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expectations of the teacher

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I think a teacher should remember what they went over and what they assigned from one lesson to the next and check those things at the following lesson. For example if the teacher says bring this etude next lesson for me to hear using a martele bowing than the following week the teacher should listen to the student playing that etude using a martele bowing.

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Either the student or the teacher can mark down whatever has been done at the final min of the last lesson. A teacher usually has many students. It is hard for one teacher to keep track many students by heart. My former teacher used to date the material while she taught me. My music sheets still had her markings. It is kind of nice to see the them again after so many years.

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Yuen, My teacher does the same thing. I still have all the notebooks with the dates and lesson assignments.

She has about sixty pupils at the present time. Gosh, I don't see how she can remember anything with that many.

She does assign what she wants you to do for the next lesson, and can tell real quick if you have not been practicing.

Outside, you are right. They should stick to the assignment, and check it the next lesson.

I am still having a little trouble with my slurs. If I play a couple of pieces that have a lot of slurs, and then switch to one that

has just a few, I want to slur everything. It is a bad habit and tough for me to break.

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As a teacher, I often don't get to all the same things at every lesson - particularly with the students who are only taking half hour lessons. I usually ask my students toward the end of the lesson if there is anything that they would like to play for me. If your teacher doesn't do this, or is continually asking you to play the things you didn't spend time on, ask him/her while you still have some time left, if s/he would listen to you play the exercise with martele (or whatever it is that hasn't been covered).

I make note of things that I want to keep an eye on, but I feel it is the student's responsibility to keep track of what s/he's working on. Since the things we cover are fairly standard: warm ups, scales, etudes, pieces, I can usually tell by the dates in their books what was the last thing I assigned. For my very young (or very irresponsible) students, I have assignment sheets that they can use to check off their daily practice on - the sheets list the general item (scale, etude, book) and I write in the page or exercise number. They usually bring those to me at the next lesson. One of my students has me write any special assignments down for her in a notebook, but I'd prefer not to have to do that because it takes away from the lesson time. If you're frustrated by your teacher's assigning things and then never listening to them, talk to him/her about the problem - s/he should be happy to oblige.

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Most teachers will remember what they have set and where their pupils are with certain pieces/studies/scales. All my students work is dated and if something is too hard to remember, I will consult their practice book/sheet. Being primarily a teacher of older children and medium - advanced players, I also rely on them to be pro-active in the process. Often I ask them at the end of the lesson to specificaly remind me the next time to start with something or go over a certain passage. If I have missed something and we have run out of time, I may ask them to be responsibe to remind to do this next time. I rarely cover everything in one lesson. It is possible to remember many, many things (dependant on the ability of the teacher for holding such information). It is not a skill that is necessary to be a good or great teacher though. Try not to judge anyone by these things. If the teachers sets tasks and then doesn't check them (ever) or seems disorganised in some way, then support them if you value them. I am lucky in that I remember even small things (like certain notes out of tune in a scale!) and can ask a student to start at measure 168 or something (when they don't even know where that is!!), but I had some teachers who could barely remember what I was playing...didn't matter most of the time.

Interesting topic........

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I taught for years without writing anything other than fingerings, bowings, and bookkeeping. The first time a parent asked for a note on an assignment, I was insulted. Then I tried it. Now I wouldn't let anyone younger than sixteen out of a lesson without a note. I also keep NCR copies of all notes. These are used infrequently, but have saved many a relationship. My memory is only OK but the notes make it work better than it did when was when I was young and retentive and arrogant.

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"I think a teacher should remember"

I think a teacher should remember to be there when the next lesson comes around.

Other than that, I write all of my student's lessons and details in a book which they keep and bring with them at each lesson - for my reference also.

I leave it up to the student to make progress, to do their practice. It is my job to guide them through the process.

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I think remembering and follow through are important for a teacher, although not the most important thing, surely important enough to effective teaching to make it very worthwhile for a teacher to quickly jot down notes between lessons of what they have worked on so that they can at least allude to it or bring it back up at the next lesson. I think the younger the student the more important this is and that remembering and checking back up leads to greater responsibility and attention to detail by the student. and not remembering voiced expectations and actually expecting them leads to students who are careless and less likely to take the teacher and their suggestions seriously.

