Students Wants to Limit Assignments
Eric R., California
How would my expert teachers out there manage a student who was absolutely adamant that they should only have 1 NEW song to practice each week. Regardless of if they get it easy or not; how can I correct this limiting belief in their psychology if it all?
Robin Keehn, Washington
This is a case of Claiming Territory. If you don’t claim it back, it will always be something with this student. I’d start with the “Are you Coachable?” dialogue. Basically– ‘You’ve hired me to be your coach. I have the expertise to get you the results we’ve discussed (music as a lifelong companion or whatever words you used). However, just like with any other type of coach–football, gymnastics, etc…–I’m going to tell you exactly what you need to do each week to achieve the results you want. The question is, are you coachable? And, it’s no problem if you are not–I just won’t be able to work with you right now, until you’re ready. Being coachable means that you’ll do exactly as I say even if you don’t understand, you don’t agree or it isn’t convenient. So, are you ready to be coached?”
The less attachment you have to the outcome, the less emotion (that is a good thing) you’ll bring to the conversation. You are committed but unattached to what happens. If you go in, needing the student to stay (because of finances or whatever), the conversation will have some charge to it. So, practice, be ready for them to say they aren’t coachable and then have the conversation. BE SURE you use the words, “right now.” Do NOT close the door on them or they will feel hurt, angry, etc….So just say “not right now” about lessons if they can’t agree to be coached.
Becc S., Australia
I’m thinking the student might struggle with too much information at home and it’s the way they can communicate this feeling. I would only give them one new song and then give them another task that is not a SM song. Just some “mucking around” learning. It can be the way you phrase a task. If they’re quite new they are still getting used to practice. When you lay too much out at once, they may get it in the lesson but have forgotten by the time they get home.
Kerry H., Australia
I would also explain that they don’t have to have a song perfectly by next week, they just have to practise it for a few minutes each day. Over the period of a few weeks or months, the song will get better and better. In the meantime, we have found that it is better for the brain and easier to remember things, if we give it a variety of small projects to work on. Each week, we will just be nudging the different projects forward.
It is easier for students as they progress into the program, and have multiple streams to work on, that it is easier to have less of more projects to work on, than to move more deeply into a longer song. I think it’s good to start training students in this approach earlier rather than later.
Leeanne I., Australia
I would explain: Our brains are quite capable of learning several things at once. Look at all the different subjects you do at school on one day and all the different homework you are assigned. We don’t just do English homework one week, then Science the next
Robin Keehn, Washington
Rather than assign two pieces from the FL, consider assigning part of a FL piece, an improv project, and an accomp project. If you go into the library you can find ‘Getting Off to a Powerful Start’.
Original discussion started March 13, 2018