Re: Stealing Students

carl-swanson on #88045

Good heavens, this thread is longer than the Academy Awards show! I have read some of the posts(I’ll read them all tonight) and skimmed others. I do have one comment though. A serious student who goes to a serious teacher has to lay himself/herself at the teachers feet and tell the teacher at the first lesson that he/she will do whatever that teacher wants. Any good teacher can only teach what works for them. The student, during the time that they are with that teacher, has to do without questioning whatever that teacher says. Once that student has left that teacher, then he/she can decide what is to be kept and what is to be discarded. Picking and choosing, and particularly arguing with the teacher is an enormous waste of time and is counter productive. One very inportant teacher in the USA hates and detests teaching American students because they spend so much time arguing. Her foreign students do exactly what she says and as a result make enornous progress.

At my first lesson with Pierre Jamet, I told him that I was there to overhaul my technique and that I would play whatever he wanted me to. I said that my only request was that I not work on any pieces that I had already done. I wanted a fresh start. He absolutely loved that, and he told me that so many American harp students had come to him over the years and put the Danses on the stand, saying that they wanted to learn them from him. He would then have to tell them that if they were not willing to do the technical work first, that he could not teach them.

There is blame on both sides of the equation. Teachers at all levels(including college) who can’t teach keeping students, sometimes for years, and doing more harm than good. Students who argue, don’t listen to the teacher, or insist on playing repertoire that is beyond them.

To the student I would say, are you making progress with your current teacher? Are you playing noticeably better now than you did this time last year? Are you working on, and learning pieces appropriate to your level? How long does it take you to learn a piece? If you are working on a 5 page piece for 10 months, then the piece is not right for you and the teacher is showing bad judgement. My general rule of thumb is that any piece should take about 2 weeks per page of music to learn. 5 page piece? 10 weeks. If it is taking significantly longer, you need another, easier piece, and perhaps another teacher.