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Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket] #1538670
10/19/10 08:43 AM
10/19/10 08:43 AM
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Feminicricket Offline OP
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I have never seen "Charlie and the Choc factory". Is it good?


LEARNING AND IMPROVING NEVER STOPS. It would be boring if it did.
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Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket] #1538673
10/19/10 08:49 AM
10/19/10 08:49 AM
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Worcester, UK
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When I was doing peripatetic teaching in a primary school, I was horrified by how rude and disruptive the kids were, at least when I was teaching them in groups.

I was perplexed by this, as they didn't seem to be so bad in their classrooms, from what I could tell. I was curious to know what it was that made them see me as fair game for this kind of disrespect - I don't tolerate bad behaviour, I'm never afraid to tell kids off, if needs be, and I don't come across as weak or anxious in front a class, afaik.

One thing that eventually struck me as being a possible factor: I had introduced myself as, and allowed the children to call me by my first name. I have no idea if this is what made the difference, but one thing's for sure - next peri job I take on, the kids are going to be calling me 'Mr. Crosland'...

Last edited by Ben Crosland; 10/19/10 08:51 AM.
Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Ben Crosland] #1538682
10/19/10 09:02 AM
10/19/10 09:02 AM
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Feminicricket Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Ben Crosland
When I was doing peripatetic teaching in a primary school, I was horrified by how rude and disruptive the kids were, at least when I was teaching them in groups.

I was perplexed by this, as they didn't seem to be so bad in their classrooms, from what I could tell. I was curious to know what it was that made them see me as fair game for this kind of disrespect - I don't tolerate bad behaviour, I'm never afraid to tell kids off, if needs be, and I don't come across as weak or anxious in front a class, afaik.

One thing that eventually struck me as being a possible factor: I had introduced myself as, and allowed the children to call me by my first name. I have no idea if this is what made the difference, but one thing's for sure - next peri job I take on, the kids are going to be calling me 'Mr. Crosland'...

Good for you Mr.Crosland! Teach them right.


LEARNING AND IMPROVING NEVER STOPS. It would be boring if it did.
Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket] #1538768
10/19/10 12:03 PM
10/19/10 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Feminicricket
I have never seen "Charlie and the Choc factory". Is it good?
The book is very good. There are two movies, one with Gene Wilder and the other with Johnny Depp. Neither movie was quite what I expected, but then how could they be from a story with so many strange things? (Note that the newer movie changes and adds to the story significantly.)


(I'm a piano teacher.)
Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket] #1540171
10/21/10 10:51 AM
10/21/10 10:51 AM
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Posts: 31
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I am not a piano teacher but I am a parent and I just wanted to add that I don’t think you should expect the child to practice if the mother doesn’t care and if the mother just wants the child to have fun. I know that in many ways the child will have more fun improving but many parents have philosophies that are as strongly held as the philosophies of many people on this forum. They do not believe in “pushing” their children but they do want to “expose” them to cultural experiences such as musical education, dance etc. to broaden their minds.

I do no actually subscribe this approach, but MANY of my perfectly nice friends do. They send their kids to ballet once a week, and have been for 5 years. I go to the year end recital and you never saw such a chaotic, ungraceful collection of kids in tutus in your life. The teacher is a professional ballet dancer and could teach the kids. However, kids quit the first year she was teaching because she corrected them in class. The teacher reformed her thinking on what the class was about for the kids and parents. The kids did not want to be good. They wanted to have fun dancing around to nice music. Their parents had no ballet goals for them, only that they have a fun after school activity that was different. So the implicit agreement is "I will bring my child to you once a week, she will have fun pretending to learn ballet and you will have fun pretending to teach her, and we will make cherished videos at the end of the year of their essentially untutored efforts and we will all be happy and enroll next year."

That is what this parent is likely asking of you, and it is what the school is asking of you so it is what you should do. Have fun, play games, some of them at the piano, some standing up and dancing to music, clapping rhythms, singing, learning notes. Don’t worry about pace, achievement, performance or anything else. Have fun and be her once-a-week after school activity.