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For younger students surely a teacher has some kind of system: going from one stage to the next, and if he is using a book of some kind that has stages or grade levels, he can jot things down in the book which his student brings to lessons from week to week.

For older students, we actually work on particular skills that we want to develop, and goals our teachers have set for us. If I am working on something in particular in my practicing, I am investing a fair amount of time in it week after week, and I need my teacher's feedback and further instruction. I can't be working on one thing and then arrive in my lesson to discover my teacher has forgotten and asks to hear another thing that I have not been working on. Not only it is demoralizing and causes loss of motivation, but it is ineffective. If a student practices 3 hours a day, then he has 21 hours of practice for every 1 hour of lessons, and that practice time has to be in harmony with the lessons, doesn't it? So what happens with the more serious, older student, and teachers? How is that organized?

I am wondering also, however, about older students who are no longer beginners giving feedback to their teachers and whether teachers want or expect that? If my teacher has asked me to work on martele and it is not mentioned, or I am worried that it won't come up, can I as a student not mention at the beginning of the class that I have worked on the martele assignment? Is there proactivity on the part of students? Personally at the end of a class I would not want to be asked "What do you want to play?" I would want to be asked "Is there anything you feel you need help with?" But while a teacher has a program and doesn't want to jump all over the place (except that this thread is suggesting that sometimes this does happen) I as a student would feel free to voice a request without being asked first. The answer can always be that it is not an appropriate time to be working on whatever it is, but at least the communication is open. Is this helpful for a teacher, or could that be seen as a problem from a teacher point of view?

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quote:


Originally posted by:
outside

I think a teacher should remember what they went over and what they assigned from one lesson to the next and check those things at the following lesson.

In my experience

it is just as likely the student hasn't remembered

what the assignment might have been

or practiced it!

I occasionally ask beforhand

if they ring to confirm a lesson time

if they've done the assigned work,

if not don't bother coming till you have.

But then again I don't teach a lot.

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Well omobono, at this point in my daughter's playing, I think it might be good for her to be asked to leave if she hadn't done a requested assignment.

This forgetting has been a repeated problem with her teachers since she was very young. The most painful instance was shortly before her 7th birthday when she was told that she would be able to perform the Gavotte at the end of Suzuki book 1 for the next group class. She practiced, picked out a special outfit, went to the group class all pumped up and the teacher forgot. Now years later, we pay piles of money for lessons with absolutely amazing players and still on a regular basis this forgetfulness occurs, she will be told, bring this piece memorized for me next week, or write down all the fingering changes that you are using so that we can discuss them and then it doesn't happen. I do feel that it makes her a bit less serious about taking care of work that is not so interesting to her. She is still a kid and if there is no follow up she is inclined to skip things that don't appeal to her sense of beauty or fun.

Stillnew's comments about how difficult it is to bring up are right on target. These are really nice people they do a lot more than just remember to show up. They are brilliant professional players, everything they play sounds like gold, they offer fantastic advice and are really tuned in during the lesson. It would feel very rude to interrupt, but week after week things that were requested get left. When they are teaching they are totally there but there lives are busy with contracts, other students, upcoming solo work, orchestras, and their own families so from week to week they forget. I wrote about this because I figured if a few more teachers would jot down what they requested from week to week that it would be a good thing.

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quote:


Stillnew's comments about how difficult it is to bring up are right on target. These are really nice people they do a lot more than just remember to show up. They are brilliant professional players, everything they play sounds like gold, they offer fantastic advice and are really tuned in during the lesson. It would feel very rude to interrupt, but week after week things that were requested get left. When they are teaching they are totally there

My comments were about the necessity of bringing it up, and I was wondering what the experience was out there, and what the reaction and experience are from teachers about proactiveness in the way I outlined it.

It sounds as though you are talking about pieces and studies: assignments, rather than skills being developed systematically from week to week. You also seem to be choosing your daughter's teachers on the criterion of being excellent players, active performers, skilful because they have the knowledge but also that as performers they are active in keeping up their own playing skills. I also notice that you refer to her teachers in the plural. How old is your daughter, how long has she been playing, and has any one teacher been developing her skills in a systematic way, as opposed to coaching from week to week? Would you say that your daughter is being coached or taught (systematic development over time)? Different pieces every week does not necessarily mean there is no system: a teacher may be looking at one skill, and be using different ways of developing that skill, so what appears random may not be.

