A minor frustration I have with my private piano teaching is that there is a tendency for children to automatically say ‘I can’t’ before they have even tried! I know this is nothing new – my year 6 teacher banned my class from saying ‘I can’t’ and I remember him repeating the phrase ‘there’s no such word as can’t’ (which, I must admit, was quite misleading to a ten year old…) However, I find it frustrating when my students say it as it is such a destructive attitude to have! It really hinders many aspects of music, from exploration of the music right up to performance in front of people. And, generally speaking, they CAN! In the worst cases, the ‘I can’t’ syndrome even occurs when looking at music already learnt!
So I am looking to develop ways to tackle the issue – a lot of the way I teach is based around relationship with the child, mostly involving humour, so I am finding by using humour to diffuse a potential ‘can’t’ situation it can move the child into just having a go, without worrying too much whether it is right or wrong… Let’s see how it develops!