Student Plateau

Posted In: Teaching the Harp

  • Participant
    Nancy Edwards on #229267

    How do you help students that have reached a plateau in their practice/playing and are having trouble learning the next level?
    I have a new adult student that has only been taking lessons for a couple of months and doesn’t get to practice as often as she should/would like to due to travel for her job, so I suspect for her it’s not enough consistent practice. I think she should mix her practice time with going over the easier past lessons and then working on the newer stuff – do you think that is the best idea? What other reasons have you experienced in students not being able to progress and what have you found that was helpful for them? Thank you for your ideas.

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #229279

    Some students need a specific assignment, a goal for each week, written in a notebook. It depends on the person, but maybe the student will tell you, without realizing it. It also depends in what way they are not progressing. Is it musical, technical, or practical?

    Veronika on #229283

    As a student, I find that when I’m not able to progress, it tends to be due to a specific technical problem. Once we’ve identified the problem with my teacher and worked on it in the lesson, it’s fairly straightforward for me to continue working on it at home and it tends to sort out several apparently unrelated issues at once.

    Has your student learned how to practice effectively? That was another thing that made a huge difference for me. The Bulletproof Musician blog is a great resource for this.

    Biagio on #229286

    A person may plateau for several reasons: frustration from lack of progress (which may be the case here due to limited practice); boredom; little outside stimulus to name a few I’ve encountered. Several ways to revive interest that have worked for me:

    Set a definite schedule and let nothing interfere, even if only 1/2 hour
    Vary the practice routines from day to day
    Lay the basis for improvization
    Listen to and/or watch stimulating performances
    Take a break from the ordinary, try to master new technique(s)

    One personal example…I branched out to South American tunes and techniques for a time which really renewed my interest.

    Hope that helps,

    Nancy Edwards on #229313

    Thank you to everyone for your very informative replies, they are really helpful and give me some guidance on things to discuss with my student when I see her later this week for her next lesson!

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #230323

    You can challenge the student by, instead of giving them something more difficult, giving them something more easy. That could spur them to work harder, or to work better.

    Sylvia on #230332

    Does she know she’s plateaued?
    When I was a new student at 20, I hit a plateau, and my teacher explained to me that’s what had happened. Once I knew that, I didn’t worry about it. It helped me just to know what was happening.

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