These are brilliant players for whom you feel a high degree of respect, and privilege on your daughter's behalf. You do not want to appear to be criticizing them - that's what I'm reading into what you have written. But you do want your daughter's preparations to be heard, because it is undermining her motivation. Well, it would be the same for a performing musician if her prepared for performance after performance, and each time the performance was cancelled. Diplomacy. You want to bring this up in a way that does not appear critical. Your daughter has prepared what he/she has requested: therefore that teacher's request is being respected and taken seriously, and by extension, that teacher is being taken seriously. Your daughter has taken his assignment seriously and is now prepared to hear his feedback on that assignment, because his feedback is important to her. If you can present things from this kind of angle, you are not criticizing the teacher (from what he will hear from you), and this will make what you are saying to the teacher be seen in a positive light. Secondly, looking forward to his response as she prepares what has been assigned, is something that motivates your daughter to work hard and practice: this is something else you can present. You do not want to be saying anything negative: neglecting to remember is causing your daughter to lose her motivation, he is being forgetful - both of these would imply that you see failings on the teacher's part.

I browsed through a book by Karl Flesch a few years ago while in a bookstore. In one section he was writing about different kinds of "characters" of students (he went into the 'humours': sanguine etc.) and characters of musicians as teachers:

1. A "performer" must be in the moment, totally present to the moment, oblivious to anything but what he is doing right now, at this moment. Someone with these characteristics will be an excellent performer.

2. A "teacher" must have a broad perspective, looking into present and future, preparing with a broad view in mind, a mentality that encompasses many things - bird's eye. Such characteristics are bad for a "performer" because such a person will not be "in the moment".

- the "performer" personality will be a poor teacher (Flesch, if I have the right writer), because he is always in the moment, and thus incapable of long term planning of multiple goals. A performer must be focussed on this goal, for this concert, and then be totally and exclusively playing this piece at this time for this audience. Nothing else can be on his mind.

Your description sounds so much like Flesch's "performers". They are totally present and aware with deep insights when your daughter plays. They are absolutely focussed on what she is doing. You may be right in not wanting to interrupt that process.

A teacher has two sets of skills: the skill of what he/she wants to impart (the music & instrument) - the skill of teaching. Some are more balanced in one than the other. Some are "teachers" by nature. Teaching in itself is an art and science. A "teacher" may be someone who is not an active performer, or no longer performs, may not have been practicing, and so will not be able to demonstrate the same abilities in playing as an active performer. How well a teacher may be able to play right now may not reflect what skills that teacher is able to convey to a student.

I have to apologize for having gone past the scope of your question.

How are other students adressing these kinds of concerns? What would the teachers here want students to do about this kind of situation? You have a student who has prepared something you have assigned, and you have forgotten about it, apparently you are doing this a lot but you haven't a clue that you are, and your student is losing motivation. How would you like your student or the student's parent to address this?

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My comments just disappeared.

Outside, you have a problem with the teachers (why plural) of your daughter, and you need to address this in a diplomatic manner, because she is losing motivation. You seem to be choosing active performers who are maintaining a high skill level in their own playing as criteria of who is to teach her: such people would tend to be in the moment, present at this time, because that is the type of mindset that a performer needs to have. You do not want to be addressing this in a negative way, but in a way that puts the teacher in a positive light, and a position of valuing their importance in their role. You do not want to point out two things: they are being forgetful, because of this forgetfulness your daughter is losing motivation - that appears critical. The other spin on the same scenario is: Your daughter values the teacher's assignments, she works on them, she looks forward to his input which is of value to her. His assignments and her anticipation of his response are motivational factors. If you need to have a five minute talk with the teacher before or after a class then you would present things in this kind of positive way.

I have a question for the teachers on this board. Supposing that you have a student who is taking your assignments seriously. Supposing that you are forgetful in this matter, you are unaware that you are, and it happens frequently enough that your student is losing motivation, but you don't have a clue that this is going on. How would you like your student or the student's parent to approach this - or would you rather that they were silent about it?

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quote:


I have a question for the teachers on this board. Supposing that you have a student who is taking your assignments seriously. Supposing that you are forgetful in this matter, you are unaware that you are, and it happens frequently enough that your student is losing motivation, but you don't have a clue that this is going on.

