Priorities and Such

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    To liven things up a little…

    Where do you think harp should be on your students’ list of

    priorities? Does it depend on their age or ability? How long should

    kids/students practice for? Where should school fall? Other


    Are your expectations different for your students who have more

    potential? Do you want your students to be professionals? Would you

    be disappointed or offended if an advanced student decided not to

    grow up to be a harpist?


    Good question! I suppose input from a full-time-student and part-time teacher would be quite interesting, eh? :-) Well!

    Lately, I’ve really been putting a lot of effort into keeping harp on my “top” priority list. Obviously, schoolwork needs to come first, but I like to keep practicing as a close second. Dividing up my time accordingly is an important part of keeping up my harp priorities. During the school year, I need to make a concious effort to make sure I’m (at the very least) spending two hours a day at my harp. Obviously, on weekends, days off, school vacations, etc. I can put in a lot more. For instance, next week is midterms at school, so I only have 6 hours of school for the whole week, which is pretty nice. Clearly, I’ll have to be studying a great amount for the following midterms during my down-time, but I’m rather well aware practicing needs a rather significant percentage of my energy also.

    As far as other activities go, I have a tendency of putting them behind harp, only since I’m more interested in progressing in harp rather than, say, tennis. I think for others, harp should fall accordingly on the student’s interest spectrum, and time should be divided up appropriately. For instance, if student “A” dreams of going to Julliard and spending the rest of his life playing harp, then harp should be the activity of foremost importance. If student “B” likes playing harp, however, finds more enjoyment in playing soccer, and wants to become a professional in that respect, then I find it appropriate to have soccer become student “B”‘s priority over harp.

    It’s all in the students’ personal interests, in my opinion.

    I look forward to seeing what others have to say!


    As a teacher I can tell you that I expect any student who studies with me to

    make progress.


    I agree with Carl. All that matters to me is that they want to learn, and that they make progress.

    Their goals in terms of their music and where it fits in their life in terms of priorities is their business. If they have a goal and want advice on how to achieve it I am more than happy to offer guidance, but that they should make a priority of music over, say, being on a school sports team, or school work itself, is really none of my business.

    When I take on a student I do so to teach music. That doesn’t give me a right to pry in to their personal life and try to influence their life decisions. I may tell them if I think they have what it takes to become a professional musician, and if that is what they want then what they need to do in order to achieve that. But the decision, their thinking on it, and their life outside of my lesson time with them are their business and I have not right to interfere or pry.


    I agree with all of the above. It only matters if they make enough of an effort to show some

    improvement at each lesson. And it’s not about the number of minutes they put in! It’s the

    focus they bring to those minutes, and the ability to reach their goals. Most students are

    not going to become professionals. Music is a very tough and demanding calling,

    requiring total dedication. I have met too many musicians who feel like chipmunks on a

    wheel, because they were pressured into choosing music as a career. I do feel a little

    disappointment when a very talented student decides to go into a different profession, but

    they will always be able to play for relaxation, or perform for their friends, or even go pro

    a few years later.

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