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What to do if students refuse to follow your instructions (Read 808 times)

Offline ppwwnt

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What to do if students refuse to follow your instructions
« on: April 28, 2020, 03:56:53 PM »
Hello everyone, I teach piano for 8 years to beginner and intermediate students. Recently, one of my student-she is 7 years old who just start learning piano-turn to be a very stubborn kid. At first, she followed the Alfred book, but one day she told me to not use this book and donít want to play with left hand even though she can do both hands with some basic intervals in the left before. So, I tried to find some easy songs (only right hand) and some ear training game to play with her, it works for a couple weeks. However, if she doesnít like the song, she will refuse to play or even try it and it is so tiring to convince her to play anything after that. It seems like she became more stubborn and give up easily, not like the very first months that she tried her best and can play both hands. I just run out of ideas and want to know what to do if things go wrong like this. Thank you.

Offline quantum

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Re: What to do if students refuse to follow your instructions
«Reply #1 on: April 28, 2020, 04:36:09 PM »
Hi and welcome to Pianostreet.

Ask her what she would like to play.  Does she voluntarily want to take piano lessons?
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 ppwwnt

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Re: What to do if students refuse to follow your instructions
«Reply #2 on: April 29, 2020, 12:30:26 AM »
I asked her....but she just want to play the song she used to play repeatedly until I find the new song that make her interested. Her parents want her to learn piano like other siblings. Sometimes, she enjoy playing piano but it is her behavior that make it harder to deal with.

Offline quantum

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Re: What to do if students refuse to follow your instructions
«Reply #3 on: April 29, 2020, 02:49:04 AM »
Ask her what other activities she does, aside from school and piano.  Ask what she enjoys in her free time.  It might be a case of a child being overworked.  She might like playing the same thing over and over because it takes less time to practice. 

Does she have sufficient quality practice time that she can dedicate to only thinking about music?  Or is she constantly thinking about meeting the demands of other commitments?  Her parents might like her to play, but it is far more important that she plays because she enjoys it. 

Try taking that same piece of music she likes and do something different with it, giving you opportunity to teach some composition and improvisation concepts.  For example, take the first half of a melodic phrase and improvise the second half in similar style.  Play the same melody in different modes.  Take the melody and improvise a different accompaniment.  Take the accompaniment and improvise a different melody.  Improvise an entire piece in similar style or contrasting style. 

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 ppwwnt

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Re: What to do if students refuse to follow your instructions
«Reply #4 on: April 29, 2020, 03:06:37 AM »
Thank you so much for your suggestion.

Offline timothy42b

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Re: What to do if students refuse to follow your instructions
«Reply #5 on: May 01, 2020, 02:40:25 PM »
Try taking that same piece of music she likes and do something different with it, giving you opportunity to teach some composition and improvisation concepts.  For example, take the first half of a melodic phrase and improvise the second half in similar style.  Play the same melody in different modes.  Take the melody and improvise a different accompaniment.  Take the accompaniment and improvise a different melody.  Improvise an entire piece in similar style or contrasting style.

Excellent suggestions but.........this child is only seven.  Not all 7 year olds are ready for lessons and this may be one of them.  The lessons may have to become general music appreciation sessions if they continue at all, until the child is older. 
Tim

Offline Bob

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Re: What to do if students refuse to follow your instructions
«Reply #6 on: May 22, 2020, 10:47:20 PM »
"Well, you can play this with your right hand fine.  Can you do that with your left hand?  You're sure.  I bet you can next week.  Let's see...."
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline ralessi

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Re: What to do if students refuse to follow your instructions
«Reply #7 on: June 23, 2020, 02:15:28 AM »
So first (mentioned above) it must be determined if they can handle lessons, grasp material, etc... If theyíre capable, after weeks of trying some suggestions (mentioned) above, usin bribery, and also getting parents involved in lessons, itís ďOk, weíre done. You know better than me... Iíll walk with you and let your mother/father know why the lesson is over early.Ē Iím great working with children.... but if after some time, if theyíre just THAT stubborn, I have no patience for a complete lack of respect from the PARENTS. Iím not a babysitter. 

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: What to do if students refuse to follow your instructions
«Reply #8 on: June 23, 2020, 02:47:12 AM »
A few ideas:

Some kids are overworked and exhausted. They have so many activities at school or after school and then piano on top of it all. Resistance to learn something often can be related to this overworked situation they are in. As piano teachers we have to consider the work load we give them factoring in their ability to complete all their other work outside of our piano studies.

Secondly some students don't like trying something they cannot get correct immediately. They sometimes need confidence to realize it is ok to start out rough and get better and that they should not feel ashamed in front of the teacher with bad playing and mistakes.

Sometimes it is also handy to strike up a deal with the student. Simply bending to their desire causes you to lose much control over the lessons and forcing them to do only what you want can make them dread each lessons.

I've found some kids are excited to learn their first few pieces but then understand the work that goes behind learning them. As we raise the level of the pieces sometimes the workload can feel just like a wall of work which when completed they rather remain there for a while and enjoy the result of their work. Sometimes as teachers we can move onto the next piece too fast for these students. So you can choose smaller perhaps easier new pieces while still developing the works they have mostly solved.
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
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