Most of us have probably been there: that first lesson after a vacation or busy week, when little or no practice has occurred. Now it's time to play for your teacher, and it doesn't feel so great.
I'd argue it is best to show up to the lesson anyway, to get back in gear so that better progress can happen next week. Missing that lesson can actually make the situation worse, setting the stage for more backsliding and avoidance. So go to your lesson.
I've seen the situation from the vantage of a teacher as well -- it's usually pretty obvious when a student has not been practicing. Some of the signs include a certain lack of familiarity with the assignment, a sudden interest in chit-chatting or other avoidance techniques, and then simply stumbling through the music.
What is the teacher to do? One can go ahead with the lesson plan, but it will wind up being a bit of a repeat from last week. If the not-practicing is becoming a habit, then a lecture might be in order. If the student was just slammed this week, then maybe a change of pace would work. I still remember being an over-busy senior in high school, very uptight and worried. I was probably somewhere in the process of tearing my hair out over being unprepared for the next violin lesson when one of my jazzy trombone-playing friends shared a story that impressed me: he'd shown up to his lesson after not practicing all week, and his teacher simply said, "Okay you didn't practice, let's just read duets!" What? They had a great time, apparently. And it gave me the notion that it's okay to think outside the box.
Of course, you can't do that every week!
For this week's vote, please choose the option that you feel is best. What would you want your teacher to do, or what would you as a teacher do, if a student has not practiced for a lesson?
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Jack Liebeck, violin
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Martyn Brabbins conducting
Jack Liebeck plays Max Bruch's lesser-known Violin Concerto No.2, which was composed in 1877 for the Spanish violinist Pablo de Sarasate. The album also includes three shorter works for violin and orchestra by Bruch: the Adagio appassionato, Op.57; In Memorium, Op. 65; and Konzertstucke, Op. 84. Some excerpts from the album (what a gorgeous tone; Liebeck plays the 1785 "Ex-Wilhelmj" J.B. Guadagnini):
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