This is the first in a series of fictional scenarios about teaching music. I hope you enjoy them! Most enjoyable and helpful of all, though, will be to read about “what would you do?” — your thoughts and those of other teachers. If you have any hesitation about adding comments at the end of the story, please see the earlier post about “Adding Your Two Bits! How It Works“.
Your new student is 6 years old. Her mother has told you that Lydia has been so excited about learning this instrument that she couldn’t wait for her first lesson. You welcome them into your teaching room. Lydia is holding her mother’s hand and trailing behind her mother’s leg.
You chat and get to know each other a little. Everyone is in a good mood, and Lydia seems pleased to be there, but is quiet and shy.
“Lydia has been just fascinated with this music and asking to take lessons for a year. She’s so excited to be here,” says her mom. “Come on Lydia, honey, open the case and show your new teacher!”
But Lydia is kind of hiding behind her mother’s chair and shakes her head silently.
You open the case and talk about the instrument and its parts, and the secrret compartments in the case. You see Lydia is paying attention, but when you ask her to pick up the instrument and get acquainted with it through a simple exercise, she retreats behind her mom’s leg again.
“I don’t know what’s wrong,” says her mom. “She was so looking forward to this. Come on, honey, this is your chance to learn. Come on and try it!”
You decide to demonstrate and play some music. You take time to play excerpts from several different kinds of pieces or tunes, a couple that Lydia will soon learn, and a couple that are more advanced but that are beautiful to listen to.
You notice that Lydia’s dark sparkly eyes are peering at you, listening intently all the while.
You try again to encourage her to pick it up and try a few simple moves, but again she retreats, and her mother can’t convince her to come out either.
You glance at your watch, and 20 minutes have gone by.
What will you do with the next 10 minutes, and what do you think you’ll suggest for next time?