Should I Give My Student A Piece He Doesn’t Like?

 –

IMG_1856

I’d always been a student who was really passionate about the music I liked.

And I liked drama. Fast. Loud. Minor keys, plush chords, extravagant bass octaves, quadruple fortissimos, sweeping arpeggios. I loved Beethoven, Liszt, Debussy.

I was also really passionate about the music I didn’t like.

And I didn’t like Bach. I mean, he was okay… too busy, too frilly, too cold. Not enough emotion. Chopin was monotonous. Too slow. Too many “oom-cha-cha“s.

But Mozart? He was the worst. OH. I HATED HIM. What a horrid jumble of frilly, trilly, bouncy, sissy nonsense! yuck. Where was the passion? I couldn’t stand to listen to him, much less play him.

That was 8 years ago. Today I love Bach. Chopin is glorious. And Mozart? I adore him.

So what happened?

MY TEACHER MADE ME PLAY THREE PIECES I DIDN’T LIKE.

 

[hr color=”dark-gray” width=”500px” border_width=”1px” ]

Should I Give My Student A Piece He Doesn’t Really Like?

As music teachers, we’ve all labored over this question. And there are times when the answer is no. Very much no. We’ll talk about those further down.

But I think there are also times when the answer is yes. Very much yes.

Not to be cruel, not to be insensitive, not to make our students hate music.

Then why?

 

Why It’s Important to Give Your Students Pieces They Don’t Necessarily Like

BROADENING MUSICAL TASTE.

Our students aren’t going to love everything. And you know what? That’s okay. No one person is going to like every style or composer, and everyone will have a one or two that they love more than all the rest. It’s called personality, and it’s a good thing. Loving everything isn’t necessary, and it’s not the goal.

But a well-rounded appreciation for a variety of musical styles is important. Very important. And it is the goal.

Every once in a while, we’ll get a student who loves everything they hear. But much more often we find ourselves with a student who only likes one or two styles – fast, slow, soft, loud, major, minor, showy, waltz-y, Baroque, Romantic, Beethoven, Scarlatti, or Cage

Okay. Maybe not Cage.

Still.

When a student does have one or two favorite styles, it often means they don’t like all the rest. Or worse, they just plain detest the rest. Fiercely.

So when we do find ourselves with a student who has narrow musical taste, it’s up to us to nurture an appreciation for a broader range of style. Sometimes that means just listening to new composers with them and explaining what makes them unique from others. Other times it actually means giving them new styles to learn, even if they don’t like them up-front.

Sometimes students like new styles as soon as they hear them; other times it takes a while to see fruit. But even if it does, don’t get discouraged.

It took me two years of actively studying Bach’s music and style to learn to love him. I learned his Italian Concerto and disliked it every bit as much when I was done as when I started. So I left it. Then I came back to it a year and a half later, and you know? I loved it! And once I did, the whole world of Bach was opened up to me. Now he is the single composer into whom I have invested the most time. And, you know, it was well worth the countless hours of practice when I “didn’t like that bothersome piece.”

WELL-ROUNDED MUSICAL EXPERIENCE.

Musical taste, musical experience… they go hand-in-hand. Why? Because only by experiencing new music can our student’s taste be broadened.

Experiencing a variety of composers is important because it gives musicians a better understanding and appreciation for music context, stylization, and history. Our students need exposure to a lot of music… Baroque, Romantic, Classical, Impressionistic, Renaissance, and even a little modern. Sometimes exposure all that’s needed for a formerly “picky” student to discover that he loves other styles, after all.

Every single one of us has to be stretched before we can grown, and as teachers, it’s up to us to make sure our students enjoy the richness of that experience.

LEARNING NECESSARY TECHNIQUE.

It’s also up to us to make sure our students have well-rounded technique. And let’s face it… some kids just don’t like certain techniques. Arpeggios, left hand melodies, octaves, rubato, runs, triplets, various key signatures and chords… They’re all challenging in their own unique way, and some students want nothing to do with them.

But if we’re wise, we will make sure our students can play all of these things and play them well, whether it’s in a waltz, etude, programmatic piece, fugue, sonata, polonaise, minuet, scherzo, or even an occasional rag-time tune.

