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The teacher should be continually examining and criticizing his methods and teaching repertoire, and be striving in every way to improve and broaden both. Moreover, it is most desirable that practice should be kept up. The teacher who, for example, wants to teach a pupil how to perform double octave passages on the piano, is not likely to be of much help if he cannot demonstrate effectively himself, however clear and detailed his explanations may be. When one is really busy, it is undoubtedly often almost impossible to find time for even a minimum of practice, but the opportunity should be made by some means. It is, naturally, essential that the prospective teacher should work hard to become as accomplished a player as possible during student days. The higher the technical standard attained, the longer this technique will last, even with little regular practice.

III-THE PUPIL

It might almost be argued that there are as many types of pupil as there are individuals ; this is merely another way of saying that every pupil must be, treated on his own merits, the teacher adapting his method of approach accordingly. Nevertheless, there are certain general suggestions as to treatment which apply equally to all types.

The first, and in the writer's opinion, the most important rule in dealing with pupils of any kind is that the teacher must make friends of his pupils, and get them to like him personally. The teacher who treats pupils merely as pupils-people who come once or twice a week for lessons-will never get the best results of which his students are capable. Naturally, any pupil will work better for a teacher whom he likes and respects. He will work not only because he wants to get on, or because he is fond of music (assuming the presence of these two desiderata), but in order to please the teacher. This may seem obvious, but it is a point which many teachers appear to overlook. After all, pupils are human beings and like to be treated as such, not merely as automata. This applies more particularly to children, who are generally the most difficult problem The adult learns because he wants to, but the child may be forced to take lessons possibly against his will. If the adult feels lack of sympathy with the teacher the remedy is in his own hands-he can go to someone else. The child very often cannot. Also, it must be remembered that in the case of the majority of children music study has to be made room for on top of school work, and if the teacher is not very careful the child may come to look on music as an unwelcome extension of that work, and the teacher as a kind of extra school teacher. Such an attitude is fatal.

Friendliness between teacher and student is therefore essential and must be cultivated at all costs. The pupil who comes into the room with a smile, and looks forward to the lesson because he is going to spend half an hour with some- body he likes will always do the best work of which he is capable. The unwilling one will never get very far.

To be continued

 

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