Should I give up?

Pia said: Jul 14, 2012
 Violin
34 posts

Dear Suzukicollegues!
This is probably the most common problem for any teacher.. but at the moment, I kind of don’t have any patience and nerves to think clear about my duties (or, approach) as a teacher: a 6 year old beginner, child of a violinist (that gave up the profession due to both physical and mental causes) focused and easygoing during lesson but at home refuses to practice. His parents only want to use “positive motivation” and this doesn’t seem to work so well so.. no practicing happens during the week! They don’t want to fight or have arguements with their child so.. nothing really changes. I’m quite fed up with always trying to be positive and in a good mood during lessons, making efforts to help the best I can, giving assignements that are totaly dispensable since they are never executed at home. What am I supposed to do? I gave a lot of information, books to read etc. (anyway, as a musician, this is perfectly clear to the parent). Should I, as a suzukiteacher, struggle more with this family or is it ok to say- string instrument is too difficult for your child, please try something else..? Or shall I just do a “happy” lesson with no assignements and instead only fun games etc. and lower my expectations to one new twinkle in, say, half a year? (And wait for them to quit, that’s of course what is coming next, only a question of time) This behaviour is so disrespectful towards the teacher but maybe I shall just try to put up with it? The parents are nice people so.. shall I just focuse on that instead to make this student endurable..?

Paula Bird said: Jul 14, 2012
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Viola
Wimberley, TX
386 posts

U poor dear! I feel your frustration! The parents have confused the Suzuki method with aspects of “permissive parenting.” wrong! Dr. Suzuki was anything but a permissive parent type. He was very firm in his expectations with assignments. You are headed for teacher burnout in a heartbeat. Personally I think it’s alright to tell the parents what your expectations are for home practice. After all, these parents are going to have to grapple with their child doing school homework assignments in a few years. What do the parents think they’re going to do at that time?

I have written several blog articles about this very issue. It disturbs me when parents do not take their role as home teachers as seriously as I think they should. Parents are their child’s first teacher in many life skills, and parents have more influence and ability to motivate their child to learn and love learning than any other person in the child’s life. How very sad for this child!

I would lay out my expectations on one hand, and hold out the list of other teachers they could call in the other hand. Did I say teachers? I meant babysitters.

Excuse my humor, this issue is something that really disturbs me.

Paula E. Bird
TX State University
Wildflower Suzuki Studio
http://teachsuzuki.blogspot.com (blog)
http://teachsuzuki.com (podcast)

Brenda Lee Villard said: Jul 14, 2012
 
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
Edina, MN
27 posts

You can only compromise your pedagogical beliefs so far. When I find myself in a situation where I have done everything that I can and the family/student/parents aren’t willing to do anything more, then it is time to cut ties and give them some names of other teachers. To think that one’s child can progress on the instrument without any practicing is a disservice to the child as well as an insult to the teacher. It will be only a matter of time (if it hasn’t sunk in already) that he will realize that he isn’t playing well and not progressing with his peers. He’ll internalize that as something being wrong with him and that he is a failure. As Suzuki teachers we are taught that every child can do it—but when the parents aren’t doing what they are supposed to be doing and aren’t willing to fix it, then the triangle is broken and the child will be the one to suffer for it. Very sad.

Community Youth Orchestra said: Jul 14, 2012
Community Youth OrchestraViolin, Viola
70 posts

Allowing yourself to be a doormat for an increasingly ridiculous entitlement culture only creates one thing: mediocrity.

Sue Hunt said: Jul 15, 2012
Sue Hunt
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Violin
390 posts

“Positive motivation” only works if it is aimed in the right direction. Many parents and teachers think that honest, specific, depersonalised praise cures all. In fact, if the wrong thing is praised, it can stop a child dead in the water.

Before you give up, set a rule: No practice, no lesson.

For the first week, cut right down on assignments. Give one specific task with detailed instructions of what to do and how many times to do it correctly. If they have practiced, praise for hard work, not the result. Praising talent and results can backfire, resulting in very little constructive practice.

