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#927595 - 11/19/08 02:48 PM Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
Gary D. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4812
Loc: South Florida
I think what Danny is expressing is that fact that we, as teachers, can very easily fall into the trap of blaming studentss for being lazy, irresponsible and so on because we, as teachers, have become smug.

In other words, it is very easy for me to lash out at students, at least in my own mind, showing resentment, because students are resisting what I am teaching.

I do, however, believe that students themselves also have the responsibility of checking their attitudes, commitment, and so on.

There are times when people of all ages fall into the trap of expecting improvement, or results, when not putting in the effort to achieve these things.

My view is that communication needs to remain open. If I stop listening to my students, things go down hill very quickly.

They also need to continue listening to me.

It cuts both ways.
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Piano Teacher

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#927596 - 11/19/08 03:56 PM Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
I would say that you are probably doing everything you can to help them. If they are not responding then you have either not yet found the way to reach them or they can't be reached. Time will reveal which it is.

The most important thing is not what you can do to help them but what you can do to help yourself.

At the moment you are letting it get you down. You are seeing it as failure. The whole situation is negative and you need to turn that around.

Is it possible for you to see it as a challenge like Betty would?

Can you be thankful that you have students who are paying their fees and keeping you in business?

Can you accept that it might not be your fault and that you are fulfilling your side of the relationship?

Can you focus on the small steps they might make?

If it is not how you want it to be can you release them from your studio without feeling guilty?

It is easy for this kind of situation to consume you. Try not to let it come to that.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#927597 - 11/19/08 04:24 PM Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
It seems to me that we keep changing the subject. We're not talking about listening or communications, we're talking about students preparing assignments at home. Students know what they need to do when they leave the studio. There are some, hopefully few, students, many supported by parents who have a false idea of how to learn and advance in piano (or music or art in general), who go home, throw their music bag in the corner, and grab it quickly on the way out to their next "class."

By the way, not to pillory anyone, but I don't think anyone is blaming students for being lazy, irresponsible and so on [/b] here. We're trying to focus on who has the problem and what is the solution. Chueh is only having this problem with certain transfer students, not with all her students. I don't think it's fair to assume that her teaching lacks spark, verve, flair, and isn't motivational.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#927598 - 11/19/08 04:29 PM Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12052
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Exactly, Gary. It does cut both ways. And with a teacher like our OP, who is trying all sorts of different ways to reach these kids, it's very hard to say if she's making it boring. To assume that is the case is not fair. I don't think I give boring lessons either, but how fun can it be when a student doesn't practice? What are lesson then, but practice, the very thing they avoided all week?

Chris is right, you have to try to make something positive out of this, even if it might mean lower standards. Or, you keep your standards and recommend the students to another teacher that might be more compatible.
_________________________
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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#927599 - 11/19/08 04:57 PM Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
When I think about the students I had this evening there are a couple who are not that serious and don't practice much. Then I have a couple of average students, a new beginner who is very enthusiastic and an advanced student who is auditioning for music colleges at the moment.

Some of them find what I have to say interesting and stimulating. The ones who don't practice probably find me extremely boring. I could say the same about them! I am just me. I do the best I can but at the end of the day I can't make them do anything they don't want to do. I can show them how to practice mindfully knowing that if they do so it will be rewarding. The problem is that one persons mindful experience is another persons mindless torture. \:D You just need to learn to take the rough with the smooth.

Don't take it personally.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#927600 - 11/19/08 05:01 PM Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
Gary D. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4812
Loc: South Florida
I'm seldom worried about lowering standards. There are times when I shudder at the thought of some of my students being taken as representatives of what I'm trying to teach, but frankly I think that is my ego getting way out of control. At such times I take myself too seriously.

There are some students who are just not "fits" for me. I can feel it in lessons. There is something that is not working quite right. I feel grumpy. I try very hard to hide it, but I think in the end other people often pick up on much more of what is going through our minds than we would like to admit.

If the student is not a good fit for me, I'm not a good fit for the student. Sometimes this can change. If it does, it takes a little work on both ends, though the adjustment on the student end may be more subconscious.

With other students I just have a feeling of things "clicking". There is always a chance that things will take off in the future. I have a feeling of possibilities being open.

