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#14543 - 02/03/02 06:45 PM inspiring teenage students
Melody Offline
Contributing Member

Registered: 03/05/01
Posts: 18
Loc: North Ridgeville, OH USA
I have several jr high students I've been teaching for anywhere from 4 to 9 years. They are all about the same age (6th-7th grade) and all seem to be losing interest. Contest aren't exciting for them. I give them a rich variety of music, but very little seems to excite them. Parents are starting to talk with me about letting them quit because they are tired of arguing with them. I get along very well with everyone, but can't seem to find the right motivation. It has been suggested that I help them accompany school choirs or create a recital at an area rest home. Has anyone tried these ideas or have any ideas to offer? I don't to lose these kids. They are all very talented and have a lot of promise!

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#14544 - 02/04/02 06:14 AM Re: inspiring teenage students
Jalapeņo Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
Some ideas: Would any of them be able to play for church (not necessarily for Sun. AM service; maybe Sun. PM or Wed. PM or any special "Talent Night" the church might organize) or school (talent show, perhaps)? Parents might could set up some opportunities for them. How 'bout the Mall or the local music store? (This would be great publicity for you, too). Would it be possible to prepare a recital to give at those locations? ...anything to get the kids performing in public without the pressures of contests...

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#14545 - 02/04/02 10:08 AM Re: inspiring teenage students
Carole Offline
Star Member

Registered: 06/08/00
Posts: 2229
Loc: southern California
Yes, getting them involved in church or other out-there activities is great. I have three teenage girl-students and try to keep them going doing the music they want to play. Two are learning Fallin by Alicia Keys. One requested a Britney song, etc. I don't mind if it keeps 'em playing.

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#14546 - 02/04/02 12:53 PM Re: inspiring teenage students
Lisa Kalmar Offline
Star Member

Registered: 04/10/00
Posts: 4277
Loc: KC
Maybe instead of calling what they do a recital call it a musical (and turn it into one!), and maybe don't pick a nursing home as the only place to do it at. Some place more glamorous. And rather than have them just learning pieces to perform, have it involve costumes and painted sets and things that can draw out their other talents. Go to the Mayron Cole site and check out her musicals and ensembles. Even if you can't stand her method, her spirit of how to put fun in piano for kids is awesome. You could also ask a local music teacher for resources/ideas for something like this.

If any of them have keyboards, you could have them form a keyboard band or orchestra. I went to a Roland conferences several summers ago where Dawn Costello Miller was featured. She had two books called Fresh Mix and Baroque Mix (Kjos Publishing) that were ensembles for synthesizers and electronic keyboards. We played her music in concert and watched videos of her students doing the same. Like playing in a band!!! It was awesome, and I'll bet there's tons more stuff out on the market now. Rhapsody??? John???

What also works at this age is putting them into partner lessons. It can bring out competitive streaks that spur them on and motivate 'em. Plus there's a lot of fun ensemble out there that they would probably like. Mistakes from not practicing enough can even be fun when you can crack up about it with a partner!

You also might think of adding creative groups lessons for this age group only. Make it feel like their private club/party when they meet. Give it a cool name and serve excellent refreshments.

Another idea would to get some kind of Big Sister program going where they get involved with younger children in your studio. If they feel important about what they do and offer, they will feel more motivated about piano lessons!

I could probably think of more, but I just did a weight workout and my triceps are shaking so hard I can't type anymore!

[ February 04, 2002: Message edited by: Lisa Kalmar ]

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#14547 - 02/04/02 03:29 PM Re: inspiring teenage students
Jalapeņo Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
Now you're cookin' with gas, Melody! \:D

If you're going to have a musical, [great idea, btw! ] I'd suggest inviting all of them to your house for a get-together so you can get their input & make plans. They might wish to come up with a theme for the musical; they might come up with some creative, brilliant ideas. At any rate, their feedback is important, 'cuz pre-teens & teens like to have their say. ;\)

This would be a great time to give them some ensemble experience. If you can pair any of them up to perform some duets, [assuming they want to, of course! ;)] it would be great.

