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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000211.txt from 2002/06

From: (Tony Pay)
Subj: [kl] Students and 'students'
Date: Thu, 6 Jun 2002 16:25:10 -0400

On Thu, 6 Jun 2002 14:12:10 EDT, said:

> The system of juried competition and the easy availability of
> first-rate, professional recordings train both teachers and students
> to judge harshly who belongs in music and who doesn't. (Those
> quotation marks in the thread title say it all.) It seems to me that
> kids who will never play like the recordings, no matter how much they
> practice, usually figure that out long before a parent or a teacher
> officially breaks the news. Waiting for that news, expecting it,
> avoiding and dreading that conversation, can be worse than hearing it.

Without wanting to disagree with what Lelia says here, I do want to
point out that "those quotation marks in the thread title" were mine,
and were intended to start a new thread (unsuccessfully as it happened),
dealing specifically with the issue of students who *didn't want to be
in the lessons* (hence, they were 'students' rather than students).

I say that those students, simply because they don't want to be there,
*shouldn't* be there.

The first paragraph of my post ran:

> Nowadays teaching is almost always something imposed on a kid who
> doesn't want it. This is one of the great ills of our times.

Some people took this at face value; but many more took the discussion
in the direction of, we have to show them it's hard work...we have to
show them it's fun...we mustn't bribe them...they need to learn that
it's not all... and so on. I'm not saying that some wise things weren't
said about all of that, either.

Jay Webler said in response to my paragraph:

> Very true. This is why I suggest the parents use their hard-earned
> money for a good dinner.

....which strikes me as a pretty adult-centered reaction to what I
posted. He went on to say:

> I have found that over the last three years I have been able to
> establish a base of students who do want to learn. As I said before,
> it causes for slower growth, but in the long term it is much more
> satisfying.

If you mean that your list of students, now consisting of students who
want to learn, are more satisfied than the previous lot, some of whom
didn't, then that's obvious. Or perhaps you meant that it was more
satisfying for *you*. I can identify with that.

But my point was a different one: namely, that the students you're now
*not* teaching are very probably more satisfied too! And, you don't
have to blame them.

They can do something *they* find more interesting.

Essentially, all I'm trying to do here is to call attention to a rather
simple something that I admit I still find difficult to realise for
myself, and that I'm convinced is worth working quite hard at: namely,
the experiencing of that extraordinary change that comes over you when
you succeed in imagining, just for a moment, that your kids, and often
other people's kids, really are.....*you*.

By the way, I think that *not* realising that goes along with wanting to
protect kids from hearing swear-words, for anyone who wants to add a bit
of seasoning to the blinding flash of insight I've just given you.

Or not:-)

_________ Tony Pay
|ony:-) 79 Southmoor Rd
| |ay Oxford OX2 6RE
tel/fax 01865 553339

.... I'm an absolute, off-the-wall fanatical moderate.


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