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Teaching Years 9, 10, 11, 12

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#1 maryw


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Posted 18 October 2019 - 19:23

I live in an area where competition to enter the best schools takes precedence over all else. I find I am being asked increasingly if I can stop lessons for 5 months whilst the student prepares for scholarship to private school, GCSE’s, or just general “testing” stress.

My reply is “yes, if you don’t mind going back on the waiting list” AND “music is therapy and there for life and sometimes we have to “coast” to get through a busy period.

But I am saddened that entry to private school and total concentration on exams deprives a student of a lifelong link to music, which provides distraction, therapy and an emotional outlet.

Sorry it’s not a positive post, but I wonder how many other teachers are experiencing this scenario.?? Certainly it makes the timescale for work for the higher grades almost impossible bar the highly motivated, organised and diligent pupils...

Anyone else experiencing a change?
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#2 Latin pianist

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Posted 18 October 2019 - 20:35

I don't find students stop lessons but they do stop practising and ask to play Einaudi or pop songs rather than working for higher grades. I have far fewer high grade students these days. They really don't seem to have time to practise. Like you, I find this rather sad.
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#3 Boogaloo


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Posted 19 October 2019 - 21:53

I agree with you. This term I've had a pupil suspend lessons because they want to settle into year 9. Another has put a hold on things because of their UCAS application which was an early one for Oxbridge. Last academic year I had a pupil in year 5 stop lessons as they wanted to concentrate on getting into the local high school via entrance exam (pupil's choice, not parental). "When the going gets tough, the tough get going" - words I frequently repeat to those who moot giving up/putting things on hold! Sometimes it's easier for pupils to have an excuse than to find a way around a difficulty. It is frustrating because sometimes it's the pupils who you think are dependable (in terms of their work and the fact that income is reliable) that are the ones who give up.

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#4 Aquarelle



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Posted 23 October 2019 - 13:38

I have a pupil who is in Terminale here which I imagine corresponds to Year 12 in the UK. She has an extremely heavy homework load and is very conscientious. We have simply arranged that when she arrives for her lesson she will tell me if she has been able to practise. If she hasn't we do the work I had asked her to practise together and I give a smaller load for her to do before the next lesson. She genuinely tries to practise because she likes playing and finds it relaxing and I am flexible. At the moment it seems to be working well. Her progress is a little slower than last year but not a lot because she is the kind of pupil who has always tried to follow my instructions and therefore has a good base.


I lost one at the end of last year - a girl in Première. (Year 11 I imagine) she was musical but scatterbrained and an irregular pracrtiser. She didn't really follow my instructions and often brought pieces she wanted to play but which were too difficult - though they might not have been if she had ever worked as I had asked. She was a nice girl and I enjoyed teaching her but mother got fed up with her not listening to me and finally decided to stop her lessons. I think the girl will  later on regret having stopped  but she is the kind of person who just needs a bit longer to mature and maybe she will take up the piano again in years to come.


I have another girl ins Seconde (Year 10) and she got a merit at Grade 4 in the summer but had to work really hard for that so this year I have promised to change my approach. She is a conscientious pupil but easily stressed. She is in the European Section at her lycée so we are now doing her lessons in English and I am teaching her to sing  in English and accompany herself. So far we have done "Born in the Night" (for Christmas) and "Where have all the flowers gone" and last week we started on "Hallelujah" - (set for the current Grade 3) This also seems to be working at the moment.

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