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#1986911 - 11/15/12 12:34 AM Students who hate theory [Re: keystring]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Hey KeyString,

First off, I had forgotten this ludicrous episode until you and Ann brought it up again:
Originally Posted By: keystring
I wonder if you were remembering my story, where I was forbidden to teach cursive because it was not in the curriculum guidelines until grade 3, back when I was a teacher.

What a great story.

I used the bait and hook metaphor because Nanner1 Mozart’s young student seems to be reluctant to put musical symbols on the page. I thought if we could get him doing that without placing it in that light, then, perhaps by the time he realizes he is actually doing just that, it will be “too late”, and he will already be enjoying the process.

I believe I, personally, learned rudiments and theory on a rather abstract level. While I was obviously and intentionally studying “music”, my interest at the time was not to relate it to sound, but rather to discover how the mechanics of music worked. It was so long ago, it is difficult to guess whether I would have had a richer experience if more direct tie-ins to sound or instrument were included by the teacher(s).

I believe that we learn more, in most circumstances, if stuff is NOT spelled out, and if we, as students, have to build those bridges of understanding on our own. Of course there is risk there, but also the opportunity of great reward.
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#1986968 - 11/15/12 06:16 AM Re: Students who hate theory [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
Nannerl Mozart Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/08
Posts: 732
Loc: Australia, Melbourne
Hello everybody. I just got back from teaching. Here is the verdict. I think some of you are over thinking it. In primary (or elementary in the US) school, lots of kids like art, they like doing practical science experiments, they like playing sport and they like things that are hands on. They spend a lot of their time reading and writing and that can be a bit dry sometimes. This kid told me that he likes HSIE (which stands for Human Society and its Environment) - that subject is mostly about Australian history. This told me he likes this subject a lot - this subject involved an assignment where he had to write down the answers to sixteen questions. He enjoyed that. I don't think writing things down is something that he hates because he has a certain learning disorder or because of the way he learns.

Mind you, I've only started teaching this kid. I thought he just didn't like theory, but I was wrong. Today he came into my studio, played me a piece in F major, discovered that he did not flatten any Bbs and whinged about having to fix them. We worked on the piece together in the lesson, I told him to isolate and practice the passages that were wrong and play slowly and separately a few times (rather than going through the whole piece again from the beginning), he fixed everything and I was satisfied... we looked at the next piece, and when I asked him to start playing it - another whine... He whines at everything, but he has such a cool grown up, confident yet mildly arrogant type of attitude when I talk to him. I guess he's still a kid... and I arrived at the conclusion to treat and talk to him like an adult, but to still praise him profusely when he gets something right. When he discovers something is wrong he seems to get very agitated and upset about it.

It's an attitude thing ... not really so much a theory/writing thing.
_________________________
http://colouredsilence.wordpress.com/


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#1986977 - 11/15/12 07:33 AM Re: Students who hate theory [Re: currawong]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: currawong
Or maybe "wingy"?
Verb: to whinge (pronounced winj) = to complain persistently and annoyingly, usually in a voice which has something of a whine about it. (my definition) smile I think I might have spelled whingy as whingey, myself. [/quote]

In Ireland it's whingey; in Scotland, whingy.
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


www.justfingers.co.uk
www.babysinging.co.uk

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#1987054 - 11/15/12 11:59 AM Re: Students who hate theory [Re: ten left thumbs]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
In Ireland it's whingey; in Scotland, whingy.

In Italy, its "to wine", as in "Away - to wine and dine!"
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#1987061 - 11/15/12 12:15 PM Re: Students who hate theory [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11586
Loc: Canada
Nannerl, it looks like you are getting to know your student, seeing how he thinks and what makes him tick. If he is indeed bright, then he's in the situation of being bright and a child. An aside: on Marbeth's site she discusses the bright student - they are not used to not being able to do things, so anything that is hard scares them because they never learned how to push through and go the "difficult becomes easy over time" route.

Quote:
We worked on the piece together in the lesson, I told him to isolate and practice the passages that were wrong and play slowly and separately a few times (rather than going through the whole piece again from the beginning)

Is it possible that before he came to you he did not know how to practice? As he does this kind of thing a few times with him insisting, maybe he'll catch on and start liking this way of working.

Quote:
Today he came into my studio, played me a piece in F major, discovered that he did not flatten any Bbs and whinged about having to fix them.

Well, there's an argument for theory, and that is theory! smile

I like to think that the forum is a brainstorming session of sorts. When you brainstorm you throw out all kinds of ideas, and the asker will know if any of them fit or give clues. With more information it can get refined.
Quote:
When he discovers something is wrong he seems to get very agitated and upset about it.

I wonder - does he know that it's ok to make mistakes in music? In school your assignments should be as perfect as possible. But playing an instrument is a process, and mistakes are an opportunity for the teacher to help you grow. If you know this as a student it takes the sting out of it.

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#1990957 - 11/26/12 07:14 AM Re: Students who hate theory [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
Nannerl Mozart Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/08
Posts: 732
Loc: Australia, Melbourne
KS, after another lesson with him here are a few things I have found - he doesn't know how to practice, he wasn't taught anything in regard to effective practice... the rest of my students are in the same boat. These students were all transfer students and right now I'm instilling a practice log so that I could monitor their practice and provide some guidance on the matter.

I should probably reassure him about mistakes... I find that a lot of my students practice under the influence of their parents and their parents have some very interesting and different views on mistakes - my five year old is instructed by her grandmother to start from the beginning if she makes a mistake, a few other students have the same kind of advice ... another girl I teach is often picked on for her mistakes and only her mistakes. Anyway, this is a learning curve for all of us.
_________________________
http://colouredsilence.wordpress.com/


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#1990965 - 11/26/12 08:00 AM Re: Students who hate theory [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11586
Loc: Canada
Nannerl, that makes a lot of sense. There is depth to music - what is in the music, how it is approached, how practising is approached. It is a fascinating thing, and intelligent minds especially will appreciate this. But it is reduced to something shallow: producing the end results by bulldozing through in a superficial manner so that week after week a set of pieces get played for the teacher. This is the student's reality of what it's about. Theory becomes a set of worksheets to be bulldozed through the same way. If you had had these students from the beginning, your own fascination would have had you introduce everything in a different way. That would create a different mindset. Theory is a part of that whole.

Are you able to make a dent in the parents' instructions, educating them in how they can help you help their children?

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