Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Fruits of No Labor
I did very little, ok, nothing, to this pear tree and yet it will yield about 6 beautiful pears this year. If you'd like to see the infant version, there's a post with a picture from July 9th. This projects a little trouble into my view that 'you get out of the piano what you put into it'. I have students that practice a lot, work hard and are fine musicians. I have students that don't practice much, but yet have sounded really good!
What I wonder is what they would sound like if they worked hard too? I have gently asked them similar questions. In the book, "Strength Finders", Tom Rath provides interesting insight that in America, we are constantly shoring up our weak spots. Yet in other countries, they determine what the child's strengths are and play to them from an early age. They have schools devoted to helping a student excel in an area in which they have already shown promise. This was curious to me.
As I thought about my studio, the American way is precisely how I handle many of the students. Not a good note reader? We'll drill flashcards. Not a good sightplayer, let's do a little of that at every lesson. Not good with memory? Let's strive to memorize one every term. Why do I do that? I'm still asking myself. Why do I expect them to be good at everything? I'm not. I've heard marvelous pianists who can't play by ear. I've heard marvelous sight players that don't really listen.
Perhaps I can be more like the pear tree and allow them to shine in the areas in which they already possess great aptitude. I don't ask the pear tree to produce apples or plums. It's worth considering as I get ready for another teaching year!