Students in valleys
Found in: Relationships
Mandy H., Virginia
I have two students who have become incredibly frustrated lately and are ready to quit. They’re both in Level 2. One, a 16-year-old beginner who was very motivated to learn and was doing absolutely great, stopped practicing about a month ago, and it was obvious. He used to do everything I asked, but once July started it all changed. He has learned all of Level 2, but he hasn’t retained the last four pieces because he doesn’t practice. Now he says he wants to quit.
The other is in his 50s and has recently become very upset, saying the diagrams don’t help him remember the songs at all. Until this past week, he was always able to play from his playlist, but because he has been so frustrated lately, I’ve spent more time helping him process the last few pieces. He can’t remember Dreams or Night Storm at all. He, too, used to practice all the time, but about five weeks ago he stopped. I re-taught both songs, but they still didn’t really fall under his fingers. He’s had to travel three times in the last couple of months and even bought a keyboard so he could practice when he was on trips. Now he says he doesn’t practice because he dreads it.
What is going on? It was good, and then it was bad. They’re in different cities and don’t know each other. Is this common in Level 2?
Leeanne I., Australia
Yes, it is common and it sounds like they have hit their first valleys. You need to encourage them through the valley, as it will change and the will love piano again. However, they absolutely must practice, even when they don’t want to. I recommend forwarding them Neil’s e-book on The Relationship Conversation to read, if you haven’t already.
Robin Keehn, Washington
Are you regularly (like weekly) talking about the nature of long-term relationships? Every week I ask students how they are feeling about piano. Thumbs up = love it, thumbs down = dislike, anywhere else is in the middle. No matter where they are, I affirm that it’s normal and that it will change. If I don’t keep on it, students tend to slip and assume something is wrong–with them, with you, or with the method.