Archive for interest

Keeping interest

Posted in thoughts on teaching with tags , on 24 March, 2014 by flaviomatani

There is a tricky balance to be kept between giving pupils what they may think they want and giving them what you think will be necessary for their development as guitar players. This is particularly true of young private pupils, who often start lessons with the idea that it will be easy and in a few weeks they’ll be playing like rock stars… (whatever this can possibly mean!) and for whom ‘what they want’, what they like, will quickly and often constantly change at that point in their lives.
I do believe it is good to give them technical exercises and scales, for many reasons that I intend to explain elsewhere. However, it is true that pupils almost universally hate them. You can disguise them as little pieces, etc but many, particularly teen-age pupils, will see right through this. My approach is simply to try and explain why these things are useful and how they may help. This works .. often enough.

In terms of repertoire, of course I resort to things I know but I also try to give them a little bit of music they can relate to. I ask them what artists or acts they follow, what styles and genres they like and try to draw from those part of the material I give them.

One important detail that we instrumental teachers seem to often forget: don’t tell the pupil just where they’re going wrong, tell them also where they are doing well and praise them for that. And perhaps don’t tell them straight away in the same sentence that whist they got the notes right the fingerings, timing or phrasing are quite wrong. One thing at a time.