Alarm Bells Ringing About An Odd Pupil Advice Please.
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Alarm Bells Ringing About An Odd Pupil Advice Please.
Jun 16 2007, 01:37 PM
Joined: 21-July 04
Member No.: 1763
I have just taken on an adult pupil that my piano tuners gave my details to. I have had over 20 years experience of teaching the piano to all ages and standards but this pupil is puzzling me. From his original phone call I thought he was a little odd. He told me he had just brought a brand new piano and wanted to take up piano lessons in his retirement (nothing odd there). I then asked him the usual questions such as have you had lessons before to which he informed me he had not. He then said he had played around with the piano and found it hard to reach a 10th to which I replied this was not a problem as a beginner does not need to reach a 10th (this seemed a strange thing for someone to ask who had not played the piano before). So I told him that I had one space available of which he said was suitable for him.
In the meantime I sorted out some appropriate material for an adult beginner. The day arrived when he came for his first lesson he was very nervous so I tried to put him at his ease. I showed him how the piano worked and explained about the pedals to which he said he had no knowledge. Next I asked him if he was able to play anything to which he replied he could and proceeded to play Schumann's The Poet Speaks. As you can imagine I was quite shocked by this bearing in mind he was an absolute beginner he was also using the sustaining pedal rather well for a person who had no knowledge of the pedals. He was not able to play the piece to the end as he said he needed the music unfortunately I did not have a copy to hand at the time. I asked him how he had learnt the piece and he said he had listened to Alfred Cortot play it a few times and then purchased the score worked out the fingering and played it(has anyone else heard of anyone doing such a thing)? By this time his half hour was up so acting quickly I sent him home with a Grade 2 Improve Your Sight Reading Book as he said he had a very limited knowledge of musical notation and a Hal Leonard Book 5 Tutor book asking him if he could see if he could learn the first piece in the book.
After he went home I was very puzzled and felt I was not being told the whole truth. After thinking about the situation I thought perhaps I had not understood his needs properly so as I had a couple of cancelelations the following week decided I would ring him to ask him if I could spend a bit longer with him to try and work out where he was going with the piano and also if I would be able to help him ( a get out clause for me I thought in the event of not understanding him).
He turned up this week having learnt the Hal Leonard piece note and time perfect with the pedal (this piece has taken some of my pupils who have been learning 3 or so years a while to master let alone a beginner). I had also found my copy of The Poet Speaks so I asked him if he could play this to me again with the music this time. It started of well then I noticed his hands shaking and then he flew in to a rage took his hands of the keys and began slapping his legs and shouting with rage. Being more than a little alarmed I told him that I understood how difficult it was to play in front of a stranger and I was not there to judge him but help him. I decided it was best to move on from the piece and asked him how he had got on with the sight reading book he said it was ok so I picked a piece out from the section he had been working on I asked him about the time signature and how he would count the piece and he said he did not do counting!! He started to play the piece then the shaking hands started again he stopped stood up and ran round in a circle in my music room shouting no, no, no. I asked him very calmly to sit down ( by this time I was feeling very anxious).
I moved away again from this and decided to try something else I got out a copy of Fur Elise and he said he liked that piece I said we would just do the theme this week he started to play this very slowly (with me trying to count the quavers for him) then he suddenly sped up I asked him if he already knew the piece and he said no. It was by this time the end of the lesson again.
What would other teachers advise in this odd situation? I have forty other pupils and I am known for my understanding and patience. I know it is difficult when an adult turns up and you are not sure where they are but I am used to this and have not had a problem in the past with finding a persons level. I really do think it would be best for me to discontinue the lessons with this pupil as I feel a bit alarmed by these sudden outbursts of rage and wonder where it might lead to. Do others think I am being a bit of an alarmist?
|Lo-Fi Version||Time is now: 23rd May 2013 - 08:43 PM|