Above and beyond


I was an extremely literal child, so it shouldn’t surprise me when my students are the same.

When I ask them to try playing the first line hands together, that is generally exactly what they do.

When I write in their homework books “Practise the first page hands separately”, that is usually what they do, even when the first page ends abruptly in the middle of a phrase.  (In fact, “Practise the first page hands separately” to a child generally seems to mean only do the right hand because it is easier!)

Over the last few weeks, a handful of students have seen how a little extra application can result in an extremely happy teacher!  (Congratulations, Sophie, Adam, John, Margie and any other students who come in and practise with headphones on while they are waiting for their lesson.)

Of course the children who follow my instructions to the letter are completely correct, but how I appreciate it when a student wants to excel.

I have outlawed the shrug in my studio, along with the word ‘whatever’, as I try to teach that near enough is not good enough!

Of course I am not imposing an unrealistic ideal of perfection upon my students, but paying attention to notation and observing the correct rhythm is not optional in music.  The composer used the language of music to notate their exact wishes, and it is up to us teachers to teach the meanings and to encourage students to respect the authority of the score.

So again I congratulate my students who are respectful of the music, and approach their studies with enthusiasm and care, and who do more preparation than I specifically asked.

Surely this will also help in life, as excellent preparation and effort bring success and a higher level of achievement than just trying to scrape by with the bare minimum.