it beats most exercises in terms of difficulty .... jumping sixths and thirds the entire time , teaches syncopation and IT'S FAST AS heck!!!
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An Eclectic Piano Teaching Experience







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#1776978 - 10/25/11 03:32 PM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: ToriAnais]
lechuan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/17/10
Posts: 180
Originally Posted By: ToriAnais
There are always giant battles of the wills to get him to play one hand at a time, to play slowly, or to isolate a few bars. Instead he likes to ALWAYS start at the beginning at a speed he isn't capable of at all, get to the hard part, then go back to the start again. So say he has a problem with the third bar, he'll play the first 2 bars 10 times in a row and not even touch the 3rd bar. If I say "I think we need to look at the 3rd bar by itself to make sure you get it next time" he'll go "no no no I've got it now, I've got it" then plays the first 2 bars again another bunch of times.


My guess is that since he has prelabelled the pieces as "easy", it causes a lot of mental discomfort when he reaches a spot that he should 'obviously be able to play since it's so easy'. Maybe why he wants to avoid these. If you make things look more challenging (see following ideas), hopefully he'll lose the 'easy' mindblock and the problems it creates.

Mix it up, have him play the measures backwards (ie. you still play forward, but start at the last measure, working towards the first)

Or have him play random measures. If need be, make a copy of the piece, cut the measures out, then give them those to practice off of (keep his book at the studio for the time being). If he just goes home and puts the measures in order then plays through it as always, you could try giving him only every 2nd measure for one week, or only the measures that need work.

Alternatively, make a copy of the piece, and cut out the measures that he plays well. That's his practice copy. Once all the measures are gone, he can play from the book.

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#1776986 - 10/25/11 03:44 PM Anime and games sheet music!!! [Re: apple*]
IRPRONI Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/29/11
Posts: 75
Loc: México
Hey apple!!!

In this moment I don't have my files with me (you know, I'm approuching the lunch hour for write in the forum ha )

But I have a full songbook about the Zelda's songs I mentioned and other anime sheet music, in fact, these songs are published in my youtube channel, they duration is between 1 and 2 minutes and are the videos where I recorded from the side angle, not the bottom angle laugh (in this time I didn't have the idea about how to record ha )

However, I got some files in this internet page

Ichigo's sheet music

The files are transcriptions uploaded by many people and are able to download and share wink

But when I arrive at home, I'll upload the songbook I mention and I can share it with you, while some of the songs I'm talking about are:

-Lost woods
-Zelda's lullaby
-Song of storms
-Song of healing
-Kakariko village
-And others...

I'm sure you can find so much funny excercises in this songs, and are very useful wink

I hope you can find useful it for you and how mention before, Super Mario Bros, theme is excellent, I think so much people find glad memories about this game and this theme laugh

Greetings!!!

-Ismael smile

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#1776988 - 10/25/11 03:54 PM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: keystring]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4785
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: keystring
A consequence is a result from an action. From the article:
Quote:
For example, if your son sleeps late and doesn’t get up for school, the natural consequence is to go to bed earlier that night to get more sleep.

That is not a consequence. That is a decision the parent has made. If your son sleeps late and doesn't get up for school, then the consequence is that he has missed school, gets behind in his work, and has to struggle. The child's goal is to do well in school because he knows eventually it will lead to employment and the independence and self-sufficiency in life that this will bring. And yes, children can grasp that, and usually do.

I think you meant that we *hope" the child's goal "is is to do well in school". That's exactly why making the child go to bed earlier is NOT a consequence. The CONSEQUENCE is, as you say, problems in school as the result of either being late or falling asleep in school.

Isn't it fun being ignored? You need to be argumentative and unreasonable, and then you will be heard in this forum. laugh
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#1777037 - 10/25/11 05:06 PM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: ToriAnais]
MsAdrienne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/06
Posts: 283
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
This sounds like a normal 7-year-old to me. PA level 2A is already introducing 8th notes, isn't it? I might find a non-Piano Adventures book that is slightly easier (but don't tell him!) and assign a lot of pieces he can learn quickly and find lots of good things that he is doing. I try to steer myself away from battles of will with children this age.

Will he sing in the lesson? Before he even starts to practice a piece, close the fallboard, and tap and chant the rhythm together. Then Tap and sing the words (you sing first so he can hear it and follow along), then tap and say the notes. THEN do "super-slow-motion-like-a-snail" practice together with him for some continuity.

Try playing "add a note" or use "backwards practice."

