Page 1 of 2 1 2 >
Topic Options
#14038 - 10/28/00 07:59 PM Motivating young teens
bethann Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 10/12/00
Posts: 359
Loc: Nebraska
I've mentioned in my other posts that I haven't been teaching very long, and most of my experience has been with the average-age beginner (6 to 8-year-olds.) I now have two transfer students, a 12-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl. I'm very good at motivating the younger students, but am not quite sure with these two. What are some things others have tried to encourage and challenge students of this age? Neither of them are very advanced in their studies, each has been through a primer and level one of different methods. Thanks for the help.

Top
#14039 - 10/28/00 08:15 PM Re: Motivating young teens
Eric Offline
Star Member

Registered: 04/04/00
Posts: 2325
Loc: New York, NY
bethann,
Great idea for a topic! I can't wait to hear some ideas on this, as I have several students in that age range. The one consistent thing I'm finding (especially with the boys, for some reason) is that they want to have a lot of say-so as to what their curriculum will be and how the lesson will go. I resisted at first, but have been working at allowing them to have a little control. One way to really give them some power is to let them choose a lot of their own music. Especially in their pop/rock/jazz/or whatever supplemental book....let them choose any piece they want in the book, rather than work through the book in order. For that matter, let them choose the book!

Top
#14040 - 10/28/00 10:11 PM Re: Motivating young teens
Denise Offline
Regular Member

Registered: 10/01/00
Posts: 56
 Quote:
Originally posted by Eric Rockwell:
bethann,
Great idea for a topic! I can't wait to hear some ideas on this, as I have several students in that age range. The one consistent thing I'm finding (especially with the boys, for some reason) is that they want to have a lot of say-so as to what their curriculum will be and how the lesson will go. I resisted at first, but have been working at allowing them to have a little control. One way to really give them some power is to let them choose a lot of their own music. Especially in their pop/rock/jazz/or whatever supplemental book....let them choose any piece they want in the book, rather than work through the book in order. For that matter, let them choose the book!


Amen! Keep 'em liking piano lessons in any way you can, brother.

Top
#14041 - 10/29/00 07:19 AM Re: Motivating young teens
Marcia Vahl Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 04/25/00
Posts: 161
Loc: Brooklyn Park, MN, USA
Glad to see this topic, too. I have a young male teen student who really enjoys playing, is a good sight reader, but doesn't really want to "study" music, if you know what I mean. I would like your suggestions as to how to better approach this situation. He was my student from K to 6th grade, when he had back surgery and was out of school for about 6 months. In 7th grade he took lessons from another (cheaper and inexperienced) teacher who had him on the same 3 or 4 pieces for the whole year. Consequently, this year his mom begged me to take him back, but they could only afford 2 lessons per month. I don't normally do this, but the mom and I are good friends, so I agreed. The week after the 1st lesson his mom thanked me, because he loves his music and she enjoys hearing music in the house again. He's playing David Karp's "Winter Dreams" a hymn arrangement of "Seek Ye First" by Gail Smith that uses excerpts from Pachelbel's canon, the choral accompaniement to one of the Jr. High's choir pieces, "Storm and Stress" (Gurlitt) from the Dark and Stormy night collection. The last lesson a problem surface with the "Seek Ye First." It has a section that must be fingered accurately because of continual 8th note patterns that meander around in the tune of the canon, while the LH plays the Seek Ye First Melody. We spent a great portion of the previous lesson working out the fingering and writing it down. In this lesson, he turns to me and says, "I can't do this fingering." Because of past experience with him, I feel he means he doesn't want to take the time to study and practice to get the fingering to the place where it feels natural. I ask him what he means and he generally answers that he wants to "make up the fingering as I go." I tell him that my best advice is to write the fingering in that *he* prefers and stick to it every time he practices. We also have a discussion about what practice really is, etc. I include in my discussion that I really don't want to make him mad, but I fear that I have already done that by suggesting things about fingering that he really didn't want to hear. I feel he already has a variety of repertoire (which he chose after I played several selections). (I forgot: He's also working on "Linus and Lucy") Any other suggestions or a different perspective on this delicate teen issue? Recital is coming up November 13 and he wants to play the "Seek Ye First" piece. Help!

Top
#14042 - 10/29/00 10:09 AM Re: Motivating young teens
Lisa Kalmar Offline
Star Member

Registered: 04/10/00
Posts: 4277
Loc: KC
 Quote:
Originally posted by Marcia Vahl:
I include in my discussion that I really don't want to make him mad, but I fear that I have already done that by suggesting things about fingering that he really didn't want to hear....Recital is coming up November 13 and he wants to play the "Seek Ye First" piece. Help!


I guess I would ask why care if he gets mad? I mean, life is FULL of having to get things done that we may not want to, and often not how we wanna go about it. Seems to me he might benefit in the long run by getting a lesson in this now rather than later. And if he's so "mad" he doesn't want to cooperate with piano lessons it's HIS personal choice to follow the basic ground rules (which I would think basic fingering is) or get out, and that doesn't reflect on you or your integrity as a teacher. Plus I think that when we start basing pedagogial descisions on remaining popular we start losing effectiveness as teachers. (I know that's not the extreme you're taking this to, but thought I'd throw the point in while I had a chance. )

Regarding the recital, I advise to "delegate the anxiety" to it's proper owner, him. Since this piece needs proper fingering to fly, tell him the piece won't be acceptable for a performance until he codifies *and follows* a fingering that works. Then let the anxiety of what gets played in the recital be his own. And if he acts bullheaded and insists on playing it his way, you can let him bomb. Everyone in your studio knows your excellence as a teacher already. In other words, his actions will reflect on him, not you.

