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Frustrated at Mistakes (Read 1829 times)

Offline ameliatan

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Frustrated at Mistakes
« on: July 18, 2019, 07:03:44 AM »
I am just wondering what tactics (or tricks) do you teachers do whenever a child gets frustrated at making a mistake in some bar in their playing whether its notes, rhythm, dynamics. I have 1 student (age 9) who gets annoyed at making small slips while playing in my lessons.

She knows if she makes a slip but when I try to help her,  she gets all fidgety at having to 'find' the bit where she went wrong. When I try to isolate that part (I point to the score or the keys) & tell her go slower a bit, she gets VERY annoyed and frustrated. At other times, I would remove the book and ask her to copy me (pattern of notes and fingering) - I play 1 octave higher. She usually gets annoyed by this also. She recently had outburst of anger (which I told her parents). When I tried to correct her, she raised her voice 'you are confusing me!'

 I don't know what on earth am I doing wrong  :( For your information, she is doing Accelerated PA book 2 (she raced through all the levels). She is quite a fast learner and bright. I have other students who are not like this at all! They simply quickly point to the bar where their mistake was (sometimes without me telling them!) and just play it again slower and correct.  I have a 5 yr old girl (on MFPA level 3) who after making a mistake, calmly asks me 'teacher, can I play this part again? This is her younger sister!

Offline dogperson

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Re: Frustrated at Mistakes
«Reply #1 on: July 18, 2019, 06:42:59 PM »
I am not a teacher but some things that come to mind:

Is this a new problem? Maybe there are things going on at home or school.  Maybe she is frustrated because her younger sister is doing well. 

Perhaps you should consider having the girls in different method books so to reduce sibling competition..... or consider not teaching both of them.

I would talk to the parents. It sounds like the problem is not you and you need some parental guidance.

Offline Bob

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Re: Frustrated at Mistakes
«Reply #2 on: July 26, 2019, 10:47:56 PM »
Give it time.  You can't control everything.

It's like walking over a grassy field.  You walk over once, so what?  You walk over it over and over and eventually you start leaving a trail.  Eventually the grass gets worn away and there's a path.  (Eventually the administration realizes everyone is doing that and has the maintenance crew put down wood chips, and then one day it's roped off because they're actually putting in concrete.  By then it's kind of literally set in stone.)
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline quantum

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Re: Frustrated at Mistakes
«Reply #3 on: October 04, 2019, 04:41:58 AM »
Try working on flow.  Yes, we of course would like to correct our students mistakes, but this may be a case where the student is becoming overly focused on the mistake and it is taking higher priority over the music. 

Try demonstrating how to play through or recover from mistakes for your student.  Model a calm demeanour, and show that making a mistake does not have to be a tragic episode. Show how one can stumble, recover, and keep on going in one smooth motion. 
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline keypeg

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Re: Frustrated at Mistakes
«Reply #4 on: October 08, 2019, 07:47:56 PM »
Strangely enough I can relate to all of this as a student, and I would hate all those strategies (at any age) and they would confuse me too.  I'd not want the teacher to just show me how the notes go so that I can play the right notes.  I'd want to know why I'm going wrong, how I can go right, how I should work and so on.  What is the actual process?  How is she study music at home, and how?  Do you know how she studies music, how she approaches it?  If she is bright - It is very easy to whizz ahead in the beginning and actually end up missing essential bits on the bottom.

Quote
She knows if she makes a slip but when I try to help her,  she gets all fidgety at having to 'find' the bit where she went wrong.
Do you give her TIME or do you jump right in to help her? Personally I have always wanted time, to orient myself, and it drives me nuts when someone jumps in.  If they try several angles to see which will help me, then it does confuse me.  In teaching, taking time and saying absolutely nothing is probably the hardest thing to do.

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Frustrated at Mistakes
«Reply #5 on: October 10, 2019, 11:50:13 AM »
  In teaching, taking time and saying absolutely nothing is probably the hardest thing to do.

This.

All that intervention would drive me nuts.  With many students you have to point out their mistakes.  This is one of the rare ones who can hear themselves.  That's a feature not a bug, don't step on them when they do it. 
Tim

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Frustrated at Mistakes
«Reply #6 on: October 11, 2019, 01:07:48 AM »
...when I try to help her,  she gets all fidgety at having to 'find' the bit where she went wrong. When I try to isolate that part .... she gets VERY annoyed and frustrated. At other times, I would remove the book and ask her to copy me (pattern of notes and fingering) - I play 1 octave higher. She usually gets annoyed by this also. She recently had outburst of anger (which I told her parents). When I tried to correct her, she raised her voice 'you are confusing me!'
Never worry about a students "bad behaviour" you need to make a lesson safe enough for your students to behave as freely as they need. From here you can make changes, not by calling them up on their behaviour and escalating it by discussing with their parents but by softness, kindness and patience. This takes a lot of control on the teachers behalf but is a vital trait to adopt. So instead of looking at outbursts as behavioural problems that need to be instantly jumped upon use it as information to help you come to a solution over time and gently desensitize your student.

Some students know how to practice so all you have to do is identify parts by marking them on the score and ask them to try and solve it in their time. These students often can feel uncomfortable if you drilll them in lessons because they like to take their time and in lessons solving problems can feel too fast for them. You of course can train their practice method in lessons but don't overdo it especially with those who like to puzzle on problems on their own. Again you have to make them comfortable to train their practice methodology with you and not just use the teacher to be an indicator of mistakes. Get a student to see you as a source for practice efficiency improvement rather than a mistake corrector.
 
Others have no idea how to practice away their problems or don't practice enough you will have to drill them in lessons so their brain actually experience what efficient practice methods are like! These students need a lot of care so you don't overpressure them in lessons otherwise they will learn to dread lessons and see them as grueling practice sessions, it will also not encourage them to practice more on their own. Set achievable goals for them, lower the bar of expectation, let them succeed more each week and then slowly raise the workloads.

Some kids need to understand that mistakes are ok and totally normal. So making them feel secure enough to play mistakes infront of you is a very important situation to set up. Failure is ok, we are often brought up to avoid it at all costs. Generally, successful people have failed a lot more than failures!
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
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Offline quantum

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Re: Frustrated at Mistakes
«Reply #7 on: October 11, 2019, 12:58:59 PM »
I'd want to know why I'm going wrong, how I can go right, how I should work and so on.  What is the actual process?  How is she study music at home, and how? 

Yes.

Show your student how to solve the problem themselves, rather than handing over the solution and expecting them to execute it.

Demonstrate for your student how you, as a professional, would solve the problem in your own practice workflow.  How you would troubleshoot at home when there is nobody else around to ask. 

Encourage your student to embrace failure, and to use the experience as a self-teaching moment.
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline kairosophia

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Re: Frustrated at Mistakes
«Reply #8 on: January 22, 2020, 09:49:32 PM »
I most of the time - after letting them silently try on their own a few times - try to calm their frustration by telling them what might cause that special mistake - maybe it's the fourth finger not reacting fast enough. Well, that's only the fourth finger, it's always doing that! Or: See, your right hand is doing that, which makes it very hard for the left hand to keep focus. So basically, I try to lead them away from the thought that *they* themselves as human beings are the problem, and instill them with a view that it's brain-processes, difficult configurations of notes, and other rather factual observations that turn it into a solvable problem. Some sadly think it's just their own inate inability that causes them to not be able to play a piece perfect in a certain time, and I just need to remind them that it's normal to need several approaches till getting it right.
Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent. - Victor Hugo