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#928418 - 12/08/03 12:47 AM motivating students
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 950
I can understand that all these techniques for motivating students can work.

But what I want to know is do we have to stand on our heads to get children to love music? I sometimes feel that if you have to do so much work to keep students motivated, then they haven't got that innate interest in music in the first place, and they will eventually quit. To me, a simple phrase of good music should delight a child. If they have to be shooed from one piece to another, they really don't "get it". I often play a simple phrase or sing the words to translate the joy of music to children. They will ask, "why does it always sound better when you play it?" and then I attempt to teach them why. I will often stay on a beginner's piece such as Autumn Snow Storm in the Leila Fletcher book for four weeks. Am I a control freak for wanting every phrase to end beautifully, every agogic accent to be in place, and the student to have perfect timing?

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#928419 - 12/20/03 08:25 PM Re: motivating students
Pyano Teacher Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/02/03
Posts: 13
Loc: California
Candyman,

I don’t think you are control freak. I am, too, very strict with my students. The same thing that is “killing” you “kills” me too, but since I couldn’t win – I decided to pick my battles with students.
I was never satisfied with my students’ playing, for it was always something missing in their interpretation. That used to drive me crazy, so my job became very stressful rather than pleasant. Over the years I realized that not everybody was born to be a musician, so I should not expect perfection. I always try to pull out maximum from each student, but sometimes they just don’t care or, as you said: “they don’t get it”. That’s why I decided to ask for most essential elements, such as perfect timing and reading notes. Once when they feel OK with these two things, I slowly move on to perfect phrasing, dynamics and other elements they need to know in order to enjoy music.
I have students who quit with excuse that it was too much what I was asking from them, but to be honest, I never regret when I lose student with no motivation. However, I have more room for somebody who might be better.
I don’t worry too much about motivating students, because those who are not motivated honestly – it is more likely they will never be. Motivated students are always happy with any kind of composition I assign and they never resist to practice the way which is sometimes kind of boring, but very useful (such as having beginners tell the notes out loud as they are playing along).
I felt the same way as you do now, so I had to readjust my teaching “style” in order to save my nerves. It worked for me.

Best regards

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