This is not a problem that comes up very often. Being a "good" teacher requires that you keep close checks on everything the student is doing; teachers that struggle with this should be more organised (with notebooks etc.) or try to develop their awareness of what all their pupils are doing....??

I read with some interest about this

quote:


I browsed through a book by Karl Flesch a few years ago while in a bookstore. In one section he was writing about different kinds of "characters" of students (he went into the 'humours': sanguine etc.) and characters of musicians as teachers: 1.A "performer" must be in the moment, totally present to the moment, oblivious to anything but what he is doing right now, at this moment. Someone with these characteristics will be an excellent performer.

2. A "teacher" must have a broad perspective, looking into present and future, preparing with a broad view in mind, a mentality that encompasses many things - bird's eye. Such characteristics are bad for a "performer" because such a person will not be "in the moment".

- the "performer" personality will be a poor teacher (Flesch, if I have the right writer), because he is always in the moment, and thus incapable of long term planning of multiple goals

I would agree that to a certain extent there is some truth in this....BUT, the two skills are not exclusive, one (the teacher) can be (comfortably) both.

What I would say was more worrying is the idea that "These are really nice people they do a lot more than just remember to show up. They are brilliant professional players, everything they play sounds like gold, they offer fantastic advice and are really tuned in during the lesson. It would feel very rude to interrupt, but week after week things that were requested get left. When they are teaching they are totally there but there lives are busy with contracts, other students, upcoming solo work, orchestras, and their own families so from week to week they forget."

If a professional player is offering tuition but is letting his pupils down in this way, then they may not be entirely suitable for the task.....

I find it incredibly frustrating when I hear of teachers who are letting thier students down and using their busy-ness or pro playing engagements as an excuse for not doing the job. You (I) can be one thing one minute and another the next.....

Patents who feel that their childs teacher is only present "at the lesson" might like to consider a) encouraging the teacher to adapt a little to better "practice" in the way they organise the pupil or :) consider a different type of teacher.

T_D

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"teachers who are letting thier students down and using their busy-ness or pro playing engagements as an excuse for not doing the job"

T_D, I have never heard the teacher use this as an excuse, I just assume this is why forgetting occurs because he is absolutely busy.

Stillnew, perhaps she is more coached on a regular basis than taught with long term goals or a program in mind. But it is difficult to find a teacher, switching is really traumatic, and other than the forgetfulness and perhaps, now that you brought it up, the lack of set longer term goals, I am extremely happy with her teacher... extremely. Just a word on his part changes her playing, he never rambles on while her eyes gloss over, or gets stuck on one thing for 20 minutes when she isn't picking it up. I think her teacher needs to be a performer or capable of it anyway she needs someone who can demonstrate a technique if the words don't get it. He is really good in so many ways.

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quote:


T_D, I have never heard the teacher use this as an excuse,

Well, obviously not! (you won't ever hear a teacher criticise his/her own behaviour) but some "infer" this regardless. What I was trying to say is that some members of our community get away with creating a picture of being too busy to do their job 100% in every respect. Cancelled lessons, shorter lessons, forgetting certain things are signs that things may not be quite right. Of course, everyone has the choice to go and learn elsewhere when things are not good, but often parents and students put up with all kinds of things to stick with a certain teacher. 99% of all the great teachers I know manage to get everything in it's place....but there are one or two that allow themselves to be slightly lazy with their students.

"When you wear your teaching hat, it must on firmly and give full consideration to your pupil, not to you"....(or words to that effect)

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It is hard to say precisely what should be expected of a teacher from a parent's point of

view ? There are so many kinds of parents.

Here is my criterion: Put the student in a student recital. Let him or her to perform after a few months

of lessons or take part in a competition (junior level). If the student is perform well in public, I will

give the teacher and the student a lot of credits. If not, the parent should examine the whole situation.

Don't forget the parent is also a part of the equation. (other kids of the same teacher are in the same boat right?)

PS. I once was a student's parent. I had conversations with parents of kids

of other teachers while we were waiting for the competition.

You know, how parents bragged about things. It made me felt how silly of my kids' teacher was.

Then after the competition I did not feel the same way. You had to see to believe.