Someone on this board gave good advice that I have been using with my own daughter to keep her practicing when a piece needs work. We move miniature "my little ponies" of which we have six from the left to the right of the piano. She rolls the die to determine how many times she is going to play through a difficult section. Then she places the correct number of ponies on the left of the piano. After each repetition, the little ponies "dance" around in wild appreciation, and one is selected to move to the other side of the piano. When they are all on the right, we leave that section and sometimes the piece. My daughter loves performing for the little ponies (who are unstinting in their appreciation, while I am more considered) and she loves the fact that the die sometimes comes up 1 or 2 (although ours seems to be unbalanced because it comes up SIXES a LOT!)




Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Alreadyinuse] #1540230
10/21/10 11:50 AM
10/21/10 11:50 AM
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Posts: 16,547
Boynton Beach, FL
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Originally Posted by Alreadyinuse
So the implicit agreement is "I will bring my child to you once a week, she will have fun pretending to learn ballet and you will have fun pretending to teach her, and we will make cherished videos at the end of the year of their essentially untutored efforts and we will all be happy and enroll next year."


I understand what you are saying and that you don't agree with it, but as a teacher I care very much for my art and I think if one asks for a higher standard, one will get it. Certainly there are those that do not agree and they study with someone who doesn't care about piano. My students enjoy the success that they have from their hard work, and they learn discipline, not chaos, is what brings a sense of accomplishment and self-esteem.


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Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Alreadyinuse] #1540255
10/21/10 12:29 PM
10/21/10 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Alreadyinuse
That is what this parent is likely asking of you, and it is what the school is asking of you so it is what you should do.
That would be all right, if music didn't matter to me. And if music didn't matter to me, then I would be a plumber and make some actual money. frown

Fake lessons in anything are a waste of time and money. Letting children think they're learning something, when in fact they're not, is harmful. If you want a babysitter, then call the position "babysitter", and hire a responsible teenager at minimum wage.


(I'm a piano teacher.)
Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: david_a] #1540326
10/21/10 01:49 PM
10/21/10 01:49 PM
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[/quote]That would be all right, if music didn't matter to me. And if music didn't matter to me, then I would be a plumber and make some actual money. frown [/quote]

Maybe the original poster can find a better position, and being a teacher for this school that wants to retain students that don't want to practice is just the first option that came along. In which case, if it is very frustrating, it would be worth adhering to higher principles and risking the student and parent quitting, and risking the school's wrath and reduction in her income . But if the OP needs this job, reframing what the job is may help her to tolerate or even enjoy the lessons, and help the kid enjoy them too. And everyone will be happy.

I am a professor and when I began teaching I suffered through relentless questions of the type "Are you teaching us this because we have to know it or is this just you saying? Like is this on the exam?" I found this so demoralizing I asked the Chair if I could teach only Honors students. Now I have a great time teaching super motivated kids to whom I can relate. But there are many other people in my department who have been able to cognitively reframe their teaching task and who have skills I don't, and they teach the regular students and are good at it, so everyone's happy.

In the case of the OP, I think it would be useful for her to cognitively reframe what her job is according to the parent (who is paying) and the school (who has hired her) and figure out a way to enjoy it. (Easy for me to say when I couldn't do it myself, but others have.) Realistically, there are worse afterschool activities than a very slow paced introduction to piano. If the child were not in the OP's studio, who knows, maybe they'd be in front of the TV, so the lessons -- even watered down -- are adding value to that kid's life.

Anyway, I'm not saying this is right; I'm just throwing in this perspective, which is widely held among the parents I know.

Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Lollipop] #1540534
10/21/10 07:36 PM
10/21/10 07:36 PM
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Feminicricket Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Lollipop
Feminicricket - Sounds like Mom will not be supportive. Since you don't really have a choice about teaching this child, I guess you'll have to make the best of it. Can a student learn to play piano in 30 minutes per week (without practicing)? Yes, actually. They may be 99 by the time they get to hands together, though. wink But I suspect this child's whiny attitude and frustration is due in part to the lack of success she feels. To a certain extent, mom is right - it needs to be fun.

So, for thirty minutes each week, play games, do flashcards, dance, whatever. Remove all expectations. Review the previous week's piece. (Do NOT give more than one.) If the child could pass the piece in one week by practicing it every day, then perhaps she can pass it in one month, by practicing it with you once a week. But you will somehow need to stay encouraging. Find something you like and harp on it. Wow - beautiful hand position! Hey! You only made 4 mistakes in that measure; let's try again and see if you can make only 3!

I think the key with her will be to make the steps so incremental that you have something to celebrate each week. And as the student begins to feel successful, she will move toward the piano more on her own.

I don't know what level she is at - I am assuming that she is still pretty low skill-wise - if practicing has been an ongoing issue. If so, that's good news. It's easier to improve from the lower levels. However, resist the urge to pass her on something too soon. (Although "good enough" might have to do.) You may even need to back up, but choosing a "new" book that repeats some of the concepts she should have learned previously but didn't. I don't think in this situation that I would even mention practicing at home. Consider it a gift if it happens.

Along with her ONE piece, you can give her other "assignments". Teach her how to practice good hand position by playing 1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1 three times in C position every day, for example. Time her. Show her it takes less than a minute. Ask her to try to find one minute for you every day. That's just an example, that may or may not be appropriate for your student. But I think if you can get her used to feeling capable and successful at the piano, it may become more fun.

Also, you may be in a tough position if another teacher in your studio "failed" with this student. Your commiseration with the other teacher might subconsciously keep you from succeeding. The other teacher may be giving you extra baggage to carry. Try to distance yourself from the other teacher and put yourself firmly on the child's side.

Easy to say from my arm-chair! I just think you probably need to spend extra time prepping, and lower your expectations for awhile. I hope you'll eventually be pleasantly surprised.


Thank you. Your approach of giving 1-2 pieces worked. The mother actually took the trouble of seeing that her daughter learned to read notes. Today, the girl was focused, played much better than last week and even wanted to play the piece again by herself. She was motivated in her lessons and I too feel like I got somewhere with her.


LEARNING AND IMPROVING NEVER STOPS. It would be boring if it did.
Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Alreadyinuse] #1540544
10/21/10 07:53 PM
10/21/10 07:53 PM
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Feminicricket Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Alreadyinuse
[/quote]

Maybe the original poster can find a better position, and being a teacher for this school that wants to retain students that don't want to practice is just the first option that came along. In which case, if it is very frustrating, it would be worth adhering to higher principles and risking the student and parent quitting, and risking the school's wrath and reduction in her income . But if the OP needs this job, reframing what the job is may help her to tolerate or even enjoy the lessons, and help the kid enjoy them too. And everyone will be happy.

I am a professor and when I began teaching I suffered through relentless questions of the type "Are you teaching us this because we have to know it or is this just you saying? Like is this on the exam?" I found this so demoralizing I asked the Chair if I could teach only Honors students. Now I have a great time teaching super motivated kids to whom I can relate. But there are many other people in my department who have been able to cognitively reframe their teaching task and who have skills I don't, and they teach the regular students and are good at it, so everyone's happy.

In the case of the OP, I think it would be useful for her to cognitively reframe what her job is according to the parent (who is paying) and the school (who has hired her) and figure out a way to enjoy it. (Easy for me to say when I couldn't do it myself, but others have.) Realistically, there are worse afterschool activities than a very slow paced introduction to piano. If the child were not in the OP's studio, who knows, maybe they'd be in front of the TV, so the lessons -- even watered down -- are adding value to that kid's life.

Anyway, I'm not saying this is right; I'm just throwing in this perspective, which is widely held among the parents I know.

