Finding Common Ground


Anne Sullivan taught music theory and ear training at the Curtis Institute of Music from 1982–2002. She teaches harp at the University of Delaware and helps harpists find harp happiness at

How to guide a student whose direction differs from your own

—by Anne Sullivan

Student scenario #1: I dread this time of year. My students all want to play Christmas carols. I don’t want to be a humbug, but I really hate having to teach these same old tunes year after year. Is there any way I can get out of this?

Student scenario #2: I have a very talented student who wants to do a competition next year. I want her to compete, and I think she could do very well. Unfortunately, one of the required pieces is a piece I don’t know. I’ve never played it and it seems fairly difficult. Should I send her to another teacher?

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