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Is The Teacher Too Strict?


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#1 Guest: Tiny_*

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 16:38

My kids (9 and 11 yrs old) have what they consider to be a strict piano teacher. This is because she makes them concentrate on technique and do exercises, such as Hanon.

My feeling is that the teacher is very good, but I worry that the kids don't seem to enjoy the lessons, even though good progress with their playing is apparent.

How important is it that the children like their teacher?
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#2 Guest: musicbox_*

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 16:52

I know I'm not a teacher but I wouldn't say that it's being strict getting them to work on their technique to be honest. If their progress is apparent too then she must be a good teacher. I do think it's fairly important however to like your teacher. The actual teachers will probably be able to tell you what they think too.
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#3 Guest: Rae_*

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 18:11

your children should feel they can enjoy the instrument and their lessons, but it shouldn't be too much for them to master good playing technique, and any good teacher will make them concentrate on this. probably as time passes and they start to feel that they're playing better they will enjoy the instrument more anyway.
you could always have a quiet word with their teacher and ask if there's anything you can do with them in the week to help them enjoy it more - there may be something you can do but also it may spur her on to find more appropriate teaching techniques for your kids - we all learn differently and she may not realise they are not being inspired by what they're doing at the moment.
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#4 Guest: Kflute_*

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 18:24

I am a teacher, I and I feel it is very important for my students to like me and get on with me. Firstly, music is supposed to be fun, and that's not going to be the case with a battle-axe teacher!!!

I try to go for the friendly but firm approach, and generally it seems to work. Sometimes I have to be stricter, and sometimes I do get angry or annoyed, but as long as it's not every week, then it's ok.

I think that the teacher-pupil relationship in an instrumental lessons is very important for another reason too. I teach mostly in schools in groups, and there has been many times where pupils have confided things to me, about school/home/life in general, that they don't always talk about to other people. More than often, if there's a problem with a child, I've been the one to inform the school, not the other way round!!! I don't think our job is to be a counsellor, but when a good relationship is formed, a pupil will trust and talk, and often this solves many problems for them.

Maybe ask people on here if there are musical games that you can play with your children during the week. Or maybe other fun things to do during the practice. This person is obviously a good teacher, so I wouldn't pull them away, but somehow try and make things lighter too.
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#5 Guest: unmusicalmum_*

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 18:24

My children have always liked their teachers and enjoyed their lessons even when they haven't wanted to practise at all in between. My son occasionally gets a strict talking to (usually about not practising scales) which he doesn't enjoy but accepts that it's no more than he deserves.

What I'm trying to say is that being strict itself (if done right) doesn't have to get in the way of a good teacher-child relationship but that a good teacher-child relationship, is in my opinion, essential to learning. If a child isn't enjoying lessons, surely they will lose interest in their instrument quite rapidly unless they have a very unusual amount of self motivation.

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#6 Guest: Tess_*

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 18:45

[quote name='unmusicalmum' date='Jan 22 2006, 06:24 PM' post='239885']
What I'm trying to say is that being strict itself (if done right) doesn't have to get in the way of a good teacher-child relationship but that a good teacher-child relationship, is in my opinion, essential to learning.

I agree with UM 100% on this. Being strict in itself does not necessarily get in the way of a good teacher-child relationship. The moaning will pass...

To illustrate, my girl has experience with 2 teachers. Both are perfectionists and VERY strict. She loves one and has made phenomenal progress with him. The other one whom she disliked? She quit that instrument!

smile.gif
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#7 Guest: sl123451_*

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 22:54

im not really sure about teachers being strict or lenient.

I see music teachers as different from school teachers in this way. School teachers are in a position of authority - for instance, without a maths teacher i wouldnt be able to do anything to do with maths.

Music teachers i see really as more of a guide. Sort of, the pupil is on their own path, and they are being given nudges in the right direction by the teacher. Sometimes the teacher may think doing a certain piece/exercise is benificial, but most of the time the onus is on the pupil to be independant. We have to work out our own practise techniques, unlike most homeworks/courseworks where we are spoonfed by teachers.

Getting to my point, i think teachers shouldnt be seen as strict or lenient as in the school teacher. With a music teacher the main questions you have to ask are: Is he/she a good teacher? Is there a good personal relationship between teacher and pupil?

Most of the time my teacher will tell it how it is. She wouldnt bother screaming at me or threatening me to practise, she just says "look your gonna be stuck on so-and-so grade or pieces or whatever forever if you dont practise" or otherwise stays positive.

