Repetitive Behavior I Must Correct

by Rob Jourdain
(Derbyshire, UK)

Hi. I am glad I have found this page.
I have been teaching a young boy violin. . I took over the teaching 4 months ago and he was preparing for grade 3 exam.
Like you, I find that changing bad habits is hard, as he memorises things quickly then cannot change.
One of my biggest challenges, is that he will start to play something familiar, either from a previous exam level, or something he has picked up from tv, etc, at a fast and loud level.
I need to interrupt this and often have to lift the bow from the strings to do this. I have read that interrupting a behaviour can be detrimental, but I have to, otherwise the entire lesson will be spent in this fashion and we would not get anything done. I still haven't found an answer to this. I will be reading other comments on here with interest.

Exactly. And yet this process of needing to interrupt & refocus or reinterpret happens with our other students also, especially the youngest, though on a faster scale.
Personally, I've found it useful lately to say, "I want to hear exactly how you did it at home this week," then let them play a short section for me (or the whole page, IF THE SONG IS SHORT), take note of the errors, then give the most positive & quick assessment possible. Then I play it & say, "There are a couple of things I want you to change. Here's how you played it --- and here's how I play it. Can you see what is different?" Or, when that is going to take too much time, just say, "What am I doing wrong?" Surely you are doing this kind of thing already. In addition, it can help students to be forewarned in this manner, "I'm going to be lifting your bow & moving your arm, so be aware! Allow me to reshape your 'square' (or etc."... You sound like a very thoughtful teacher, and he is lucky to have you, Rob!

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