Recently, I was thinking about how different all my students are in the aspect of detail orientation. Some of my students are very careful to not miss notes and to observe articulation markings. Surprisingly enough, this is not limited to older students who have had more musical experience. Some of those little guys come in and are determined to get it right. Other students take more of the bull in a china shop approach. They rush through the pieces and ignoring the wrong notes, tempo and dynamic markings. They just don’t want to slow down enough to take in the details.
How I teach lessons depends on how the student performs. With a student who is very detail conscious, I can send home the student home with a new piece with very little instruction. Then we spend more time at the next lesson working out the fine details and musicality. Those students who take a looser view of the music, require more guidance on the front end of the piece. We carefully read through the music and correct wrong notes and mark those dynamics.
Sometimes with new students, it takes a few weeks to find out where the student will fall in the learning process. So I was wondering if there is a way to predict with new students what type of student they will be. Right now, I am trying an experiment. I have created a sheet with 3 different shaped boxes to be colored in. I have randomly asked students to use a crayon and fill in the boxes. So far the early results indicate that a student will color with the same attention to details as they would look for in their music.
It might seem silly, but I see it as part of my job to tailor lessons as closely as possible for each students learning style. Any help that I can get is great. When accepting transfer students, those first few lessons are so important. Having the student feel successful is imperative to creating a long lasting successful teacher/student relationship. By having a glimpse into the student’s learning style and guiding those lessons along that track from the start can really make a difference.