Next student is coming in... gotta go! smile Great thread.
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#1777115 - 10/25/11 06:56 PM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: Gary D.]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11795
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Originally Posted By: keystring
A consequence is a result from an action. From the article:
Quote:
For example, if your son sleeps late and doesn’t get up for school, the natural consequence is to go to bed earlier that night to get more sleep.

That is not a consequence. That is a decision the parent has made. If your son sleeps late and doesn't get up for school, then the consequence is that he has missed school, gets behind in his work, and has to struggle. The child's goal is to do well in school because he knows eventually it will lead to employment and the independence and self-sufficiency in life that this will bring. And yes, children can grasp that, and usually do.

I think you meant that we *hope" the child's goal "is is to do well in school". That's exactly why making the child go to bed earlier is NOT a consequence. The CONSEQUENCE is, as you say, problems in school as the result of either being late or falling asleep in school.

Isn't it fun being ignored? You need to be argumentative and unreasonable, and then you will be heard in this forum. laugh


Keystring and Gary, I agree that is not a consequence. Dustin had asked for any "proof" that the tactic of discipline or consequence existed. I just did a cursory search on google which anyone who wants to really find out something can do. wink

However, for a student who is disobedient in the lesson, having a consequence that is imposed and told ahead of time, then the child can choose to either follow the rule or choose the consequence. I have read several good books and articles on this (which are back in WI, otherwise I'd give them as references, and I don't recall the names), so this is nothing I just made up on the fly. I used it a lot in my Kindermusik classes to help manage the children, and the kids LOVED my class. Why people equate discipline with abuse (which IMO are polar opposites) I don't understand.
_________________________
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#1777211 - 10/25/11 10:02 PM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: ToriAnais]
Monaco Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/28/11
Posts: 387
Loc: GA
www.Mariopiano.com has lots of Mario music including things like the power up sound and the time warning. These are fun, very short little etudes. I like the underworld theme for octaves.
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#1777223 - 10/25/11 10:26 PM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: ToriAnais]
Monaco Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/28/11
Posts: 387
Loc: GA
I'm gonna take the middle of the road position on this one. In general, I believe that it is best to try to use friendlier tactics most of the time. However, there are times when adults must set boundaries. IMO when youngsters attempt to push these boundaries, the best approach is to firmly stand your ground. If they push, then the answer is "no". If they keep pushing then the answer is "I love you, but, no."
Don't get upset, state your boundaries and stick to them.
After they acquiesce, if you want to move the boundary back a little, you can.


Kids rise or fall to the level of what is expected of them.
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#1777248 - 10/25/11 11:36 PM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: AZNpiano]
Little_Blue_Engine Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/30/09
Posts: 1233
Loc: Ohio, US
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Telling a child 'I'm the teacher - You're the kid. So you will listen to me and not argue.' is not over the top in your opinion?

I don't find anything wrong with that.
Neither do I. There comes a point when things need to be stated exactly as they are. The student is the student, the teacher is the teacher. A reasonable amount of respect and obedience should be expected. Sometimes a child controls the situation simply because all the adults in their life so far have allowed them to and it is in their best interest for the cycle to be broken.
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Until then you may want to keep a safe distance.


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#1777249 - 10/25/11 11:42 PM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: Monaco]
Little_Blue_Engine Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/30/09
Posts: 1233
Loc: Ohio, US
Originally Posted By: Monaco
I'm gonna take the middle of the road position on this one. In general, I believe that it is best to try to use friendlier tactics most of the time. However, there are times when adults must set boundaries. IMO when youngsters attempt to push these boundaries, the best approach is to firmly stand your ground. If they push, then the answer is "no". If they keep pushing then the answer is "I love you, but, no."
Don't get upset, state your boundaries and stick to them.
After they acquiesce, if you want to move the boundary back a little, you can.


Kids rise or fall to the level of what is expected of them.
And the smile on their face when you tell them how proud you are of them when they do reach that next level is a wonderful sight.
_________________________
I'll figure it out eventually.
Until then you may want to keep a safe distance.


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#1777267 - 10/26/11 12:30 AM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: ToriAnais]
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 837
I have found that poor behavior in a child like this is largely due to his not having practiced. You need to get the mother on board, perhaps even better yet, the father. The child must practice five days per week.

Also, if bar three is really hard, then the piece is too hard. I'd back up and only play music for one hand at a time, with very few additional notes.

I'd shorten the lesson to half-hour, and omit theory.

But I need more details to assess this situation properly.


Edited by Candywoman (10/26/11 12:32 AM)

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#1777290 - 10/26/11 02:14 AM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: Morodiene]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4785
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Morodiene

However, for a student who is disobedient in the lesson, having a consequence that is imposed and told ahead of time, then the child can choose to either follow the rule or choose the consequence.