 

Is It Always Necessary?

No. Some students just love music and are literally ecstatic to play anything in sight.

Remember, the goal is to help our students experience and appreciate a variety of good music. If they already do, then the goal is already accomplished. Don’t go scouring for a piece they don’t like just for the sake of it.

 

When NOT to Give Your Student a Piece He Doesn’t Like

There are definitely situations when we shouldn’t give our students less-than-loved pieces. Here are a few of those times to keep in mind:

FOR A PERFORMANCE.

Performances are your student’s chance to share his musical passions, technical strengths, and artistic maturity with his audience. If he is emotionally disconnected with his piece – or worse, emotionally hostile toward his piece – he will struggle to do all of these. (Even more so for competitions.) Instead, give your student a performance piece he will be excited about, will enjoy practicing, and can perform with an enthusiasm that’s contagious.

IF IT’S ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT PIECES HE’S PLAYED.

Launching into your most difficult piece takes an extra measure of stamina, even if you love it.  Giving a student a really hard piece that he doesn’t like is asking for trouble. Slump Alert!

IF HE’S ALREADY IN A SLUMP. 

Goodness me, if your student is already struggling to hang in there, please don’t give him a piece he doesn’t like. It will seal his doom. Instead, give him lots of encouragement and a piece or two he really, really loves.

 

When, What, & How to Do it Right


WHEN TO DO IT

Between performances is usually the best time to give students a less-than-loved piece. It gives them the opportunity to focus on mastering it without distracting them from more pressing performance repertoire.

Immediately after a successful performance is ideal because the student is on a high note and ready to take on anything. When unlocking new music to our more skeptical students, timing is definitely key.

WHAT TO GIVE THEM

When introducing a composer or style your student doesn’t like, keep it a level or two below his current repertoire capabilities. Start with something short and sweet, especially for young students. Remember, the goal is to stretch them musically, not to make them panic!

HOW TO DO IT RIGHT

My teacher made me play stuff I didn’t like, but she was never mean about it. She never spoke harshly to me or ignored my thoughts or told me that I was ignorant and didn’t know what was good for me. She was kind. She respected my struggles. She was even sympathetic. But she was firm. And by firm, I mean SHE DIDN’T BUDGE. And I benefited because she didn’t.

Remember, we’re doing this to help our students. We are their music teachers. It’s our responsibility and privilege to help them cultivate a well-rounded appreciation for good music, and hopefully, they will learn to know and love music better in the process.

So how do we do this well?

To start, here are a few things NOT to do:

– Never be forceful.

– Never disregard their feelings.

– Never treat them like they are ignorant or need to be enlightened.

Instead,

– Be gentle. Be patient. Be sensitive. Be kind.

– Listen to their woes. Be understanding. Make sure they know you aren’t ignoring their feelings or don’t care what they think.

– Explain to them why it’s important. Help them understand the goal. Keep communication open and work with them as a team, not a taskmaster.

If we can do all of these things, we’re well on the road to doing it well.

 

SUMMARY: WHAT’S THE GOAL?


We’ve got to keep this question at the forefront. Remember, the goal isn’t to get them to love every piece ever written or every composers who ever lived.

THE GOALS ARE THESE:

1) A Well-Rounded Musical Experience
2) A Well-Rounded Musical Appreciation

I still don’t love Prokofiev. And I’m not that crazy about Haydn or Brahms. It’s just personality. But you know what? I recognize the significance of their lives and work, and when I do play them I want to play them well.

Once our students are willing to try and appreciate composers who aren’t their favorites they’ll really start to grow. Why? Because they’ll better understand musical context, style, and history. They’ll have the complete musical picture instead of just their favorite fragments.

So, if we can do it well, then yes – let’s give our students pieces that will stretch their taste. Their musical experience will be far richer and deeper than it ever could be if we don’t.

 

Have any thoughts? Share them in the comments below!
 

[box style=”light-gray” ]Like Lacie Bowman Music on Facebook for more teaching tips, recommended resources for teachers, and music freebies! [/box]


THANK YOU, Friends… Recital Preview!

