Desperate Measures

My Fridays are tough – too many hours without a break, and it extends too late in the day. Evenings are messed up. If I haven’t dealt with what to have for dinner by noon, it’s not going to happen (I get co-operation as long as I dictate what should be done).

The really hard part is the student who ends the day. In fact, the day is book-ended by attitudes. The last is one of those “gifted” students who only learns what he wants to learn. That doesn’t work for piano exams – or school exams – or life in general. One exam piece is the Six Variations (G Major) by Kuhlau  - probably the easiest piece from the Classical Period for that level. He’s been working on it since JANUARY and still can’t play it to earn a passing grade – and I’m still saying the same things over and over and over. Understand that there are no learning issues or lack of understanding or lack of skills here – just a refusal to do what I ask (demand in the nicest sense of the word). He’s had no problem learning the flashier pieces.

I reached my breaking point today. Very calmly, I told him I would not help him anymore with that piece (“Ooooh. Good one, Mom,”  from my daughter). He knows what to do and he’s on his own now – I won’t hear it again till just before the exam. I hope that gets through.

There are only 2 such Fridays left and I’m taking measures to ensure I don’t have this kind of schedule again next year. I’m cutting back my Friday hours, ending sooner, and am not taking this student back. It’s not worth it.

Image: Play That Funky Music by Tom Everhart 

About LaDona's Music Studio

Musician, pianist, teacher, blogger.
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6 Responses to Desperate Measures

  1. I SO appreciated your post. I have had the same Friday experience. I finally just dismissed one of my very talented, but very unwilling to practice Friday students. Two years of cancellations and unpreparedness at lessons was enough for me. I teach piano, I don’t practice their assignments in the lesson….they can do that for free at home. The other Friday student I tried to dismiss, but as it turned out, he really wanted to stay, so I had a long conference with his father and we decided to try one more time….on a probationary term. I don’t know what went on at home, but he is finally practicing the way I expect all my students to. FINALLY!!! And I could not be more proud of him. This student was similar to yours in that he had less than minimal progress all year. Anyway, hang in there. I am convinced this is because they just aren’t practicing at home the way they should be. Maybe a parent conference would help.
    I know what you mean about dinner, too. It’s gets done, but only if I actually lay out all the ingredients on the counter! And sometimes even then he can’t figure out what I want him to do- but that’s ok….I like sandwiches for dinner sometimes, too. (lol)
    Suzanne

    • Thanks, Suzanne. Yes – dinner – everything has to be laid out on the counter!! One tiny ingredient missing (i.e. maybe in the cupboard!) and the whole thing doesn’t happen!
      I’ve been procrastinating on this, but it’s time to let above-described student know that he won’t be back.

  2. Beth says:

    I have to laugh over the dinner thing. I try to have everything either laid out on the counter or in a crock-pot or in the toaster oven, but it’s sometimes impractical to have a vegetable cooked & ready 2 hours ahead. My DH will sometimes complain “there’s no vegetables”! Grab a bag from the freezer or a can, honey!!!

  3. I’m laughing too, Beth! This is good therapy!! I hear there are some men who take the initiative – but I wouldn’t personally know that :)

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