I agree. I try to phrase it with a really big picture, and for most of my students it works.

I tell them, for instance, that when they learn to read language, WHAT they are able to read is dependent upon their reading level. I explain that "more difficult books" are NOT more difficult to read for those who have reached that level, and the huge bonus is that those more "difficult" books are a zillion times more interesting.

I explain to my students, even the young ones, that everything we are doing is for the purpose of mastering what Currawong once very cleverly, I think, called "the quick learn".

For me that means maximum benefit for the amount of work I do, and the same thing for students. I explain that the REASON it is fun for me to play music that seems quite difficult to other people is that for me it is not difficult, and I explain that I have earned that ease through intelligent and focused work.

That sets up the minor points: every lesson we WILL check the letter names, while playing, of some piece, usually short, LH and RH separate until I am satisified that the notes on the page/keys on the piano are linked and absorbed.

No one gets to pass on that. Not someone seven, and not someone 70.

We WILL count one short piece or one page, every week, until I know that a strong rhythm sense has been absorbed and mastered.

No piece will be started from the beginning until I say so. If I tell someone to play this or that section, or this or that measure, that's what is going to happen.

There are other things like that.

I've been ripped a bit by some people for saying these things, and it makes me sound like a hard ***, but I am not.

The consequence for not doing, at home, what I ask for, involves doing it in the lesson until it gets done, and if there is steady resistance to doing this, I truly tell my students and their parents that I am not the right teacher for them.

But I balance this with a very liberal attitude towards the music my students pick. IF they do the things I ask for, mastering what they need to play music, I'm game for just about anything, and I don't care if we suddenly jump from Bach to Mario music. My reward to students who do what I ask, follow my principles, is to prove to them that by following my "rules" they gain indepedence.

After all, isn't that what we all really want? To play the music WE want to play?

So that's my take on consequences. I always teach parents how to drill their children at home when I work with children under seven, so if these "early lessons" work, by the time the kids are a bit older, they are so used to practicing in a way that works that I almost never get resistance:)
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#1777323 - 10/26/11 05:18 AM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: Gary D.]
griffin2417 Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 29 2012


Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 2415
Loc: Minneapolis, MN
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Originally Posted By: Morodiene

However, for a student who is disobedient in the lesson, having a consequence that is imposed and told ahead of time, then the child can choose to either follow the rule or choose the consequence.

I agree. I try to phrase it with a really big picture, and for most of my students it works.

I tell them, for instance, that when they learn to read language, WHAT they are able to read is dependent upon their reading level. I explain that "more difficult books" are NOT more difficult to read for those who have reached that level, and the huge bonus is that those more "difficult" books are a zillion times more interesting.

I explain to my students, even the young ones, that everything we are doing is for the purpose of mastering what Currawong once very cleverly, I think, called "the quick learn".

For me that means maximum benefit for the amount of work I do, and the same thing for students. I explain that the REASON it is fun for me to play music that seems quite difficult to other people is that for me it is not difficult, and I explain that I have earned that ease through intelligent and focused work.

That sets up the minor points: every lesson we WILL check the letter names, while playing, of some piece, usually short, LH and RH separate until I am satisified that the notes on the page/keys on the piano are linked and absorbed.

No one gets to pass on that. Not someone seven, and not someone 70.

We WILL count one short piece or one page, every week, until I know that a strong rhythm sense has been absorbed and mastered.

No piece will be started from the beginning until I say so. If I tell someone to play this or that section, or this or that measure, that's what is going to happen.

There are other things like that.

I've been ripped a bit by some people for saying these things, and it makes me sound like a hard ***, but I am not.

The consequence for not doing, at home, what I ask for, involves doing it in the lesson until it gets done, and if there is steady resistance to doing this, I truly tell my students and their parents that I am not the right teacher for them.

But I balance this with a very liberal attitude towards the music my students pick. IF they do the things I ask for, mastering what they need to play music, I'm game for just about anything, and I don't care if we suddenly jump from Bach to Mario music. My reward to students who do what I ask, follow my principles, is to prove to them that by following my "rules" they gain indepedence.

After all, isn't that what we all really want? To play the music WE want to play?

So that's my take on consequences. I always teach parents how to drill their children at home when I work with children under seven, so if these "early lessons" work, by the time the kids are a bit older, they are so used to practicing in a way that works that I almost never get resistance:)



thumb I couldn't agree more! You and many of the teachers in this forum remind me of the awesome teachers I had when I was a kid. Your advice rocks! I say this as an adult who returned to the keyboard last year after a 35-year hiatus. I'm having a wonderful experience today because of the teachers who took this approach to teaching me.

