I’m writing this because I have a dilemma and don’t know how to address it. I am hoping that more seasoned musicians might have some solutions or ideas in mind. Also, keep in perspective that as a music major, my actual “major” instrument is flute. I do harp as more of a hobby.
I am having troubles with my applied teacher. There seems to be tension between the two of us, and I don’t know where it is coming from. In our studio class when I stood up and played tension escalated so far that after bickering between rests in my piece (I was playing with SmartMusic), she stormed out of studio and didn’t come back. She later apologized, but yet felt she was “pedagogically obligated” to treat me that way. Her reasoning behind this is that for Grad School next year I am gearing up for (and applying to) many of the top conservatories in the country (NEC, Juilliard, Peabody, etc.) At my current school I am the “star student” and she is wanting to push me so that I can perform under whatever conditions I am given. I understand that and want that too. However I don’t feel that degrading harassment in front of the entire studio was necessary.
I wonder if it is perhaps two things. One, I am afraid that she might be feeling threatened by me (as a player). I don’t say this arrogantly, but out of legitimate concern. In my lessons I’ve heard her grumble things under her breath while I play (one of which was: “His articulation is better than mine…”). We both took an audition for a substitute list (I got nervous and bombed because it was my first audition), and afterwards she told me that she was actually worried that I would beat her. But I’m only an undergraduate and she has her doctorate…
I also wonder if perhaps something is going on in her personal life. Since the beginning of the semester she’s gained weight, stopped dying her hair, stopped wearing makeup, and been quite moody. She’s not married or dating anyone and pregnancy is not likely. She’s 42 years old, so maybe it could be early menopause… eek! She has no children and no relatives nearby.
I’m just worried because my lessons are getting exceedingly worse and I don’t know what to do. I’m practicing like crazy and making TONS of progress and am starting to enter national/international competitions. It just seems that my relationship with her has soured. I still have 3 semesters until I graduate (getting ready for auditions a year in advance… for flute you have to because competition is so stiff to get into a top school). That’s too much time to let this just sit and get worse. It isn’t enough time to transfer to a different school and build a good relationship with the new teacher that would guarantee a good recommendation. It would also look poorly on my applications.
My lessons are just miserable. It seems like she and I are always going against each other or rubbing each other the wrong way. I’m trying to be humble and easy to mold/shape as a player. I want to learn.
Does anyone have any ideas? Any thoughts? Has anyone faced a similar situation or knows someone who has? I’m at a complete loss, and don’t have any ideas or anywhere to go.