More on Managing Fast-Moving Students
Sheri R., California
I have a new adult private student with previous experience. She has had 4 lessons. I taught Dreams and Night the first lesson and told her she’d probably feel like going ahead but I wanted her to wait. Well, second lesson she came back and had learned everything, almost perfectly! We had a good talk and she seems to be on board and very willing and excited to go along with the program. Today, after again reviewing all the learning strategies and diagrams, etc. that I knew she had to have missed out on because of going straight to learning from the videos, I started her with Accompaniments. Next week I’ll start her with Level Two. (I hope she’s committed to letting me administer the dosage–I’m reluctant to let her have it!) I have given her a few arrangements as well.
I have never had a student like this. I want to know if introducing the reading program at this early stage is recommended in this situation. I think it will keep her interested and maybe going a bit slower in the foundation songs as well as giving her more to do.
Kerry V. AU
Oh, it scares me so much when a student does this and the teacher thinks that taking them into reading sooner is going to help. No. They have not been working with the foundation. The analogy I use for the foundation program is that we do not build the house on concrete that is not yet set.
Simply Music pieces can be learned so easily, but what they are missing out on is the “way of Learning”. The concrete is soggy and the house will only collapse. The reading of music is not the be all and end all, it is a result of knowing what they are doing on the physical level. They will not be able to SEE the shapes, sentences and distinctions in the reading if they didn’t grasp it while playing. I have students that have completed grade 8 in traditional lessons and they are only beginning to see through SM what it is that they were trying to do all those years.. They are still taken slowly, they must be coached by me and I will not allow them to go any further until they KNOW what is happening. It still takes a very short amount of time for them to progress but they are more than happy not to go on with reading but choose to stay with my teaching.
Does this student REALLY know what she is doing, or only how to play? If you asked her to start from the middle of a song, could she do it? Does she know the strategy for each song? Does she know why we teach the way we do? These are very necessary questions, and yes, you may have people go through fast and know all this, but you must make sure. I would still not take them into reading until level 4 as long as they have a strong playlist. They are still needing to learn discipline, being coachable, the ups and downs in learning/playing, the strategies, the language, understanding breaking down, control the events etc so, again, when they do go onto reading, this is second nature to them.
Remember that it is not the reading we are trying to get our students to. It is the experience of music as a lifetime companion so to be self generative and self motivated they need to know the methodology and everything else that comes with SM. Too much too soon can be a collapsed house.
Stand on the side of caution and do not allow them to dictate the dosage, you deliver the dosage. And make sure they know exactly what you are expecting from them. Oh, when a student says they have watched, and done, more on the student video, well, everything stops and the conversation is up and running and I don’t give in until I have their word they will not do it again.
You also said: I taught Dreams and Night the first lesson : Do you do the foundation lesson first or are you talking about the second lesson where you actually start teaching the songs?
From Mary R., Michigan
I had the same situation with a very talented teenager. She FLEW through the program and I let her. When we finally came to reading she crashed and burned, got frustrated because it wasn’t as easy or fun as learning songs and wound up quitting. What I learned was to claim territory early and often. I would introduce reading in the sequence you normally do, use lots of arrangements and keep the pace and dosage where YOU want it. Good luck!