QUOTE(Aquarelle @ Feb 12 2012, 05:58 PM)
I was interested to read the article and agree up to a point. I think the instrumental lesson is one place where the child can benefit from a one to one relationship, where there will be time to follow up individual interests and to sort out difficulties in a way that cannot be done in a class situation. But I think we need to be a little careful, as with any thoughts about education, not to throw the baby out with the bath water. I think there should be time for listening to and looking at a pupil?s original compositions, there should be room for creativity and there should be time for investigating with the pupil any particular aspect ? like the scales Elissa Milne mentions - which has particularly caught their attention. But I am a little wary of getting too enthusiastic about this sort of thing, having lived through, in general education, the other side of the coin. At one time it was all ?creative writing? ? even to the point where in one school where I taught it was suggested that we should not correct spelling and grammar errors. It was also at one point all the rage to have ?learning by discovery? ? and it did take some of them an age to discover anything ? however many clues they were given!
I think it needs to be balanced. I think all teaching should be pupil centred and the function of the teacher is to create a balance between the pupil?s individuality and the subject or skills to be acquired. I think it is not only good practice, but vital to have a list of objectives, to have a plan for each student. I also think it is vital to know when to set this plan aside, when to be led by the student and when to take the lead.
This is an interesting point for me because at the beginning of each year I make a plan of action for each instrumental pupil and for each of my classes. But as the year progresses the plans are adapted and rethought and it is usually during the February holiday we have here that I look at the plans and see what I have done, what I have discarded and where the pupils have gone or have wanted to go. I?ve got one more week to work before I do that this year and it?s an exercise I always enjoy ? there are sometimes some surprises. I, as a teacher, definitely feel I need to create a framework within which to work and without which my teaching would become a series of unrelated topics with no carefully thought out progression. But I also need to be able to move outside that framework and to be flexible when I feel it right. That is the great plus of being a private teacher and not having any other authority breathing down your neck with a ready made and compulsory curriculum.
I do agree with Aquarelle. I feel there should be a balance between pupil-led exercises and teacher-led work so that pupil progresses but also enjoys the work and feels that his views count for something. I dislike the expectations from some quarters that pupils will undertake an exam on a yearly basis.
I have always thought that one of the challenges for instrumental teachers is to strike the balance between enjoyment and work for the pupil as it can be a voluntary activity in many cases( - and yes, I recognise that work can be enjoyable).
I wonder whether those pupils who limit their learning are those who are "put to" the instrument by their parents, or whether they have picked up the general idea from somewhere in the school curriculum where they are not expected to "know that" because it's not on "the syllabus".