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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000251.txt from 2000/04

Subj: [kl]Student motivation
Date: Fri, 7 Apr 2000 08:51:06 -0400

Gary VanCott wrote,
>>Then there is occasionally the opposite difficulty-- that parents think
>>the lessons are important but the student doesn't.

Ann Satterfield wrote,
>When i have that situation as a teacher, i look for ways to make the
>instrument and practicing interesting. Often there is a way to catch or
>generate some interest.
>I was a not very motivated piano student for many years, clarinet
>lessons were my request and motivation.
>In part that was contrariness. But looking back, one of the big
>differences was that i am bettered suited to clarinet than piano.
>Clarinet was satisfying in more ways and i generally enjoyed practicing.
>I wanted to play piano, but did not consistantly enjoy the process and

IMHO, one of the most useful things a private teacher can do is to prepare a
student for a time when his or her priorities may change. I preferred piano
and never took private lessons on clarinet, though I liked playing the
clarinet because I could sit in the middle of the music, enveloped in it, in
my school bands and orchestras. Today, I have my piano teacher to thank for
his excellent teaching of music theory and musicianship, as applicable to
wind instruments as to keyboards. Sometimes I complain about him, but he
taught me to play *music*, not just piano, and for that I'll always be
grateful to him.

I don't believe in forcing a child to study an instrument if the child truly
hates the lessons and shows signs of learning to hate music, but if it's only
a question of nudging an easily-distracted or indifferent kid to buckle down
and practice, I think the parents and teacher can do the kid a huge favor by
persuading (even pressuring) him or her to attend the lessons faithfully and
to maintain a systematic practice schedule for several years. Formal music
lessons teach logical thought, self-discipline and concentration, but also,
the apathetic child of today may grow into the enthusiastic adult comeback
player of tomorrow, who can benefit from that good background. I've heard
many comebackers say that they wish they'd had a better teacher, or they wish
their childhood lessons had had a different focus (one instrument instead of
another, or one type of music instead of another), but I don't think I've
ever heard an adult musician (amateur or pro) say that the childhood lessons
were a waste of time.

"Music is the hidden arithmetical exercise of a mind unconscious that is
--Gottfried Leibniz

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