Finding a new harp teacherPosted: 8 July 2012
I don’t think I’ve ever been an easy student. When I was little, I never really practised but still took lessons for 9 years so I think, in retrospect, that my teachers must have been quite frustrated with me. They never really showed it, though, finding other ways to get me to practice. A favourite of theirs was to have me participate in a recital, preferably in an ensemble so I just had to practice. I didn’t realize this at the time, but looking back, I can say that the most difficult pieces I ever played, those requiring most practice, were the ensemble pieces.
Now, I’m almost the opposite of the student I used to be. I wasn’t able to practice as much as I want due to medical school internships, but I still try to get the most out of it as possible. This also applies to my lessons – I ask a lot of questions, ask specifically for feedback on problem areas, etc. The drawback is that not all teachers are used to this. When I go to a lesson, I expect to learn how I can improve my playing. Positive feedback is nice, but I don’t go to a lesson just to hear how awesome I am.
As I’ve got a very unreliable schedule that changes every week, I can’t take regular lessons at a music school, so I take private lessons. My teacher is quite affordable and also very flexible. However, I’ve found that I don’t really learn what I want to learn. She’s an awesome player and she is certainly an example in terms of musicality – I’d love to be able to play the way she plays. Unfortunately, she’s not too good at teaching – she doesn’t really offer feedback. Some lessons, I can direct the conversation in the way I want – useful tips etc, but in other lessons, I don’t get anything substantive to work on. It’s starting to become a bit tiring to be completely responsible for my own learning – in medical school, you can look anything up in a book, but in music, you really need external feedback, especially on technical issues.
So I’ve been thinking – aside from some scheduling issues with lessons being cancelled at the last moment (I always make room for them in my schedule, so I’ve ended up waiting three hours several times for a lessons that didn’t take place) — perhaps I should go looking for another teacher. Those are not very easy to find and isn’t it a bit arrogant to decide that a person can’t teach you enough? And changing teachers also involves telling the teacher I’m leaving that I’m discontinuing lessons with them…How to do that without hurting someone’s feeling?
I’ve got an entire summer to think about that – I won’t have a lessons for at least two months. Meanwhile, I’ll get back to practicing, of course! :).