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quote:


You know, how parents bragged about things. It made me felt how silly of my kids' teacher was.

This is a good anecdote.......there is a great deal of competition in music and some parents take things too far. I avoid it at all costs and let my students perform to the best of their ability for themselves and me/parents. Thankfully, more often than not, the quality of the pupils tuition and the quality of the hard work the pupils have put into the piece(s) shows through. Don't be deceived though, a talented pupil may perform well regardless of the teacher.......one has to look for trends.

Alternatively, it often makes sense to ask an opinion from someone not connected. Once or twice, I have been consulted about a pupil and their progress/teacher and discovered some interesting things (for bad and good) . Also (although I try to avoid this) I have given a consultation lesson to get to the bottom of things.......all results are possible.....eg 1) confirming the student is doing well and the teacher clearly knows what they are doing 2) there is no evidence of care taken by the teacher (no notebook, no markings, no written guidance 3) the student is actually close to unteachable!!!!

I parted company with a pupil who was more keen to do his thing than listen to me, it was an unpleasant experience. When this student played to general musicians, he was hailed as a real talent etc. etc. When judged by a genuine trained Violinist in a major competition, he came second to last of the 16 quarter-finalists, the report highlighted the very things I had been trying to improve years before. Somehow, lesson/masterclasses with Oistrakh, Delay etc. on these very pieces, were not good enough to convince him of my experience. He quit eventually......sad but true.....wasted talent.....

T_D

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A teacher with major obligations is bound to cancel now and again. My lack of vision in terms of the long term goals does not mean that they are not there. I am not fond of competitions. I don't think she is the most talented child in the world. She has a brilliant teahcer who other than occasional forgetfulness is fantastic. I am not looking for a switch I just wish he didn't have occassional forgetfulness. Stillnew I will pm you.

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Surely this could be solved by just talking to the teacher before or after a lesson. Just something to the effect of, "I've noticed you don't always follow through on some of the assignments you give my daughter. I'm concerned that it's affecting her practice habits -- she's inclined to skip things if she thinks you aren't going to be checking back in. What do you think?" It could be the teacher thinks your daughter is self-motivated to the point where she doesn't need constant follow up. Maybe she assumes you're making sure your daughter does the requested practice, and thus she doesn't need to spend lesson time on it. Maybe she just forgets. At any rate, I'd at least give her a chance to address your concern before taking it to a public bulletin board.

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Technique_Doc - you and I had some PM exchanges before Christmas. It was this kind of thing that put me into confusion and I was not in good shape back then. Now I know what's what, and am in the middle of catching up to what was missed, or assumed to have been taught, because no records were kept, but the structure was assumed to be there. This accumulated over time. Proactivity and communication on the part of parents or older students, without being disrespectful, without presuming to know more, is sometimes necessary. Done right, if a teacher actually really does care, it can create a better relationship: more motivation on both sides. Not everyone is organized the same way, and teaching music is a combination of two professions with two sets of skills.

I think this is an important topic.

Outside, I look forward to your PM.

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This is a fairly pervasive problem; we have not experienced this with only one teacher. I just thought that if more teachers could quickly jot down a few notes of what they said they would do at the next lesson it would be easier and more productive from lesson to lesson. All you teachers out there if you see yourself in my daughter's teacher maybe you might try keeping a teaching diary. If you think that you are her teacher don't get mad at some random stranger for posting on a public bulletin board. Her teacher can feel good because this is a minor complaint in the scale of things and he is brilliant and greatly loved.

Honestly it is shocking how upset people appear to get over something that seems pretty obvious in terms of pedagogy. I guess their secret message is never ever criticize (the violin teacher) GOD.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
outside

Honestly it is shocking how upset people appear to get over something that seems pretty obvious in terms of pedagogy. I guess their secret message is never ever criticize (the violin teacher) GOD.

What I am trying to say is that you should be able to talk to your child's teacher. If you can't, find one you can. If you have concerns, criticisms, praise, or whatever else, that's fine. But you need to be feel comfortable bringing it up directly with the teacher(s) involved, or you are never going to solve the problem.

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One-to-one instruction is precious. It is expensive. We don't see this kind of education wide spread.

I would give music teachers a lot of credits to take up this line of work. Their hearts like gold.

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