Adjusting Expectations to Different Students?
Fellow teachers, a fairly general question: how do you manage to adjust expectations for various levels of students?
By this, I don't necessarily mean how much you expect them to practice, but more so the level of intonation, quality of tone, confidence of strokes, etc....
With me, there are days where I'll teach a promising student that has 99% good intonation, but I might be nitpicking that last 1% with them. Then, immediately afterwards, I might be teaching a student that learns much slower and has 75% intonation at their best. I sometimes find it difficult to not mix the "level of magnification" in my criticisms from the more advanced students to the beginners. Obviously, I manage to make it work, but it requires serious mental work on my part to "shift gears" throughout the day. Thus, days where I teach a fairly homogeneous mix of levels are my least stressful days.
Another good example is the students who are advanced enough for me to spend a good portion of their lesson time on musicality and complex layered phrasing, rather than simpler concepts like rhythm and pitch. Sometimes I catch myself accidentally carrying over these more complex ideas into lessons that really need to be simpler.
I suppose it doesn't help that most of my students take 30-minute lessons, so I don't always have the ideal amount of time to adjust my levels of expectations.
Anyhow, I was just hoping to get a dialogue going about this subject. I'm looking forward to hearing some advice.
How do you determine, that expectations should be lower or higher?
As a student, I normally have goals, mostly proposed by my teacher in the class. She gives me exercises and scores for me to practice, and in the next class I show her how much I progressed with these. She more or less remembers how I played those during the last lesson, so she can compare if I'm getting better and understanding the exercises. Since we commit a lot of errors and mistakes, my teacher has plenty, infinite things to correct. She knows what I've played in the past, she knows my level.
Paul N.- I am sure Erik can tell students' levels after hearing them play the first few notes of a scale. I am not a teacher, but it is not that hard for an experienced amateur, let alone a professional.
I don't know, may be I'm not understanding what he means or what's the problem.
I'm teach and know exactly what Eric is talking about. Yes, pitch is important, but many times, teachers have to deal with the biggest problem first. And we also have to take into account that some students are fine being pushed and some will shut down. And some just learn very slowly.
K Ch, no offense, but that teacher's beliefs are highly idealistic. Either that, or maybe you don't understand what I mean when I say "100%" intonation.
Oh, interesting, I'm starting to get what you mean.
I don't think it's necessarily about "problematic" kids. I've been accompanying (on the piano) my violin teacher's Suzuki Group for several years. I see some kids who have great this and not-so-great that for just about every combination of this and that imaginable. There are just differences in their development and aptitudes.
Yep, it's a spectrum. Some people are naturally great at rhythm but not so great at pitch. Others have natural musicality but poor discipline for practice.
Erik, et al.,
Amen to George Wells.
Lol J Ray, there's nothing enjoyable about lacking the basics to such a degree that you can't even ponder the idea of musicality yet.