I wish I could have thanked those teachers I had as a kid. However, I was a kid, at the time and couldn't have known. So I'll thank all of you teachers in advance right now for the kids (and adults) you're teaching now.

OT: I'm not thankful to the person who brought their virus to work and "shared" it with me and gave me too much time on my hands to write notes in the middle of the night while I'm recovering from flu! smirk

Okay, now I can go back to sleep.



Edited by griffin2417 (10/26/11 05:26 AM)
Edit Reason: Clarity
_________________________
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#1777343 - 10/26/11 06:46 AM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: ToriAnais]
eviltwin13 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/22/11
Posts: 12
Loc: New York, NY
I'm new to piano teaching but have been teaching full time for about 10 years. In my experience, when kids say something is "easy" (or "boring") they often mean that it is too difficult. Sometimes they feel that it "should" be easy or that you expect it to be easy for them, so they try to make it look like they are flying through. I see this behavior a lot with kids who don't know their basic math facts or can't read well, and would rather make it look like they're rushing and careless than that they're "stupid" or "don't get it". One of the hardest things can be to ask for help on something that you "should" be able to do.

Depending on your relationship with the child, I'd suggest having a conversation away from the piano. "I've noticed that when we sit down to play, you play very fast and you keep going back to the beginning. Have you noticed that? Why do you think you're doing that?" You might get "I don't know" or "because it's easy" as an answer at first. But persist. You might find out that he knows he should be practicing and hasn't been doing it, or is embarrassed at the fact that he's struggling on an "easy" piece. He may also not understand why you're giving him the directions that you are - how they're going to help him become a better player.

To me this sounds like a kid who needs to be good at something and wants to stand out in his family, but isn't independent enough at home to sit and practice on his own. This situation is setting him up for frustration, if he is always walking in the door knowing he'll be tested on what he's practiced and knowing he hasn't done it.

Like I said, I'm not an expert piano teacher, just a special ed teacher who sees this behavior fairly often. I think a talk with the mom and child together might be in order, to establish what exactly they want to accomplish out of these lessons and the conditions necessary to meet the goal. If the goal is just for him to hang out, have fun, and learn about music, that's one thing - if the goal is for him to get good at the piano and feel proficient, that's another.

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#1777357 - 10/26/11 08:04 AM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: Gary D.]
trublues Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/05/10
Posts: 73
Loc: New Hampshire
Originally Posted By: Gary D.

The consequence for not doing, at home, what I ask for, involves doing it in the lesson until it gets done, and if there is steady resistance to doing this, I truly tell my students and their parents that I am not the right teacher for them.

But I balance this with a very liberal attitude towards the music my students pick. IF they do the things I ask for, mastering what they need to play music, I'm game for just about anything, and I don't care if we suddenly jump from Bach to Mario music. My reward to students who do what I ask, follow my principles, is to prove to them that by following my "rules" they gain indepedence.

After all, isn't that what we all really want? To play the music WE want to play?


Gary D. It sounds like you are very settled (in a good way) with your philosophy and goals. When a student is challenging it can be easy to forget our original goals.
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Member MTNA, NHMTA

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#1777367 - 10/26/11 08:17 AM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: eviltwin13]
trublues Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/05/10
Posts: 73
Loc: New Hampshire
Originally Posted By: eviltwin13
I'm new to piano teaching but have been teaching full time for about 10 years. In my experience, when kids say something is "easy" (or "boring") they often mean that it is too difficult. Sometimes they feel that it "should" be easy or that you expect it to be easy for them, so they try to make it look like they are flying through. I see this behavior a lot with kids who don't know their basic math facts or can't read well, and would rather make it look like they're rushing and careless than that they're "stupid" or "don't get it". One of the hardest things can be to ask for help on something that you "should" be able to do.

. . . This situation is setting him up for frustration, if he is always walking in the door knowing he'll be tested on what he's practiced and knowing he hasn't done it.


Good things to think about here - I've seen this in students, too. They're not comfortable making any mistakes and will sabotage a whole lesson - that's how they deal with it. When I see this I take a major step back and work on simple things. For weeks. Simple. I think it takes longer to establish a good working relationship with students who have these kinds of issues.
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#1777379 - 10/26/11 08:35 AM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: eviltwin13]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: eviltwin13
I'm new to piano teaching but have been teaching full time for about 10 years. In my experience, when kids say something is "easy" (or "boring") they often mean that it is too difficult. Sometimes they feel that it "should" be easy or that you expect it to be easy for them, so they try to make it look like they are flying through. I see this behavior a lot with kids who don't know their basic math facts or can't read well, and would rather make it look like they're rushing and careless than that they're "stupid" or "don't get it". One of the hardest things can be to ask for help on something that you "should" be able to do.

