Teacher As Guide: A Case Study

I’ve been writing and speaking about the responsibility of the piano teacher to be a guide for the student in terms of each specific new piece of repertoire, the importance for piano teachers to take this role seriously. Students gain enormous value from good guidance both in terms of enjoyment and sense of accomplishment as well as saving the student a lot of wasted practice time. This last week a student of mine had a ‘post-exam lesson’ – that first lesson after the exam where new repertoire is assigned, and the piano teacher spends more time playing the piano than the student does. Even though my student had just passed Grade 5 Trinity Guildhall (with distinction, as it turned out) her first new assignment was Diversion 4 by Richard Rodney Bennett (a piece considerably easier than Grade 5!). Before she played it through I talked about the style of the piece: it’s clearly a 20th century work, but very lyrical,

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