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Great care is needed to create a good impression at the first lesson with a new pupil, and the younger the pupil the more care that is necessary. From the very first the teacher must do everything possible to gain the pupil's confidence. With young children some little joke which will set them laughing is always to be commended ; they feel then that the teacher is a human being, not a mere repository of musical knowledge. If the child feels that the lesson is going to be cheerful, and possibly amusing, he will look forward to it, and look forward to seeing the teacher. When he has arrived at that stage he must at all costs be kept there-he will then work to please the teacher. Care should be taken not to treat the young pupil too much as a child. This does not mean that unlimited familiarity is desirable-the teacher must keep the child's respect. But however wide the gap in age between the two people concerned, it is not at all desirable that the child should be made to feel his youth too much. A teacher should always endeavor to keep young in outlook and manner, and to feel sympathy with young people. To a small child of eight or nine years a teacher of even nineteen or twenty may seem very old. A point that every teacher should realize is that children do not like to be " put in their places " continually ; in giving individual lessons, as compared with class lessons, the question of discipline hardly arises, and there are very few children who need correction over behavior, &c. This, of course, is simply laying further stress on the necessity of being friendly with pupils.

Nervousness can almost invariably be overcome by a friendly attitude. It may be due to one of several causes-an erroneous pre-impression of what the new teacher will be like, unhappy experiences with a previous teacher, shyness, &c. In the case of a wrong idea of what the new teacher may be like, the necessity of creating a good impression at the first encounter is obvious. In the second instance the pupil will possibly have a more or less fixed idea that all music teachers are objectionable people. He may have had a teacher who grumbled at the slightest fault, or whose temper was not of the most equable. Once he finds that he is more kindly treated, and that instead of being merely grumbled at when mistakes occur he is shown how to overcome and avoid them, his nervousness will tend to disappear. Naturally, any pupil must be made to understand that any kind of error is to say the least undesirable, but he must also feel that the teacher wants to help him, and realizes that however much he (the pupil) may try to avoid them, mistakes are bound to occur at times.

Shyness is a considerable source of worry ; it is not confined to children--some adults are badly afflicted by it. Students with this disability need to be carefully " nursed." The teacher must exercise unlimited patience, and be more than ever careful to avoid the slightest hint of sharp temper. Sudden or curt " pulling up " for mistakes must be entirely eschewed, and everything done as gently as possible. With a shy pupil it is often most useful to spend some little time chatting about matters other than music-something non-musical in which the pupil may be interested. Everything possible must be done to make the pupil feel at home with the teacher.

To be continued

 

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