Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Below Grade

I have a student whom I refer to as "catatonic boy."  This may sound harsh, but he earned the name.  In multiple lessons, we will reach a point where I do something horrific like ask him to play a piece a second time and it is like flipping a light switch.  He will go completely rigid and just start groaning.  In a recent lesson, he went catatonic and I told him "just play the piece one more time and your lesson is over."  He continued to groan for 15 more minutes, which meant our lesson went 10 minutes over time, but I still made him play the piece because I don't want him to think he can get out of things by acting semi-retarded!
The thing is, he has a decent sense of humor and I have a lot of fun joking around with him.  He has started smiling during lessons (gasp!) and every once in a while, if I see him smile, I will say "did you just smile?  you know you're not supposed to smile during a piano lesson!  what if I  think you're having fun?!"  and he'll say something sassy back to me like "I was stretching my mouth" or " I have a facial tic."
When he wants to, he plays very well.  He reads pretty easily, which is no small task because the teacher he had before me never taught him the letters (a,b,c, etc.) of the keys.  I could overlook this if his teacher were foreign and he learned do, re, mi . . . but he didn't, so shame on you, former teacher!  
The other day, we were looking for an F on the piano and he told me that I get an "F minus" as a teacher.  Now I know this isn't true, if for no other reason than he does actually know the letters of the keyboard now, not to mention the 2 or 3 books that he has progressed through under my tutelage.  When I told Nate about how catatonic boy told me I get an F minus as a teacher, Nate said "did you tell him he gets an F minus minus minus?"  and I answered "I was thinking more like a G plus."  Of course I didn't say any of this to my student; to tell you the truth it didn't bother me that much.  Why not?  He was smiling when he said it.  

No comments:

Post a Comment