I have a student, a 10-year old boy, who is very..spacey. He's a beginner, started taking lessons with me about 9 months ago (with a break over the summer of 2 -3 months). It's one of those typical cases, I suppose, where the amount of reminding i have to do is kind of overwhelming. If I get him to check his left hand position before he starts, the notes are pretty well in tune, and if I get him to check his bow position and remind him to open his forearm fully before following with the upper arm, etc, the tone is decent. But I don't get the sense that he can tell the difference, nor do I get any sense that he understands the difference when I have him hum a melody (he hums the rhythm correctly but won't sing the notes because he's embarrassed), and when he plays it (all the notes are quarter notes). We've done a lot of work on feeling rhythms with the body but it just doesn't seem to stick. Every bit of theory work we've done seems to evaporate from his mind when he leaves my studio, even if I write it down. We covered the concept of scales just a few months ago, and I had him working on a D major scale in conjunction with the tune he was playing. Now we've added a new scale for a new tune, and he came this week having practiced playing 01230 the g-string several times. I had drawn him a staircase of whole and half steps going up the scale with note names and finger numbers, as well as writing the scale on the staff, in hopes that he'd get the concept, but clearly he didn't.
He claims to have a passion for violin, but he obviously barely touches it in the week between our lessons, and spends half the lesson trying to sit down or looking at the clock or for his mom. His brothers are both pretty passionate young musicians, and his mother says she makes him practice but I don't know..
We are working a song he's very enthusiastic about learning, and he's learned the notes (but not the rhythm) of it pretty well. He splits hairs with me over the simplicity of the version I've given him versus the way he's used to hearing it, but somehow doesn't hear that he's playing all quarter notes.
I'm obviously venting, but does anyone have any suggestions for a hard nut such as this one? We are going to try a different lesson time to see if he focuses better then...
I'm not good at being harsh, but is this what it will take?
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