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Tips & Tricks: When to Ask For Help

small__3534516458Have you ever been to a lesson and thought, “I hope that my violin teacher does not ask me to play that piece!  I am having trouble with it!”  I know I have been there many a time.  It seems to me that this is human nature to want to hide the areas where you are having difficulty, but isn’t that the whole point of taking lessons?  To learn from your teacher and get help with any difficulties that you are having?

I can’t tell you how many times I have had adults students say to me “I am having trouble with this piece, so I don’t want to lesson this week so that I can work on it some more.”  Maybe that is a good idea, if they truly understand the concept, and really haven’t had enough time to practice, but so often there is a technical issue.  By attending the lesson, we can work through the technical issue, and the student will be able to improve quicker than by trying to struggle through it alone at home.

I am not immune to this way of thinking.  I think that it is human nature.  I always wanted to showcase to my teacher the pieces that I was playing well and wanted my teacher to tell me what a great job I was doing.  If I had university to do over again, I would certainly approach my lessons differently.  In some way I viewed my teacher as a disciplinarian who would tell me that I wasn’t trying hard enough, or couldn’t play well enough, not as someone who could help me to improve the weak areas in my playing.

So, what I am saying is:

  1. Go to your lessons, whether you feel prepared or not.
  2. If your teacher doesn’t request that you play something that you are having trouble with, request that you look at it.
  3. Ask questions.  Sometimes everything will look ok to the teacher, but if you are experiencing trouble, ask about!

I wish you the best of luck with you lessons and hope that you use them wisely!  This is your time to learn!

photo credit: Marco Bellucci via photopin cc

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