Depending on your relationship with the child, I'd suggest having a conversation away from the piano. "I've noticed that when we sit down to play, you play very fast and you keep going back to the beginning. Have you noticed that? Why do you think you're doing that?" You might get "I don't know" or "because it's easy" as an answer at first. But persist. You might find out that he knows he should be practicing and hasn't been doing it, or is embarrassed at the fact that he's struggling on an "easy" piece. He may also not understand why you're giving him the directions that you are - how they're going to help him become a better player.


Interesting. The piano can be a great distraction. It also makes it easy to break eye contact - when they don't want to give an answer.

I'm having my own issues with one particular student who is either dyslexic, or doesn't see the need to play the note that's on the page. So I'm finding the responses here interesting.
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#1777404 - 10/26/11 09:39 AM Re: I have a suggest!!! [Re: Dustin Sanders]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Originally Posted By: apple*
i like your suggestions.. i always ask my students what their favorite songs are on the radio or whatever they call it these days,.

Do you have any the YOU suggest particularly? do you have sheet music from you tube or something? i like creating my own exercises in that it gives the student a break from sightreading that can be very helpful in orienting themselves to the keyboard.

it would be awesome to find a published book of video game sheet music masquerading as exercises.. for me at least.


err find the super mario brothers theme song, it beats most exercises in terms of difficulty .... jumping sixths and thirds the entire time , teaches syncopation and IT'S FAST AS heck!!!


thanks for the link..
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1777862 - 10/26/11 10:27 PM Re: I have a suggest!!! [Re: apple*]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: apple*
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Originally Posted By: apple*
i like your suggestions.. i always ask my students what their favorite songs are on the radio or whatever they call it these days,.

Do you have any the YOU suggest particularly? do you have sheet music from you tube or something? i like creating my own exercises in that it gives the student a break from sightreading that can be very helpful in orienting themselves to the keyboard.

it would be awesome to find a published book of video game sheet music masquerading as exercises.. for me at least.


err find the super mario brothers theme song, it beats most exercises in terms of difficulty .... jumping sixths and thirds the entire time , teaches syncopation and IT'S FAST AS heck!!!


thanks for the link..


Thanks for typing in 'super mario brothers theme song sheet music' into google and clicking on the first link laugh

Anyway...

super mario brothers theme song link for apple
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An Eclectic Piano Teaching Experience







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#1778483 - 10/28/11 12:02 AM Re: I have a suggest!!! [Re: ToriAnais]
ToriAnais Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/24/08
Posts: 244
Loc: Australia
This has turned into a really interesting thread.

To the argument about whether humor or discipline is the right approach, I think one or the other comes most naturally to most people, and you need to consciously work on the one that doesn’t come naturally as both are needed at least some of the time.

Dustin sounds like the sort of piano teacher I am – being jokey and playful comes most naturally to me. A couple of months ago I had a kid make the same mistake about 5 times in a row, at which point I threw a fake OTT tantrum with fist banging etc. The kid thought it was hilarious and said she wished she had a recording of it. Best of all, unlike saying “3rd finger on F#” (or whatever it was she was doing wrong), which would have gone in one ear and out the other, my tantrum was memorable and she got it right after that.
But sometimes you need to pull out the serious stuff and I’m not so good at that. I appreciate the advice I read on this forum on how to act like I mean business when needed.

I think part of my problem with this kid is that he is my 8th lesson for the day, by which point I am getting tired and without lots of energy the playful stuff doesn’t come as easily or smoothly. As to whether or not he should have a 45 minute lesson, he is the one who begged his mum to let him have an extra 15 minutes like his older sister.

The other thing is that he will physically obstruct me from trying to take control of the lesson – such as pushing my hands out of the way. This makes a lot of the good suggestions from the first post impossible as he doesn’t like me playing along or covering up music etc. I’m hesitant to reprimand him too strongly for this as the family seems like the type that would stop lessons if the kid stopped enjoying them, and he really doesn’t like being “bossed around” as he puts it. He sees me asking him to follow instructions as being “bossy.”

I like the idea of the polar bear analogy. I will try that next time we’re having a bad lesson. This week he was an angel, I think because I made it quite clear to his mother that I was very annoyed with his behavior last lesson.