 

Lacie Bowman Music | www.LacieBowmanMusic.com

 

We had SUCH a wonderful time at our concert last night! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to all of you wonderful people who came out to spend the evening with us. It was wonderful to meet so many new friends and visit with so many old ones. Can’t wait until next time!

More pictures and videos coming here and on my Facebook page soon, so stay tuned!

 

 

 

Exciting Announcement Coming Tonight… Any Guesses???

 

TeaserImage

 

Friends, I’m totally and completely ECSTATIC right now. I’m finally putting the finishing touches on a secret music project I’ve been working on like crazy the last several months, and it’s  a.l.m.o.s.t. r.e.a.d.y.   !!!!!

[Which is also why I’ve dropped off the blogging planet recently…]

Here’s an image with some hints on what I’ve been working with…  And I’ll be ANNOUNCING IT TONIGHT on my Facebook page Keep your eyes open!

<3,
Lacie

 

 

 

You’re Invited to An Evening of Classics & Hymns with Lacie Bowman & Laura Verret

IMG_8777-2


AN EVENING OF CLASSICS & HYMNS

Tuesday, March 10th
6:30 PM
Free admission.
Reception immediately following the performances.
First Baptist Church, Hohenwald, TN

 –

– 

Dear Tennessee Friends,

My sister Laura & I would love for you to join us on Tuesday, March 10th for an evening of music and fellowship!

We will be playing many classics, including works by Vivaldi, Beethoven, Bach, Pachelbel, Kriesler, Massenet, and other classical composers, as well as a number of solo and ensemble hymns that I have arranged for violin and piano.

We will also have the delight of Ellen & Natasha Vernier and Audri Botkin joining us for a variety of ensemble music for violin, cello, and piano.

4-2

4-a

We’re so excited about this, and we hope you will join us! A reception and time for fellowship will immediately follow the music in the same building.

EVERYONE IS WELCOME, so please bring your whole family and some friends. The more the merrier!

Stay tuned over the next 3 weeks, as we’ll be sharing peeks into the program through videos and pictures here on the blog, on my Instagram page, and over on our Facebook page.

If you would like, you can also RSVP and / or invite your friends to the recital via our Facebook Event Page: An Evening of Classics & Hymns

 

We hope to see you there!

Lacie

 

IMG_4031 (2)

 

Student Performance Video: Telemann Bourrée in a minor

 

I’ve started a youtube channel, and I’ll be working on a variety of music-related videos and tutorials to share over the coming weeks and months.

Here is my first upload – one of my young piano students performing at one of my studio recitals. It’s one of my favorite pieces… I adore pretty much anything Baroque!

Enjoy!

 

Telemann Bourrée in a minor

PERFORMED BY SAGAN WATT
AGE 11, 1 1/2 YEARS OF PIANO STUDY

Now Taking Violin & Piano Students!

 

IMG_8775-2


So… After almost 2 years, a wedding, 3 moves, 1 baby, and another baby almost ready to arrive… I am SOOO excited to be taking students again!

I just added a new set of studio-related pages to my blog… Here is a sample of my Violin & Piano Lessons page.  Go check out the others, too!

 

Go to Frequently Asked Questions >>>
Go to Studio Gallery >>>
Go to Student Performances >>>
Go to Resources for Parents >>>


Lacie-Bowman

Hello! My name is Lacie Bowman, and I am a classically-trained violin and piano teacher offering private music lessons in Hohenwald, Tennessee.

I offer beginner to advanced classical violin and piano instruction with an emphasis on healthy technique, musicianship, music theory, and a love for music. Weekly lessons are devoted to current repertoire, integrated & textbook music theory, a variety of scales & other exercises, sight-reading, ear training, and classical music history. I also offer instruction in hymn improvisation for those who are interested.

I teach students ages 4 to adult, and I love to work with families and parent-child groups.  I value parental involvement very highly and welcome parents who want to be closely involved in their child’s music education and lessons.

