Motivating a student- help teachers!

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Trumpet1Ohio, Jun 16, 2008.

  1. Trumpet1Ohio

    Trumpet1Ohio Piano User

    Jun 22, 2005
    Columbus, OH
    I am a trumpet teacher and the father of a 15 yr old girl that also plays the horn. She's very good, but doesn't know it! She's relatively shy and definitely doesn't like to play in front of the band director or even me. Consequently she doesn't do nearly as well on tryouts as she could/should. Also, she won't listen to my advice or encouragement. I tell her how great she sounds, how the only thing holding her back is air and confidence. I'm sad that she can't or won't come out of her playing shell because there's so much bound up talent it's flat out sickening. I teach about 12 or so kids out of my house and have for years so I have something to compare her to. Does anyone have any suggestions of things I might say or do to help her. BTW, she was 2nd chair in the freshman band last year, plays first part in HS marching band, so, despite her timidity she's still doing reasonably well. Last item, she sings and plays piano at recitals, although not thrilled about it, does well. More her passion than the horn.

    Thanks for any ideas you may have.
    Firestas'1 likes this.
  2. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    I used to teach horn, along with trumpet, in Germany. I had a drop-dead beautiful red-haired fifteen-year-old hornist who always said "I can't play that," and then did, perfectly, each time. I think I know where you are coming from.

    It seemed almost like a defense mechanism, like she didn't want to "show off" or be "better" than anyone else.


    As trumpeters we are generally into the "I'm better than you!!!!" mentality, but gifted musicians (and it sounds like your daughter is one!) are more into the "what's the big deal?" mentality, play the heck out of stuff, and shrug their shoulders.


    Until (and if) she finds music her ultimate form of expression she's probably going to drive you crazy, until guys like I was start dating her.

    Then you can really worry!

    Good luck!
  3. note360

    note360 Piano User

    Oct 16, 2006
    In a room in a house
    I am a student and have a simular idea to this.

    I come from sort of a modest feeling and have always been shy. Actualyl as ive gone on ive become less confident in my playign abilites (because as I went on I went from being number one to number 3 or so as more and more people where added into the school).

    I am generally not bragging or anything so I find it hard to compete. I also find it hard to concentrate. THough then again I am motivated and not a natural I am just shy and should do better in tryouts.

    Getting some one motivated is hard. ITs really soemthign they need to arrive at at there own and somethign I think i might just finally be arriving at (age 16). Most peoples musical epiphanies seem to happen between 15 and 100. So she still has time yet.
  4. ozboy

    ozboy Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 17, 2007
    have you thought about electric shock therapy?
  5. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    It's all about self awareness - stop pushing. You might suggest that she play with another good player at her side, and share the load between them, but one at a time, let her discover herself. I will be really interested to see how this works out for your daughter. As a comeback player, with little talent but a certain work ethic, I recognise her 'fear' but absolutley wish her well.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2008
  6. Sterling

    Sterling Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 22, 2007
    Marcellus, NY
    Is she competitive about anything? It could just be her nature at this point. Keep pushing and encouraging her. Be a good role model(like you needed me to say that!). I've had students that have had such potential, but zero motivation as well as the direct opposite. That's the fun of teaching! Getting students to realize their potential. Sorry for the ramble, good luck and have fun.
  7. Billy B

    Billy B Pianissimo User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Des Moines, IA
    Find her a private teacher. She isn't listening to you.
  8. note360

    note360 Piano User

    Oct 16, 2006
    In a room in a house
    Competitveness is not equal to Motivation. Or atleast it doesnt have to be.
  9. wilcox96

    wilcox96 Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 31, 2005
    charlotte nc
    I agree with Billy B. This may be tough for you (dad) to handle...but I think this is the right course.

    A couple of things are at play here. Your (you, dad) motivation is not "her" motivation. You are driven by the passion of a dad and a teacher. She probably senses that and it actually may be intimidating. It may be having the reverse affect...even from the other band director you mentioned...because she "might" feel (deep down) that she might not be up to your expectations (anxiety...fear of letting you down..). (your expectations are way above hers...naturally!!...but that isn't helping strange and difficult as that is to comprehend).

    As hard as it will be for you...I think you need to step back a bit. Yes, still provide praise and some advice...but back off of the temptation to comment on EVERYTHING she does musically...positively or negatively. Don't worry...your support will still be felt and your previous advise will still be in her thoughts. They just won't be so smothering. (sorry...this is hard for you to hear...but very necessary).

    Give her a break for a while. Maybe even for the entire summer. Let her be a kid...a girl...herself. As for an eventual new there a female trumpet player in your area that would be willing to take her on as a student? Maybe your daughter would connect more with someone of her own gender. This is not a sexist thing...just simply..that they might make a connection that sets your daughter on a new path...a new mindset. (isn't that the goal?)..

    Proud can still be that. Just give her some breathing room. You will be surpised to notice, later in her life, the great lessons and concepts "you" taught her will resurface. You will be prouder still......

    Best to you....
  10. oldlips48

    oldlips48 Piano User

    Mar 1, 2007
    It could be simply the age. As a younger teenager, my son was rather pensive about playing in certain circumstances, but as he got older he got much more comfortable with his abilities. He just graduated from high school, the school chorus sang an arrangement he wrote, and he personally provided the music for the recessional. He's off to college in the fall pursuing a degree in music performance.

    Give her some time, let her grow and find herself (might be piano, not trumpet). She'll come into her own.

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