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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000373.txt from 2000/04

From: "Patricia Smith" <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Student motivation (or lack thereof)/ Lame Excuses
Date: Sun, 9 Apr 2000 22:06:10 -0400

Matt Goff wrote:
"I do not see what the big deal is with practicing only 20-30 minutes a day
(or less!) or missing the occasional lesson because of other things...I
agree that it is not good to skip out and not pay...There are many times
when I am lucky to get 3 or 4 hours of practice a week in outside of band.
I try to practice the material I am working on and make progress on it each
week. On the weeks when I have not practiced much, I try to have questions
about aspects of clarinet playing or music in general which I may not
otherwise get to talk about. For me, lessons are as much about deepening my
appreciation of music as they are about increasing my playing skills...I
think that it is important for a teacher to understand what the student is
ultimately looking to gain out of lessons."

Matt, you make some pretty important points here. First of all, I agree,
that for those not very likely to become performance or music ed. majors,
20-30 minutes a day is certainly fine. That is basically what I encourage
my students to do.
Also, at the get go, I state my policy, that there will be no rescheduling
of a missed lesson if I am not notified at least an hour beforehand. As I
schedule my lessons one after the other in large blocks of time, that is
usually not a problem.
The last part of your post is a very enlightening view into the world of the
non-professional musician. I really like it when my students bring a lot of
questions to their lessons. You are referring to college age and older
people, no doubt. Of course it is an entirely different matter when it is a
fourteen year old trying to get out of playing, knowing that I will
immediately realize she has barely practiced at all.
You sound like you are a very focused person who has a great deal of
structure in his studies. This is one point I left out in my post on
teaching students how to practice. It is more an idea of showing them the
structure of or the use of their time, and how to arrange the various
sections of things to be practiced most effectively. Some children need to
be guided specifically, step by step from the very first thing to do to the
very last thing to do. If this is in a written list, so much the better.
Anyway, Matt, thanks for your post.
Patty Smith

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