André said: Jul 15, 2012
André AugensteinViolin, Piano
55 posts

I Fully agree Mr.Gene Wie although was very unpleasant to be
in this situation,wich already went through the same,but it´s
always good to at least three chances to the student in question…

Violin Student(International Suzuki Association) in Germany 1987
Violin teacher (International Suzuki Association) in Dublin 1995

Nora Friedman said: Jul 15, 2012
Nora Friedman
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools
Brooklyn, NY
34 posts

I have had a similar problem with ashakily I teach through a conservatory all year. I have worked tirelessly with the family to create plans and objectives—everything short of refusing to teach. Nothing has worked. I am emboldened to try the no lesson approach now that I know someone has tried it, but I have to say that I feel like it will come as quite a shock to this family, who I have dedicated so much time trying to work with to no avail. I think it’s tough love though at this point. I’m curious, besides giving just one small assignment, do you give a practice goal or range that they have to fall between in order for the lesson to proceed? Or is it 7 days or bust? I’m really glad to have stumbled upon this.

Nora Friedman said: Jul 15, 2012
Nora Friedman
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools
Brooklyn, NY
34 posts

Also, I’m curious what the success rate has been using this method as a last resort.

Pia said: Jul 15, 2012
 Violin
34 posts

Thank You so much for your support and good ideas! I’ll try the one task lesson next time—really, this one task lesson is definitely for the parents: practice with your child for 5 min. every day..! (It’s just a bit hard to understand how one could be so fearful of making one’s own child practice just 5 min. a day?!) And the rule; no practice- no lesson! is really plausible and also gives the feeling of keeping respect towards myself.
I also learnt, I will never again take on friends children as students.. that is maybe also a reason, I search for quick problem solution. It will be kind of difficult to keep on friendly terms if this goes on much longer..!

Cleo Ann Brimhall said: Jul 15, 2012
Cleo Ann BrimhallTeacher Trainer
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
West Jordan, UT
39 posts

Disrespectul attitude toward the teacher, the parent, or anyone is not acceptable behavior. This behavior training begins at home. However the teacher can also refuse to accomodate this behavior. “The lesson is over because of this behavior” This behavior problem is entirely different than the “no practising at home” situation.

Suzuki lessons are more than learning the music. There is a lot to teach in the very beginning about preparation, posture, focus, cooperation. These can all be practiced at home and as well in the studio.

Adjusting expectations to the level of which the child is capable of accomplishing is not a cop out. The child may take 6 months or more to accomplish the above list of beginning lessons. Any Twinkle variations would then be a bonus.

If the parent truly understands the importance of this process they will be willing to cooperate with it. These are life skills which will serve the student well in school and in life. Accomplishment begins here in the studio and should be praised for each step.. Standing with eye contact for x number of counts—and always increasing the number. Holding the violin for a number of counts. Taking a proper bow—learning rest and ready position.
These are just examples of what can be accomplished.

It is not an easy process and not accompished quickly. You will gain patience as you begin to teach these small steps. Dr. Suzuki repeatedly said we are creating children with high character and good citizenship. Sometimes in setting our own goals for the student, we forget about these basic steps.

The student is never incapable. Dr. Suzuki says the only difference is how quickly they adapt to the environment. The parent and the teacher are responsible for providing the optimum environment.

Good Luck I know you can do it

Cleo

Charlotte Dinwiddie said: Jul 15, 2012
Charlotte Dinwiddie
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Poughkeepsie, NY
10 posts

I’m going to assume that you’ve tried to help the parents understand and fulfill their role and that your suggestions have fallen on deaf ears. If that’s true, there’s nothing you can do. I would suggest you tell the parents while you enjoy their child, it is clear that he’s not ready to play the violin until he’s old enough to work on his own and doesn’t need their involvement. (say, 4th grade, as they do in school). No condemnation, no recriminations or judgement. You do not want to get a reputation for being a poor teacher. I wouldn’t even foist them onto another teacher…..we all know it won’t work any better there.

