Adult Student Refusing Comp & Improv
Lynn S., Illinois
I would greatly appreciate your feedback in a new situation that has never happened to me before.
One of my adult students, who just moved into Book 4, is a retired doctor and used to getting his own way. While he initially was willing to do improvisation/composition, he changed his mind. He calls it “playing random notes.” He studies with his wife who has a memory disability, and yet she is very happy to do improvising and composing. I taught them both in a small group, and just recently, they asked to have separate private lessons. For awhile, I let this man avoid doing improv or composing. I just had his wife do the improv/composing. However, over the past few weeks, I wanted to encourage him to explore generative learning again. I asked him if he would be willing to do his own arrangements –using the left hand of a familiar tune with the right hand doing its own melody. He and his wife also have the Tune Toolkit book — which he refused to review. He just emailed me with a message that he is refusing to do improvisation or composition. He just wants to learn to play “pieces.” He likes everything else about Simply Music. He is retired and feels that he needs to choose how to spend his time… including what he will learn at the lesson. One of the major goals of Simply Music is to encourage students to be able to express themselves and generate their own music.
How would you handle the situation? He let me know that he may then stop lessons if I insist on having him improvise or compose. Am I now being too strict to “force” him to spend 5 minutes — which I will give him as extra time in his lesson –to create his own pattern? Please give me your thoughts.
Neil Moore – what is your opinion? Thanks to everyone who can offer your thoughts. I’m thinking that perhaps it’s best to let him go. He has been with me for over a year.
Here is my response to Lynn’s question:
Older students and Claiming Territory
Original discussion started January 3, 2022