All I am trying to do is humble myself to say that my way of teaching is not necessarily alright for these students but I want to do something for them as their teacher. Music is my passion and I find it hard to pass up a student without giving my best and that is why I am asking the expert advice of all the wonderful teachers here in this this thread. When it comes to teaching piano, there is no one size fits all. I have always been a strict but kind teacher and am trying not to be too strict with the ones who just want to have fun. I am trying to change my teaching methods to suit these students. I appreciate your input as a parent and understand that most of your friends want their kids to go for lessons just to have fun and it has given me something to think about.


LEARNING AND IMPROVING NEVER STOPS. It would be boring if it did.
Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Morodiene] #1540550
10/21/10 08:02 PM
10/21/10 08:02 PM
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Feminicricket Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
Originally Posted by Alreadyinuse
So the implicit agreement is "I will bring my child to you once a week, she will have fun pretending to learn ballet and you will have fun pretending to teach her, and we will make cherished videos at the end of the year of their essentially untutored efforts and we will all be happy and enroll next year."


I understand what you are saying and that you don't agree with it, but as a teacher I care very much for my art and I think if one asks for a higher standard, one will get it. Certainly there are those that do not agree and they study with someone who doesn't care about piano. My students enjoy the success that they have from their hard work, and they learn discipline, not chaos, is what brings a sense of accomplishment and self-esteem.


This is how I have always thought of my reason for teaching as. The respect for learning the art that has been passed down for hundreds of years by great teachers, performers and composers. It is like a valuable inheritance that has been passed down for generations. I agree with you completely Morodiene. This is why I yearn so much for my student to learn something at their lesson and practice it.


LEARNING AND IMPROVING NEVER STOPS. It would be boring if it did.
Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket] #1540862
10/22/10 08:15 AM
10/22/10 08:15 AM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,547
Boynton Beach, FL
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted by Feminicricket
Originally Posted by Morodiene
Originally Posted by Alreadyinuse
So the implicit agreement is "I will bring my child to you once a week, she will have fun pretending to learn ballet and you will have fun pretending to teach her, and we will make cherished videos at the end of the year of their essentially untutored efforts and we will all be happy and enroll next year."


I understand what you are saying and that you don't agree with it, but as a teacher I care very much for my art and I think if one asks for a higher standard, one will get it. Certainly there are those that do not agree and they study with someone who doesn't care about piano. My students enjoy the success that they have from their hard work, and they learn discipline, not chaos, is what brings a sense of accomplishment and self-esteem.


This is how I have always thought of my reason for teaching as. The respect for learning the art that has been passed down for hundreds of years by great teachers, performers and composers. It is like a valuable inheritance that has been passed down for generations. I agree with you completely Morodiene. This is why I yearn so much for my student to learn something at their lesson and practice it.

Exactly. And if that means helping that child to success by just getting them to learn hands separately, or the first 4 measures, or whatever, little steps you need to give her, then that is much better than sitting back and just letting her doodle for the entire lesson (the equivalent to what that dance "teacher" was doing).


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Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket] #1540885
10/22/10 09:02 AM
10/22/10 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Feminicricket
Thank you. Your approach of giving 1-2 pieces worked. The mother actually took the trouble of seeing that her daughter learned to read notes. Today, the girl was focused, played much better than last week and even wanted to play the piece again by herself. She was motivated in her lessons and I too feel like I got somewhere with her.


Glad to hear it! Thanks for posting the follow-up. After a rough week with my own students, it's nice to know I actually helped someone somewhere. smile


piano teacher
Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Alreadyinuse] #1542558
10/24/10 04:29 PM
10/24/10 04:29 PM
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 137
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Originally Posted by Alreadyinuse
I am not a piano teacher but I am a parent and I just wanted to add that I don’t think you should expect the child to practice if the mother doesn’t care and if the mother just wants the child to have fun. I know that in many ways the child will have more fun improving but many parents have philosophies that are as strongly held as the philosophies of many people on this forum. They do not believe in “pushing” their children but they do want to “expose” them to cultural experiences such as musical education, dance etc. to broaden their minds.

