Monday, March 2, 2009

Sent to Jail, Directly to Jail

When my students have a spot that they just can't play without a mistake, I sometimes get to the end of my rope and draw pencil "bars" around the bars. Two students in a row ended up in jail, go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200.00.

First we do Left Hand 3 times IN A ROW correctly. Then we do Right Hand 3 times IN A Row correctly. I keep count on my fingers and call out the number correctly that they have done. If they make a mistake, I make the game show buzzer sound, dun dun DUHN, and they have to try it again. This works even better when you can really laugh it up. "Oh NOOOOOOO, you whiffed the third one!" Start again at zero.

When we finally get each hand alone, "we" have to get it hands together. This took a whole lesson for a young lady. 30 minutes - four measures. We had 4 other books I was hoping to get through. Heavy sigh.

But this wasn't about those 4 measures really, was it? This is about perseverance, diligence, and learning how to practice something. The details are what matters. Perhaps sometime she will transfer this grueling task to something else in her life, until she gets it just right.

"What? The lesson is over already?" she said. I said, "Yes, and you are now in jail every time you play this piece this week. You must start in jail, right here at measure 12-16, and play it three times IN A ROW correctly before you start at the beginning, just like we did here."

*Groan* "I want a 'Get Out of Jail Free' card," she said.

Don't we all, sweetie, don't we all?


  1. if it was too easy it wouldn't be worthwhile... that's a nice lesson to learn, diligence, focus.

  2. Why has no one ever told me that Wolferl is giving piano lessons that are such fun? ;-)

  3. Show no quarter!
    Never give them a inch.

    Someday they will be so thankful that you have done this for them. They will look back and fondly remember that this was when they were taught to not be a quitter. It will serve them well throughout their life.

    I have not been lost, was just with a few who needed someone during some hard times right now. I have read some, but not left comments. I seem to spend a lot of time with each comment. I always want the person to know that I actually read their post, and then if they comment back on my comment, I sometimes comment back again. Oh, that was a long sentence. I did comment on your Library post.

    But thank you for missing me. I hope you read my Sunday post with the "Heaven" poem in it. I do post all my poems at another site that has a section just for poems.

    I think someone must have made me keep going.

    I was surprised that they were being read and enjoyed. I seem to be the only one posting originals there. Such a lost art.

    I guess poems are my "music".

  4. Going over the same 4 measures for an entire 30 minute lesson requires perserverence both from the student & the teacher. Well done-- & also well done that you could think of ways to make this into a game of sorts so it's not too onerous for the student.

  5. Could you imagine if it that kind of repetition wasn't fun?! What drudgery and anguish for them! I thought the time went pretty fast, all in all, but I had so much more that I wanted to do with her.
    One thing at a time!
    Mrsupole and John Hayes, I read your post every day, but I rarely comment. You both inspire me.

  6. Some day your student will grow to be a parent, boss, or teacher of something. She will then realize that only someone who cares deeply for you takes the time cultivate the best in you. And you made it fun and interesting. So, I'll thank you for her until that day.


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