Lana said: Jul 15, 2012
 
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
Regina, SK
5 posts

I hear your frustration! As we all know, the child is not at fault. And Suzuki method is about helping to develop the whole child. But we must as teachers help the parents to understand how this aspect of practicing with an uncooperative child is related to the whole issue of parenting—how to get your child to do other things the child does not want to do. It’s about working together with their child, but ultimately the parent needs to be in control.
Personally, I would have a consult with the parents, and see if you can get to the bottom of their “fear” . They may need encouragement and some games and ideas. I am a teacher, but I also raised 4 children in the Suzuki method. Only 1 out of the 4 practiced willingly generally. There are ups and downs. My first child was an incredible challenge, but I really lacked parenting skills. To some extent, I think resistance is very normal. It is also important to give the parent some tools to help them be successful—as mentioned earlier—a short- 1 point lesson that is based on where the child is at. Make the parent accountable. Since the parent(s) are musicians, they may be expecting more from the child than you are asking (I expected my first child to be perfect). You may just have to tell them to trust that small steps will lead to the accomplishment of the task—and not to stress about everything—only to do what you ask. I guess I am assuming that they have tried to practice with him and gave up—and are resorting to this. Anyway, be firm in your expectation that the parent must practice with the child, and help them understand how practicing relates to the whole picture of their relationship with their child. Good luck!!

Lanamarie

Paula Bird said: Jul 15, 2012
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Viola
Wimberley, TX
386 posts

I had a happy thought. Remember how we once discussed that perhaps a child was not yet ready to have lessons? I think in this case, perhaps the teacher should say that parents are not yet ready to have lessons. Made me smile to think about that.

Paula E. Bird
TX State University
Wildflower Suzuki Studio
http://teachsuzuki.blogspot.com (blog)
http://teachsuzuki.com (podcast)

Ariel said: Jul 15, 2012
Ariel Slater
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Hopkinton, NH
12 posts

I had a student exactly like this—the parents believed in “letting the child choose the curriculum” at age 3-5, which was totally ridiculous. I taught them for a year and a half, dreading teaching every day that they came, until I finally realized my ability to nurture my other students was suffering as a result.

I wrote a very long letter to the parent outlining not what I disagreed with in her philosophy of child-rearing, but what I needed in order to be a good teacher for her child. This parent was very worried about putting her daughter in a box / limiting her creativity / comparing her with other students, and so I kept the talks that we had completely about the atmosphere and parental support I needed in order to be able to help her daughter play violin beautifully.

Had the parent responded badly to this—or not responded—I was ready to let them go (I told the mom at the beginning of our conferences, emails, letters, and talks that it was possible the family was looking for a musical experience that was maybe less intense than individual lessons at this particular time, and might enjoy lessons more when their daughter was older). BUT, framing the discussion this way changed the parents’ perspective enough that—miraculously—they continued lessons, and started practicing!!!

I don’t know if you’ve tried the approach, but especially if these are friends of yours, it might help to let them know that you respect how they wish to parent, but that in order for you to do your best to help the child, you need more support from them in home practice and lessons. Otherwise, you’re going to burn out & the other teachers are right: the child is going to assume there’s something wrong with them!! even if the parents don’t care, kids notice when they’re not keeping up with their peers…

Jennifer Visick said: Jul 16, 2012
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

… you can always try pointing out the financial absurdity of paying for lessons which only end up being rather expensive practice sessions.

Jennifer Visick said: Jul 16, 2012
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

On the other hand, I think it was… hm, lets see—Ed Sprunger? who said something like: If the child wants to quit, and you want the child to quit (i.e. you dread lessons) and the parent wants to quit, and this goes on steadily without letting up for 5 or 6 months…. then it’s time to quit.

Virginia Lamboley said: Jul 16, 2012
Virginia Lamboley
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Viola
Clearwater, FL
11 posts

I have had two very similiar experiences to this, and wish I had all these wonderful supportive ideas and comments then. I did handle the situation the best way possible, and used many of the suggestions you’ve all given including practice ideas, charts, games, even making written commitments and studio policies for my whole studio so that the one family would not feel singled out. One family had a son who had studied with me for at least 3 years and had the most wonderful natural bow hand and was very intelligent, with both parents having studied music and a sister who played piano. They had never progressed past the middle of Book 1 because of lack of home practice. I was told that they were ‘too busy’ and that their lesson time was their only practice time, so I needed to make sure I gave them every minute of their lesson as practice time (this was as a result of me cutting a lesson short once due to lack of preparation). I then asked if he ever watched television, and when he said he did, I explained that this could be practice time, even if he only practiced a song during each commercial and asked that they try this by leaving their violin next to the TV and giving them a short assignment that could be practiced during commercials. All this was to no avail. I know he noticed when the other students who had been in group class kept moving forward. I finally had no choice but to tell them (for at least the 3rd time in 3 years) that this was just not a good match and they needed to find another teacher (they had always begged before when I tried this “Please—we want to study with you- you are such a great teacher!). I know that all the suggestions are good ones above, but lack of respect for the teacher by not preparing for lessons and practicing eventually ’saps’ the teachers’ ability to give her/his best to all students.
I smiled at Paula Bird’s comment that “Perhaps the parents are not ready for lessons yet”! So True!

