When I first started teaching, I encountered all kinds of unexpected situations that I was not prepared for at the University. One of them was this:
My little cutie fagottino student told me she played ev-er-y day soo-oo much at home!
She played soo-hoooooo much and eeev-eeer-y day!
– But just not what her homework was.
Very nice. But this actually evoked some thoughts in me.
Maybe I should change her repertoire!?
No matter what our little cuties do, as long as it is with music they should get all the praise we have!
From a well educated musician’s perspective, sometimes lessons and pieces seem important to us.
Our students on the other hand do NOT consider them as relevant or important aka, not important at all.
Not important means in real terms: I don’t play that!
Some kind of an interest clash.
The suggestion I had for myself in this case was using a little nice and handy filter question. And this one goes:
What does my student love?
Playing stuff we love keeps us motivated – all of us, not just little fagottino tigers.
Love and joy pull us, get us off the couch and they make us do something.
This event actually made me go and collect a variety of styles in fagottino / bassoon repertoire from the first lesson on.
Being flexible with the curriculum is great and can work wonders.
I started to look out for pieces that those little ears really like instead of thinking of achieving traditional goals of musical education.
And you know what? All that deep classical stuff, all that technical exercises – they can wait. As long as our student will keep going with making (and loving!) music altogether.
My advice: Be a friend, be an ally in music – more than a teacher.
Find out, what their little heart beats for.
What kind of music did you love as a child?
Which kind of pieces did get you hooked?