As a student I remember liking certain teachers and wanting to work hard for them. The subject was not always something I would normally be interested in. I remember on year in junior high having a social studies teacher that I really enjoyed. I got straight As in that class. I had the highest grades of all his students that year.

I hated a chemistry teacher in high school. She was one of the meanest human beings I've ever had to be around. I was interested in chemistry, but I almost failed the course. Maybe someone I was unable to get along with in lessons left feeling the same way about me.

I try to turn this idea around, as a teacher. I know I can't be that "special teacher" for every student. Some students will do better with a different teacher. I simply want to be the best possible teacher for as many of my students as possible.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#927601 - 11/19/08 05:17 PM Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
i have quite the assortment of students. I guess i am the dregs of the piano teaching profession.

1. One blind young woman - no charge.. it's interesting teaching her. She works pretty darn hard when she is not learning vocal scores. She's an excellent soprano.

2. one girl age 14. I trade piano lessons for diving team fees. I asked her how much she practiced a week and she said 45 minutes. I about died. she's so busy. She's ADD and I'm teaching her a chord method so she can play with her father who plays the guitar and sings.

3. one girl age 8. Her mother died and I'm teaching her for free. She's actually my most traditional student. .. a good worker but emotionally challenged.

3. one girl age 10. I trade lessons for her with guitar lessons from her father for my son. She's actually a quick learning beginner and very comfortable with practicing and reading music.

Money earned per week? Zero.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#927602 - 11/19/08 05:59 PM Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12052
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Apple, Oun, what are the costs of guitar and diving lessons? If you would normally be paying for those, then you can count those 2 students as ones that you've "made money", or rather, saved money on other expenses, which amount to the same thing (unless you're at the point where you have no money for food, then there's a problem!).Everyone has a story, and I think a good teacher will find out that story (at least to the extent that it affects the student in their studies) and make adjustments to their teaching accordingly.
_________________________
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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#927603 - 11/19/08 06:09 PM Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
Danny Niklas Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/08
Posts: 905
Loc: Switzerland
 Quote:
Originally posted by John v.d.Brook:
It seems to me that we keep changing the subject. We're not talking about listening or communications, we're talking about students preparing assignments at home. Students know what they need to do when they leave the studio.[/b]
I wouldn't give this for granted. In my experience the majority of students don't know how to practice and even few teachers lacked the right knowledge about efficient practicing when they were students.

I would insist on asking to students who don't practice, what their problem with practicing is.
Chance are they feel practicing like an awkward burden, they don't have enough consecutive free time or they don't even know when to begin.

Teaching how to practice, maybe even using few lessons to make student practice the way they should do it at home, is very important; expecially with those who don't seem comfortable with the idea of practicing.

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#927604 - 11/19/08 07:48 PM Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
chueh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/11/08
Posts: 85
I certainly appreciate all of your input. Each one has a good point, which i will put it into great consideration.

Although i don't think that the way I teach is boring at all, it can be seen totally differently by others. If we all know what we are lacking, then we would improve everything already. I have made vocal sounds, gesture, and/or movements to imitate how the students play which i ask them to improve. I show them the difference between what's a good round full sound and the way they hit the piano or whatever. I always explain WHY and HOW. Those students who improve and make good progress are always laughing and giggling in the lessons, with the attitutde of never missing my piano lessons.

On the other hand, those who do not practice can never appreciate my humanizing the notes on staff, singing the correct notes compared to the wrong notes, drawing things to make the students reminded what they are supposed to do, and etc. I think I make enough fun for the lessons, yet maybe it is not enough for those who don't appreciate.

I have showed my students how to practice too. Practicing is not about "duty," as if it's done, when playing the piece 3 times. Practice is about finding where they have trouble and aim at the trouble place and finding why and how the mistake is made. Mastering a section or a part at a time, and then adding one more when the part is flawless.

But again, perhaps, I have not stressed it enough.... Anyway, I would keep trying and learning what i need to do while teaching.

I have learned a lot from the posts. They make me think and rethink.

