Here is something particular: why would you want to show to your teacher something you didn’t prepare?

I get into this kind of situation all the time: The student is supposed to do a rock beat from a page, one that I have demonstrated for him on video the week before, one that he has played and tried during the previous lesson. So, here we are, the week later, and I look at his assignment page. I read what is written.

  • Do you want me to it with the bass drum on sixteenth notes? He ask.
  • Just do what you practiced, I answer.
  • Yes, but should I do the fill in between?
  • Show me the work you’ve done this week, that’s all I am asking.

Then he hesitate, plays two notes, stops, has a nervous twitch, etc…

Do you have any idea what the student was doing when he was asking questions?

He’s buying some time. He didn’t practice. He’s desperate. That is why I usually cut short that part of the lesson. I’m not here to humiliate people but to help them. So I interrupt our little back and forth and try to assess the situation he is in. There is usually a lot to unpack. And then I provide the best course to go forward with his participation. Sometimes it involves doing the same assignment over again, sometimes we do something else. There is always a lot to do on an instrument.

There is a million ways to approach teaching music. The trick, in my opinion, is to not get stuck into just one.