Along the lines of “verbally unresponsive”

Diane said: Dec 7, 2011
Diane AllenViolin
245 posts

The setting: Book 1 group class, new to reading music, last night, learned Jingle Bells from reading music in one class. Of course they were driven. They knew the song by ear. It’s the right song for the current holiday season. We started out reading the notes out loud. Pointing to them while I played. In the middle of the class they were playing the song but not together! By the end we had it down with variations: pizzicato, spiccato, slurs. When parents arrived we performed. I was really happy for what the kiddos accomplished.

Not a single smile during the class. No joy was evident. The first inkling of joy was when they left and asked if they could take the music home.

Was it a reflection of me being tired?
Was it simply that they were too engrossed and working hard?

It felt a lot like the “verbally unresponsive” post.

Trying to smile…Diane

Diane
http://www.myviolinvideos.com
Videos of student violin recitals and violin tutorials.

Sue Hunt said: Dec 8, 2011
Sue Hunt
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Violin
389 posts

You don’t need to try to smile. I’m sure it will happen all by itself when you think back to how happy you were about what the kids achieved in their lesson. A performance of a new piece, with variations AND they wanted to take the music home. Not bad!

You didn’t say that that any of them were acting out, so they must have been totally engaged in the activity. Most people look awfully serious when they are really concentrating and kids are no exception.

You are after all their teacher, not a children’s party entertainer. Focus on what went well. See it, hear it and feel it and enjoy.

Hope you feel better.
Music in Practice

Ruth Brons said: Dec 8, 2011
Ruth Brons
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Livingston, NJ
148 posts

I remember a time a 6 year student came to hear a chamber orchestra concert.
She sat in the first row, and at intermission I was excited to hear what she thought about the really intense and difficult piece we had just performed. She said she liked it fine, but wondered why we had played a piece the orchestra found so boring. When asked why she felt the musicians thought is was boring, she said because our faces were all like zombies!
So, I am with Sue on this one. Most likely it was “simply that they were too engrossed and working hard!”

Diane said: Dec 8, 2011
Diane AllenViolin
245 posts

Thanks—Sue & Ruth—I realize now what really the problem is. Of course it always ends up pointing a finger back at yourself. It was a great class, the kids were engrossed. I can’t complain.

The reality? DIANE’S READY FOR VACATION! I’m a bit burned out and I was probably looking for something heading back in my direction. I soooooo cherish thank you cards from my students. I’ve kept every single one of them! Perhaps I should spend a few minutes today looking at them. Fuel to get me through the next week of teaching and 3 Messiah performances! (Can you tell I’m counting down?)

Back to smiling again!
Smiles! Diane

Diane
http://www.myviolinvideos.com
Videos of student violin recitals and violin tutorials.

Ariel said: Dec 13, 2011
Ariel Slater
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Hopkinton, NH
12 posts

Diane, I was so grateful to see your post because I had almost exactly the same experience in my Book 1 Group this week. I’ve taught these kids simple “non-Suzuki” fun songs before, and this week thought we’d have fun learning a fiddle tune. Surprisingly, everybody was more focused than usual… But my class is also usually bubbly and talkative as they leave, and there wasn’t a single smile! I think all of us are running low on energy—students, teachers, and especially parents—because I’ve noticed a lot more parents coming in tired of having to remind their kids about practice (and homework, and chores) in the past few weeks! I did exactly what you thought of—looked at “thank you’s” from last year, and am feeling rejuvenated. Thank you so much!
Ariel

Diane said: Dec 13, 2011
Diane AllenViolin
245 posts

Ariel—I totally believe it!!!!

But—I have to tell you—seeing the kids this week—I found out that they all ran home and played Jingle Bells over and over again due to excitement!

Smiles! Diane

Diane
http://www.myviolinvideos.com
Videos of student violin recitals and violin tutorials.

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