I am really trying to target my lower-level learners in my classes to hopefully help them catch up and experience success in orchestra. I have been working with one cello student who just can't seem to understand how to get his left hand to work properly. He will not bend his fingers or keep his thumb on the neck of the cello. So far, I have not been able to find a solution that has 'cured' his issues, though I do work with him every day and I am constantly trying new things to help him progress. After I fixed his hand for the 5th time in a row in class today, I could tell that he was getting very frustrated and emotional. Time to think of a brilliant idea to help him feel better....
We string teachers are like doctors, sometimes. We diagnose performance issues and we try everything to cure our students ailments. Today I think I may have missed the mark, though. I was so concerned about my student's hand position, I didn't consider his feelings about playing or about my class. It is my job to find something to help this student experience success. In my study of the Suzuki method, I learned that Dr. Suzuki always thought of something nice to say about each student's performance....even if all he could say was, "You played!" Students need to experience some degree of success in order to develop the motivation to keep working and keep trying.
I just stumbled upon this little fortune:
I would love to have some fortune cookies stuffed with this fortune to pass out to students who are having an especially bad day. I think I will buy some fortune cookies from the grocery store, take out the fortunes with tweezers, and replace them with this little note. (Yes, I'm serious.) Don't we all sometimes just need a little encouragement? :)