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Lovely students and their parents


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#1 Minuet3

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 17:31

This week, all my private students returned from the holidays having done all their practice, and half the parents arrived with cheques already made out for the correct amount, even though I hadn't actually invoiced them yet. What a great start!

 

I am very lucky with my current private students, a really nice set of students and parents. When I start back at my school next week, I doubt many of those students will have practised consistently over the holidays...but I live in hope. smile.png  


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#2 Jlma

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 18:02

Haha, when I first read your sentence, I thought it was meant to be in a satirical kind of way. But I guess you really mean it?

 

Yes, most of my private pupils and their parents are lovely.

 

But...

 

Only two out of about 40 private pupils have practised over the summer, both grade 7/8 level. 

 

I understand when pupils take a break. I took a break for part of the holidays. It's not always practical to travel with the instrument. It's ok to have, say, 3 weeks away from the instrument as long as you then pick it up again. 

 

Or at least take it out of the case and get used to playing again in the week where you are back from holiday and before the lesson to get some feel for it back.

 

But lots of mine literally opened the violin case for the first time in two months in the first lesson of term!

 

With the school pupils it's of course even worse. 50% of parents hadn't even confirmed whether their child would continue or not by the deadline despite 2 reminders. They then responded to say they'd continue at the last second. Yet 50% haven't paid yet, despite having been sent the invoice.

 

To top it all, one pupil passed grade 1 with merit in July. So far so good. I had exactly one lesson with her after the exam, before the holidays

 

The mum emailed me to say she'd like her to do grade 2 in November, hoping the exam would be in the first week!!

 

When I asked if the girl had at least practised what we had covered in that one lesson after grade 1, the answer was no, she hadn't practised at all over the summer. And lessons only start again this week! The pupil isn't very fast. The pupil doesn't even practise regularly during normal term time.

 

So it goes without saying I vetoed that. I don't know how it had occurred to the mum I could get the pupil ready to go from grade 1 to 2 in about 5 or 6 lessons. This is not some prodigy child who practises 3 hours a day....

 

Which instrument do you teach? What do you do to get your pupils to practise? Please share your recipes, as they clearly seem to work.


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#3 BannerdaleMusic

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 21:58

Yes! Very little practice. I've 3 or 4 who have had practiced (all grade 4-8), everyone else has had a break.

Annoyingly some that were almost exam ready for November when we broke up, have forgotten huge chunks. I sent out the email list for parents last week with exam info for this term, and then heard 2 grade 2s today (on my list) who were quite frankly shocking... 'piano, what piano?' type level. Have contacted parents to say don't pay yet - we'll see how much practice occurs this week before we make a decision... so frustrating!

One of my 8 year olds, who was down to do step 2 LCM and is totally confident has just decided she would like to do grade 1 instead. When I explained to mum the difference and that we'd be looking at Spring earliest, maybe summer, she just sent a long email begging to be put in for grade 1 (I gave her the book last week to start scales & she can play Beauty and the Beast hands separately....) Arrgghh....
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#4 agricola

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 07:08

Now I'm old and cynical I don't expect any of my pupils to have practised over the summer break, so I'm always surprised and delighted by those who do!  ... and I've noticed that the people who make most noise about their plans to schedule lots of practice time are usually the ones who achieve the least. 


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#5 Minuet3

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 09:37

 

 

Which instrument do you teach? What do you do to get your pupils to practise? Please share your recipes, as they clearly seem to work.

 

I teach piano, but I don't think it was anything I did which got them practising. I am just very lucky with the current batch of students, that their parents build regular practice into the daily routine. I only teach a small number at home, 7 students, so it's not a very representative sample of human nature.

 

I suspect most of my school students won't have done much, including this term's potential exam candidates, but it was just such a lovely start to the term when lessons went smoothly, and there is some money to pay into the bank which I wasn't expecting till next week!


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#6 sbhoa

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  • Tameside

Posted 14 September 2017 - 11:00

I have four who do have regular practice (2/3 of my pupils).

Of the other two I can't quite work out one who I think does practice but still doesn't move along much. This is a 13 year old whose mother I also used to teach.

The other is frustrating as she like playing but the piano is a grandparents' and she's not there more than a couple of time a week now. Even making a start on exam preparation hasn't changed this.

Next time I have an enquiry from grandparents funding lessons or where I know the child spends time at two houses I will suggest that unless there is a piano available at both it may be better to consider a portable instrument.


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#7 ma non troppo

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 11:19

Reading this topic makes me wonder if we should have a thread on the most unreasonable expectation ever placed on our shoulders.
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#8 Aquarelle

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 11:56

I've also had a good start with almost everybody having done their holiday work and almost every body having paid  the term at the first lesson. It is so nice when they come back with the notes of the holiday piece(s) well learnt and some even beginning to get a musical performance. It makes moving forward so much more interesting and pleasurable. I have had years when hardly anyone has done their holiday work and getting things moving has been a bit of a drag. I had one girl who got a pass at Grade 5 in June arrive having learnt two movements of a sonatina when I had only set one plus another piece from the Grade 5 list. Her comment was, "Now I've done the exam, this Grade 5 piece seems much easier."