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#927605 - 11/19/08 08:04 PM Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
Danny Niklas Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/08
Posts: 905
Loc: Switzerland
 Quote:
Originally posted by chueh:
I have showed my students how to practice too. Practicing is not about "duty," as if it's done, when playing the piece 3 times. Practice is about finding where they have trouble and aim at the trouble place and finding why and how the mistake is made. Mastering a section or a part at a time, and then adding one more when the part is flawless.
[/b]

I suggest you to devote a lesson to practicinng itself, for those students who have problems with it. Ask them to pretend you're not there and start the practice they didn't at home on your piano. Then check any awkwardness, doubt, mistake in their way to approach practicing. Notice whether they're making the whole experience boring and exahustating for themselves. Then point out the correct way. Show them how to make practicing a mindfull and fun process and then ask them to apply those knowledge right away, still pretending you're not there. Try to get to the point where they admit that practicing is far more better and interesting than they thought, and ask them to use that model at home too.
Don't stress practicing every day but consistency and quality work. Show them you're comprehensive about their time-management issues and try to suggest alternatives (like braking an hour of practicing into manageable 10 minutes chunks)

If even this doesn't work, just ask them what their problem with practicing is. Once you know from them what the real problem is, you will know what aspects you need to address specifically and indeed stress way more.

I'm just suggessting, I'm not implying you haven't done these already.

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#927606 - 11/19/08 08:22 PM Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12052
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Danny, many teachers actually spend the entire lesson each week on how to practice. I listen to the piece, then talk and demonstrate (and have the student do) different methods to correct an issue, then I write it down in detail for them to remember. One lesson devoted to practice isn't enough! \:\)
_________________________
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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#927607 - 11/19/08 08:43 PM Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
Danny Niklas Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/08
Posts: 905
Loc: Switzerland
 Quote:
Originally posted by Morodiene:
Danny, many teachers actually spend the entire lesson each week on how to practice. I listen to the piece, then talk and demonstrate (and have the student do) different methods to correct an issue, then I write it down in detail for them to remember. One lesson devoted to practice isn't enough! \:\) [/b]
I would devote a lesson to practice anytime a student seems to have doubts, problems and complications with the process of practicing itself. I would consider it a foundation, without which is harder to proceed.

I suggest though two differences:

1) Ask the student to act as if you weren't there and he/she was alone at home. Allow him/her to practice on its own for 15 minutes and then point out better and more productive ways to practice. In other words make the "practice lesson" completely different from the "piano lesson" by doing everything differently, including not asking the student to play the whole piece as usual in order to point out mistakes and problems.


2) Get the student to admit that practicing isn't so bad, boring and hard as he/she thought. My goal would be not only to show better ways to practice but also to show that practicing can be very interesting, stimulating and beautifully challenging, not hard or boring. Coach them into admitting it by saying things like "can you see that practicing is not that bad, and not even so hard when you know how to make it effective?" They should go home with a sudden urgency to practice, just to experience again the magic of having seen something considered hard and boring, transformed into something interesting and practical.

The process of using your effort to reach a goal shouldn't be hard. I mean, it should be challenging and requiring effort, but it should also be straightforward and not needlessly complex. Many don't believe into making things "easy", it seems like sabotaging your effort. But the point is to make the application of effort easy and immediate, not simplfying and decreasing the effort required. I hope I've made myself clear, because I don't really know how to explain this concept with words.

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#927608 - 11/20/08 11:07 AM Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3220
Loc: Virginia, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by John v.d.Brook:
It seems to me that we keep changing the subject. We're not talking about listening or communications, we're talking about students preparing assignments at home. Students know what they need to do when they leave the studio. [/b]
Perhaps we change the subject because we don't have consensus on how to define the problem. Once you've defined it, you can proceed to determine the root cause, then come up with a proposed solution, test it, adjust it, etc. The standard process improvement stuff we use in industry.

Who here is providing the service? Who here is the paying customer? Ultimately the customer decides if you are succeeding. I know that's a paradigm shift in thinking but it might be helpful.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#927609 - 11/20/08 11:45 AM Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Tim, you're correct. The parent is paying, but often doesn't know or realize whether they are getting what they are paying for. What are they paying for? Your instruction? Your gee whiz motivational song and dance? Your ability to psychoanalyze their student? What?

Also, you could make a case that the parent doesn't know what they should be receiving. And, as Betty's form and discussion indicates, teachers and students too have diverse opinions on what they should be receiving.

