Adult Students


Student Resists Walking SDQ

QuestionQuestion
Heidi M., Canada

One of my private adult students had agreed to start RR but when I did the first exercises with her (walking with SDQ’s) she told me she did not feel comfortable as she feels this is more suitable for children. I told her I have other adults doing this and totally comfortable with it. She said she already has a good sense of rhythm and does not have to do these walking (or foot tapping) exercises. She asked if we could not immediately jump into the actual notation etc. I said these first exercises have to be done first though I admitted to her that she DOES have very good innate rhythmic expression (she is awesome at Acc 1) so I knew we could go through these exercises faster than most people but it is a claiming territory issue for her to not want to do it at all. Did any of you ever encounter this? For now she and I are willing to keep taking her through the Foundation material, she said she will think about the RR thing some more. Any suggestions? Note I hope not to have to release her from my studio, as she is a great student in so many other ways.

Answer
Missy M., Nebraska

I always assume older students and adults will think it’s too juvenile and make it fun anyway. I would assign her a lot of writing exercises and start Read & Play I. Just get her busy.

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Leeanne I., Australia

Yes, I have had adult students claim territory on this one. It is acceptable for them to sit in a chair and do the L, R, L, R with their feet, rather than walking around the room. Much easier this way for seniors too. I give them a week to practice it and move on to the next exercise in RR if they can show me they can do it next lesson.

QuestionQuestion
Heidi M., Canada

I already suggested we skip the walking and she did the foot tapping LRLR etc as you said while sitting in a chair but she was not willing. I suggested doing it with the fingers on the lap and she was not willing either. She wants to immediately go to the notation.

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Leeanne I., Australia

Stand your ground and go through the exercises, she needs to understand that this is essential. You can also show this video where the WA Symphony Orchestra are tapping rhythm on their laps, that’s what I ended up doing with my student. It’s not just for kids. It’s in this video at an hour and 19 minutes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3-UNgM7oNU

Answer
Kerry V., Australia

As part of the conversation I mention they will feel childish or weird but, as with the rest of the program, you have trusted the process, when you’ve followed it you have seen how it works. This is the same thing. You might go faster. etc.

However, I have actually had adults, with music experience, found this process harder! So do not skip steps.

Answer
Susan M., Canada

I always prep the adults beforehand with “when we start reading, we take a completely different approach and start with what we already have built in … rhythm. We have to bring it into consciousness. Rhythm is a feeling and I want you to have time to be completely aware and flexible with our steps.” And yes, it’ll be a bit weird and fun… but it’s great for you! I believe this step is most critical. Being that you’ve already started, maybe you could say start by agreeing with her and that you understand where she is coming from, but that from your experience “knowing something isn’t the same as being processed.” Ask her if she trusts you… Rhythm is a feeling so it must start there. You don’t have to spend long there, just make sure she can feel it and say it out loud while moving feet and that it is conscious. The biggest hurdle I think is the attitude. Remind her that as a coach it is your job to nudge her into paths that she wouldn’t likely take on her own.

Original discussion started January 10, 2019

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