How to teach this student : LUSENET : Everything About Teaching and Learning the Piano : One Thread

I am a new teacher. Recently I had a female transfer student who is 15 years old. Sometimes she would come for lessons without practising as she says she is busy with schoolwork. However her attitude is quite positive during lessons. Last week, her mum had a talk with me asking me to be stricter with her as she seldom practices at home even when she is free. When I asked her, she told me she does not like playing the piano at all. In fact, she dislikes ALL KINDS of music! She does not like any singer or band and she says all music sounds the same to her. She told me her mum forces her to learn the piano hoping that she can become more refine. ( She is more into sports)Can anyone give me any suggestions how to help her? Thanks! Mavis

-- Mavis (, September 30, 2002


Honestly, I tell parents that it's not my responsibility to ensure that their child practices. That's their job. I am more than willing to have a student come to my house every day fo guided practice sessions, but I tell them that it costs extra (and I quote them a price that's 5x higher than what I charge for a month of lessons... after all, they could come to my house 5 times a week for lessons if they really wanted to!)

-- Karen (, November 19, 2002.

I am sure every teacher encounter the same situation throughout their career, unless you choose not to teach her anymore. I wonder if your student is positive due to your passion? I believe your will of enthusiam and love will make her find joy in lesson. Try some story in music history. Less technical work.

-- Ellena (ellenayong@hotmail.cim), June 27, 2003.

Similar problem here--a 15-year-old boy who tells me that his mom making him practice all these years has sucked all the joy he might have had out of the piano, but she won't let him quit until he's 18. I told the boy he may not have a choice in whether to take lessons, but I certainly have a choice in whether I will teach him or not, not to make a threat or anything! (He laughed and agreed.) I told him if he wants me to talk to his mom about the possibility of him quitting, I will. He said no, that would just create more problems for him if I "fired" him. So I said that he would need to practice in order to continue lessons, and he agreed. He's taking the summer off (what a relief for both of us) and we'll just have to see how it goes this fall. I think we teachers can get through students' ups and downs, but I don't think we can overcome an utter and complete lack of interest.

-- anon (, June 27, 2003.

Hi Mavi, welcome to the teaching world. Sometime, it is hard to motivate those who do not want to practice much. But we can instill into their heart and soul some kind of beaty. Teach them to listen to beat, musical line, tone color, character expression through music. Find out what she like others then sport. If she like history, use music history to teach types of sound. She likes sport, she may like loud running pieces, For a 15 years old girl, she may like Fur Elise for familiarity and romatic sounding with dramatic character. Always give her pieces that sound mature yet can easily access of piece to build her confident. Who knows, one day she may be the big donor to the musical world. Happy teaching

-- Say Eow Quah (, July 05, 2003.

I have a similar experience to share... I started with a 15 (now 16) yr. old last year. She has been playing since she was 7 yrs old and her mother is FORCING her to take piano until she graduates high school. She doesn't want her daughter to regret ditching piano. In any case, she HATES to play. She says she hates practicing (who doesn't at times?), she hates playing piano, she hates it all. She always has too. She can be very manipulative, and I "inherited" her from another teacher at the academy I teach at that was "pruning" his studio. I am pretty strict with her and give her specific guidelines to follow, and if she doesn't follow them, she has consequences she has to deal with at home with her mother. She actually has on occasion secretly confided in me that she actually does like to play some of the music I give her (i.e. Malaguena, Chopin's Prelude in C Minor). She tries to get me to talk a lot in lessons, but I just stick to working on the music, although we do chat for a few minutes. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I'm not paid to be her friend, but her teacher. Since she doesn't have a choice in quitting, I tell her to make the most of it. We still have a LOT of moments (like, drop the attitude!), but even after I have to put her in her place, she usually does much better for me. I think they need discipline and truly want it, even though it seems they push it away. Anymore questions, I'd be happy to chat! Just e- mail me!

Sincerely, Sarah

-- Sarah Broady (, August 31, 2004.

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