Joseph E. Reed
Did You Practice This Week?
“Did you practice this week?”
The 13-year-old looks sheepishly at his private violin lessons instructor.
“Well, uh…I was kind of busy… but I practiced a little bit…I guess.”
Mr. Reed smiles and breathes deep, swallowing a sigh of disappointment and frustration.
Always the same story. Week after week.
Does this kid really even want to do music?
What do I need to say to his mom?
Do I need to be firmer?
It’s students like this that…
“Alright, Miles. Well, let’s start with the warm ups. Okay?”
Miles nervously adjusts his shoulder rest, tightens and rosins his bow.
Then he fumbles through his crumpled papers on the music stand to find the warm up exercises.
After a couple minutes of squeaky, half-hearted, poorly tuned scales and arpeggios, Miles lowers his violin bow and glances towards Mr. Reed with an “Okay, now what?” look.
Mr. Reed, choosing to leave “good enough” alone this time, gives a simple, “Mm hmm..”
There comes a point when something must be said.
Something must be done.
Thoughts and questions going through the teachers mind:
Miles is just not making progress.
Does he just need more practice?
How can he be motivated?
Are his parents encouraging him?
Is there a lot going on in his life?
Is the violin really the best instrument for him?
Maybe he should quit and just play sports or focus on academics?
Should I try and find some more interesting music?
Should I bribe him with candy?
Should he get a different music teacher?
What more can I do?
I should say something…
“Miles…” says Mr. Reed, “are you…enjoying the violin?”