Dr. Lisa, waxin' philosophical again

Top
#14043 - 10/29/00 02:50 PM Re: Motivating young teens
Josh Allen Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 06/15/00
Posts: 534
Loc: East Texas, USA
I've taught some Jr. High age kids privately (and I'm teaching that age group in choir) and found a few things However, with this crazy age group, I am by NO means an expert!

1) I use stickers with my jr high'ers...EVEN the BOYS! As long as you don't publicize it, even the guys like to pick out a sticker to stick on their memorized pieces. We also keep a running list of memorized pieces from year to year--that way my older students just starting out feel accomplished because they've memorized 20-30 songs in 4 months (albeit, 4-8 measure "songs" ) and they can compete for the 1st and 2nd place memory certificates at the recital. They love healthy competition!

2) I keep a performance board. If they perform for any event like a party, church (not exactly performance, but suited to the purpose), school, talent show, etc (but not just family get-togethers) they can fill out a performance slip and stick it on the bulletin board. My one condition? At least 1/3 of the pieces must have been played from memory! Keeps 'em striving not just to sightread, but to master and memorize their pieces.

3) (NGPT) Guild auditions (or similar events) are great for this age group! Levels are suited to the student's progress and not their age group. It rates their progress and gives them a goal to work towards. At the lowest level, any 8 measure melody is accepted for audition--and you can move up from there and include things like scales, cadences and arpeggios to count as a piece. All pieces must be memorized, so about 2 months before the auditions we decide on the repertoire each student will perform and I type up each students list. Then I post each student's list on a posterboard with the other students. We look at the report card that the judges use and then I explain that I'll be judging by the same standard. Then, usually after the technique segment of each lesson (warm-up), I let them perform one of their pieces in the upcoming audition (more, if time allows or if they have many pieces). If they play it well enough to pass, we put a sticker (or, for this age group, sometimes a check...since the board is put up in the studio ) by the piece.

I'm sure I have better ideas, but this is all I can come up with right now Hope this can be a springboard--I've learned so much from the teachers of this board, and I hate not to at least TRY to give something back.

Josh, 2 boys picked butterfly stickers last week, Allen

[This message has been edited by Josh Allen (edited 29 October 2000).]

Top
#14044 - 10/29/00 04:03 PM Re: Motivating young teens
Denise Offline
Regular Member

Registered: 10/01/00
Posts: 56
Lisa, I like your philosophy of delegating anxiety to the rightful owner. When I speak of allowing students to chose books, I'm referring to supp. books of course. We can't teach effectively if we let our students run the show. I guess we should just be sure to let students know WHY things are done a certain way & not just say, "because this is the way it's written in the book" or whatever. I think most kids will cooperate if they understand there's a reason for things (like fingering, for instance). And for the occasional kids who have "attitudes," perhaps a little pow wow might be in order--to clear the air & remind them of who the teacher is. As long as you can do it without losing your cool.

Top
#14045 - 10/29/00 08:22 PM Re: Motivating young teens
Marcia Vahl Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 04/25/00
Posts: 161
Loc: Brooklyn Park, MN, USA
Dr. Lisa, thank you for the reminders. I do know these things, but last week was one of the worst teaching weeks I have *ever* had!

Top
#14046 - 10/29/00 10:03 PM Re: Motivating young teens
Lisa Kalmar Offline
Star Member

Registered: 04/10/00
Posts: 4277
Loc: KC
I hear ya, Marcia! Doesn't it just make you want to grind your teeth all night when you (we) stop and think how these things always seem to happen when we lighten up on our own rules? And am I the only one, or does anyone else seem to have these type episodes happen more when "friends" are involved? Here's to a better week!

Top
#14047 - 11/02/00 12:12 PM Re: Motivating young teens
Eric Offline
Star Member

Registered: 04/04/00
Posts: 2325
Loc: New York, NY
I must confess that I am a rather permissive teacher, allowing the lessons (especially for teens) to be student-directed. However, the posts above got me to thinking about one particular student who has ~not~ been thriving under my loosey-goosey leadership. His lessons have unfortunately become about a lot of bargains between the two of us. For example, I'll allow him to opt out of a certain book or piece IF he masters X,Y or Z by next week. But it seems that the more leeway I give him, the more he wants. And he doesn't seem to be practicing to boot!
After reading Lisa's and Denise's strong posts (see above) I decided to opt for an entirely different approach with this young man. Basically, I reminded him that I have been very accomodating to his wishes for a long time and have not seen results, so we're going to try an entirely different approach: I call the shots. I gave him an assignment, told him exactly what I expect from him, etc. Strange, I think he kinda ~liked~ me taking control! We'll see if it pays off in his practice. After all, some students thrive under a dictatorship. This particular student might be just that!

Top
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >


Moderator:  Archivist 
Search

Recent Posts
Top Posters (Last 30 Days)
Newest Members
mypianorotebook, Amber_Bagz, 430725, SKaR, adagiok5
2658 Registered Users
Forum Stats
2658 Members
46 Forums
5771 Topics
62996 Posts

Max Online: 1422 @ 10/03/16 05:11 PM