joyful noise pianoWe want our children to enjoy the experience of learning music, and as teachers we are also hoping to instill the joy of learning such an artful form of expression to the next generation.  Why then do tears sometimes flow during lesson time?

Children naturally want to please and when they feel that they are not performing to the teacher’s expectations, the emotions can be overwhelming.   The teacher should stress that all musicians make mistakes but if we keep on trying we will get better.  Let the student know that you will never get cross with them if mistakes happen or if they find something difficult.  Tell them that it is your job to patiently teach until they get it and all that you ask of them is that they keep trying.


The biggest breakthrough seems to come when I tell my students that I still make mistakes.  The response is usually, “really?” Their ears don’t seem to be developed enough to hear mistakes in my playing or that of the older students.  So admitting that all of my students make mistakes and that I’m not perfect either is an important step for them to accept their own mistakes.

Another thing to consider is the age of the child and their energy level.  Are the lessons later in the day when the child is simply running out of steam?  If so perhaps try an earlier lesson time, or if that’s not possible, see if the parent can schedule some quiet time before the lesson.

Did you know that a young child uses up as much energy in a ½ hour lesson as they would if they are jogging for ½ an hour?  It’s important that the child have a something to eat before their lesson.  I hand out 2 jelly beans (with parents permission of course) to my students after they play some scales for me, for a quick energy boost.  Makes scales something that they look forward to as well. 

Hope this helps.  And remember    “Without music, life would B flat.”

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