I have badgered the mum no end about getting her children to practice, and told her if it isn't scheduled into the week it won't happen etc. It falls on deaf ears and I'm hesitant to keep banging on about it. After a certain point it feels awkward to keep bringing it up.
_________________________
Piano teacher since August 2008.

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#1778495 - 10/28/11 12:28 AM Re: I have a suggest!!! [Re: ToriAnais]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
ah yes, I have two students who 'push my hands out of they way' - like literally throw their hands up and push my hands off the keyboard.

I 'try' to take it as my little bit of playing has enticed them to start playing or that my method of playing annoys them so much that they can't wait to get me to stop smile

If it's just one little thing like that , I don't mind. When it becomes a plethora of things that would seem disobedient or disrespectful, than I would take action.

Have you considered moving him to an earlier time on a different day so you aren't so worn out?

Kids will be kids and they love fun and colorful stories of animals - and LOL at your temper tantrum, I do that as well and my students simply love it!

I also played a game yesterday with a little 6 year old student of mine. I had this fake bloody knife that I used to put a penny on - she would flip the penny using the knife onto a sheet of music and wherever the penny landed, she would have to tell me the note - then we had these animal erasers as pawns she could move around the keyboard to the note she landed on - she absolutely loved this game and played it for a good 30 minutes and made me promise we would play it again next week. So she learns how to figure out notes , has fun flipping pennies with a bloody knife and I just couldn't resist her huge smiles and giggles as the penny flew off in every direction.

So, I love having fun during lessons, try to imagine myself as a child and what I would enjoy doing to learn piano things - And then throw creative structure into the lessons so they do obviously learn a lot but disguise it with crazy antics and silly games.

If the kid doesn't like following instructions, you should try being more involved with showing him at the piano what you want him to do rather than speaking the commands verbally. If he pushes your hands out the way, I would take that as 'Ok, I'm ready to try, now give me space!'
_________________________
An Eclectic Piano Teaching Experience







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#1778652 - 10/28/11 09:02 AM Re: I have a suggest!!! [Re: ToriAnais]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11795
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: ToriAnais
This has turned into a really interesting thread.

To the argument about whether humor or discipline is the right approach, I think one or the other comes most naturally to most people, and you need to consciously work on the one that doesn’t come naturally as both are needed at least some of the time.

Dustin sounds like the sort of piano teacher I am – being jokey and playful comes most naturally to me. A couple of months ago I had a kid make the same mistake about 5 times in a row, at which point I threw a fake OTT tantrum with fist banging etc. The kid thought it was hilarious and said she wished she had a recording of it. Best of all, unlike saying “3rd finger on F#” (or whatever it was she was doing wrong), which would have gone in one ear and out the other, my tantrum was memorable and she got it right after that.
But sometimes you need to pull out the serious stuff and I’m not so good at that. I appreciate the advice I read on this forum on how to act like I mean business when needed.

I think part of my problem with this kid is that he is my 8th lesson for the day, by which point I am getting tired and without lots of energy the playful stuff doesn’t come as easily or smoothly. As to whether or not he should have a 45 minute lesson, he is the one who begged his mum to let him have an extra 15 minutes like his older sister.

The other thing is that he will physically obstruct me from trying to take control of the lesson – such as pushing my hands out of the way. This makes a lot of the good suggestions from the first post impossible as he doesn’t like me playing along or covering up music etc. I’m hesitant to reprimand him too strongly for this as the family seems like the type that would stop lessons if the kid stopped enjoying them, and he really doesn’t like being “bossed around” as he puts it. He sees me asking him to follow instructions as being “bossy.”

I like the idea of the polar bear analogy. I will try that next time we’re having a bad lesson. This week he was an angel, I think because I made it quite clear to his mother that I was very annoyed with his behavior last lesson.

I have badgered the mum no end about getting her children to practice, and told her if it isn't scheduled into the week it won't happen etc. It falls on deaf ears and I'm hesitant to keep banging on about it. After a certain point it feels awkward to keep bringing it up.


See, the advice given was of course understanding that you've tried the humor stuff and this boy has not responded well to it. He is crying for discipline, and of course no child says they want it, but their actions call for it. It's not being mean, you're actually helping the poor boy feel secure and safe, that there is a routine and that you will stand by your word. I find that children distrust adults when they have parents who threaten to do something if they don't do as their told, but don't follow through or the consequences don't match the issue in question. I wonder is this boy adopted or have some background of emotional/physical trauma? That might not be something very forthcoming from the parents, but his behavior reminds me of a talented young boy who was very emotionally damaged and really had a hard time trusting adults.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1778654 - 10/28/11 09:06 AM Re: I have a suggest!!! [Re: Dustin Sanders]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11795
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
ah yes, I have two students who 'push my hands out of they way' - like literally throw their hands up and push my hands off the keyboard.

