I wanted to share a few thoughts on why some students are a pleasure to teach and others are more trying.
Of course, it’s a dream to have a talented student who applies themselves with dedication and makes tremendous progress. But those students are few and far between.
And raw talent is not always an indicator of how well lessons will go. I have one very talented student that drives me crazy!
And I don’t require unquestioning obedience. Sometimes it’s delightful when a student has a suggestion that is better than what I was advocating.
No, what really sets the fun students apart from headache inducing ones is a simple thing; the willingness to try.
I have written in the past on the importance of willingness in a student for their own progress. But that willingness makes such a difference when working with a student.
When a kid is only in lessons because his parents are making him/her come, they can be almost education proof. You can tell them the same thing 50 times, but their memory will not turn the data into a piece of useful information. It’s because they have no use for it in their own mind. They slop through expending the absolute minimum of effort. It’s maddening. And it can make you question your own effectiveness and approach.
On the other hand, if you have a kid (or adult) that is willing to try, even if progress is very slow, at least you have someone you can work with. You are both on the same team. You both want them to improve. It may take patience, but if it’s better this week than last week, there’s gratification for both student and teacher in that.
So when you see someone making an honest effort, celebrate that! There’s hope and there’s progress to be made!
And the students who don’t understand why they are with you? Well, you can try to bring them around by bringing them music they like. Music they are interested in. Sometimes that works and can convert a kid who’s ready to quit to a kid that’s ready to practice.
But sometimes you can’t help but question if you’re being paid enough to put up with this every week.
Try not to have two of this type in a row!