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Just a little mixed up

May 11, 2012 at 1:48 AM

Does this ever happen to you?

Me to student: Ok, let's go straight to repertoire today. Show me how far you got on XYZ concerto.
Student, looking at me like I'm crazy: ????....
Me: We didn't start XYZ concerto? Seriously? Let me look at your book...ohhh...that must have been [monday student] who just finished the piece you're still working on...

Or the flipside:
Me: I've been thinking about what piece to do next for you, and I'd like to start this minuet.
Student, with knowing grin on her face: Um, Mrs. L., we already did that one...
Me, thinking back: -oh, we did...back in january (bummer, that was going to be a perfect fit, now what am I going to give you next...)

Or my favorite:
Me: Ok, so good start on your shifting. It's a little stiff though-remember last week how we talked about your thumb?
Student new to shifting: ummm...not really...
Me: Really? I know we talked about this. See, it's even written in your book!
Student: I think that's from when my older sister did this page...

Please tell me I am not the only one this happens to! I hear these stories of legendary teachers who have all their students' pieces memorized and always remember exactly what they worked on three years ago, let alone had trouble with last week! Yet invariably I have a couple students around the same level, and get them mixed up, or can't remember which of three similar-level pieces we decided to do next, or just have a braindead moment and can't remember what in the world we are supposed to be working on!! My students know that they'd better bring their practice notebooks every week because that's how Mrs. L. keeps her brain organized!

Usually it results in a bit of humor...occasionally a bit of wasted time or a lesson going an illogical direction for a few moments. Sometimes I get a little frustrated-a really good teacher would never get students mixed up, right? Or... maybe it happens to the best of us, and just a little more often to me with my spontaneous, nonlinear brain. And as long as we can laugh and move on, and sometimes it results in good ideas...and as long as i know who just got a new puppy, and who has exams next week, and who is going to get really excited about the new duet book i just got in...

...maybe the world will go on, even if once in a while I get a little mixed up.

From Emily Allen
Posted on May 11, 2012 at 4:12 AM
My previous teacher did that all the time! Sometimes he would just forget what piece I was playing even though I had been working on it for months. (But then, when I was younger, I was a bad students and would "forget" to mention when he assigned me etudes and stuff that I didn't practice...he never even realized that we skipped them lol) I can imagine how confusing it gets to be teaching so many different kids the same ideas but at different paces. I would get mucho confused!
From Millie Bartlett
Posted on May 11, 2012 at 9:25 AM
My teacher does this to me all the time. But she has almost 40 students so I can easily forgive her. Once she's back on track her teaching is exemplary. Lucky Me!
From Kathryn Woodby
Posted on May 11, 2012 at 1:36 PM
Emily, that's exactly it. I usually have two or three students at similar levels at any given time, and remembering whom I've done what with is what gives me fits! I've learned to just check the book first :) funny thing is, I feel like I do it more now, in my private studio of 20, than when I had a school studio of 60. I think it's because now I have time to really think ahead for each of them-but sometimes I confuse what I've thought about for them, with what we've actually done! They usually correct me pretty quickly :)
From Laurie Niles
Posted on May 11, 2012 at 3:51 PM
ALARMINGLY familiar!
From J Brunson
Posted on May 11, 2012 at 8:54 PM
I never know where we are going from lesson to lesson... could be any of five different books to a piece that was arranged especially to work out something i need to correct. Usually it only makes sense about a month later.
From Momoko Takahashi
Posted on May 12, 2012 at 12:54 AM
One of my teacher gave each of us a notebook that told us what the assignment for the week, and she'll start the lesson by looking at that. I guess she had a few occasions in which she confused the students and herself by mixing them up and came up with that tactic after wrangling her head.

I still have the notebook. It has a frog on the cover. :D

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