Diary of a Music Teacher Day 21: When to Let Students Go…

Sometimes we face difficult decisions as teachers. To me personally, the most difficult decision comes when students show zero motivation over time an is really not interested in learning to play any music.

When to let these students go?

I am firm believer in internal motivation and how the students themselves need to want to learn to play in order for any learning to happen. If it parents or other adults who want the students to learn, but not the students themselves, you can only go so far. Eventually, you will hit the wall and any progress in playing will stall.

When this lack of motivation carries on from week to week, month to month, I start reflecting on whether I should have a firm chat on the student about whether they actually want to even carry on with learning. Most often, we reach a conclusion that the student will take a break. After a month long break, some students come back with fresh motivation, others never return. The most important thing is to leave the door open and make sure that the students know that they can come back any time.

Some students get the motivational kick that they need from such a chat and don’t quit, but rather start learning with renewed vigour. With these students, it is important to make sure that the lessons are fun and engaging in order to keep their motivation levels high.

It is never nice to let students go, but sometimes it is the best thing to do for yourself and for your student.

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