So let's use an analogy. You go to the dentist. The dentist tells you that if you want to keep your teeth, you'd better brush and floss between meals. Is he responsible for giving you a tooth brush and floss? Is he responsible for monitoring your home use of said items? Or is he responsible for identifying the problem and showing you how to solve the problem?

The items several have suggested teachers do, such as teaching how to practice, have been proposed over and over again by many of us as proper teaching. It seems like an echo of sorts.

It seems to me that chueh has done above and beyond what is required. Probably, one final conference with the parents is in order, then either drop the students in question, or be willing to let them drift for a couple of years until they suddenly (we hope) become inspired. And that's an ethical issue for the teacher as well.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#927610 - 11/21/08 11:14 AM Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3220
Loc: Virginia, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by John v.d.Brook:
Tim, you're correct. The parent is paying, but often doesn't know or realize whether they are getting what they are paying for.


Also, you could make a case that the parent doesn't know what they should be receiving. [/b]
We don't disagree as much as really see this from a different viewpoint.

The parent is paying, and has an idea of what they are paying for. It may not be what the teacher thinks he/she is selling, in fact very likely is not. However the parent does have a pretty good idea whether they are getting it. The teacher can't always tell, unless the student disappears or unless they ask, because the teacher is measuring progress by piano skill. Since in most cases that is not what the parent thinks they are buying, the teacher is more likely to feel negative than the parent.

The parent doesn't know "what they should be receiving?" Whoa there! The parent doesn't know what the teacher is selling, and that's bad. The parent does know what they want. Are you going to tell them what they SHOULD want? Good luck with that.

What I think might work is for the teacher to say something like this. "I teach virtuoso piano skills and my job is to produce students who will pass conservatory auditions and become concert pianists. I am not interested in general music education, enrichment, fun, babysitting, or being a friend to your child. There are plenty of teachers who are, and if that is your goal I will refer you to them. If you decide to stay with me it is with the understanding your child is serious about a career in music and must put in 2 hours per day practice. If you and your child cannot commit to this then I have to reserve that slot for those who want and need it. I have a waiting list of 57 applicants."

Most parents send their kids to piano lessons because they don't see any general music education happening in the public schools and they think it's important to a rounded education. A few parents send their kids to piano lessons to become musical professionals. Ideally you'd have two different types piano teacher, but I think what you normally have is one type piano teacher with a mixture of students.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#927611 - 11/21/08 11:20 AM Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11731
Loc: Canada
(um, that was silly. Suffice it to say that I was once given a "tooth brushing practice routine" including proper technique, and checking in the next 'lesson' that I had it right) John, you had me laughing.

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#927612 - 11/21/08 11:39 AM Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11731
Loc: Canada
 Quote:
The parent does know what they want. Are you going to tell them what they SHOULD want? Good luck with that.
Honestly? As a parent I would want to know that. This starts, however, with the child telling me what HE wants, and being clear about it. Child says "I want to take lessons because I want to play this instrument well." Parent asks teacher how that will come about. This actually goes toward the questionnaire elsewhere in which a parent is to fill out "I want my child to..." - I did not respond there because I realize our family dynamics may be different.

Chueh has inherited students from another teacher, and that must be a tough nut to crack. If I was mistaught as an adult, at least I would be motivated and give it my best shot with the new teacher - that would be hard enough. If the child and parent don't care, I can't imagine how hard that would be.

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#927613 - 11/21/08 04:11 PM Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3220
Loc: Virginia, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
This starts, however, with the child telling me what HE wants, and being clear about it. [/b]
Does this actually happen? Really?

I'm having difficulty absorbing that!

Advanced students, sure. But beginners? Aren't they mostly there because their parents told them they had to? Just like they were told they had to take math?

I'm not being argumentative, I'm really curious.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#927614 - 11/21/08 04:19 PM Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Keystring asked: "If the child and parent don't care, I can't imagine how hard that would be."

Which is harder?
1) When the parent and student don't care?
or,
2) Giving them something to care about?

Is either impossible?

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#927615 - 11/21/08 04:28 PM Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11731
Loc: Canada
TimR, to answer your question; I had a particular philosophy and we homeschooled until high school. One child told me at age 12 that he wished to take music lessons for the purpose of learning to play the instrument well.

I should not hijack this thread with a second subject, though. Sorry. I was thinking out loud how much easier it would be if a transfer student wanted to work on things.