Virginia Lamboley
String Things Suzuki

Tina Raimondi said: Jul 16, 2012
Tina Raimondi
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Wilton Manors, FL
26 posts

I have two questions after reading these posts, all with great points.

First, several of you have mentioned disrespect to the teacher in regard to lack of practicing. Although I think this is very valid, I’d like to hear viewpoints on whether it’s the right thing to mention the respect issue to a parent in this situation vs leaning more heavily on the other points about what the student will gain (musically and otherwise) from daily practicing? Or, should disrespect factor in just as much? My thought is that it’s a potential turn-off to the parent or child, and perhaps it’s best to focus on them, not the teacher. This is a toss up for me, but I am interested because as I prepare to go back to teaching in the fall I have several families with whom I will be addressing lack of practice. (I am probably answering my own question, but feeling hesitant to leave out the disrespect factor in the discussion probably doesn’t let them know one is very firm on the issue.)

Second, if one goes with the rule “no practice, no lesson”, it’s good to have something in one’s policies that stipulates that if it happens a certain number of times the student will be asked to leave the studio. I think 3 times is a good number, and I may try instituting this from now on. Anyone have thoughts on this?

Janie said: Jul 16, 2012
 Violin, Recorder, Viola
Glenwood Springs, CO
16 posts

All of these are wonderful suggestions, and I am sure you have already tried most of them. I have several catch phrases, like “oh, you didn’t practice this week? OK, we can practice now.” Sometimes that wakes the parents up a bit. I also use “When you can play Mrs. Twinkle Stop Stop, we can move on to Run Pony Run Pony. You like ponies, don’t you?” Sometimes that works. It sounds like this student is using violin to manipulate his family. When I need to cut a student loose (which is very rare) I ask for a lesson without the child under the guise of a parent conference. That is when I explain my expectations again. This is a good time to discuss homework and other chores that will not be optional as the child grows. If the parent is set on having nothing in life mandatory, I just tell them that it is not good for the child’s self-esteem to keep coming to lessons and not make progress. Several people have responded how bad that is for the child, and I agree totally. I would then suggest a different instrument or no instrument. I would not recommend another teacher out of respect for my teacher friends. I would do this with as much kindness and concern for the well-being of the child as possible. Perhaps have a small farewell gift handy in case it turns out that way. Best of luck with this.

Violinmaestra

Paula Bird said: Jul 16, 2012
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Viola
Wimberley, TX
386 posts

My husband, retired band director, tells parents that he has different rates: one rate for teaching a lesson, and a MUCH higher rate for babysitting.

I think the disrespect issue can be handled in a nice way. Just use neutral computer language: “when there is little or no practice, a teacher could see that as an issue of respect.” that could get the conversational ball rolling.

I understand that there are times when life gets in the way. I go over the practice assignment and show parent and student how to get a short practice in. I point out when the “life gets in the way” excuse is becoming a habit. This year I plan to record these excuses like schools record on report cards.

Really, how can we expect child to practice (and do homework) if the parents cannot do it? It seems as if the parents have taught the child very well on this point. I would point that out to the parent.

Paula E. Bird
TX State University
Wildflower Suzuki Studio
http://teachsuzuki.blogspot.com (blog)
http://teachsuzuki.com (podcast)

Jennifer Visick said: Jul 16, 2012
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts
Sue Hunt said: Jul 17, 2012
Sue Hunt
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Violin
390 posts

If your concern is with the child, I think that it is a disservice to prolong the agony. The only thing that is being learnt, is low self esteem.

