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It should be noted, however, that in some cases censuring is not necessarily successful, while in others it seems to be needed almost periodically. Some children are inclined to be fundamentally lazy, and one also meets with the type who one knows can do well, but for some reason or other does not. (There is no more aggravating pupil than this kind.) With such there are generally two possible methods to be adopted. One is to be as strict as possible, giving censure in good measure as often as it may seem necessary. On the other hand, some children always seem to need a definite incentive to make them do the best of which they are capable. In these cases entry for examinations is generally a good thing. If the pupil knows that he has a definite goal to aim at, it will often stimulate him into doing really good work, whereas, lacking some such goal, he will merely do a bare minimum, both in quantity and quality.

The giving of praise may profitably be done in public as well as in private. The child who is told in front of his parents that he has done really good work will generally be spurred on to try and do still better. But praise must not normally be too lavish. Something must be kept in reserve for the time (if it comes) when the pupil does some exceptionally good work. Too much praise is as bad as too little. The former defeats its own end by losing its value, while the latter becomes disheartening. The writer has bitter recollections of a Harmony professor who, if he could find absolutely nothing to criticise in at exercise, would merely remark " That's pretty fair." Even a restrained " That's good " would have been more than acceptable. The point to bear in mind is to give praise where and when it is due, and to try to strike a balance between too much and too little. At the same time it must be realised that much depends on the individual pupil. With some, even a comparatively modest amount of praise will tend to make them " swelled-headed," while others seem to need more than the average amount as an incentive to work. Practical experience, and personal knowledge of one's pupils are the only guides here.

Pulling up for errors in performance is a matter that needs mention. It is a bad mistake for the teacher to stop the pupil within the first bar or so, unless for some particularly grave fault, nor should one be continually stopping for every little mistake. It destroys any chance the pupil may have of realising the shape of the piece as a whole, and will also tend to make him nervous : so that the more he is pulled up, the more mistakes he will make. The pupil should be given a chance to " get into his stride." If he blunders in the first bar or so it may be pure accident, and the rest of the piece may go quite well. But if he is sharply pulled up immediately, it is quite likely that he will lose control, and " go all to pieces." This does not mean that one should never correct faults until the piece has been played right through : a new piece, taken at a slow speed, may very well be dissected as it proceeds. But if the piece is fairly well- known, and some sort of a reading of it is desired, the pupil should be allowed to go straight through, the teacher making a mental note of all faults-then it may be gone over in detail. The young teacher may think it hard to be expected to remember all the faults occurring in a piece of, say, seven or eight pages ; but it

To be continued

 

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