“The Joy of Music is more than just the finished product;
it is also the beautiful process of getting there.”
Patrick Kavanaugh

 

Music lessons don’t need to be approached with fear, boredom, or dread – I love them, and I want my students to love them, too.  Encouraging enjoyable student-teacher interaction during lessons, building friendships between my music students, and developing a healthy, happy relationship between my students and myself are my priorities.  My goal is not to turn your child into a concert pianist, but to help him become a well-rounded, artistic musician with a love for sharing music with others. I want my students always to remember their music lessons with a smile in their heart that will last long after their music lessons are over.

Contact me for more information on private lessons & fees.


Lacie Bowman Music Studio

laciebowmanmusic@gmail.com


6 Reasons to Have a Recital Rehearsal | The Music Blog.jpg

Repertoire Challenge 2014: Finis!

 

Beethoven Pathetique Sonata www.sfzmusicblog.com #classical #piano #music

It happened. The last day of 2014 has arrived, as well as the last day of my Repertoire Challenge. And I’ve finished the last piece.  IT IS DONE!

I’ve learned 24 pieces of music in the last 24 weeks… 112 pages, to be precise.  I’ve spent a lot of hours with Bach, Scarlatti, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy, and many other wonderful composers…  and I loved it.

Here’s what the final 24 looked like:

LEARNED || 12

Scarlatti Sonata K. 141 (12/22) 
Bach Fugue No. 2 in c minor (11/23)
Clementi Sonata in D Major, Op. 4, No. 1, Mvt. 1 (12/27)
Beethoven Fur Elise (8/30)
Brahms Waltz in Ab, Op. 59, No.15 (7/25)
Chopin Nocturne Op. 9, No. 2 in Eb (12/31)
Chopin Waltz Op. 69, No. 2 (12/30)
Greig Arietta, Op. 12, No. 1 (12/13)
Dvorak Humoresque, Op. 102, No.7 (11/25)
Granados May Song, Op. 1, No. 3 (12/14)
Debussy Arabesque 1 (9/10)
Debussy Clair de Lune (7/29)

RE-LEARNED || 12

Bach Italian Concerto, Mvt. 1 (10/3)
Bach Prelude No. 6 in d minor (12/19)
Mozart Fantasy in d minor, K. 397 (8/27)
Mozart Sonata K. 310, Mvt. 1 (12/31)
Mozart Sonata K. 331, Mvt. 3, “Alla Turca” (7/30)
Beethoven Sonata Op. 13 “Pathetique”, Mvt. 1 (12/20)
Beethoven Sonata Op. 13 “Pathetique”, Mvt. 2 (11/15)
Beethoven Sonata Op. 27, No. 2 “Moonlight”, Mvt. 1 (8/18)
Chopin Nocturne in c# minor (8/25)
Greig Wedding Day at Troldhaugen (12/27)
Pieczonka Tarantella in a minor (9/3)
Joplin Maple Leaf Rag (9/24)
My goal for this “challenge” wasn’t mainly to see if I could learn 24 pieces in 24 weeks with a newborn. It was to get rid of the “I don’t really have any pieces finished right now…” syndrome when I sat down at the piano. And you know what? It’s gone. It has been SO MUCH FUN to sit down and just play so many of my favorite pieces one after the other.
rp_IMG_0821-2-1024x618.jpg
Now my bigger goal is to keep these pieces the rest of my life and add to them every year. If I can do that, I should be able to have all of Bach’s preludes & fugues, all of Beethoven’s sonatas, AND all of Chopin’s nocturnes by the time I’m 50, right?
Oh well, we’ll see. :D
I will now go celebrate with some hot chocolate and, um… well, cold chocolate.  :)
Have a Blessed New Year my friends! Persevere!
<3

Lessons & Carols 2014

IMG_0154


The Sunday before Christmas, my little family and I enjoyed a Christmas choir performance my sister was a part of – Lessons & Carols.  It was wonderful.  The carol arrangements & descants were beautifully unique, and they were performed well.

The choir sang several old favorites — O Come All Ye Faithful, The First Noel, Angels We Have Heard on High — but I also heard a few pieces that immediately became new favorites for me… especially Carol of the Star by Donald Moore. You have to hear it.  It’s breathtaking.

