A harp lesson is hard work, for both the student and the teacher. It’s a time to acknowledge progress and challenges, to take what’s going well to the next level and to find ways to make the rough patches smoother. It’s not a performance where your teacher will judge you on how well you play that day. And it’s not a cozy get together for tea and encouragement, although those could be part of a lesson too. A lesson is for learning.
As a student I always knew I had a good lesson when I left the lesson feeling a little mentally fatigued but energized, even excited, about the work we had done in the lesson and the progress I was ready to make in the coming week. It was similar to the feeling you might have after a massage; your body is tired and sore, but relaxed and happy at the same time.
As a teacher, my favorite lessons are the ones where we work the hardest. We may be working on one measure or one passage. We might be bringing more expression to a piece or just working on technique. A lesson is my opportunity to help the student take bigger steps than she would on her own, to push her closer to her goal, and when we can do that kind of work together, I know progress and harp happiness can’t be far off.
This kind of lesson requires a lot of open discussion with input from both student and teacher. Sometimes I encounter students who want to be good students, to follow directions without question. While I appreciate that a student trusts my knowledge and insight, if he has questions, I want to know. I try to remember to ask, but I never mind if a student questions or challenges a particular strategy or choice.
On today’s show I’d like to share with you the three questions that I love to be asked and why I think those questions are so important. If you have a teacher you are working with, I can pretty much guarantee that if you haven’t asked any of these yet, you’ve been missing out on some powerful learning opportunities. Even if you don’t have a teacher right now, you will perhaps get a new perspective on how to find your way through the struggles of learning to play the harp. It’s all about learning how to learn today and I know that at least one of these questions will be one that you have been wishing you could ask. Guess what - you now have permission!
Links to things I think you might be interested in that were mentioned in the podcast episode:
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