The best performers out there have been the ones who have taken what they’ve learned (from whereever) and made it their own.
This is a big mistake in my book. There is no way that I am “serving” or “servicing” my students. I am not selling a product. I am not cleaning a house. That is crass, disrespectful and egotistical. I am choosing to share my knowledge and expertise with appropriate people. I set aside my time in the expectation that they will honor it by showing up on time, by paying as agreed, and by doing their best to apply what I am teaching. The student is in my studio, in my home, in my headspace and intersecting with my own work. That is a privilege. That being said, my integrity demands that I do the most I can to help said student, and if they fail to grasp my lessons, it is their problem, not mine. My “product” does not have to be adjusted to fit a student’s demands. A student who is demanding is one who is not learning what is being taught. Of course it is a two-way dance, but it is the teacher who leads and the student who follows. A student who is not happy with their instruction may have been misleading in communicating what they are looking for or experiencing. Apropos of whatever it applies to, as the old saying goes, water seeks its own level.
Following up on that, a couple of more thoughts. It is interesting how the interaction between people, in any circumstance, can be shaped by predetermined attitudes, intentions, values, any ingredients of a person’s makeup, regardless of how the interaction is conducted, the outcome is destined by these other factors in some cases.
A generation gap issue, perhaps, is the one of entitlement. It seems like the young folks today feel entitled to many things, due to the internet making or seeming to make them available. How do you convince a student that they have to buy music from a store when they can download it? How do you gain their cooperation in whom they buy from? How do you tell them the things you can’t tell them about the relationships between colleagues, dealers and other factors larger than one student and one teacher, that their actions have a much larger impact? How do you place appropriate limits around their activities when they are used to none, or do not think there should be any? How do you cause them to accept responsible payment plans and not to cancel lessons the night before without making them up? So many difficulties in teaching.
I find the beginning of this thread disturbing, but thanks to David, Victor, Sam, Paul and some others, there is a glimmer of hope.
This kind of reminds me of the song by Sting, “If You Love Somebody Set them Free”.
I can’t even stomach the idea of studying with ONE teacher. Yikes… Another quote… this one from Mame. “Life Is A Banquet, And Most Poor Suckers Are Starving To Death!”
This is such a fascinating topic, as it is so many sided. I have to say that I agree with virtually everything that has been said from both sides of the argument. And i don’t think Saul meant that students have no rights, or wanted to impinge on their ability to make their own choices…..
From my understanding, and I may be wrong, he is talking about how to guide the student in all aspects of the “art”. For those of us that are idealistic and see teaching as
Thanks so much for that, I haven’t stopped laughing……. Yes, I think a middle road is a good one, and there does need to be mutual respect on both sides.
I had another read over this post, and there are so many fascinating ideas on both sides. I also haven’t stopped discussing all the issues involved with my husband (think he’s getting sick of me coming up with arguments in the defense of ART!!)
I was thinking about Saul’s point about where you buy music from and downloads etc, and actually this is a vital one for the music industry, that does impact on the art itself. I, for instance, always encourage music to buy music and will not allow them to photocopy pages – as besides being a breach of copyright, if people do not buy the music it goes out of print and affects other harpists that cannot then get the music. I also always encourage my pupils to buy from Lyra, as they keep so many rare titles, which is so supportive and important to harpists, so think that they
As I’ve been thinking about this, I see the struggle here as perhaps between the older generation of teachers who are asking (and expecting) the students to trust their experience and expertise, and the younger generation of students who more readily question things and don’t want their power of choice limited.
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