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#927616 - 11/21/08 04:31 PM Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11731
Loc: Canada
 Quote:

Which is harder?
1) When the parent and student don't care?
or,
2) Giving them something to care about?

Is either impossible?
Can that thought help with the question the OP asked, I wonder?

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#927617 - 11/21/08 05:40 PM Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
Danny Niklas Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/08
Posts: 905
Loc: Switzerland
 Quote:
Originally posted by TimR:
 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
This starts, however, with the child telling me what HE wants, and being clear about it. [/b]
Does this actually happen? Really?

I'm having difficulty absorbing that!

Advanced students, sure. But beginners? Aren't they mostly there because their parents told them they had to? Just like they were told they had to take math?

I'm not being argumentative, I'm really curious. [/b]
I belong to a musical organization of students, teachers, composers and performers of every age for all the instruments. We deal with courses, camps, recitals and more. Of the hundreds of students there I have never met someone who started as a beginner because of parents imposition and without personal desire to learn. Young people have always made music spontaneously, millions of garage bands have surfaced everywhere in the world without any sort of institution controlling it, the desire to sing and produce music is instinctive in a lot of very young people and so is the emulation of sounds or the desire to dance to music. (when I was three and listened to drums in music I would use wooden spoons against the sofa in pretending I was playing a drum set. I chose piano but drum set would've been my second choice)

It doesn't seem to me the basis to feel at a young age the desire to become a musician are lacking and coercion is required. In fact in my experience coercion usually creates adversion against music which is then experienced with frustration. In my opinion parents who force their children to play the piano, rather than children who say to their parents they want to learn the piano, are rather rare; expecially nowadays.

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#927618 - 11/21/08 09:49 PM Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
There must be something wrong with me, quick take my temperature!

I consider the kind of situation the OP is talking about to be a great challenge at which I can use what I know about teaching music and teaching thinking. I expect to win.

This is not ego, it is confidence.

Having students with letter names written on their music would simply mean to me that OK, we are going to write ALL the letter names in on every note and begin to remove just one letter name in the next piece, then remove one more letter name in the next piece.

And I would assign 5 pieces as soon as possible that were easy enough (perhaps melody only) to do these exercises with, expecting progress. Which letter name did we eliminate? Flash cards might help. We are eliminating writing the letter name "D" today (or whatever).

I actually start new beginners off with positions (Middle C and soon Parallel C) and all fingerings are marked for about a month, they I start taking away fingers on the new pieces, and only using:
1) the first note on each line of music
2) the places where the music skips in intervals, or between hands.
3) orange lines going between RH and LH and back to show a "sidewalk".
4) I mark outside the clef signs at the beginning LH and RH in different colors (consistant colors)
5) I use yellow on two 1/8 notes to show "ti-ti" compared to TA. TA's get marked with a blue line underneath - the note to show one beat. I also mark half notes, half note dots, and hold that whole note with pulses to show you must count these notes accurately.
6) In the beginning I don't care about letter names on the music staff, the game is to choose the correct finger impulse and duration. Having a fixed position allows us to concentrate on these choices. After all if you don't know the letter name, you can't play a finger, and once the hand moves to another location the G that was a RH5 could now be a different finger number.

I think it's more important to make the impulse happen by choosing a finger number.

I'm giving little information here, skipping things about learning by distance and direction and landmarks and conjunct must come first before disjunct.

You've got to get them in motion at the piano moving fingers easily, or they will play hunt and peck forever and create stumbles and aggravated sounds on the piano.

Teach legato or you hear "pokes".

0 0 0 0 0 0 the eye has to move ahead to the next note head in order for there to be a next beat. If eyes are not moving on the page, the brain and hand are not coordinating to follow what the eye sees.

I hope that any of this might be helpful to a teacher in distress because their students have been programmed poorly. So, you deprogram and substitute something else.

I really have felt that this repair and remediation work is in my calling. Sometimes it is very difficult to get turned into the right direction, but attitudes and behavior and indifference are, to me, much harder to work with than the music itself.

Truth is, I win some, I lose some, but no one could not have said I gave remediation lessons in vain.

You have to have a willing piano student, and sometimes that is where you have to start: engaging their attention, catching interest and curiosity, giving them assignments they can do, making things as simple as possible so there can be some building toward success.