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#9 jenny

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  • Stoneclough

Posted 14 September 2017 - 14:31

I have two pupils preparing for practical exams and was hoping that the summer break hadn't set things back too much. I saw them both this week and one seemed to have completely forgotten the fingering patterns for his scales - this actually spurred me on to working on scale fingerings with all of my pupils this week! The other one had apparently told her mum the day before her lesson that she didn't like any of the B pieces for her grade. Fortunately the mum is lovely and very supportive and I was so glad that she told me straight away. I'm pretty sure that her daughter wouldn't have told me. We looked at the alternatives for the grade and luckily found one that she likes and that she will be able to learn in time. (Her other two pieces are already quite secure.) What really intrigued me was that she had told her mum that the reason she didn't like the B pieces in the book was that she couldn't find 'a story or a picture' for any of them. 


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#10 funkiepiano

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 12:47

Why do we expect students to practise in the holidays? Holidays are for fun, relaxation and new adventures. Brains need a break! Yes ideally they do practise, especially those at advanced grades or those expecting to take an exam in the autumn term. I set all my students work for the holidays, many didn't do it or not as thoroughly as I would have liked, but I wasn't cross with them at all. We just picked up where they left off in July, maybe went back a few steps if necessary :)
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#11 Latin pianist

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 12:59

I'm always surprised how well those who haven't touched the piano in the holidays, do in their first lesson back. I suppose being a couple of months older makes a big difference with young students. Before the holidays, we make a list of pieces students have enjoyed so they have something to choose from if they do want to play. But often they haven't played.
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#12 Jlma

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 14:26

I'm always surprised how well those who haven't touched the piano in the holidays, do in their first lesson back. I suppose being a couple of months older makes a big difference with young students. Before the holidays, we make a list of pieces students have enjoyed so they have something to choose from if they do want to play. But often they haven't played.

Really? Maybe it's different for the violin. I was so shocked and frustrated by how badly almost everyone played apart from the two higher grade pupils. The lower grade pupils who had passed exams in June/July with distinctions and merits could not play or remember anything any more. All the basics like bow hold etc. - gone. It was almost like teaching complete beginners again. Anyone above grade 4 -5 could still play something, but had lost all concept of semitones, bowing...

I know how badly I play after a one month break, so not surprising if someone at a much lower level takes not one, but two months off. It does take time for everything to come back. 

 

Having said that, now that most had the second lesson of term, in many cases I was pleased they were getting so much better again. It was a relief as I had really considered dismissing some of them as it was that bad.


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#13 sbhoa

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  • Tameside

Posted 17 September 2017 - 14:31

Why do we expect students to practise in the holidays? Holidays are for fun, relaxation and new adventures. Brains need a break! Yes ideally they do practise, especially those at advanced grades or those expecting to take an exam in the autumn term. I set all my students work for the holidays, many didn't do it or not as thoroughly as I would have liked, but I wasn't cross with them at all. We just picked up where they left off in July, maybe went back a few steps if necessary smile.png

I think maybe expectation for them to practice (or at least play) during the holidays is that it's generally a leisure activity and we imagine that, like us at a similar stage, they like holidays because it gives them more opportunity to practice without having school stuff to bother about.

I guess the truth is for many that it's an activity they like well enough but not really their chosen passion.


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#14 Jlma

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 14:46

Why do we expect students to practise in the holidays? Holidays are for fun, relaxation and new adventures. Brains need a break! Yes ideally they do practise, especially those at advanced grades or those expecting to take an exam in the autumn term. I set all my students work for the holidays, many didn't do it or not as thoroughly as I would have liked, but I wasn't cross with them at all. We just picked up where they left off in July, maybe went back a few steps if necessary smile.png

I don't expect them to practise the entire holidays as I regularly take a month off in the summer myself. Sometimes it's not practical to take the violin on a trip - totally understandable. Sometimes, taking a break makes you want to play again more. I  usually got 3 weeks off the violin as a child and it was more than enough. 

 

But not two months or more! Most are not away for the entire two months. Those who were away only for part of the holidays or not at all did not practise either. 

 

Often, they had a week back at school before they return for the lesson. They could at least have taken the violin out and played a bit to get going again. Just a little. But no. Many closed the violin case after their exam at the beginning of July and opened it for the first time again in the actual lesson in the second week of September. I'm just finding it very strange. Sadly, many just learn to pass exams so it was probably a feeling of - exam done, so I will only start playing again when my teacher gives me the next exam piece in September. Even though I gave them fun pieces after the exams. But they're simply not interested if it's not grade so and so.
 


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#15 sbhoa

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  • Tameside

Posted 17 September 2017 - 14:48

But not two months or more! Most are not away for the entire two months. Those who were away only for part of the holidays or not at all did not practise either. 

 

 

And I wonder how often they moaned that they were bored?


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