Teacher vs. student repertoire choices

Posted In: Teaching the Harp

  • Participant
    unknown-user on #88790

    In your experience teaching, how do you balance teacher and student

    input into repertoire selection? Teachers are more capable of

    selecting technique appropriate pieces than students. Most teachers

    also have more background in selecting high quality repertoire. On the

    other hand, when students select pieces that are meaningful to them,

    it boosts motivation and deepens their personal interaction with

    music, which is also a

    Calista Anne Koch on #88791

    I personally make all my students listen to ALOT of harp CDs.

    Elizabeth Volpé Bligh on #88792

    I have learned to keep students’ repertoire to a level that will challenge them somewhat,

    but not overwhelm them. Once in a while, I have miscalculated, and have had to suggest

    putting the difficult piece “on hold” until they have had some time to build better

    technique. If it is a piece that the student has chosen, and really wants to play, this

    approach guarantees that they will still get their wish. You are absolutely right that it is

    better to use pieces that the student loves to play. If, however, you are teaching a very

    serious student who is planning a career, then they have to learn every kind of repertoire.

    whether they like it or not. To play a piece well, when you have no emotional connection to

    it, this is like great acting, and it takes practice.

    unknown-user on #88793

    I am always interested in the instructor’s opinion, the other side of the picture, so to speak.

    carl-swanson on #88794

    There’s no easy answer to this, because each student’s needs are so unique. In general though, I tell the student what to play, OR, I give them a choice of two or three pieces that I feel are appropriate and let them decide which one to learn. I have occasionally misjudged a students ability and have had to withdraw a piece after one or two lessons because I didn’t like the way it was progressing. Under no circumstances should a student work on a piece that he/she is not technically up to.

    I got an email this afternoon from someone asking me to blog about something quite similar, so I’m going to put a longer response to this on my blog. Soon.

    unknown-user on #88795

    I’m a student and not very advanced one at that. But I like it when I can select a piece
    for myself. I usually pick something that’s the same level as what I’m currently working
    on and if possible using similar techniques. It’s pretty easy to find alternative pieces if there’s something in your tutor book, teacher recommendation that you just hate playing. I can’t see the sense in struggling with a piece that leaves you feeling flat and
    frustrated if there’s another piece that can do the same thing for your technique that you
    like better.

    I value the opinion of my teacher and as yet she is happy to help me find pieces which are both technically right and enjoyable for me. Thank goodness I don’t have a teacher with a set repertoire because I think it would be an incredibly boring way to learn.


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