|efforts. Of the two types-the dull but keen and the
talented but lazy-the former is much to be preferred : he does in the end
repay the teacher.
Whatever one's general practice may be, it is almost always wise, when
giving a dull pupil new work to do, to take him through it at the lesson
before he begins to study it. This will save much trouble for both teacher
and student. The latter especially will have some definite idea of what he
has to tackle, and of how to set about it. Special difficulties should be
pointed out, and method of practice indicated, so that the pupil is given
some basis to work on. Occasion- ally he should be given a new piece to
prepare entirely without help, to put him on his mettle-a scheme which often
produces quite surprisingly good results. (The same method may be adopted,
of course, with any type of pupil.) Finally, the teacher should always have
in mind the necessity of unlimited patience, and never show any sign of
irritation, except under the strongest provocation.
(b) The average pupil.
This is naturally the type with whom the greater part of one's time as a
teacher is taken up. Moderately keen, moderately talented ; rarely doing
really bad work, and as rarely doing anything really brilliant.
Nevertheless, with proper treatment, the average pupil is often capable of
doing something worth while.
As to work, he may be given a reasonable amount of everything. Carefully
graded technical work in fair quantities as well as the more recreative
things. But, as always, care must be taken to make everything as interesting
as possible. With any type of pupil it is a mistake to set the drier kind of
technical studies without first explaining why they are necessary. And some
vague generalization such as " they do your fingers good " is not enough.
The pupil should be told that technical exercises are designed to increase
one's technique (i.e., mechanical ability) and so make one able to tackle
more advanced and interesting pieces. Any given technical exercise deals
with one particular point in a highly concentrated form, and enables one to
master that point quickly and surely without other things to distract the
mind. The point being thoroughly mastered and the ability to put it into
practice achieved, it is, as it were, filed for future reference, and
brought into use when necessary.
One can naturally expect a fair rate of progress from a pupil of average
ability, but it will vary with each individual. Moreover, because one pupil
whom one classes as " average " can master some particular matter with ease,
it doer not follow that all others of the same class will do so, and
allowance must be made for such individual differences. For example, in
connection with the piano, some pupils whose work on the whole is of good
average quality find great difficulty in mastering legato pedalling, while
others, whose general work is no better, seem to be able to do it with a
minimum of explanation and instruction. On the other hand, in dealing with
some other technical point -- say staccato -- the positions may be
exactly reversed. Such contrasts of. ability are common enough, and go to
show the necessity of adapting one's method to the individual.
To be continued