asphodellium

rod of iron

Posted on: 27 October 2011

My under-ten piano students are great fun, but there’s always pressure from their parents to “make them fear me.” As if there won’t be satisfactory progress unless I somehow scare them into practicing.

Seriously. They could fire me for not being mean enough.

Is it a Chinese thing to confuse fear and respect? I’ll admit that it’s taken me some time to settle into a reasonable level of expectation for my students and tutees. (My default tendency in general is to expect too much from myself and too little from others.)

It’s my role to show my piano students what and how to practice. I’m not sure forcing them to practice is my business. Of course the understanding is that they will. If they do, they’ll progress quickly. If they don’t, they’ll progress slowly or not at all.

And if the desire to practice is entirely absent, maybe they shouldn’t be coerced into piano lessons in the first place? Obviously I’m thinking as a parent now, not a teacher. I guess what I’m wondering is, when do I push my child, and when do I lay off? Is there a difference between directing my children’s interests and allowing their interests to emerge naturally? How do I navigate that space?

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1 Response to "rod of iron"

I have been thinking SO MUCH about the same thing lately. My hubs and I were talking about the myriad lessons we were indentured into as kids and how we don’t want to force our kid to do stuff his heart isn’t in. But at the same time, isn’t there something to say for sticking with something over a long period of time and not necessarily loving it, but feeling like you’ve really accomplished something when you’ve reached mastery? We’ll see….

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