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thoroughly. Let the work be as interesting as possible, and make the lessons interesting and cheerful. It must be remembered that everything is doubly hard for him, and this, coupled with a natural distaste for music lessons, will tend to make him find things very dull. Technical work should be out down to a minimum, and the pieces chosen should be as tuneful and light as can be managed.

A small amount of work, done as well as possible, is better than half as much again badly prepared. Every allowance must be made for the pupil's slowness of comprehension. At the same time, it is essential to insist on regular practice (which also applies to all pupils). Skipping practice for a day or two and trying to make up for it by a double dose later on is useless. It is the regularity which counts. Supervision of practice by someone competent is also to be commended, provided that the supervisor can be trusted to carry out the teacher's wishes, and to be patient and painstaking. Merely to have somebody sitting in the room to see that the pupil spends the allotted time at the instrument is bad, as if he will not do the work without compulsion, what he does because he is forced to will be of little value. Unwilling work rarely produces good results. But to have a supervisor who can really help in the work is all to the good-one who can point out errors that have been overlooked, and assist the pupil to overcome difficulties.

In connection with supervision of practice, it may be mentioned here that this is most desirable, at least to a certain extent, in the case of beginners, whether dull or not. In the earliest stages the learner is, as it were, working in the dark, and to send a child home, for instance, after the first lesson with instructions to learn the positions of the notes on the piano, without any other guidance, is expecting too much. The ideal in the early stages would naturally be daily lessons, but these are normally impracticable ; so a certain amount of super- vision is essential.

To return to the dull pupil. In many case errors arise simply because he does not hear them ; and for this reason it is most desirable to spend a good deal of time on Ear-training. This will naturally have to be of the simplest kind at first, but should be persevered with, as apart from training the pupil to detect inaccuracies, it will improve his general musicianship, and thus help to make his work better from another point of view. It may be suggested that parents will complain that they are paying for the child to be taught to play the instrument, not for extras such as Ear-training, but in such cases it is obvious that they must be impressed with the absolute necessity of the latter.

The necessity for perseverance may again be stressed at this point. As long as one can get the pupil to work, results will eventually arrive, unless he is utterly unmusical (a rare case, as already stated), and these results will bring a great measure of satisfaction to all concerned. It is one of the great pleasures in the life of a teacher to find that his hard work and painstaking efforts are at last being rewarded by real progress on the part of a dull pupil. And conversely, one of the most trying things is to find that a pupil whom one knows to be talented is not working properly, or making the progress he should, despite one's best

To be continued

 

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