Thursday, September 17, 2009

Stupid teachers are the worst kind.

In a discussion with suzukisinger this morning I formed this snazzy little hypothesis. Catchy, no? Ranks ONLY JUST below my other favorite: Stupid people are the worst kind. However, they're my favorite kind to rant about.

I realise I've covered this angst before, probably while in Japan, but out here in the crazy west (that's on an international geographical level, not a statewide level) we have this INSANE-O idea that the people who can, do. Those who can't, teach.

My objections to this stupid-to-top-all-stupid ideas are endless. And whoever decided that the hypen key should sit all the way over THERE on the keyboard is also pretty dumb.
I stumbled across a blog this morning that briefly discussed the blogger's return to piano lessons, and how that was great, BUT these pieces were more complex rhythmically and melodically and therefore causing blogger a little trepidation. And that's absolutely fair enough.

What I take issue with is the following: rhymically AND melodically more complex? Come on. Let's develop one skill at a time. You know, play a piece you CAN ALREADY PLAY WELL with a syncopated rhythm, or drill the finger pattern with different rhythms which gradually become more complex until you can put together the rhythmic pattern required...and do all this stuff while you listen to someone REALLY FANTASTIC play the piece BEAUTIFULLY. Because having an accurate model of what you're aiming for going around and around in your head will help you get closer to that thing.

I am constantly astounded at the (music) teachers who don't THINK about this stuff.
Good readers are often good spellers.
Children from homes where English is spoken every day with grammatical accuracy often speak well themselves.
Children from bilingual homes are often bilingual (and note, this depends on the frequency with which they are exposed to second language).
There are SO many more examples I could go on to name, but gee, would it be ROCKET SCIENCE to assume that if you are exposed to a certain piece of music you WILL BE ABLE TO PLAY IT?

I'd like to share a little here. Nothing earthshattering, but bear with me. I'm sure all the mothers and teachers out there have had this moment.

So, O and I are driving along in the car, listening to a particular Minuet by Boccherini, and I say "Bock-A-Ree-Neeee!!" with obvious delight. (I should point out that O will be 2 in November.)
He looks interested, so I have another go: "Bock-A-Ree-Neeee!!"
and hear, from the backseat: "Bock-A-Nee-Nee!"
We continue to declaim this theme and variations for a little while, and now, two weeks later, it's a clear and confident "Bock-A-Nee-Nee!" whenever he hears THAT particular piece of music.

My point is, we don't wait to teach a child to SPEAK until they can read. I'd be sitting in that car for another five years thinking "Gee, better not tell him who wrote this, he hasn't been taught to read it yet!"
And they can read a hell of a lot earlier than we wait to teach them, but that's another post. Why do we persist in thinking that mnusic, which is perceived AURALLY, should be learned VISUALLY???

Teachers, stop tormenting your students. Give them decent recordings of their repertoire and tell them to listen to it. Put some joy back in. Or I will come to your house and take your instrument apart. With an axe. Well, I probably won't, but it's a nice threat.


suzukisinger said...

Amen sista.

Just a little concerned about how you'd take MY instrument apart with an axe. I'm not sure my teachers insurance would cover such an 'accident'......

omchelsea said...

Um.. a very small axe? Come on, we both know you're at zero risk!

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