QUOTE(Violinia @ Jun 13 2008, 10:19 PM)
I think the problem is that we've gone too far the other way. I admit myself to finding it hard to tell a pupil they played something really badly; I feel like saying it but a little warning voice tells me not to, so I couch it in a kinder way, and perhaps the message doesn't get through strongly enough at times. I say things like: 'hmm, I think you can do better than that,' or 'hmm, perhaps you could play that again but try to get those notes a bit more in tune,' etc. Is that too kind? Perhaps. On the other hand, I lost two pupils a few years back just like that when I told them off rather abruptly for not practising, so learnt to soften my approach; softly softly catchee de monkee maybe? Or have too many kids become so soft these days that a telling off sends them running for the hills whereas in the past they'd just toughen it out and improve as a result?
I don't know, and it's a good subject for debate.
I think my son's clarinet teacher has this right. If a pupil plays something really badly she will say, as you do, "I think you can do better than that - try again." But if it's just as bad the second time she will say, "That needs more work at home" in a tone that brooks no argument, and move on to something else.
I don't think kids respond well to being told off. They know quite well when they haven't practised, and if they've had a busy week they just feel resentful if you get cross. At the end of the day only they can decide whether or not to practise, and that's more likely to happen if you notice when they have worked on something, and praise them for it. The carrot is much better than the stick here, I think.