Students talking over teacher, not paying attention

Anna said: Nov 4, 2009
Anna Burrell
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano
Greenville, SC
4 posts

I need some tips for dealing with students that talk over me during the lesson while I’m giving instruction. I have several students that have a “take charge” personality and they will talk right over me or improvise on thier instrument and then not have a clue what I said. Or I give instruction and they either say “I have a better idea” and start playing thier version of what I said or they start playing something else. I’ve tried being completely quiet until they notice and pay attention (but often they just plow right ahead) and I’ve also asked them to repeat what I’ve said, etc.

It just gets frustrating because I know that slow practice and repetition, etc will help a student but they think they know it all and want to move on. I’m always hesitant to be too strict, otherwise the student will get bored or frustrated themselves. Often the reason we’re working on these things in lesson is because they didn’t practice exactly like I instructed at home. So how high should the standard be for playing a short passage or mastering a technique before moving on? And what should be the behavior standard during lesson time?

said: Nov 4, 2009
 89 posts

I once observed a very effective “silent lesson” in which neither the teacher nor the student were allowed to talk. The teacher might play something that the student would imitate, or they might take turns doing something. It really seemed to help the student focus and take in what the teacher was saying.

Laura said: Nov 4, 2009
 
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
358 posts

What age and gender?

Also, does it seem more as if the student is being impatient and impulsive, or plain rude?

I think the way in which you could deal with the situation would depend very much on those factors.

Anna said: Nov 5, 2009
Anna Burrell
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano
Greenville, SC
4 posts

The students are eager to learn and impulsive, not purposefully being rude or disrespectful. It’s more a lack of self-control than anything else.

I have guys and gals ages 5-13.

Deanna said: Nov 10, 2009
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
90 posts

Have you established your studio rules? As in, after we bow, I expect you to listen and be respectful. Don’t play while I’m talking, don’t talk while I’m talking. Have you talked about bowing—and that it symbolizes the respect between teacher and student and that talking or not following instructions is not being respectful. That sort of thing. It sounds like you might need to train them about what is considered acceptable behaviour.

With the really little kids (under 6) I sometimes just put my bow on my head to get their attention and they copy. It gets their bows off the strings which eliminates most of the sound. I use that more at group lessons than individual lessons.

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