I 'try' to take it as my little bit of playing has enticed them to start playing or that my method of playing annoys them so much that they can't wait to get me to stop smile

If it's just one little thing like that , I don't mind. When it becomes a plethora of things that would seem disobedient or disrespectful, than I would take action.

Have you considered moving him to an earlier time on a different day so you aren't so worn out?

Kids will be kids and they love fun and colorful stories of animals - and LOL at your temper tantrum, I do that as well and my students simply love it!

I also played a game yesterday with a little 6 year old student of mine. I had this fake bloody knife that I used to put a penny on - she would flip the penny using the knife onto a sheet of music and wherever the penny landed, she would have to tell me the note - then we had these animal erasers as pawns she could move around the keyboard to the note she landed on - she absolutely loved this game and played it for a good 30 minutes and made me promise we would play it again next week. So she learns how to figure out notes , has fun flipping pennies with a bloody knife and I just couldn't resist her huge smiles and giggles as the penny flew off in every direction.

So, I love having fun during lessons, try to imagine myself as a child and what I would enjoy doing to learn piano things - And then throw creative structure into the lessons so they do obviously learn a lot but disguise it with crazy antics and silly games.

If the kid doesn't like following instructions, you should try being more involved with showing him at the piano what you want him to do rather than speaking the commands verbally. If he pushes your hands out the way, I would take that as 'Ok, I'm ready to try, now give me space!'



I have never ever had a student shove my hands out of the way! If we are sharing a piano and I demonstrate and they want to try, I certainly get my hands out of the way quickly so they can try, but never has a student stopped me from playing. Also, I demonstrate on a different octave so that I'm not in their way to begin with. But shoving hands out of the way is not eagerness, it is rudeness. I would never do that to a student, so why would it be alright for them to do that to anyone?
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1778675 - 10/28/11 10:04 AM Re: I have a suggest!!! [Re: Morodiene]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
ah yes, I have two students who 'push my hands out of they way' - like literally throw their hands up and push my hands off the keyboard.

I 'try' to take it as my little bit of playing has enticed them to start playing or that my method of playing annoys them so much that they can't wait to get me to stop smile

If it's just one little thing like that , I don't mind. When it becomes a plethora of things that would seem disobedient or disrespectful, than I would take action.

Have you considered moving him to an earlier time on a different day so you aren't so worn out?

Kids will be kids and they love fun and colorful stories of animals - and LOL at your temper tantrum, I do that as well and my students simply love it!

I also played a game yesterday with a little 6 year old student of mine. I had this fake bloody knife that I used to put a penny on - she would flip the penny using the knife onto a sheet of music and wherever the penny landed, she would have to tell me the note - then we had these animal erasers as pawns she could move around the keyboard to the note she landed on - she absolutely loved this game and played it for a good 30 minutes and made me promise we would play it again next week. So she learns how to figure out notes , has fun flipping pennies with a bloody knife and I just couldn't resist her huge smiles and giggles as the penny flew off in every direction.

So, I love having fun during lessons, try to imagine myself as a child and what I would enjoy doing to learn piano things - And then throw creative structure into the lessons so they do obviously learn a lot but disguise it with crazy antics and silly games.

If the kid doesn't like following instructions, you should try being more involved with showing him at the piano what you want him to do rather than speaking the commands verbally. If he pushes your hands out the way, I would take that as 'Ok, I'm ready to try, now give me space!'



I have never ever had a student shove my hands out of the way! If we are sharing a piano and I demonstrate and they want to try, I certainly get my hands out of the way quickly so they can try, but never has a student stopped me from playing. Also, I demonstrate on a different octave so that I'm not in their way to begin with. But shoving hands out of the way is not eagerness, it is rudeness. I would never do that to a student, so why would it be alright for them to do that to anyone?


Never ever? Really? The only reason I do it in the same octave is so they can see it straight on - playing in different octaves doesn't give them the same visual angle to see what I'm doing - One of the students is home schooled and is 6 years old and he's more playful about it ... the other is extremely difficult to teach and is more aggressive about it when he moves my hands away, but I can't reprimand him with his hawk of a mother sitting there all the time - if she doesn't say anything about it, she prob just thinks it's normal. Plus this boy has so many other issues, this is the last of my concerns. But I adore working with his sister who is very sweet and enjoys practicing. So I don't want to offend the mother...
_________________________
An Eclectic Piano Teaching Experience







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#1778714 - 10/28/11 11:10 AM Re: I have a suggest!!! [Re: Dustin Sanders]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11795
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
ah yes, I have two students who 'push my hands out of they way' - like literally throw their hands up and push my hands off the keyboard.