G said: Jul 17, 2012
G Ordun
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
Vienna, VA
21 posts

My approach to this is three-fold:

(1) My policy document states clearly :
- without time for regular, daily practice in the family schedule, lessons will be unsuccessful, so better to wait until there is time. (Yep, it is there. In writing. Don’t sign up if you are too busy.)
- no practice? we practice in the lesson.
- no listening? you get to listen to me.
(I also take lesson time to trim nails; but I digress…)

(2) When I encounter regular difficulty finding practice time, I remind the family that their progress will be glacially slow. No judgment. Their choice.

(2a) If “too busy” is a regular excuse, I advise the family that—IMNSHO—people will always find time for things they want to do, and ask them to consider where lessons fit into their priorities. If there is no time for practice, then it is not time for lessons. See (1) above.

(2b) If student resistance is the regular excuse, I ask the student “do you want to learn to play this instrument?” When they say “Yes”, I remind them that in order to progress with their study, they must respect their parent’s role in the process. Then I ask the parent to show me how they approach practice. I watch the parent/child interaction. There are usually some simple parenting tips that can help. Doesn’t hurt that I am old enough to be a parent to the parent. If there’s pushback on the tips, I have a separate discussion with the parent: we have uncovered a disconnect in our philosophies. Best to find a teacher whose style better matches yours. Our student cannot succeed if the adults in the equation work from such different perspectives.

(3) NEVER be afraid to release a student. It is not a sign of failure. Just a recognition that the conditions between the teacher and the family are not conducive to reasonable progress on the instrument. Part of our job is to show our students how respectful adults interact. Letting go is an act of respect for the family’s philosophy and/or true priorities, as demonstrated by their behavior.

What Mr. Wie and Ms. Hunt said. We are not here to teach mediocrity or failure.

FWIW,
g

P.S. If a student says no to the question in 2a, I accept it. “So we’re done, right?” If it’s a power play they reverse. Quickly. If they really don’t want to play… well, better to know that sooner, eh? Oh, and I do not teach children significantly younger than 5.

Rachel said: Jul 21, 2012
 19 posts

I know this was posted in the Teacher’s corner, but this topic resonated with me, as a Suzuki parent, so I wanted to offer some thoughts on this topic, which I hope others will allow and consider.

While it is true that progression is best achieved through practice, I do not think self-esteem has to be compromised if a child isn’t progressing at the pace of peers. It boils down to what is the goal of the family (or child in this case). If progressing is not the child’s motivation, then being surpassed by peers may not result in diminished self-esteem. Just saying…

When I was a child, I loved music and was fascinated by many instruments. I did not want to practice, but I loved to play and enjoyed lessons. I never really understood why my lessons stopped, and only later as an adult discussed it with my parents. They said that because I didn’t want to practice, the teacher requested I stop. Sadly, I did not continue learning an instrument.

I understand the Suzuki method has very clear responsibilities for all (teacher, child and parent), but I have always kept the perspective as the parent that the experience should be about loving music, learning an instrument and connecting to the joy of touching the hearts of others through music. My child does not take out his instrument every day to play, but we do “practice” daily, sometimes briefly. Practice is so much more than playing the music; we make up rhythm games, improvise with percussion to beats, watch famous musicians and talk about their posture, tone, repertoire, etc. And of course we listen to the Suzuki CDs, including ones beyond his repertoire level. My child has been with Suzuki for four years, and we have had ups and downs along the journey, but I have always remained consistently committed to fostering an environment and learning experience of music appreciation, and helping my child understand why the “rough patches” are needed in the short term in order to reap the long term benefits of being able to share the joy with others through music. He hasn’t always been the most advanced student, but he has never suffered from lower self-esteem when others (often younger or less experienced) surpass him. He isn’t competing with others. Rather, he is finding his own niche and progressing at the pace right for him.

Perhaps understanding why the parent, and maybe the child, isn’t fulfilling your practice assignments will unveil some insights useful for problem solving. It might be as simple as lowering the expectations of what constitutes practice, and keep the child engaged. If the family understands that progression might be slower than peers, but is willing to accept this consequence, then you also need to have a moment of self-reflection about whether you can accept this solution. If not, then perhaps it is time to review your policies and admissions process so as to be sure you attract families who meet your expectations.

