Brilliant but problematic student
I've made a bunch of referrals of my students to other teaches and they have all been happy to have them. Now my latest transfer who is moving to the Viola because he says he likes the sound as well as having more chairs available.
He learns really fast both in academics as well as music and his academic teachers know his penchant to cruise then cram and then ace the test. He has had 3 viola lessons and blown off 3 last minute my friend isn't happy but she sees the potential but disagrees with his idea that he can cram it all at the last minute. Auditions come early in June but my fried is thinking that she has other promising students who will come to lessons, practice and work,
I'm sure this isn't first and if my friend drops him absolutely nobody local will pick him up and the High School doesn't have a string program (can't play strings in the rain at football games).
Your observations and suggestions are welcome. What do you do with the student who is simply off-the-charts brilliant and lazy.
If the student learns a lesson out of this, then much better to learn the lesson at this point then at some point in the future. Some people never learn to be responsible for themselves because they always have someone enabling them. It may be tough shock, or maybe the student will just do it on his own somehow, but it seems that you've done quite a bit, and that doing more would be taking on a parenting role. Maybe it's worth it to sit the student down and explain it, but it seems like the new teacher is setting down a sensible boundary and doesn't want their own time wasted.
I have fired students too! I'm too old to waste my time - always have been!
He might have ADHD, particularly if he's very smart. These two things have a high correlation. Procrastinating is a very common ADHD trait. Lazy is a judgmental term an unknowledgeable 'normal' person would use against someone with ADHD.
Are the assignments difficult enough?
I'm with Horace. Ramp the work up.
Playing a string instrument is full of infinite challenges.
I agree with Christian.
I don't know why brilliant and lazy is a problem. As an adult learner, I don't have much time to practise. I can't say I am lazy intentionally, but I probably only manage to practise as much as a lazy young student. To make it worse, I am nowhere brilliant.
It’s one thing not to practise but just plain rude not to show up for a lesson.
"If not, I don't see why a teacher can't help cultivate his interest in music so that one day he can play in community orchestra for fun."
Ah, I see you point.
I too don't get what "blown off 3 last minute" means. One approach could be to wear him out on repeating the same lesson until he gets it. I.e. you don't practice and meet the weekly goal, then you will be stuck where you are for as long as it takes to make progress. If the student is disrespectful of the teacher's time, make him pay for missed lessons. It all comes down to teaching this kid to take responsibility for his own action/inaction. If he actually meets the weekly goals with little to no last minute practice, then raise the bar.
"blown off the last three" means that the student didn't bother to show up and "last minute" means he also didn't bother to contact the teacher in advance but probably just called at the actual lesson time to say he wouldn't be there.
Thanks everyone. He does have his own game plan - he wants a chair in a college orchestra that comes with some scholarship money (of course he has no idea that blowing off rehearsals will kill any scholarship - after all he is brilliant!)
He isn't going to get any scholarship money for playing in a college orchestra unless he goes to a school with a very small program. I have a former student who got a music scholarship as a non-major at Abilene Christian University, for example. And I think Austin College in north Texas has some music scholarships for non-majors who play in the orchestra. But as a general rule, there's not a short supply of violinists. Anyway, as you point out, failing to follow through on his responsibilities will lose him a scholarship right quick.
Mary Ellen is right. The only reason an institution would offer a scholarship to a non-music-major to play in the orchestra is if they can't staff their orchestra with music majors and they want their majors to have at least some semblance of orchestral experience. I had a scholarship to play the piano in the jazz ensemble in college -- for four years (at Hope College). My audition tape included a Chopin Waltz and an improvised solo-piano rendition of "Over the Rainbow." When I got there I discovered a bonus -- opportunities for accompanying at about twice the minimum wage. My present institution (Virginia Tech) fills gaps in the orchestra with local amateurs, a plan that has worked well for many years (and is much less expensive as the amateurs are unpaid).
No sympathy here either - its been said before but I just hope he had to pay for the lessons that he 'blew off'.
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