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Something that comes up a lot in private music lessons is the idea of fairness.  The topic takes many forms.  Sometimes it's a student to student problem when siblings or close friends are both taking lessons.  Sometimes it's a student to teacher problem when the student has been stuck on something for a long time.  And times it's a parent to teacher problem when the parent has different goals from the teacher.

Fairness is not about giving each student the same.  It's about giving each child what they need.

As a teacher, it would not be fair for me to treat each student exactly the same.  That would completely defeat the purpose of private instruction.  Some students have to work on left hand finger skills for a long time because they need to.  Some students achieve left hand finger skills more easily but have to spend a longer time learning how to control their bow.

Learning an instrument is not the same as going to school.  There's no timetable.  Memorizing facts is not the same thing as learning a physical skill.  Playing the violin is like learning how to walk or talk.  Yes, there are averages for when a baby learns how to do these things.  But these averages are by no means set in stone.  Some children learn how to talk early and some children won't talk until they are three.

The amount of time taken to learn a task is not a refection of a person's ability to learn.  It's merely how long they needed to learn the skill.  In the end, all babies learn how to talk.  And when that baby turns into an adult no one cares if he learned to speak when he was three instead of two.

To allow someone to develop at their own speed is most valuable gift a parent or teacher could give a student.  It means the student is being given the opportunity to truly and thoroughly learn how to do something well.


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