I do no actually subscribe this approach, but MANY of my perfectly nice friends do. They send their kids to ballet once a week, and have been for 5 years. I go to the year end recital and you never saw such a chaotic, ungraceful collection of kids in tutus in your life. The teacher is a professional ballet dancer and could teach the kids. However, kids quit the first year she was teaching because she corrected them in class. The teacher reformed her thinking on what the class was about for the kids and parents. The kids did not want to be good. They wanted to have fun dancing around to nice music. Their parents had no ballet goals for them, only that they have a fun after school activity that was different. So the implicit agreement is "I will bring my child to you once a week, she will have fun pretending to learn ballet and you will have fun pretending to teach her, and we will make cherished videos at the end of the year of their essentially untutored efforts and we will all be happy and enroll next year."

That is what this parent is likely asking of you, and it is what the school is asking of you so it is what you should do. Have fun, play games, some of them at the piano, some standing up and dancing to music, clapping rhythms, singing, learning notes. Don’t worry about pace, achievement, performance or anything else. Have fun and be her once-a-week after school activity.

Someone on this board gave good advice that I have been using with my own daughter to keep her practicing when a piece needs work. We move miniature "my little ponies" of which we have six from the left to the right of the piano. She rolls the die to determine how many times she is going to play through a difficult section. Then she places the correct number of ponies on the left of the piano. After each repetition, the little ponies "dance" around in wild appreciation, and one is selected to move to the other side of the piano. When they are all on the right, we leave that section and sometimes the piece. My daughter loves performing for the little ponies (who are unstinting in their appreciation, while I am more considered) and she loves the fact that the die sometimes comes up 1 or 2 (although ours seems to be unbalanced because it comes up SIXES a LOT!)





I have to write something about this because it involves the mom of the kid that I am mentioning in this whole thread. The mom had mentioned to her previous teacher(a really great teacher) that she only wants her daughter to have fun. Same thing happened when she came to me "I want her to have fun". I got this for 3 weeks. This is a mom who intially looked at me like I was nuts for expecting her daughter to practice. And yet, the moment she realized that her daughter was guessing all the notes and could not read properly at all. She went marching to the front reception to complain that after 1 year of lessons , her daughter is not sure how to read. Obviously, her previous teacher had given up trying to motivate this girl to practice and had given in to teaching to play by ear and writing the letter names of the notes on the music she was playing. Do you see what I mean? Most teachers have to face this. Parents need to be clear upfront what they expect to be achieved from a lesson. Now, the mom actually is taking the time to see to the girl`s practice after finding out that her daughter did not sustain the lesson because of lack of practice and focus on study. I am in no way putting down a "fun lesson" but parents need to be clear of what they want at the end.

Last edited by Feminicricket; 10/24/10 04:31 PM.

LEARNING AND IMPROVING NEVER STOPS. It would be boring if it did.
Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket] #1542564
10/24/10 04:41 PM
10/24/10 04:41 PM
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Feminicricket: Exactly. Doing nothing, really nothing, is only "fun" for a few lessons before it becomes deadly boring and frustrating. "Just for fun" is some parents' and students' code for "don't ask me to learn anything at all", which some think they want - but actually nobody does want that, except as a short rest.


(I'm a piano teacher.)
Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket] #1542572
10/24/10 04:55 PM
10/24/10 04:55 PM
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I agree with David,

You only get out of it what you put in and unless you put in the practice it's unlikely that there is any fun to be had. It's not the same as other activities like sports and dance. They are often group sessions where there is social interaction and a mixture of kids who work and those who don't. It's still possible to enjoy those sessions if you don't practice although you get more from them if you do. In a piano lesson you are sat on that bench by yourself trying to do something which requires a lot of concentration, physical co-ordination and mental effort. If you are struggling with that then how can it be fun? And without practice and preparation you will struggle. I don't get why many parents fail to grasp this. If they want to expose their kids to music then take them to a concert where all they have to do is sit and listen. This would be more useful.