The last thing I'd say here would be, you have to give an impression that working with them is of interest to you, you like solving puzzles in the music, you like encouraging and motivating them, and that you like smiles in return.

Beam out to them what you want to see from them if you can. It's like looking in a mirror. What do they see when they look at you? Interesting thought, huh?

I really sympathize and empathize that theirs is very disappointing situation, but being able to affect changes in these students would be a really big, worth while accomplishment.

If this causes you a lot of pain, the answer may be in refusing to accept transfer students and only creating your own beginnings with students.

Best wishes!

Betty

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#927619 - 11/22/08 06:17 PM Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
Danny Niklas Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/08
Posts: 905
Loc: Switzerland
I wanted to recommend a very interesting article I've just read:

Why Students don\'t Practice?[/b]

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#927620 - 11/22/08 06:29 PM Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
Danny Niklas Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/08
Posts: 905
Loc: Switzerland
A little digression.
The article says "Like most teenagers, if I was in the process of putting on a red shirt, and I heard my mother call out “You should put on your red shirt before we go out today”, I would have taken it off. I’m still not sure why."

Not only I have done this myself and will keep doing it for the rest of my life, but I also know why. The problem is only when being told to do something is not a suggestion and not even an order, but a subtle way to tell you you're not smart enough to think about doing something right for yourself. I remember refusing to empty my milk bowl when my aunt instructed me to, even if I had already planned to drink all the milk. There was something so infantilizing and preachy in her tone which I just couldn't stand. The problem has not to do with some mystical mythical "nature of teens" but with not recognizing they're grown human beings and not babies, and that they need the freedom to take good decisions and practice their rights wisely by themselves, not just under paternalizing instructions, subtly suggesting they can't be trusted in doing the right thing. I think many have felt this same bad feeling even later in life and can sympathize.
It's the same reason why I don't like insistence. I appreciate being remind to do something, but once I have answered "okay I will do", I don't like being reminded insistently every moment, as if I couldn't be trusted in maintaining what I have said (with my modalities and pace)

End of digression.

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#927621 - 11/24/08 09:39 PM Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
michelleyh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/13/08
Posts: 58
Loc: Malaysia
i personally feel that student who does not practise are just simply not interested or lazy. well, i give them a few chances and then i will stop their classes, to cater for new eager students. why waste time to teach someone who is not interested?
_________________________
Michelle YH Toe, LLCM
Piano Technician, CSPT
Piano Teacher
Accompanist
www.facebook.com/MichelleYHToe

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#927622 - 11/24/08 10:03 PM Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
Danny Niklas Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/08
Posts: 905
Loc: Switzerland
 Quote:
Originally posted by michelleyh:
i personally feel that student who does not practise are just simply not interested or lazy. [/b]
So you found nothing valuable to ponder on, in that article I posted, which provides an almost opposite position?

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#927623 - 11/28/08 10:58 AM Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
michelleyh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/13/08
Posts: 58
Loc: Malaysia
some of my students the admit honestly that they do not practise is because that they rather spend time to watch tv or play computer games, they also admit that they are lazy, whereas some student they told me that they are not interested but the mother forced them to learn piano as if they do not learn to play piano,ppl will look down onto them. crazy, right?
_________________________
Michelle YH Toe, LLCM
Piano Technician, CSPT
Piano Teacher
Accompanist
www.facebook.com/MichelleYHToe

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#927624 - 11/28/08 04:12 PM Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
Interesting article. I suppose it could work for a minority of students but I can't help feeling that this kind of liberal view has contributed towards the gradual decline in standards over the years.

I give praise when it's due. Sometimes it is for the slightest improvement. But generally if you praise a student who has done nothing then they will simply feel that it is acceptable to do nothing. Nowadays it is almost impossible for kids to fail at anything. We must compliment them even if their work is sloppy. Take music exams for example, win a prize every time. Then there are tears when places at top colleges and conservatoires are given to overseas students who have worked hard and deserve it.

I don't buy all this garbage about students who do not know 'how' to practice. Sitting on the bench and lifting the lid would be a good start. I know very well that my students understand how to practice. Some of them choose not to. I have not missed anything as the article suggests. You can take a horse to water........
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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