I 'try' to take it as my little bit of playing has enticed them to start playing or that my method of playing annoys them so much that they can't wait to get me to stop smile

If it's just one little thing like that , I don't mind. When it becomes a plethora of things that would seem disobedient or disrespectful, than I would take action.

Have you considered moving him to an earlier time on a different day so you aren't so worn out?

Kids will be kids and they love fun and colorful stories of animals - and LOL at your temper tantrum, I do that as well and my students simply love it!

I also played a game yesterday with a little 6 year old student of mine. I had this fake bloody knife that I used to put a penny on - she would flip the penny using the knife onto a sheet of music and wherever the penny landed, she would have to tell me the note - then we had these animal erasers as pawns she could move around the keyboard to the note she landed on - she absolutely loved this game and played it for a good 30 minutes and made me promise we would play it again next week. So she learns how to figure out notes , has fun flipping pennies with a bloody knife and I just couldn't resist her huge smiles and giggles as the penny flew off in every direction.

So, I love having fun during lessons, try to imagine myself as a child and what I would enjoy doing to learn piano things - And then throw creative structure into the lessons so they do obviously learn a lot but disguise it with crazy antics and silly games.

If the kid doesn't like following instructions, you should try being more involved with showing him at the piano what you want him to do rather than speaking the commands verbally. If he pushes your hands out the way, I would take that as 'Ok, I'm ready to try, now give me space!'



I have never ever had a student shove my hands out of the way! If we are sharing a piano and I demonstrate and they want to try, I certainly get my hands out of the way quickly so they can try, but never has a student stopped me from playing. Also, I demonstrate on a different octave so that I'm not in their way to begin with. But shoving hands out of the way is not eagerness, it is rudeness. I would never do that to a student, so why would it be alright for them to do that to anyone?


Never ever? Really? The only reason I do it in the same octave is so they can see it straight on - playing in different octaves doesn't give them the same visual angle to see what I'm doing - One of the students is home schooled and is 6 years old and he's more playful about it ... the other is extremely difficult to teach and is more aggressive about it when he moves my hands away, but I can't reprimand him with his hawk of a mother sitting there all the time - if she doesn't say anything about it, she prob just thinks it's normal. Plus this boy has so many other issues, this is the last of my concerns. But I adore working with his sister who is very sweet and enjoys practicing. So I don't want to offend the mother...


that's a tough one, but really it's never happened to me before. Maybe because form the first lesson I set a tone that I have certain things that are acceptable behavior and certain things are not, so at the first sign is disrespect I will address it directly. If that doesn't do the trick, I get het parents involved. That usually stops it right away.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1778740 - 10/28/11 12:05 PM Re: I have a suggest!!! [Re: ToriAnais]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
to tell you the truth, i am happy my two rather difficult brothers/students quit piano.. they wouldn't practice and their sister is doing SOOO much better. I waltzed with her today.. teaching her 3/3 time. She liked that. it was a first. Sometimes we go outside and walk briskly in rhythm - gets them focused and revved up.

on a good note, (ha ha) my favorite student who quit in September for an out of town job, is back. YAY. for a while at least. Her little sis has made great strides forward.. pretty amazing child she is, just like her sister. We were working on a surprise for the Christmas visit. which fortunately came a bit earlier.

back to you thread and it's topic.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1778936 - 10/28/11 04:18 PM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: dan.mc]
izollie Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/11/11
Posts: 4
Originally Posted By: dan.mc
My last-resort strategy for difficult younger students is timing pieces (not terrribly musical I know but it works in the short term!). The student's "goal" is to beat his/her best time for that piece - obviously you need to insist that it is played (sometimes remotely) in time and with reasonably good technique. It is amazing to see how students that despise repeating pieces will happily play the same piece over and over again if they perceive that they have a concrete goal to work towards...


I actually have an extremely difficult student that I tried this on! I felt like I was really scraping the bottom of my musical barrel with this one, but it worked. I still, to this day, don't know what prompted me to think to try it. For some unknown reason, this student LOVED being timed. He worked and worked (as opposed to flopping about) to get the piece better and better - for the timer. He played it beautifully at the recital. Go figure. What is there to say, except everyone is SO different!! Now, when he's having difficulty with a piece, he actually asks me to time him on it. (Having said that, obviously you can't let them become a runaway train or speed through mistakes - if they do that, the time doesn't count.) wink

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