Pianist and piano teacher.
Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket] #1544630
10/27/10 09:42 AM
10/27/10 09:42 AM
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Posts: 137
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I thank all of you for understanding the various situations that we as teachers go through and I also thank you all for the extremely valuable ideas given to remedy the situation. I feel like I have been to a piano teacher`s psychologist and feel a whole burden lifted off because of the common understanding. I really appreciate it. Everyone`s remark on this thread is important to me. It helps me evaluate certain students much better to find a good solution.


LEARNING AND IMPROVING NEVER STOPS. It would be boring if it did.
Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket] #1544695
10/27/10 11:01 AM
10/27/10 11:01 AM
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I think it is a fair requirement that the kid 'be happy' with the lesson. Gettting happiness out of it seems to me the main reason to play piano, right?

So I scanned the replies above to see how to get there.

Overall I get this impression:

1 Some (many?) have no idea that working is giving joy, and incorrectly think that fun is only about having food in your mouth or hanging on the bench.

2 Therefore, a light push to get them working makes all happy.

3 It would be even better if they realized (1) but I did not see any hint how to achieve that.


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Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: wouter79] #1544782
10/27/10 12:56 PM
10/27/10 12:56 PM
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 137
USA
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Feminicricket Offline OP
Full Member
Feminicricket  Offline OP
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Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 137
USA
Originally Posted by wouter79
I think it is a fair requirement that the kid 'be happy' with the lesson. Gettting happiness out of it seems to me the main reason to play piano, right?

So I scanned the replies above to see how to get there.

Overall I get this impression:

1 Some (many?) have no idea that working is giving joy, and incorrectly think that fun is only about having food in your mouth or hanging on the bench.

2 Therefore, a light push to get them working makes all happy.

3 It would be even better if they realized (1) but I did not see any hint how to achieve that.


Are you a teacher? I was just curious. As teachers we try our best to make the class a happy one and all about having fun for certain type of kids. The problem starts normally when the kid gets too comfortable and starts getting too laid back about the lesson itself and then not focus on practicing or learning anything in class. A responsible teacher would be very bothered if a student comes to lessons every week with no improvement whatsoever. That is when the teacher has to stop some of the 'fun' and put the kid to work,or else, almost always if the kid plays badly at the school recitals, the teacher will get the blame. Some parents don`t understand that having a piano lesson is an education just like math. It requires using the brains and attention. Parents who don`t understand this are the ones who are going to concerts and listening to a musician 'have fun' during the concert and they assume that it is something that you do not have to work for. When I perform I sometimes cringe when someone tells me "Wow! You are so talented!" because it makes it sound like it came easy to me when in fact I had put in hours and hours of intensive practice for years and had a very strict teacher (thankfully). I must admit that I did not enjoy having a strict teacher at first and it was much later that I realized that my teacher was strict for my own good. I started enjoying my lessons more and more because my teacher pushed me and I started learning more challenging stuff. I realize that I can`t do this with the ones who just want to have fun and have to cut down my expectations greatly and give them very little work and stuff that is not challenging because they are not interested in such things.


LEARNING AND IMPROVING NEVER STOPS. It would be boring if it did.
Re: Whiny lazy kid ...HELP!!! [Re: Feminicricket] #1544859
10/27/10 03:14 PM
10/27/10 03:14 PM
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 5,073
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wouter79 Offline
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wouter79  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 5,073
No I'm not a teacher although I sometimes teach my friend's child piano or help with school work.

But my point was that the problem seems to be that these children do not realize that work (eg studying on a piece) is also giving pleasure.

My question is just, how do you learn someone to learn with pleasure? Or maybe, why do they think some things are not fun?


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