Christine Clougherty said: Jul 24, 2012
 
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
19 posts

Thank you to this parent for her contribution. It seems she is providing the right environment at home, and when her child is ready for more, he will do more, and regardless, he will certainly love music.

Anita said: Sep 5, 2012
 38 posts

You wrote, : “They don’t want to fight or have arguements with their child so.. nothing really changes.”

First of all, I’m a parent, not a teacher. So my perspective is on parenting, not teaching. Some parents don’t understand that children, particularly little ones, thrive when limits are clearly (and lovingly!) set and kept. They like routines. They like being responsible for chores and having a clearly defined role in the family. They like knowing what they’re supposed to learn. They like knowing what behavior is acceptable and what is not (”We don’t do that in our family”). It’s like giving them a road map. The map is necessary until they’re old enough to make their own decisions and go their own ways.

As my husband constantly reminds me, they’re internally motivated to want to please us! I think it comes from some instinctive corner of their brains that knows they can’t survive without us and our support, so they attempt to gain it the only way they can when they’re little—by pleasing us.

When parents are afraid to parent, this confuses and scares the child. He doesn’t have a clear path to pleasing the parent, and his experience is limited. Maybe he doesn’t practice, because he gets mixed messages at home about it. If the parent asks him, “Do you want to practice?” instead of saying, “It’s time to practice,” that’s a very mixed message. And his response may be to do nothing at all, because that produces the safest response from his parents (nothing).

I don’t know that the parents intend on being disrespectful to the teacher; the teacher may be the farthest thing from their minds.

It sounds to me like you’ve done all you can. Another thing my husband is constantly reminding me: You can’t control others. Only your reaction to them.

You’ve given them information to educate themselves, and they’ve chosen not to use it. You’ve spoken with them about the situation, and they’ve chosen not to change it. So there are consequences. Period.

I like what Charlotte Dinwiddie said: “No condemnation, no recriminations or judgement.” Just no more lesson.

AMB

Karin said: Sep 6, 2012
 Violin, Bass
6 posts

Some thoughts from another mom. :-)

Flageoletty writes that this is the child of a professional violinist. Do you know at what age and under what circumstances the parent started playing? Maybe the parent started at an older age and is feeling “there is no hurry, let’s have some fun”. Or could it be the opposite, that the parent started very early with high pressure, and does not want repeat the mistakes of a previous generation?

Also here is a list of ideas/misconceptions I had when I started suzuki with my kid. Maybe these parents have the same kind of thoughts? I grew out of them, but it took a couple of years…

* Musical education is important, but the rate of progress is not important, especially since we started so early.
* If the child is not totally focused and eager to learn during practise time, it is better to do something else.
* It is ok to skip practise today because he is tired / went to school / played with a friend / went to the swimming pool / is seeing grandma / insert other reason.
* I had an easy time learning the violin when I was a kid, so therefore my child will also have an easy time and does not need to practise that much.
* Last week, I forced the kid to practise, and it was horrible and he does not want to look at the violin again (the true reason being that I, as a parent, was frustrated, short on time and made the practise no fun for the kid).

Celia Jones said: Sep 6, 2012
 Violin
72 posts

The parents who feel okay about their children not practising, some thoughts that have not been mentioned:

It’s shocking for those of us who have experience of poverty, that someone could spend money —so much money—on lessons, only to discard what was taught.

Places with Suzuki teachers can be hard to come by. If you have been saving and saving for the money to pay for lessons, but then you can’t get a place, it’s exasperating to think that rich people have those lesson slots but aren’t making use of them.

If you have a child at a studio where other children don’t practise, they lack peer support for practise. Sometimes my daughter tells me “none of my friends have to practise music every day”, and it’s great to be able to say, yes Y does and all the kids in your violin group do too. Then she says, oh okay, I’m not the odd one out then, put the accompaniment on.

If all the kids in the studio don’t practise, then for the teacher it looks like they can’t teach so well as one whose students practise. That’s not fair on the teacher.

This thing about self-esteem and progress—is self-esteem important? You only need to know you are okay, maybe it’s better not to have a big head anyway. But regular practise that gets results is a positive feedback thing. You learn that with persistence and applying effort, you can do things that you thought you couldn’t do. It’s not about self-esteem, it’s about self-discipline.

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