Certainly its fine for the teacher to be harsh in his/her comments. But if the teacher is "strict" like a school teacher can be, thats the sort of thing that can not be right, because then the pupil/teacher relationship becomes distant as with pupil and school teacher, and then the pupil probably wont enjoy the lessons. The main thing about piano, except being good at it, is to enjoy playing it!
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#8 Guest: miochy_*

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 23:45

I agree with Scott. Piano teachers shouldn't be strict. I know they used to be ...mine was. I only found this out from other pupils who went to her who she would tell to go elsewhere when they constantly hadn't done any practise...they soon gave up. She was always great to me but then again I practised alot.
I think kids these days have so many pressures of having to achieve this and that and get high grades in everything. Let the children enjoy music and that way they will benefit from it. If they are exemplorary musicians they will enjoy playing Hanon e.t.c. and being pushed anyway. They will want to play their instrument all the time. That is the difference. smile.gif
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#9 Guest: Violinia_*

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 08:44

It's perfectly possible to be strict but kind while teaching good technique. However, instrumental teachers who are strict with their pupils to the point of being unpleasant don't have their pupils' best interest at heart; what they're really bothered about is looking good through their pupils.

There's an instrumental teacher in my area whose pupils often come out of lessons in floods of tears; she's an excellent teacher of technique but if most of her pupils hate her (and they do) how can she possibly be inculcating a love of their instrument or of music?

I know a boy who gave up music altogether because he had such an unkind instrumental teacher - his confidence with music was effectively ruined. These nasty people can do untold damage if left unchecked, and parents should be far more vocal about them. Where is the skill in a teacher who is all smiles and kindness with model pupils but an evil monster with the less talented or those who don't practise as much for whatever reason? Surely it's up to the teacher to work out their pupils' learning styles and find a way through to every pupil who comes their way.

Even instrumental teachers of adults can do untold damage to vulnerable people; I know two women who were practically broken by mean teachers at the highest level. These teachers (both of them well-known) should have been able to spot their students' vulnerability and should have passed them on to kinder teachers because only a certain kind of student can take that sort of pressure. One of these women actually had a nervous breakdown as a direct result of cruel treatment from this person; she can't even bear to see his name in print; it took her years to get to a point when she could actually play again. I know these are extreme examples but we should never take reports of unkind music teachers lightly.

Violinia
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#10 Guest: rosemariem_*

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 16:31

Your children are too young to not like their teacher. I'd look for another. It's hard enough to get your offspring to keep up their practice without them dreading their next lesson.

Luckily my daughter adores her teachers - and so do I. They have always made music loads of fun and her cello teacher in particular has enormous expectations and stands for no nonsense, yet is gentle and kind and not what you might call strict. My daughter is on grade 3 piano within 18 months of lessons and grade 5 cello within 3 years of lessons, so you don't have to be a dragon to get results. When she gets bored or discouraged, which does sometimes happen, she'll still do her practice - not for me - not for her - but because she doesn't want to let her teacher down.
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#11 Guest: Tess_*

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 18:05

Honestly, smile.gif it IS possible! My daughter's teacher is strict on matters of technique because he thinks that if your basics are not excellent, you won't get far. Maybe some kids don't want to get far. laugh.gif But he is always pleasant and kind, never cross. She adores him smile.gif and we'd have a problem if the place she's heading to, do expect her to give up her old teacher. sad.gif

It is not possible, I believe for kids to make much progress/enjoy their music if they dislike their teachers. It's teamwork. rolleyes.gif
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#12 Guest: weejen_*

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 19:54

I feel it's extremely important to like your teacher as the child is not going to learn anything if they don't like their teacher! I've just spent 12 lessons with a teacher I feel very uncomfortable around and feel that I've learnt very little!
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#13 Guest: SteveHopwood_*

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 23:42

QUOTE(Tiny @ Jan 22 2006, 04:38 PM) View Post

How important is it that the children like their teacher?

Vital. UK 14 year olds will drop subjects at GCSE because they do not like the teacher.

Imagine how 9 and 11 year olds feel.

Steve biggrin.gif
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#14 Guest: kmt63_*

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 13:42

QUOTE(Tiny @ Jan 22 2006, 04:38 PM) View Post

My kids (9 and 11 yrs old) have what they consider to be a strict piano teacher. This is because she makes them concentrate on technique and do exercises, such as Hanon.

My feeling is that the teacher is very good, but I worry that the kids don't seem to enjoy the lessons, even though good progress with their playing is apparent.

How important is it that the children like their teacher?


Tiny I would say very important. However I would argue that it is possible for a teacher to be strict and liked. In fact I would expect it!

Do they not like the lessons? If not why not? I suspect it will be because of more than just strictness and related to lesson style and content.

Given what I have read in the past on these boards I would suspect that most of the teachers here would own up to being strict but also to being liked by the majority of their students.
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#15 Guest: jod_*

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 17:24

Sounds like it is time to find a new teacher.

As a piano teacher technique is vital, but remember your children's Piano lessons are meant to be a leisure activity that they enjoy.

Find out who else is teaching in your area, and find someone else who is more in sync with the way your children learn.

A good teacher is much more than a bunch of scales and hanon studys
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