I can't think very clearly today, either. I have a miserable cold. \:\(

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#14548 - 02/04/02 05:09 PM Re: inspiring teenage students
MeLisa Offline
Regular Member

Registered: 11/08/01
Posts: 83
[ 08-02-2002: Message edited by: MeLisa ]

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#14549 - 02/04/02 06:10 PM Re: inspiring teenage students
Melody Offline
Contributing Member

Registered: 03/05/01
Posts: 18
Loc: North Ridgeville, OH USA
Thanks for the great ideas! I talked with a couple of the teens today during lessons. Most seemed excited. Only one student didn't seem enthused. She has a hard time performing anywhere but recitals. Please keep the ideas coming! The brainstorming is great and gave me the boost I needed to keep trying with these kids!

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#14550 - 02/06/02 07:55 AM Re: inspiring teenage students
Vivace' Offline
Star Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 1717
Loc: USA
Great ideas everyone!
My students enjoy monthly music club meetings where they are responsible for planning the meetings and programs. Students are involved in presenting composer profiles and then playing a piece by the composer.
Each year they decide on a theme for the year and make a scrapbook, etc. This year, the theme has been "Culture Colors Music: America - The Melting Pot ".

October meeting was "American Indian Music"
November - "Church music of Early America"
December - Sharing our gifts of music with others. Christmas Music at the Retirement Center.
January - "Appalachian Music's Contribution"
We had a program on wood, strings and dulcimers.........
February - "Parade of American Music Month"
Home on the Range: Music of the Old West.
March - "New Orlean Jazz and Blues"
April - SCFMC Convention "Stars and Stripes Forever" We will be having a hat contest at the convention luncheon. The students will be designing their own hats using music and red,white,and blue.

The junior club is federated with the SCFMC and they work for points on the achievement records, etc. They also perform each month on the programs, etc.

I'm rambling and sure everyone has heard enough. BUT my students are also involved in at least 3 auditions each year and set goals to prepare for them . I think "goal setting" is an answer for progress.

They also all perform a national,10 piece program each year for the National Guild of Piano Auditions. Goal Setting!!

They must practice a minimum of 3 hours each week for me to enter them in these auditions. I can't prepare them for competitions without dedicated practice.
They want to be a part because they earn points for gold cups ( NFMC ) and studio awards at the recital..........

Teachers must be motivated to motivate students......... just get busy.
My students, remember, don't bring popular music to class ( comic books ) and they get excited about the different periods of music, the style, learning about the composer's life and preparing for Music Club.

I'll stop because I realize I live on Fantasy Island.............
I've missed all of you so I had to write an extra long post!
Vivace
_________________________
Then let us all do what is right, strive with all our might toward the unattainable, develop as fully as we can the gifts God has given us,and never stop learning." ~ Ludwig van Beethoven

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#14551 - 02/06/02 11:52 AM Re: inspiring teenage students
Jalapeņo Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
Viv: I live on Fantasy Island, too. I keep thinking that, one of these days, some students who love classical music & are serious about learning to play the piano will enroll in my studio.

Until that day arrives, I do the best with what I have to work with, using "comic books" (& whatever else I need to use) to keep students coming to lessons & practicing the piano at least a few minutes a week.

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#14552 - 02/06/02 06:19 PM Re: inspiring teenage students
Vivace' Offline
Star Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 1717
Loc: USA
Jala,
I know how you love the "comic book" comment so I added it just for you!
\:\)
It just seems a good way to explain why the students are required to read valuable literary works and learn to play great piano literature. Comparing poorly written music and comic books is just a way my students identify with my reasoning.
I never intend to offend anyone with my comments........... \:\)
_________________________
Then let us all do what is right, strive with all our might toward the unattainable, develop as fully as we can the gifts God has given us,and never stop learning." ~ Ludwig van Beethoven

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