IMG_0139

IMG_0155

IMG_0151

IMG_0150
This was my tiny man’s first concert, and he enjoyed every minute of it.  I’m pretty sure he studied every person in the choir, instrument ensemble, and audience.  :)  He didn’t fuss once!!

IMG_0135

IMG_0164

Collage 3

IMG_0173

IMG_0162

Collage
My sister with the choir’s gracious and talented director, Mrs. Christy Stouffer. What a wonderful evening. I’m really looking forward to next year.

10847794_847569838640943_511345441760117379_n2

IMG_0365-2

The Christmas Scale

Merry Christmas from The Studio!!

I will be back with some exciting plans for the new year, but until then
I will leave you with this beautiful video.

Joy to the World, the Lord is Come.

Have a beautiful Christmas remembering the faithfulness of our Savior.

Merry Christmas, my friends!

Repertoire Challenge: September Update

IMG_7204-3

Month Two of my Repertoire Challenge is done!  Whew.  It was a GREAT month, though definitely harder than last.

I organized the music for an amazing history event last weekend called Remembering WWII.   My sister & I also performed some wartime songs – I sang, and she played piano – and I was busy all month writing those arrangements.  We had people attend from all over Tennessee & several other states, as well as twelve WWII veterans! It was an incredible weekend, and I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.
Also, Baby stopped liking to sit on my lap during practice…  which means my piano time is now limited to, like, 15 minutes a day.
Those two factors made this month’s Repertoire Challenge… well… challenging.  ;)  It would have been easy if I could have just substituted writing the arrangements for learning the new repertoire, but that would have defeated the whole point of the Repertoire Challenge – to learn the repertoire on top of everything else.  No subs.
So… that’s why I could often be found at the piano wondering if I should spend my 15 minutes arranging “It Hurts to Say Goodbye” or practicing Bach’s Italian Concerto.  :D
In the end, I got it all done, but just by a hair.
Here are the pieces I worked on this month.

 

[hr color=”dark-grey” width=”500px” border_width=”1px” ]

 

learned ||  Debussy Arabesque, No. 1

It’s a classic, and I LOVE it.  I never cared much for Debussy before this year, but I am really beginning to admire the harmonic color in his simpler pieces.  The dissonance is not as bold as in his advanced pieces (etudes, preludes, etc.), and the melodies are really quite enchanting.  He is a master of nuance.  I’m a new fan.  :)

relearned || Pieczonka Tarantella

I learned this when I was 12, and it’s been one of my favorites ever since.  It’s quick, feisty, and in minor (WIN!).  I’ve had a few students learn and perform this one, so between myself and them, I’ve heard it for hundreds of hours on end.  Still, I never get tired of it. And, boy, is it fun to play.

relearned || Joplin Maple Leaf Rag

I had planned to learn Glinka’s L’Alouette, but baby decided he didn’t want that one. I often play for him to fall asleep, and he used to drift off to soothing melodies like Clair de Lune and Chopin Noctunes. Not any more. His current lullaby of choice? The Maple Leaf Rag. He falls asleep to it almost every time. Crazy? Yep. But there’s that.  :)

relearned || Bach Italian Concerto, Mvt. 1

I learned this movement of the Italian Concerto back in 2006 before I loved Bach.  It’s been my faithful friend at many piano competitions, local to national, over the years (along with the 3rd movement, which I learned in 2007), and now that I’m a Bach insane-iac, it does my heart good just to play it.  <3

 

[hr color=”dark-grey” width=”500px” border_width=”1px” ]

 

So here’s the new rep for this month:

TO LEARN:
Dvorak, Humoresque, Op. 101, No. 7
Glinka, L’Alouette

TO RE-LEARN:
Bach, Prelude & Fugue No. 2 in c minor
Mendelssohn, Scherzo Op.16, No. 2

 

Click here to read my original challenge and see my current progress.

This month is going to be waay more crazy than last month.  Can’t tell you why just yet…  But I will SOON, so stay tuned!

Toodles!

;)