When a student is not going as fast as you, the teacher, would like, or as fast as you think he may be capable of, you might say he is making “slow progress.” But notice that this definition is centered around what YOU want and what YOU think. In other words, YOUR frustration or fulfillment as a teacher. The important thing to remember, therefore, is that any qualifying adjective you choose to describe your student’s progress – slow, fast, not enough, poor – is strictly YOUR OPINION. In my experience, there is only one absolute, which is NO progress at all. That’s pretty easy for anyone to see, any other modifier being a matter of interpretation. Of course, parents pay you good money to make sure their child does progress, but being happy or unhappy with the results depends on everyone’s expectations.
So let’s say that you are doing your best to stimulate your students to practice and still not “enough” is getting done. This brings me to a really important misconception that students, their parents and their teachers often have, which can wind up truncating our students’ music education:
How fast a child progresses on the instrument signifies how much talent she has and whether or not it is worth continuing. Continue reading