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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000429.txt from 2000/04

From: Matt Goff <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Student motivation (or lack thereof)/ Lame Excuses
Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2000 20:08:49 -0400

On Sun, 9 Apr 2000, Patricia Smith wrote:

> 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.

Yes, I was thinking mainly of college age and older students. However, I
do not think that a week of no practice must necessarily result in a
wasted lesson time. I do think that the younger the student is, the more
likely it is to fall on the teacher to keep the lesson from being wasted.
One person on here mentioned that his/her teacher gave a lesson on working
reeds one week, for example.

I have actually done a fair bit of thinking about this topic because of
the fact that I would like to move back to my home town and I am
considering the possibility of giving clarinet lessons to young players.
Obviously it would be difficult to have a student not practice week after
week, and in that case I think it would probably be best to have a
discussion with the student and the parents to figure out what exactly the
student is in lessons for. But that said, I think there is a lot which
can be learned about music, especially when it is fairly new to a person,
which does not necessarily require that one has practiced before hand. I
think that when I was in Junior High, I learned a lot from hanging around
the band room listening to other people/ensembles practice with the band
director. I also learned a lot from listening to recordings.

Perhaps I am naive because of my lack of experience, but I like to think
that no lesson time need be wasted if I am willing to teach and the
student is willing to learn during that time. I think that part of the
reason I hold this view is that I imagine a teachers to be one who passes
on the knowledge and experience he or she has while at the same time
encouraging the student to investigate further. I think that to me the
fact that I might have been hired to teach a student how to play the
clarinet better would not be that big of a deal as long as the student
(and I) was learning something worthwhile. That is, I would not feel that
a lesson was wasted as long as we were able to come to some new and/or
better understanding of something, even if it was not something that we
had originally planned on. I understand that this is not necessarily
workable in all situations, especially when it comes to teaching classes.
But I think in private instruction there can be a great deal of latitude
for the teacher and the student to come to an understanding about what is
going to be taught and how.

These are ideas largely unpractised so far and I am sure the "real world"
will show me a thing or two. I would appreciate any comments people might
have on strengths or weaknesses they might see in what I express here.


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